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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Oct 19, 2009

7 months and top Five

We have called Hong Kong home for 7 months now.

5 indications I am starting to feel at home:

I don't have a mild heart attack anymore when offered water in a glass at a restaurant ( you don't drink tap water here)
I can wear jeans in 79˚ weather comfortably
I can tell a taxi driver where we live in Cantonese( so far I am being understood 50% of the time)
I don't have to buy all our food with an American label on it just because it is familiar - although I still use a lot of imported stuff because it is all I can get for certain items
Automatic check for Octopus card (electronic card used for public transportation) instead of car keys before leaving the house.

Elliot's top five about Hong Kong___ this week any way
prefers the buses over the train or boats
Spaghetti house for dinner
Playscope (indoor play place we have a membership too hands on stuff, toys and climbing net)
Best Friends: Isaiah and Aaron

Jane's top five:
Restaurant - Ajisen ( Japanese Ramen place) she loves pot stickers
Best Friend: Abigail
7-11 as a snack stop

My top five attractions/regulars so far
The promenade- I don't tire of that Hong Kong skyline
The ferry - relaxing way to travel ( not hour long ferry 10 minute ferry )
Repulse bay- my favorite out of the 4 beaches we visited
History Museum
Mong Kok for shopping- thanks to Bethany the secondhand /Pier one close out shop on Sai Yee street

Spaghetti house
Genki Sushi
Triple O's ( canadian burger place)
India restaurant ( out of 3 Indian places we tried -by far the best Indian food is found here!)

Top five- over all likes
Being close to the China border- Shenzhen maybe only a 20 minute train ride, but you know you are in a different country rather quickly. Cheap buys and cheap eats. I hope to get better about exploring

The mountains- I love the views here too gorgeous.

Weather- the beach in October- need I say more

No car- no driving

Good selection of tea

Free Ice Cream from outypants on Vimeo.

Tuen Mun from outypants on Vimeo.

Say Cheese from outypants on Vimeo.

Ocean Park 2009

The two big theme parks here in Hong Kong are Disneyland and Ocean Park. We picked a weekday to visit to Ocean Park. The last time I had checked the weather it was sunny skies the day we left it said a few morning showers and sunny in the afternoon. Well it rained all day. Thankfully the rain was on and off and when it did rain it was mostly a light rain. At least the lines weren't really long and it wasn't 100˚ outside. The downside were the Halloween displays- they had some gruesome heads in the food stalls that scared Jane. We did our best to steer away from them and enjoyed our day as best as we could in spite of them.

The cable cars offer a nice view over the mountains. When we visit Repulse Bay you can see the cable cars as you are swimming in the water now when we go back to the beach the kids will remember being on them. Blue skies would have made the trip better but it was still pretty. The kids had fun riding all the kiddy rides. Jane loved the Frog Hopper right away, but it took about 8 rides before Elliot would try it when he did he enjoyed it. Jane was willing to ride some bigger rides but she was not tall enough. She will be our roller coaster girl for sure.

The aquarium is a great attraction with sea turtles, sharks,stingrays and larger fish. I have seen Panda's before otherwise those might have been a bigger deal for me. This is obviously the main attraction to Ocean Park. The rain as far as we could tell didn't stop the rides or too many attractions so we were able to experience a lot of what the park had to offer.
The kids couldn't stop cheering over the dolphin show. I remember Sea world being more impressive and of course having a Killer whale on display helps- but it was entertaining over all and they loved it.

Ocean Park from outypants on Vimeo.

Oct 7, 2009

Mid-Autumn Festival

Decorations outside of Parc Versailles.

The first week in October in China means the Mid-Autumn Festival. What does this mean? Moon cakes, lanterns and parties. October 1st is National Day this year marked the 60 year anniversary of communist China. These two celebrations overlapped one another.

We visited the East Asian Games Lantern Display in TST then got on the boat to visit the carnival at Victoria Park. As Americans we are constantly amazed at the lack of merchandise and vendors for these celebrations. We were actually hoping to purchase lanterns for the kids while at the park just for fun. Yes we could have walked down a side street and found a store that was selling them but we had already travelled on foot quite a bit and did not want to venture too far out. If this event were held in America there would be Food Vendors- hats-T-shirts- pins for sale on site at the event. Lantern Festival 09 or Mid-Autumn Celebration at Victoria Park would be sold in many colors and sizes.
 We found lights strung overhead and stages where traditional dances,opera and puppet shows were performed. No rides and no elephant ears. I have been in Hong Kong long enough not to expect the rides or the elephant ears. 
I am not complaining about the lack of ways to fleece me of my money by overcharging me for food,and cheap merchandise.

We attended the Celebration at Sha Tin which is in our area the New Territories. Sha Tin park is sprawling and a nice place to hold an event like this. It was pleasant to walk through and the displays were plentiful and some quite impressive. We caught some acrobats and dancing. The two languages the event was hosted in were Mandarin and Cantonese so we didn't quite know what was going on for scheduled events. We were without our camera then so we only got video of the event. No face painting or animal balloons but you could get your palm read. The line was sadly long for this "entertainment"


Lotus Paste and eggyolk
I found the traditional Mooncake to be not that bad. The lotus paste has a sweet taste. It is a dense and very rich.