Monday, October 24, 2005

DAY TWO - Touring Hong Kong

First of all, we apologize for not updating sooner, or more.
Hong Kong + Internet Connection = Inconsistent. Every time we get a post going, we get knocked back off the internet, which in turn locks up the computer. What a PITA!

Just in case we don't post before your meet, "Coach Mom" wants to send a special greeting to her cross-country runners. Remember: long strides, heels up, go go go!!!! And for your kick, open up those fists and swing those hands all the way up to your face. Don't get lazy at the very end. Make me proud -- and even more importantly -- make yourselves proud. As long as you do your very best, I will be thrilled. I'm sorry I can't be there with you for District Competition on Tuesday, but I have a special day of my own planned.... If we keep each other in our thoughts / prayers, I'm sure we'll all be great! Hugs to my sweaty, stinky, and all-too-often crabby running fools. Edgewood Cross-Country runners rock! Be nice, play fair, but kick some butt. And for heaven's sake, somebody better post each and every runner's times on my blog.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog:
After arriving in Hong Kong last night, our CCAI guide wanted us to get over our jetlag so instructed us to meet in the lobby at 8am for a day-long tour of Hong Kong.

Our local CCAI representative, Polly, was also our tour guide. She is just awesome. She has the perfect blend of knowledge, friendliness and humor. On our way to the first stop of our tour, she told us a bit about Hong Kong. I’ll share what I find to be the most interesting (not of historical importance, but interesting nonetheless).

Average size of an apartment: 350 – 400 square feet. Polly’s apartment is 350 square feet, has two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room. She commented that it wasn’t all bad, since she doesn’t need a remote control for her tv: she just uses her toes. And, like women everywhere, she uses a great deal of space to store her shoes and clothes. She and her husband sleep in the one bedroom and she uses the other as a walk-in closet. Too funny! Also, because homes are so small, families celebrate in public places, such as parks, the beach or in restaurants. Sunday is family day and restaurants are usually very crowded on this day. By the way, housing usually costs about two-third’s of a family’s monthly income.

“One Country / Two Systems”: Although Hong Kong has reverted back to Chinese possession, much of Britain’s influence is still prevalent. They drive on the left-hand side of the road, double-decker busses are everywhere, the English language is widespread, etc. Also, HK residents need a visa to get into mainland China, even though it’s their country. How interesting! Polly explained that they are “one country with two systems.” Sounds bureaucratic enough….

Hong Kong’s International Flag: The clothes hanging outside each apartment. Many people have very small washing machines, but no dryers. Instead, they hang their clothes outside to dry. This looks especially funny on a 60-story highrise. I can’t imagine how long the clothes take to dry during the high-humidity months.

Driving / Transportation in Hong Kong: Very, very few people own cars in HK, as they are cost-prohibitive. This makes for a fairly smooth system, although there is still heavy traffic during rush hour. With a population of 6.8 million, I guess this makes sense.


Stop One: Victoria’s Peak
This is such a beautiful spot, although the curvy, hairpin turn bus ride makes for a much needed spewing stop in the bathroom. Melissa was definitely bus-sick by the end of the day, as were about half of the group.

Above: View from Victoria's Peak (left) and Members of the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Band (right)

Stop Two: Aberdeen Fishing Village
We took a Sampan boat ride to view how many fishermen still make their living. They live and work on these teeny-tiny boats.

Above: One of the boats that an Aberdeen fisherman lives on. This boat is a bit larger than the rest, which gives him room for his dog and cat. (Where does the dog go to the bathroom?!!)

Stop Three: Aberdeen Jewelry Manufacturer
We had a brief tour on how jewelry is made, which was fairly impressive. Then, they led us into the showroom where sales people descended upon us like rain in a tropical storm. We were so good, though, and didn’t buy a thing!

Stop Four: Stanley Marketplace
This is an outdoor market that sells just about everything you could want – and a lot that I can’t imagine anyone ever wanting. We did buy two t-shirts and a hat here -- $12 American. Not bad.

Above: Stanley Market and Why We Didn't Eat at Stanley Market (can you say salmonella?)

Stop Five: Dim Sum Lunch
“Dim Sum” literally means to “warm the heart.” Dim Sum is actually a meal made of small food items, eaten family style. We had shrimp, eggs, fried rice, many pork items, and steamed broccoli. It was especially nice to visit with all the other adoptive parents. Everyone whipped out pictures of their little ones and compared notes. Kate was the cutest – of course!

Stop Six: Back to the Hotel
Scott was still rarin’ to go – no surprise, but Melissa’s stomach was still on a rollercoaster. She ended up sleeping the next 13 hours, which relieved both the jet lag and motion sickness. :-)


Mom said...

Thanks for the guide through Hong Kong. I'm up early watching the news coverage of Wilma. She is a strong Cat. 3 and expected to make landfall very shortly around Marco Island (way, way south of us) and expected to move very quickly across the state and out around Ft. Lauderdale area. So both us and you are again being spared -- thankfully!

Anonymous said...

This is so great!
It almost feels like we are with you guys. I can't wait to see the first family photo.