Our Day In Hong Kong

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With such a short time in Hong Kong, we had to limit our activities and have a very full day.  We chose the Peak, the Buddha and Temple Street Night Market.  And believe me, it was a very full day.  One of the things that made it fuller was that the tram to the peak was closed and the cable car to the buddha was not in operation.  That means, instead of going straight up the mountain, we had to go back and forth on the switchback roads.  The girls were amazing and there were no complaints or whining all day.  But man, can they eat. 

We started our day with breakfast at the hotel which was a wonderful buffet and everyone got whatever they wanted.  (not, quite true, Xinya and I started our day breaking into the rooftop pool and unexpectedly exploring the employees areas of the hotel, but that’s a whole other story)

The Peak:  The tram up is closed, ugh.  We were going to take cabs around but we wanted a real adventure so we took public transit.  We first got on the subway for about a dollar each and it was very crowded but unbelieveably clean and organized.  Then we hopped on a bus; likely the wrong one because we found a direct one on the way down, but it was great.  It was a double decker bus and the girls (and Jeff) got to sit up top on the front seat which was really on the front of the bus….Very exciting when we travelled up the hil with straight down cliffs on the side of the road!  The peak offered a wonderful view of the fog and not much more.  But we had a good laugh about how crazy it was that we couldn’t see a thing.

We then went back on the bus and the subway to get to the buddha.  Unfortunately (or fortunately given the rumoured unstability of the cable cars) the cable cars were closed.  We hopped in cabs but that meant an indirect route around lantau island up the back of the mountain to get to the buddha and monastary area.  This ended up being a really interesting drive through lush mountain areas, a small village with cows wandering everywhere and by two prisons which looked like resorts.  There are little stores and the base of the buddha and a starbucks, which I was ready for and took the chill off.  We walked up to the monastary, got some food at the vegetarian snack bar and walke up the steps to the buddha.  Again, a wonderful view of fog!  But it was amazing.  The girls enjoyed the ice cream that was included in our ticket and we headed down.  At the bottom, we found a bus that would take us back down, so we didn’t need to get cabs.

After a quick stop at the hotel to change shoes, but on more clothes and get Maggie’s friend, we were back out, headed to the temple street market.  It’s a night market and we got there after 7.  It has stall after stall of goods and everyone tried to make a deal.  I taught Xinya the art of bargaining.  She didn’t really like thinking that we were going to walk away from something she had chosen and wanted but she liked the good deals.  We picked up some noodle bowls she had eyed at one of the stores at the Peak for much less than they cost at the Peak.

Tired, we took the subway home to the hotel and fell asleep quickly.

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We arrived in Hong Kong

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First day of vacation

We have been on the plane for 15 hours.  With only a few hours sleep, there has been a lot of tv, movies, snacks and video games. We have filled out the cards we need for arrival and the breakfast dishes have been cleared away so it will be time to land soon.

They say it’s Sunday afternoon and 12 degrees out. It feels like the middle of the night for us and I’m really looking forward to a shower and a nice dark hotel room this evening.

Off the plane: we got through customs easily, found our luggage and found our shuttle bus. After a bit of back and forth over payment for the shuttle (the fellow bought we should pay him, we said it had already been paid. Once he realized Maggie and I weren’t paying him and weren’t leaving his counter, he gave us the tickets).

The hotel (Metropark Causeway Bay) is great.  We are going to head out to happy hour and a walk around the neighborhood.

Ready, Set…..

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Wow, time sure did fly and we are so excited to go.

The dog has gone to the kennel.  Kyanna has gone to Grandma’s (don’t feel bad for her, Grandma is in Florida!)  Xinya is checking that all her movies work so she is entertained on the plane.  I’m making the last minute blog switch to one that will be more reliable in China.  I’m hoping Jeff is thinking about what he’s going to make for dinner.

Thanks to everyone for the donations for the orphanage.  We can’t wait to go and give them all the cute gifts.

Our bag is the one on the trunk, the colourful one is for the orphanage.

Getting Ready

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Getting Ready

We are five days away and starting to think we’re a little late starting packing.  We have thought a lot about what we will be taking, but not much has actually made it to the suitcase.I’ve asked Xinya what she hopes to accomplish on this trip, wondering where she would like to visit or what she hopes to learn going back and she said that she would “Like to get two dragons”.  I’m sure we can manage to find that for her (and hopefully more)

Here’s our plan:

Day 1  Fly to Hong Kong

Day 2  One day to see all of Hong Kong, gosh, that’s a tall order but here’s what we’re thinking:  Tram to the peak, the big buddha, the bird and flower market, temple street night market, a ferry ride.  We will likely have to edit that list a lot, especially considering the effects of jet lag.

Day 3  Take afternoon flight to Guilin and stay in Yangshou at the Pheonix Padoga Retreat.

Day 4  Free day to bike, hike, go to the market and see Impression Third Sister Liu Light Show.

Day 5  Another day in Yangshou to tour around, go on a Li River Cruise, explore the caves and see the cormorant fishers.

Day 6  Visit Elephant Trunk Hill and Piled Silk Hill.

Day 7  Fly to Nanchang.  A LONG day of flying with a stopover in Shanghai.

Day 8  Take a four hour van ride to Orphanage in Guangchang.  Stay overnight in Guangchang.

Day 9  Take van to Nanchang and catch a flight back to Shanghai.

Day 10  Free day in Shanghai to visit yi yuan gardens, the lupu bridge, the bund (we are wanting to go to the aquarium, but we’ll see how the time and weather fare) and go see the shanghai acrobats.

Day 11 Free morning.   Fly home in the evening.

It will be a lot of travelling but we will get to see and do a lot.  We can’t wait!

This is what we looked like on our last trip to China!