China Day 17: HK – Shanghai – Vancouver

Today’s flight:
So our connecting flight had problems today and they had to drive us off to a sketchy hotel 20 minutes away to feed us and allow us to rest. I was watching some local Shanghainese show when someone knocked on the door to tell me the plane is ready for us. After another 20 minute ride, filling out another departure card, and going through inspection and security yet another time, we finally boarded the plane. I wonder whether my random power naps today will help with or worsen my jetlag when I get home.

Trip summary:
Culture shock – yes but not unbearable because I mentally prepared for it before I came here. Am I able to cope? Yes. Can I fully blend in? No. I’ve become more agressive and hard-headed over the trip. I’ll switch to my more polite side when I get back to Canada 🙂 Guys behind me on the plane right now are awfully noisy but I’m not going to bother asking them to quiet down because I don’t want a 飛機阿叔 incident.

Weather – hot and muggy but again not unbearable as I had a/c breaks in buildings and buses. The umbrella is your friend here. It’s a mobile shade.

Language – Glad to know enough Mandarin and Cantonese to get by. Except for the times where the locals speed through their speech, I can, for the most part, understand.

 

Food – delicious and not expensive!
Top picks: (in no particular order)

  1. 楊枝甘露 at 池記
  2. Coconut milk tea at Modern Toilet
  3. 東坡肉 in Hangzhou
  4. Some mango drink at 許留山
  5. Ngo luack at the 潮洲 restaurant in Shenzhen
  6. 2 layered milk curd in Macao

Shopping: didn’t do enough on this trip probably because

  1. Some of the styles were not for Canada
  2. Didn’t have enough time
  3. Scared to be ripped off because of all this haggling business

Prettiest sights:

  • Suzhou
  • Harbour of HK
  • Musical in Hangzhou

Most memorable sights:

  • Water rave in Hengdian
  • Crowds at the Expo
  • Local kid doing his homework in his pjs in one of the gardens we visited in Wuxi

Firsts:

  1. First time in Asia.
  2. First time boarding the plane via a shuttle and not directly from the terminal.
  3. First time using a squattie.
  4. First time eating out of a miniature toilet bowl and drinking from a miniature urinal.
  5. First time using an umbrella for shade.
  6. First time having to really use Mandarin.
Overall: Awesome trip
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China Day 16: Wanchai – Mong Kok – Harbour City

Took the star ferry one last time to see the infamous 金紫荊 statue.

 

Then went to Mong Kok to eat at the toilet based novelty restaurant – Modern Toilet. The decor is so bizarre, I couldn’t tell what’s real and what’s just decor most of the time – as a matter of fact, i couldn’t find the real washroom in the restaurant. There were posters all over the restaurant about diferent types of poo – very appetizing. People kept telling me the food here is not that good but it’s really not that bad. Tried a milk-based hot pot today and it was pretty good. Had the coconut milk tea drink and it’s probably one of the best milk teas I’ve ever had.
Did some last minute shopping but stil didn’t end up buying much. Next time, I will make a shopping trip. Next time.

Checked out, ate dinner, looked at the harbour night view one more time then switched over to the airport hotel in preparation for our early morning flight tomorrow.

China Day 15: Macau

After a nice classy breakfast at the lounge in our hotel, we head off to the terminal to board the ferry to Macau! After an hour ride across the open sea in the pouring rain, we arrive in Asia’s own Las Vegas. It’s so interesting to see a language on the signs which I’ve never seen before – Portugese. So different from all the languages I’ve learnt.

I read online the night before not to talk to strangers at the terminal etc. and I agree because there was a strange man following us around persuading us to take his taxi around town. Of course we declined and opted for the Venetian shuttle instead. Arrived at the hotel and it was beautiful as expected.

Checked out the mall and pretty indoor canals, then headed to the more historical part of town (St. Paul’s ruins) to try out some local goodies – pork chop bun, cantonese noodles, two layered milk curd (so good!), and portugese egg tart. Also grabbed some almond cookies to bring back home. Apparently their coconut juice/ice cream and peanut candy are really good too! Unfortunately, my stomach went on strike after the milk curd. Took the ferry back with a food coma again. Pouring rain again but caught a glimpse of a rainbow!

Can’t believe tomorrow is my last day in Asia! Time flies. Got the chance to hang out with another friend where she teaches me the skills to survive in HK. A little too late but still useful in the future.

China Day 14: Shenzhen

Another long mtr ride, but this time, to the border of HK and Shenzhen. Was brought around town by a family friend in Shenzhen. Just cross the river and what a huge difference from HK.

Ate authentic 潮洲 food – so delicious but got a major food coma. Watched a local haggle – so entertaining, not so much the case when I try to do it. Drove to the beach but didn’t get out to enjoy it because there were way too many people, considering we were stuck in traffic for hours just getting there and back. Ate dessert at a nice dessert place called Honeymoon Dessert. Currently in love with 楊枝甘露 – so good!

China Day 13: The Peak – IFC – Stanley

Rushing into the peak tram was intense. Of course, with my Canadian ways, I couldn’t get a seat. Standing at 45 degrees was not easy. It was worth it though because the view up there is really nice and the market is pretty cute.

 

IFC – the high end mall of hk. Our tour guide in Wuxi said one of the washrooms there was 5 star. He should come here! Also watched a lovely live jazz/blues performance while I was at the mall.

First time at a beach this summer! – Stanley beach – just for you Kay, I made it down to Stanley unplanned. It consisted of a bunch of confusion, map reading, and asking for directions. Nice trip though because we passed by Ocean Park, Shum Shui Wan and Repulse Bay – nice long 1.5 hour bus ride home.

Officially taken all types of public transit in hk including the minibus, bus, tram, shuttle, mtr and ferry.

China Day 12: Ngong Ping – Temple Street – Causeway Bay

Took a long mtr ride to Tong Chong, then boarded the gondola up to Ngong Ping mountain. Pretty awesome ride since I got to see the bird’s eye view of their airport. Visited the big Buddha and paid my respects there. Such a hot day so we needed to get refreshed with some Vita crysanthemum tea – so good!!

 

Boarded the wonderful mtr again and visited the famous Temple Street in Jordan.

Life would be so much simpler in Asia if:
1. People just state the true price, so you don’t have to waste time and energy bargaining – feeling crappy if you win because you would think your offer price is too high and feeling crappy if you lose because you don’t get to buy what you wanted.
2. People just go dutch for meals so no time is spent fighting for the bill and feeling bad if you lose.
These are two situations where your Canadian politeness puts you at a disadvantage.

Ended the day by hanging out with a friend, who I haven’t seen for the longest time.

Note to self:
1. Do not take the mtr at 6 = crazy sardine packing time.
2. Do not eat dinner at around 7/8pm in Causeway bay. Crazy busy. Be prepared to wait for an hour plus to get a table.

Did some shopping, ate delicious food and took some sticker pictures, like a true Asian – which I also haven’t done for so many years.

China Day 11: Wanchai – Causeway Bay – Mong Kok

Today turned out pretty well for an unplanned day. Took the star ferry over to Wanchai and grabbed some breakfast at cafe de coral. Then took the tram to Causeway Bay to check that area out. Couldn’t stand the heat anymore so checked out the very well air conditioned Times Square while I was there and wondered why people say it’s cheap to shop in hk.

Ate at a wonton place (which I later found out was quite famous – sweet!) then ate dessert at 許留山 – best dessert ever at a good price! Took the tram down the other way to survey 中環 then took the mtr back to Kowloon and reached shopping paradise in Mong Kok. Walked for hours and still haven’t gone through a 10th of place. Here is where I truly understand why people say it’s cheap to shop in HK!