A Travellerspoint blog

April 2013

The happiest place on earth... (Well one of them anyway!)

overcast 23 °C
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"You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway" - Walt Disney

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Foodie moment

Pepper Lunch restaurant is always a popular choice in any food court. You are given a sizzling hot (!!) plate with rice, raw meat, corn, cheese, pepper sauce and egg if you choose. You then "sizzle it your way", stirring it up quickly to cook it and mix the flavours - then enjoy... yum!

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Cultural moment

One of the funniest moments of our day was visiting the 'Mickey's PhilharMagic' 3D show at Disneyland. The show itself was amusing but the Chinese audience had us in stitches from start to finish.... Firstly was the way they chose their seats, once the doors opened to enter the theatre it was like the boxing day sales. People were yelling to each other, sprinting to chairs, climibing over seats, running up and down the aisles. I'm not sure if they were worried there wouldn't be a seat for everyone, or thought there was one good spot to sit but it was pandemonium!
The next cultural difference we found was their reaction to the 3D movie. This was an old school 3D movie, with some effective bits but many effects bordering on blurry, but we may as well have been watching Avatar II according to the reaction of the audience. They ooed and ahhed, screamed when objects flew towards them off the screen, and at least half the audience spent most of the short film trying to touch the 3D objects that were hovering in front of their eyes. I guess they just don't see many 3D movies in China!

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Wow moment

DISNEYLAND! I've been to both the American ones, and sure, this one is a lot smaller and probably targeted at younger kids but it is still Disneyland, and I love it! The layout, the details, the parade, the rides, the music, the characters and the fireworks... it all makes me jump up and down in excitement! Bonus was that the park was quiet so most rides had little to no wait time so we could go on our favourites again and again. And the big finale fireworks..... brings a tear to my eye :) Ps. Mark liked it too! :D

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What we learnt today

Asian families take their 4 and 5 year old children (definitely under the height restrictions!!) on super scary roller coasters like Space mountain, and the kids seem to enjoy it and have very little fear!
And a personal thing i learnt, which will shock many people i know, I enjoy roller coasters! (Well the ones i went on today anyway!) We even finished one for the second time and ran straight back around to go on it again!

Posted by travellinglise 19:04 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged lantau pepper_lunch disneyland_hong_kong Comments (1)

Living the island life - Hong Kong Island that is!

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Hong Kong island has a population density of 16,390 per square km, Melbourne has a population density of 1,567 per square km... that's 16 times the number of people living on this small island. No wonder every second building is a high rise!!

Foodie moment

Last night we headed over to Hong Kong Island for the first time to grab a bite not really knowing what to expect. Just a short walk from Central Station we found ourselves in bar and restaurant paradise, Lan Kwai Fong. With so many options we were hard pressed to make a choice, but we were extremely happy with the quality of food we experienced at the Moi Thai / Vietnamese restaurant we found. Sorry Victoria Street, but these guys give you a running for your money!

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After a lazy sleep in we were starving, so we decided to head back to Food Republic at Silvercord Mall for some more awesome value for money food. This time we had Szechwan Cuisine self serve. Not knowing what half of the things on offer were, we picked ingredients on look alone. The result was a really delicious (if not extremely spicy) soup. Yum!

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We had read somewhere that if you're in Hong Kong, you have to try the egg tarts. Not knowing exactly what they were, we stumbled across them on display at a local market on the way to our tram ride. We gave them a go, and they were pretty good, as the name suggests, egg flavoured tart with lovely crumbly pastry.

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Now feeling the effects of the extremely spicy breakfast soup, we were after something a little more stable for dinner. We walked around behind our hotel and found the Gourmet Tower. An entire mall dedicated to food! Don't know how we missed this one. In the lower basement level at a forgetably named Chinese restaurant, we had steamed dumplings. Something we hadn't had before was the steamed pork and sticky rice dumplings

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Cultural moment

Everywhere you look in Hong Kong, you can still see the traditional ways in use. A good example of this is the bamboo scaffolding they use for construction. The seemingly flimsy platforms that look like they can blow over in a small breeze are a stark contrast against the modern buildings they are propped up against. Old ways are often still the best...

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Wow moment

So today we decided it was about time we checked out the most urbanised area of Hong Kong, the cleverly named Hong Kong Island! We had heard the best and cheapest way to see a good amount of the island was via tram ride. The trams over here are double decker skinny things that look like something out of a Harry Potter movie. When I say these are cheap, I mean it, $2.30 HK (30 cents AU) for one journey anywhere. We started east of the city and spent the next hour and a half cruising through to the west.

