14 December, 2013

Hong Kong, Last Days

Well clearly, I managed to lose track of my days here in Hong Kong.  Once again, all the work is done and I'm at the airport ready to head home.  It was another good conference, full of challenges and fun.  Here are a few things that I managed to squeeze in over the last couple of days here.

First, I went shopping with some of my friends from Warner Bros.  We wandered through a few markets, but this one struck me as funny.  If I haven't mentioned it yet, Hong Kong is obsessed with Christmas.  There are decorations everywhere.

We also went to Cat Street and had so much fun bargaining for trinkets.  One of our group is really good at it.  The deals are pretty amazing there.

Then I joined them for dinner at Spicy Crab Under the Bridge.  You've never seen so much garlic.  That crispy stuff all over the crab... garlic.

That last photo is the only thing really unusual that I ate this time.  That's the remains of a sea snail.  It wasn't too bad.  Kinda spicy.  We were going to try duck tongue, but they were all out.  Guess that's my bravery test next year.

After dinner it was time for karaoke.  Those of you who know me, know I don't sing.  Well when you're with the Chinese until about 3:30 AM and you've helped them drink three bottles of whiskey and more shots than can be counted... even I sing.

The next day I got up to join part of the group for Dim Sum and shopping.  Hands down, this dim sum was the best meal I ate the entire trip.  I can't even describe how amazing it was.  We basically ate until we couldn't stand it any more.

Then it was shopping time.  We headed down to the south part of the island to an area called Stanley.  I'd never been down there and I'm sorry that I hadn't.  It was lovely.  Even starting with a rollicking mini bus ride over the mountains.  We wandered through the market and bought just enough stuff that I wasn't sure my suitcase would zip close.  (It almost didn't)  Of course we had to stop now and then to enjoy the view and the oddities on sale.

Back at our hotel we had one last meal and a few drinks.  Our normal bar was invaded by a bunch of bankers all dressed in costumes...  We couldn't quite see the rhyme or reason behind it.

This morning I had a little time before I had to head to the airport, so I decided to pop into Man Mo Temple.  All I can say is wow.  I'm sure I still smell like insense.

I did manage to see a few other things today before the airport, but they just aren't as amazing as the temple so I'm going to let it be the last images of this trip.  I'll be on the plane soon and headed home.  Safe travels!

11 December, 2013

Hong Kong - Days 2, 3 & 4

So clearly, I got a little behind on writing.  To be fair, I've had plenty of work to do in the meantime.  We've now completed two out of our three presentations and I'm just hours away from the last one.    We did however, manage to squeeze in a little bit of fun.  Some of these pictures will be similar to ones from last year, but I hope everyone will enjoy them again.

So first up... The Tian Tan Buddha.  Many of you may remember that I went there last year.  Well, this year was a tiny bit different.  I convinced my boss and his husband to join me and off we went.  I didn't get to ride the cable cars last year, so this time we went up to the Buddha that way.  We even paid extra for a glass bottom car.  Man, that's a long way up!

The ride itself took about 20-30 minutes.  I'm a little unsure since we were just stunned with the scenery.  Sadly, it's been a little hazy during this whole trip so the pictures aren't as perfect as I'd like.  The ride up the mountain in the cable car was just spectacular and I really recommend it.  Far below us, we could see the hiking trail that many brave souls chose instead of cable car or bus.  Not sure I'm ready to walk up a mountain.

Suddenly, you round the corner of a mountain and there is the Buddha off in the distance.  Still an amazing sight, even the second time around.

We decided to make the long climb up the stairs and here you are.  You'll forgive me if I've played with some of the images, I was trying to bring out some of the details and stumbled into some amazing combinations.  I was particularly moved by the monk making his way slowly up the stairs.  He sang almost the whole way and would stop every set of steps to kneel and pray.  We made it to the top and walked around for a while.  On our way back down, he still hadn't made it to the top.  Being a tourist, sometimes it's an honor to witness other people's faith. 

Back down the stairs and we headed over to the monastery.  Seems like the monks are making enough in donations to do a little restoration, but sadly for us, much of the amazing building I got to see last year was closed and covered in scaffolding. 

After that it was time to head back to the city and to work.

I also thought I would share the amazing view I have every day and night from my hotel room.  Conference hotels do have some perks.

Most of the rest of my time has been work related.  I do have one last thing to leave you with for today.  The China Club.  AMAZING.  It's a private restaurant where members are treated to dinner in rooms straight out of the 20s or 30s.  Complete with band and singer.  Amazing food set to the likes of Cole Porter and you have one hell of a night.  (not to mention the best Old Fashioneds I've had just about anywhere)  I'm afraid the photos don't do it justice as I was limited to my phone, but I think you get the idea.  We ate in the main dining room, but there is floor after floor of private dining rooms for as few at 4 and as many as 20+.  It will be a must visit next year I'm sure.  And last of all, the food... spectacular.

I'm sure there will be more tonight as I think we're headed to one of the night markets.  Hopefully I'll post again soon!