Being tourists in our not-so-new city

We wandered around and did some touristy stuff today. We decided to check out the streets near the HK Museum of Medical Sciences and Man Mo Temple in the Sheung Wan area. This area is steep, I remember exploring this neighbourhood when we were just tourists in this city, well before there was even talk of us moving here. I was climbing the bajillion steps in this area, following exactly what Google maps told me to do. Even though, yes, it was telling me the quickest route to get to the museum, but it didn’t take into consideration the steepness! I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got to the museum – and I still remember finally reaching it, only to find out it had already closed for the day! The inter web gave me the wrong opening hours for the museum! Argh! 😩 And yet I still went back the next day, and climbed the damn stairs again, that’s how much I wanted to see the museum then!

But now I know better: do NOT take those damn bajillion stairs, unless you want the exercise πŸ˜‚ And especially in the HK heat and humidity, which can rival SG, believe it or not. Take the mid-level escalators and get off at Caine Road, and make your way to the museum from there. It may take longer, but it is a much less strenuous route. And then from the museum, you can then make your way down to Man Mo Temple. Doing the museum first and then the temple means a downhill walk, instead of a painful uphill climb. But you can make up your own mind which route you wish to take 😊

The area is pretty funky, with a lot of antique stores as well as a few cafes, creating a nice juxtaposition of eastern and western influence. And the place wasn’t overly busy either when we wandered around, which made for quite a relaxing afternoon walk 😌 So we’d like to go back again and check out a few cafes and restaurants in thjs area. Maybe find a new yum cha place sometime next weekend? πŸ˜„

And then in the evening, we finished the last few episodes of The Exorcist’s Meter. N is off to SG tomorrow for the rest of the week so we both just wanted to finish the series today rather than have to wait until next weekend to do so. I don’t want to say anything other than the ending was goood! It was right up there with some Korean dramas in terms of endings, actually. I was quite impressed with the last few episodes πŸ‘ Now we need to find our new drama…

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Shopping and eating

I got up earlier than the two brothers today, although that wasn’t hard because N went to bed at around 4am and his brother hadn’t even arrived home yet 😲 So I watched a few episodes of Lover’s Lies in the morning, after which N had finally gotten up. So we left Little Brother to sleep and we went to that 24-hour breakfast place for a late breakfast. OMG all-day breakfast places – let alone a 24-hour place! – are the best! πŸ‘πŸ‘

We then went to IFC and Landmark, two shopping malls in Central. The latter has the Cocoa Monsters display, which was sooo cuuute! They have little Cocoa Monsters hanging on all their Christmas decorations in the mall (and any other building that Landmark owns), so I’ve seen these cute monsters scattered around in what I thought were just random places.

I’m glad I got to see them! I wonder if they always make an appearance in Landmark buildings at Christmas each year…

One thing I have noticed about HK is their poor signage. They’re not very good with telling people (ie new people to the city) where things are located. For example, the start of the Mid Level Escalators is actually quite hard to find. There are numerous signs telling you which direction you need to go in order to reach them, but they don’t tell you how far away they are, and if you reach a fork in the road, for example, which “prong” you need to take. Very similar to when we were walking up to The Peak. So it’s not the most tourist friendly city, unfortunately. You really have to just wander around and immerse yourself in the city – which can be frustrating, if you’re pressed for time! So maybe if you are wandering around, give yourself extra time to find your destination – as well as extra time to fight the throngs of people who will no doubt be all around you! πŸ˜‚

I cleaned up around the house a bit in the afternoon, in time for the New Year, and I’ll continue to do so for the remaining two days of 2018. I always like to have a clean house to welcome the New Year, and here in Asia, there is the western New Year as well as Chinese New Year. So I tend to do a massive clean twice, before the two New Year’s Days. I do a major cull, and I usually also clean out the cupboards and wipe down shelves and clean the windows etc. But since we’ve just moved in, everything is still quite clean, so it’s really more about tidying up this year for us. Except the home office! Argh! That’s a disaster and a half. We’re running out of time to get that sorted! ⏰😩

And then we went for hot pot in the evening. I have grown to really like hot pot! Despite the warm, humid weather in SG, hot pot was really popular there, and that popularity rubbed off on me, so now I’m totally into it. And now that we’re actually living in a city that gets cooler weather, hot pot is going to be even more enticing for me here! πŸ˜‹

I can’t believe there are only two more days left in 2018. Where did this year go?!? 😲 I’ve almost finished my usual annual review of my year, so I’ll post that up sometime in the next two days 😊

Being more of a tourist

A friend from Sydney is in town for a few days, and I caught up with her for a late lunch today. I haven’t seen her in over twelve years, I reckon, but she’s one of those people who I can just pick up from where I left off as if I just saw her yesterday, even if it was years and years ago since we last spoke. She sorta reminds me of my mum: very friendly and chatty, who can just jibber jabber for ages, having no idea where she’s walking, expecting me to know exactly where we’re supposed to go πŸ˜‚