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What we learnt today

Not unlike an iceberg, it seems that as many buildings and people that there are above ground in Hong Kong- there are just as many below. All shopping centres have at least one basement level which houses shops and food courts. The MTR (train system) has massive sprawling underground stations that double as subways for pedestrians to cross busy roads. Our station (Tsim sha tsui) has 16 different exits bringing you out onto any street corner you wish to visit in the area.

Posted by travellinglise 19:19 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged hong_kong_island tram lan_kwai_fong double_decker moi_vietnamese/thai_restaurant egg_tart Comments (0)

Cloudy With A Chance Of Dumplings!

rain 25 °C
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"In a blade of grass, a single tree, a spring and a rock, one sees the aura of depth and quietness, and the rich spirit of ancient times" - Bai Juyi, Tang Dynasty

Foodie moment

Our first try of the famous HK street food. Satay beef balls and mystery dumplings, don't ask, don't tell....! Went down a treat after an exhausting walk through the Mong Kok market. Just $2.50 AU

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Cultural moment

Some cities have a Starbucks on every corner, others a McDonalds, in Kowloon its Lukfook everywhere you look! A shiny jewellery shop targeted at the 1% upper class. This doesn't mean there aren't lines of customer spilling out of the doors to get a look though! $10,000 for a necklace? Sure next time ill bring my Amex!

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Wow moment

Hidden within the concrete jungle of Hong Kong is a perfect example of a traditional Chinese landscape, the Nan Lian Garden. Peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful, the attention to detail is amazing, bonsai trees everywhere and even the grass looks like it has been manicured one blade at a time! According to the guide even the Koi fish are "...enjoying active movements in quiet and peace..."

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Adjoining the Nan Lian Garden is the Chi Lin Nunnery. Beautiful wooden architecture and so incredibly serene, especially considering it's surrounded by busy roads. The golden Buddhas were impressive and we hope some of their blessings for good "health", "wealth" and "wisdom" rubbed off on us.

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What we learnt today

Hong Kong knows how to do public transport. I always knew Melbourne transit was sub-par, but after experiencing the MTR, I now know just how far behind we are. Two minutes between each train, pristine platforms, light up neon maps on-board, express trains directly to the airport and direct destination tickets make getting around to any part of Hong Kong a breeeeeezze and cheap as chips ($3 AU total for both of us all day)!

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Oh yeah, another important lesson learnt, always carry an umbrella in monsoon season!

Posted by travellinglise 02:32 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged mtr nan_lian_garden chi_lin_nunnery mong_kok_market Comments (0)

Hanging out for Hong Kong!

The wait is finally over...

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Pack up house..Check! Goodbye party.. Check! Pack bags..Check!...Last minute repack of bags when we found out we were only allowed one each.. check! Catch plane...Check! Check into guest house.... Ch..wait a minute, checklist over... we're in Hong Kong!!

Foodie moment

First dumplings in China... and we were so excited we had them for breakfast! Pan fried beef dumplings, Steamed Leek dumplings and mystery soup (Mark loved it, me not so much!) Dumplings were delicious... and best of all the whole thing cost us only $60HK which is $7.50AU

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Cultural moment

There is a beer we ordered that is apparently affiliated with the NBA and you are meant to drink from a bowl... or so we found out!

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Wow moment

The Hong Kong harbour skyline (even on a foggy day)

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What's not so wow - the nightly light show on the harbour - overrated is one word we could use...

What we learnt today

After 3 hours in the Hong Kong History Museum we could fill a page about what we now know but the main things that stood out was that the British waged war on China because China refused to continue to trade Opium with them. Once the British won the war, they made China sign a treaty which not only handed over Hong Kong as a colony but insisted that China pay them 12 million dollars for costs incurred during the military deployment as well as millions of dollars for loss of opium trade during the conflict. Can't decide if that's pure genius or pure evil!

Posted by travellinglise 06:50 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged skylines harbour dumplings foodie Comments (3)

Taking time out from life to really live...

rain 15 °C
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The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. - Saint Augustine

We've given up our jobs, our apartment and our (well Mark's) car. Now for the most amazing 6 months of our life....

Rather than a whistle-stop tour of Europe, we hope to take our time, and immerse ourselves in the culture, food, drink and daily lives of a few chosen countries. This blog will cover our Foody moments, Wow moments, Cultural moments and the good, bad and ugly of European accommodation.

Hope you enjoy travelling with us!! :)

Posted by travellinglise 05:31 Comments (3)

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