Tuesday, November 27, 2007


It was very sad to be away from our families on Thanksgiving. I haven't been very homesick, but I was a wreck on Thanksgiving. It was good to see everyone over Skype. We celebrated on Saturday. Another Gore expat's wife organized a pot-luck Thanksgiving with her neighbors. There were more than 20 people who attended. The food was excellent and it was nice to have the traditional meal and be with friends.

This is the view from the other Gore expat's home. They live in Repulse Bay which is on the south side of Hong Kong island. It is a very prestigious area to live and beautiful views, however it is very inconvenient. There is no subway transportation--takes over an hour for us to go there.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mainland China, Take One

Last weekend I visited mainland China for the first time on a Gore trip. The trip was organized by the Shenzhen plant and it was called "Family Day" even though it was all weekend. It was a very grueling experience. In total, we probably spent twelve hours on a bus. We traveled north to an area at the very top of Guangdong Province to the city of Shaoguan. There were about 400 Gore associates and their families who went in six big buses. We all traveled and ate together, so you can imagine how crazy it was.

The first day we visited Nan Hua Temple, which is a 1,500 year old Bhuddist temple. On the second day we went to Danxia Mountain and Jinjiang River. The mountain was very beautiful, but you can see the pollution from the pictures. Also, it is not very peaceful to be on top of a mountain with 1,000 other people (see the picture will all the people at the look-out area). There was a huge traffic jam of people trying to descend down the mountain through one very narrow and steep section.

We also visited a famous area of the mountain called Yangyuan. It is famous because the rock resembles a penis--literal translation is "male/father stone". As a result, it is believed that newlyweds who visit the rock will have a son. There are mass wedding ceremonies held at the base of the mountain, and bus loads of brides and grooms come to visit the rock still in their wedding attire. There is also a vagina shaped cave nearby, but we didn't have time to visit it. All of these places have lots of history and superstition, but since the tour guide spoke Chinese, we didn't absorb it.

The areas we visited were very poor. From the bus, you could see lots of small farming villages and people living in shacks or make-shift housing. The hotel was a two star, but it was the worst I ever stayed in. It was very dirty and noisy. There was mold growing all over one wall. The food was better than I expected, and there were lots of veges for me. All of the toilets were squat toilets with zero toilet paper. We were glad we went on the trip, and it made us so appreciative of the luxuries and conveniences in Hong Kong.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Christmas on the Beach

Finally, we booked a vacation for Christmas. We had almost resigned ourselves to staying in Hong Kong, because after our second trip to the travel agent on Tuesday, and spending two hours there, we came up empty. Our first choice was to go to Thailand, but it was completely booked, and we considered several different locations. So we branched out and will be going to Bali! We are very excited and the hotel seems really nice--right on the beach (click here to see the hotel Web site.)

Other news: things have been very busy. Last week, there were lots of US visitors and being "locals" we showed them the sites and took them out. It was a lot of fun, but tiring. I had a few "ah-ha" moments in speaking to folks from the US, in that I was surprised how well I already know the city. It is a cool feeling to give someone directions without having to look at the map or be able to name several great restaurants. On Saturday, we were invited to join a sunset boat ride along the back side of Hong Kong Island. It was amazing. The weather was perfect and the ride was very peaceful and enjoyable (see below for pictures). This coming weekend, we are traveling to mainland China on a Gore retreat. It might be a little rough, but at least we'll see some unique areas.

On the work front, I have been busy at Gore. In addition, I have two interviews, one for a marketing/design role and one for a garment quality job. Wish me luck.

Side note: the weather has been wonderful in November. We turned off the AC and it is actually cool at night. During the day it is in the high 60s to low 70s and the polution has been low, very clear views.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Apartment, First Draft

Finally, here are some pictures of the apartment. You all know I like things to be prefect, so I am a little reluctant to show things before they are complete, but here it is. We had the walls in the living and dining rooms painted a pale green. These light fixtures were recently installed, and we are very happy with our choices. We are still waiting for our TV stand and some end tables. The next step is to hang pictures. The big mirror (love it) was purchased from another expat off a web site similar to craigslist. The bedroom is still in progress, but should be ready to show in the next two weeks. The other two bedrooms are pretty empty except for the computer. Notice when you stand in the middle of the space and look out at the harbour, it looks like we are floating on the water. We think this is so cool.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I went to Lan Kwai Fong for Halloween and it was totally crazy, as expected. It was SO crowded. There was great crowd control, and the police were only allowing a certain amount of people to enter at a time. As a result, the line snaked for blocks and blocks. I waited about 45 minutes to enter. Once in, most of the people we there only to take pictures of people in costume, not to have fun or party. As a result, it wasn't all that fun. The people who had good costumes were treated like celebrities, and all the people with cameras were like paparazzi. It was insane.

Halloween is very popular here, and many public spaces were decorated. I think the Chinese like to be festive so look for any reason to celebrate. There are 17 public holidays in Hong Kong, but no everyone has off work all those days. These pictures are in the mall connected to the Gore Hong Kong office. There was a small haunted house set up.