After lunch, we made our way up the Mid-Level escalators. I know they’re a tourist attraction and all, and they are pretty cool, but I caught them so often when we were checking out the neighbourhood that the escalators serve that I’m sorta over catching them now πŸ˜‚ Plus I still use them to go to various shops and restaurants in the area too, so they’re no longer a tourist attraction for me but rather an actual means of transport! πŸ˜‚ I’ve been here for only three odd weeks and the novelty of the escalators is already starting to wane. That’s a bit sad! Although, even though we’ve technically been only living in HK for about 3-4 weeks, I have been catching these escalators and sussing out the neighbourhood for more like the last 3-4 months πŸ˜‚

Afterwards, we made our way to the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok, which is sorta like a Paddy’s Market in Sydney. I was looking for a pair of tracksuit pants and jumper, since there’s no Kmart or Target discount store type place here that I know of. I might come back another time, make sure I look as povo as possible, and maybe come with someone who can speak Cantonese, so I don’t get charged tourist prices πŸ˜‚ Or come with my actual mum who can go head to head with any of these sellers without even batting an eyelid 🀣

Since we were already over on the Kowloon side, we decided to just make our way to the Avenue of Stars, and wait for the 8pm Symphony of Lights, which is this pretty cool light show on Victoria Harbour that’s on every night! Unfortunately, though, the Avenue of Stars is closed for renovation until early 2019! So we didn’t get to walk through it, !or did we hear the accompanying music and narration to the light show, which you can apparently hear on the Avenue πŸ˜” So I’ll definitely have to go back. The light show on its own was quite impressive, and perhaps even more so at the moment because they have a lot of lights up specifically for Christmas. Not that you can see that in my photos below. Maybe I’ll bring a better camera next time too 😊

Surprises everywhere

I decided to try the cafe on the ground floor of the hotel that we were staying at. I somehow stumbled across reviews of the place, and everyone was raving on about their egg tarts, so I just had to try it – even though I’m generally not a fan of egg tarts!

I was pleasantly surprised: it turned out that I enjoyed the egg tarts wayyy more than their coffee! And it’s primarily a coffee shop! I still drank what was effectively flavoured water πŸ˜• coz I needed the caffeine. But it was pretty bad πŸ˜‚

I then decided to walk around Mid Levels today, hoping to find a place to have a quick bite to eat before I flew out later tonight. It’s very hilly in that area, although I did use the mid-level escalators on the way up, so I didn’t exert that much energy πŸ˜‚ They’re doing works on the escalators for the next four years though, so they’re closing down sections as they work on them. So I did walk up stairs for a bit of it, but not enough for me to really work up an appetite. So I ended up just ordering half a sandwich (you can order just half a sandwich! How awesome is that?!) from a bakery chain and taking it back to the hotel and eating it there. I love the half-a-sandwich option. It is so good for times like today when you’re not that hungry but just need a little bit to get you through.

I gave myself three hours to get to the airport, which was ample time. The longest part of the whole trip was waiting at the check-in counter! Terribly inconvenient for people like me who just need a boarding pass and don’t have any luggage to check in. I hope Singapore Airlines introduces their self-service check-in machines at Hong Kong airport soon! Given the number of people who travel to and from these two airports (I basically see it as akin to Sydney – Melbourne, with multiple flights flying between these two cities daily). They were trialling it in Melb last time we were there, so I’m surprised they haven’t introduced it in HK – a much closer destination, and no doubt a much more frequented one!

I wanted to watch Stranger Than Fiction during the flight, but I started writing a new post for my blog project. I just got carried away with that, and I didn’t have time to return to the movie. I’m getting a little excited about my new blog, actually. I’m surprised I have had quite a few things to write about. I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t, especially given the topic, but I can’t keep up with my ideas! Sorry, that was all rather vague, but all will soon be revealed! I just need to come up with a blog name, and it’ll be good to go soon after that, I reckon. Fingers crossed!🀞

Dinner on the fight was really nice. I haven’t been that impressed the last few flights, actually, tsk tsk to Singapore Airlines πŸ˜† But they redeemed themselves today πŸ‘

Anyhoo, flight was fine, no issues, but the taxi ride home was a different story. I had a maniac driver who seemed to be using the speed limit as a minimum number, braking and accelerating every five seconds. And he preferred to take up two lanes whenever he could. He was tailgating and trying to overtake whenever he got the chance. I was totally freaking out the entire time I was in the cab, holding my breath at times, muscles tensed. But once we got to our apartment block, he helped me take out my luggage from the boot, and he was this nice, gentle older man, smiling and being all pleasant! Where was he when we were driving home?!? 😲

But I got home in one piece (just!), and I got to see Kitty again 😊 I always miss the little one every time we go away. Leaving her is always the worst part about travelling πŸ˜”