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2 Apr 2011

HK to Taiwan - travel day! (Wed Mar 30, 2011)

Today all of us are flying to Taiwan - 10 of us in total! The scene at the airport was a little like herding cats (Ad's Dad dissapeared for a while!), but in the end we all got on board! :)

We arrived in Taiwan (only ~1 hr flight - old creaky plane) - and to my surprise, the airport was small and old and had an un-rushed feel to it.  Maybe we arrived in the 'old' terminal?  Anyhoo, we made it through immigration, and boarded a small bus to the train station - sort of like a city bus, nothing fancy.

The train station was very new and modern, but not very big.  Interesting!  We bought our train tickets and went to buy lunch first.  MOS BURGER!  yum yum yum yum!  Shown is a "burger" with a rice paddy for a bun, and filled with probably crab in a black pepper sauce, and Ad's "burger" which had pork.  Sounds super crazy, but was super good.  Came with an iced tea and a fried chicken wing as a side (instead of fries?  hahaha)

Another high speed train!  Fun!  Not a MAGLEV though.  Still, Adrian's first high speed train experience.  300km/h.  Only 1.5hrs to our destination (end of the line).  Very smooth - rocked me to sleep, eventually.  The views from the train were very lovely.  Lots of misty mountains and rice paddies and things.  Also, lots of leg room on the train - this is not like being in coach on a plane!
People in Taiwan (so far) seem very polite.  But English is dwindling fast!  Lots of signs are Chinese only.  I am illiterate!  Adrian is only half-literate!
We got to Kenting - well, actually we are staying in Heng Chun.  Um...hahah - it sort of sucked.  Kenting Holiday Resort sort of ... well, blowed.  Hahah - makes me feel like an overprivelged Westerner.  The room smelled mildew-y, and was VERY basic - we had to shower on top of the bathroom sink.  And the shower angle was such that it sprays you in the face, with no way to adjust it.   "Tasty Western dishes" for breakfast is a total lie - breakfast was gross.  Oh well.  We survived!  :)

Tuesday in HK wasn't in HK at all - we went to Macau!

Wow, my passport is sure getting a lot of stamps on this pan-Asian tour!  Four countries I am visiting, each with their own immigration, but they are all sorta just China...hahaha.....

Macau was fun.  I've always wanted to go.  We took a high speed ferry over.  It was super fast!  For sure I've never been on a boat that fast before.  I think my Dad would have liked it.  As you leave HK you pass all sorts of misty mountains - very pretty.  I am jonesing to listen to Misty Mountain Hop by Led Zeplin!

I was feeling a bit ferry-sick by the time we got to Macau (maybe ~45 min ride?) so we walked around a bit.

One of our goals in Macau was to go for Portugese chicken, so off we went in search of a Portuguese neighbourhood and less HK looking neighbourhoods.

We found the most adorable restaurant tucked in a side street, and we have a nice leisurely lunch.  Grilled sardines to start - REALLY GOOD.  Oh man!  You know I likes me my sardines.

Next was salt cod stew.. ah, I didn't really love it.  It kind of had a funny taste to it.  Then came the famed Portuguese chicken - yum!  All in all a lovely meal with a lovely husband!

After that we walked around Macau taking pics and wandering here and there.  Then we had a quick coffee at the casino (Macau is like an Asian Last Vegas, did you know?), then we got on the shuttle back to the ferry building.  But, it turns out there is more than one ferry dock!  D'Oh!  Being at the wrong one, we missed our ferry, and had to catch the next one and pay a fee.  My advice - next time you go to Macau, don't buy a round-trip ferry ticket, but a single-ended so you can leave when you want, you won't have to leave when you're ferry is scheduled to go and rush for it.

The ferry ride back was a bit rough, but I was totally ok (Ad was sleeping) right until we docked.  All of a sudden the boat did some lurching that left me feeling queasy.  We ran into Dwa Gu/Gym on the way back to their place, and we decided to all eat together at the restaurant near their apartment.  Poor Ad, the only guidance I gave him about what to order for dinner was nothing very adventurous, since I wasn't feeling so well.

But they ended up ordering chicken feet!  Hahah - none for me, thanks (I am tolerating chicken now, but not their feetsies).  And Dwa Gym had a coupon - if four people were eating, we got a free pidgeon! Mmm.  Hahah - not for me, thanks!  Adrian explained the "rats with wings" thing to them.  Needless to say, it was pretty much a Lara bar for dinner for me!  ;)  (Lindsay, I was feeling you that night!)

1 Apr 2011

Monday in HK - Big Buddha

So Monday we went to the Big Buddha. I've totally been there before, but Adrian hasn't. And in between when I was there and now, things have changed quite a bit. There is now a tram way you can ride to get there, instead of some crazy bus through the hills. Like taking a gondala ride up to the base of a ski resort - but this one was LONG. Longest in the world, they say - 1.7km. It just kept going and going! You even make a turn. We got a glass bottomed cabin for the ride up - very snazzy.

And when you get to the buddha, there is now a tourist village there - much more commercial than it used to be (chopsticks store?  Really?). We went up to the buddha and took pics and hung out for a while exploring a bit, then headed back. It was a fun day with my hubby.

Into Hong Kong

I flew into HK, and my darling husband was waiting for me at the arrivals gate. Poor Adrian, he hadsn't slept in 48 hours.

We took a bus to Dwa Gu's (Chinese name for Ad's maternal oldest Uncle) apartment. Interesting, it was the first time I've been inside an apartment in Hong Kong. The building is kinda...ghetto... from the outside. And sort of weirdly - since the building is on a hill, you actually have to go through another building to get to his building from the main street (Waterloo Road - easy to remember!).

The elevator from the building on Waterloo Road is super small and creaky (you can't take the stairs from there), it only goes from G -> 6/F. Then you get out, pass a secruity guard, then out into a courtyard and into their actual building. They are on the 8/F, so either up some stairs (yes!) or into an even smaller elevator - seriously, that elevator is the smallest I've ever seen, it is only for like 3 people (perhaps excepting the elevator in Kelly's place in Paris).

They had just moved into their apartment, so some stuff wasn't unpacked. They had it renovated before they moved in. Nice white marble floors, and new crown molding. Interesting - in about a ~1050 sq ft apartment, 5 people normally live there. Dwa Gu/Gym, their kids Nicole and Raphael (who are ghosts in this trip - they are shy, didn't ever come to dinner, not coming to Taiwan), and Dwa Gym's Mom. Wow!

In a smart move, since Nicole and Grandma have to share a room, they have built a sort of little dormer room for Nicole (since she is a teenager). She had a frosted glass door and a frosted glass wall that separates a raised platform that is her own section of the room, with enough space for a little bed and desk with a computer. Some storage in the raised platform as well. I think it is a smart way to use the space, and give her and Grandma a little privacy for sleeping. (Grandma sleeps in the outer portion of the room).

The boy gets his own room, which Ad and I have co-opted for our sleeping quarters. It pretty much has only room for a bed and PAX wardrobes (IKEA is ever-present). In a small apartment, PAX wardrobes are a life saver.

Sunday afternoon in HK was spent doing what else? Shopping! I am now the owner of two new Jimmy Choo purses. :) (Ladies market)
More soon!  In Taiwan now.