Lantau Island

Travel Update: Lantau Island

This week we mostly kicked back and relaxed in Hong Kong itself. Aside from generally getting to know our neighborhood, The Missus and I went to Lantau Island with some friends from school. Kat was in Malaysia for the weekend, so she was stuck in Kuala Lumpur with adorable monkeys and elephants (and Patrick, another friend from school) instead of hanging out with us. She won’t make that mistake again, I’m sure.

Lantau Island is like the Buddhist Rio de Janeiro, insofar as it has a gigantic statue of Buddha. Being as I know almost nothing else about Rio de Janeiro (aside from being reasonably certain that it is not in Hong Kong), I’m afraid I won’t be able to expand on that analogy for you. Instead of telling you how Lantau island is like or unlike Rio de Janeiro, from this point on I will just have to tell you what Lantau Island is like and let you take it from there.

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Droplets in Macau

Travel Update: Hong Kong, Week 2 and Macau

[Editor’s Note: My computer was out of commission for a while, so I am even further behind on the blog. It’s back in working order now, so there will be new posts, but I’ll be in Japan for the next few weeks, so they might take a while.]

The Chinese know how to kick off a school semester – with a holiday in the second week of classes. And don’t say “What about Labour Day?” – I mean a real holiday, with celebrations and traditions and history. This week we celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival (or Moon Festival), one of the three big seasonal festivals in Chinese culture. It’s a pretty big deal here – it’s like an amalgamation of Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving, except that it has floating lanterns.

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Journey Into the Future

Travel Update: Hong Kong, Week 1

We’ve now been in Hong Kong for a week (well, a week and a half), and it is treating us well. It has been a period of gradual adaptation and has featured markedly less adventure than the preceding weeks. But that doesn’t mean that there has been no adventure. We’ve been to Disneyland and mountaintops and all manner of local tomfoolery.

And I’ll get to those things. But our time in Hong Kong began with school, and so too will this update.

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Travelling on Lake Kunming

Travel Update: Beijing, Day 2

Having already seen what we thought was Beijing’s big attraction (exclusive of the Great Wall, I suppose), we decided to spend a day relaxing at the Summer Palace. We assumed, from the name, that the Summer Palace would be smaller and less intense than the Forbidden City. After all, it’s only a part-time palace, right?

We were wrong. It was so intense. But let’s start at the beginning. As always, this means breakfast, because I love to tell you about what I eat. This morning we had our hotel’s breakfast buffet.

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Better City Better Life

Travel Update: Shanghai, Day 3

Today we met with Kat’s cousin Iris, who has been in China for the last 11 months as part of her position in a hotel management training program. We had arranged to meet her at a metro stop, which proved to be challenging because we (a) slept in and (b) had not used the Shanghai metro before.

We arrived about 15 minutes late, but managed to find Iris despite our tardiness. She took us through a stroll in the park, where we saw a roller-coaster ride and an art museum celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pixar.

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Shanghai Skyline

Travel Update: Shanghai, Day 2

This morning we began with failure. We slept in and missed breakfast, and were thus quite hungry by the time we headed out to search for the public bus to Zhūjiājiǎo, an ancient canal town about an hour away.

We had some trouble finding the bus depot. Due to the language barrier, we had to rely on hand gestures when asking passers-by for directions to the station (we had its name in written Chinese). It turns out that hand gestures are also different here, which should not have been a surprise. For instance, the numbers 1 through 9 can all be signed with one hand (10 requires that you cross the index fingers of each hand). The sign for “left” consists of slapping your left arm while outstretched. And the sign for “go straight” is some bizarre action that looked more like a lethal attack than an attempt at providing directions.

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