Trips and dinners – China Letter VI.

{This year, I have posted the letters that I wrote to my family and friends in 2007 when I lived in Shenzhen, China.  Here is the next installment in that series….}

Written in mid-April 2007.

Hong Kong is only a hop, a skip, and a jump away (aka:  2 hours, 2 trains, and 2 customs forms…), and I have now been three times.  The first Hong Kong trip included shopping—which the city is famous for, a trip on the ferry to the business side of the island, and a great deal of walking around awestruck.

HK 1

The second trip consisted of a few more trains and a bit more time to get to Hong Kong Disney.  Much smaller than the American Disney parks, HK Mickey Mouse-ville was still a good time.  Space Mountain  was the only “scary” ride, but there were some good shows and, most importantly, the tea cups.

HK Disney

4 Castle

Fireworks

The third and most recent trip to Hong Kong was this past Sunday to attend an Easter service at St. Andrew’s Anglican church.  The service was good; the preacher is from Australia and delivers a powerful message.  After the service, we walked around and I saw Jackie Chan.  Okay, not really, but I did see his hand prints in cement on the Walk of Stars.  Next we rode the ferry to the business side and took a tram up to the peak of the mountain.  Bubba Gump’s was the site for lunch (American food in China is my favorite) and there are no better views of Hong Kong than from the top of that mountain.  We walked down the mountain along a be-u-tiful trail.  It looked like a rain forest with waterfalls and streams. It was perfect.  Very steep though…I was sore the next day.

Bubba Gump

HK view

I have also been to Macau recently.  Macau is a small island that is about an hour and a half away from Shenzhen by ferry.  For 30 RMB you can make the trip on the deck.  We splurged and took advantage of that (it’s something like $4 USD).  You wind up with free coffee, great pictures, and a sunburn.  Totally worth it.

Ferry

I’ve heard that Macau is the Vegas of China.  That may be true but it is compacted into a few square miles.  Portuguese and Mandarin are the two main languages and there is a distinctly European feel to the city.

Macau

We saw the remains of St. Paul’s, which is now a major tourist destination and arguably one of the best Christian monuments in Asia.  There were several casinos, including the Sands, which is the biggest casino in the WORLD.  One of its slot machines ate some of my money.  Perhaps the highlight of the trip was climbing down a mountain (I seem to be climbing down a lot of those in China) by way of the cement rainfall channel. We walked along the road for a long time, were getting no closer to our destination, and decided to take the mountain by way of water routes.  It worked quite well and (good news) none of the bushes we had to crawl under were poisonous.

Macau mountain

When I was working in reception, we went out to dinner at a hot pot place.  Hot pots are big cauldrons that sit in the middle of the table and contain simmering broth (generally there are two pots—one that has spicy broth and one that is not spicy).  You can then order any number of a variety items to put in the broth and boil right there in front of you.  Beef, lamb, vegetables, mushrooms, etc.  The most unusual item on our table (and one that I did not partake of) was the fish heads.   Yep, whole fish heads.  The little eyes are staring right at you when you drop them in the pot.  No thank you.

Hot pot

Then I switched to concierge and there was another outing.  This time it was to a restaurant called The Chieftain.  The waiters carve the meat right on to your plate at the table and there is an all you can eat buffet of a variety of other foods.  They (the waiters) also have their faces painted and perform a tribal type dance during dinner. The entire concierge team got their faces painted and you should have seen everyone staring at us as we made our way back on the metro.

Brazilian restaurant

One of the funniest things though, was watching my colleagues eat with knives and forks.  They are (understandably) much more comfortable with chopsticks.  My friend Nick was sitting right across from me and he kept saying that he was trying to “use the fork properly like a gentleman” because he didn’t want to disappoint me!

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4 thoughts on “Trips and dinners – China Letter VI.

  1. I loved seeing what is left of St Paul’s in Macau! It was so neat to see! Both Macau and Hong Kong are such fun cities! :) Also, I miss hot pot so much! That’s one thing that I haven’t really found a good equivalent of here in the States.

  2. i love your china posts – always so inspiring and makes me remember my study and work abroad days. also reminds me that i need to somehow visit china – my brother studied there for 6 months but i was living in mexico and so it didn’t happen.. need to get there :)

  3. So jealous that you had such nice views from the top of that peak in Hong Kong! When we went, it was all foggy and misting rain by the time we got to the top and we literally couldn’t see ANYTHING! But I still loved Hong Kong for its tropical weather and western food selection. :-) I’m also jealous that you went to Disney AND Macau–both places that I didn’t get a chance to see! I can’t tell from your letter whether you like hot pot or not. It definitely wasn’t my favorite, but the places that we were dragged to never really had the option of a spicy pot and a not so spicy pot…everything was just DEADLY spicy (and in my opinion, inedible).

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