Monday, September 29, 2008

First Visitors

The in-laws arrived very late on Thursday night after many delays due to the typhoon last week. The delays proved to be a blessing is disguise, because their flight was virtually empty. They were able to stretch out and sleep, and as a result, they have done remarkably well with jet lag. On Friday, Erik and I had to work, so the in-laws bravely and successfully navigated the streets of Hong Kong and walked all the way to Tsim Sha Tsui and back. Friday night, we had drinks at Aqua and then dinner at Dragon-i--both never fail to please.

Saturday, we visited the wet market in Yau Ma Tei and the Jade Market. For lunch, we went to a super local style dive for Chinese noodle soup. Then we went to SoHo to visit Hollywood Road, Cat Street, and the Man Mo Temple. For dinner, we had Mediterranean tapas at Enoteca followed by a drink at Feathered Boa. Of course, we had to show them the seedier area of Wan Chai, but you can't get the full effect until around 3:00 a.m. Don't worry, we were home by midnight. On Sunday morning, we visited the Chi Lin Nunnery and surrounding botanical gardens. The nunnery is a fairly popular tourist spot, but Erik and I had never visited it. It is a Buddhist temple and was very beautiful and serene. Luckily, we stumbled on a nice Chinese vegetarian restaurant within the gardens and had a fabulous lunch. Next, we headed to the mayhem of Mong Kok, which proved to be a lesson in contrasts for the day. In Mong Kok, we saw the Bird Market, Flower Market, Goldfish Market, and Ladies Market all of which can be very overwhelming. It was a long day, so we opted for a simple dinner at Delaney's, an Irish pub, and dined on fish and chips.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

IFC Building

I took this cool picture of the IFC building while at an outdoor cafe on the mezzanine. This is the building that Batman flew off of in The Dark Knight. Currently, the IFC building is the tallest in Hong Kong, but it won't be for long. The new ICC building is being constructed right beside our apartment and will have a total of 118 floors when complete in 2010. It will be the third tallest building in the world, and the Ritz Carlton will occupy the top floors. Even though the ICC is still being constructed, the lower floors appear to already be occupied. Click here to see a rendering of the new building. That is our apartment building just to right of the ICC in the rendering. The measly 80 stories of The Harbourside will cower in the shadows.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blogger Buddy

The internet is a small world. I made friends with The Fab Miss B through her blog and Etsy store when I discovered she was an American expat living in Shenzhen. Aggie94 found me via the Cooking Light forum and this blog. Recently, Aggie and her husband came to Hong Kong and Thailand for a vacation. I was happy to give them some Hong Kong tips, and we were thrilled to be able to hang out together. Aggie and DH are very cool folks, and it was a pleasure to show them a few bits of this city that we love. It is so neat to meet interesting people whom I would have never met if it weren’t for the web and this international experience.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Trip to the US

Our trip to the US was very good and very busy. Laura and Marcus' wedding was the primary reason for the trip. The wedding was super fun, and Laura and Marcus seemed to enjoy themselves too. The evening went by in a blink. It was good to see everyone, but I wish I had more time to chat and catch up. Regretfully, I didn't get around to taking pictures at the wedding (except for the one below), so I hope the photographer's are great. We didn't even get a picture of me and Erik in our custom made clothes. We did manage to get a few shots at the rehearsal.
We were lucky to get a few gorgeous days at the beach, and I filled up on crab cakes and Dogfish Head beer. Mom, Dad, Erik, and I enjoyed a fabulous dinner at The Back Porch in Rehoboth for our last eveing together. This painter was on display, and I am in love with her work. It is fascinating and creepy, and I like the illustration feel.
The latter part of our visit was filled with earrands such as checking on our house (all is well), and visiting with Erik's family. Fortunately, Erik was successful in getting his China work visa processed in the US and was granted another 1-year milti-entry. The Chinese government has limited issuing the multi-entry visa, and this tenuous situation has been a source of stress for months.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Monday, September 15 was the Mid-Autumn Festival. We missed the moon cakes this year since we were away, but we visited this cool lantern display in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Happy First Anniversary

This week marks our first anniversary in Hong Kong. Strangely, the day I flew to Hong Kong last year is exactly the same day we fly back to the US this year--weird. It is hard to believe a year has passed so quickly. In reflecting on the past year and the move, the first thing that comes to mind is how happy I am to be settled. I truly feel Hong Kong is my home now. The process of moving was so stressful, and only in retrospect, do I realize what an upheaval it was, but it has been completely worth it. We both genuinely love it here and are grateful everyday for this experience.

Many of the things we enjoy about Hong Kong stem from living in a big city, not necessarily another country. We love not having cars, both from a convenience and financial perspective. The access to lots of great restaurants and night life is very fun. I miss the distinct seasons, especially fall, but overall, I enjoy living in a warm climate. While I do miss my house occasionally, it is refreshing to spend almost zero time/effort maintaining the home/yard. Thank you cheap cleaning and laundry service. It has been fun to meet new friends of many different nationalities and ages. At our recent party, four different languages were spoken. Another plus is Erik's job is very fulfilling and rewarding.

There are only a few negatives to living here. Of course, the main one is being so far from family and friends. The air pollution and humidity are quite unpleasant. I also miss the radio and hearing new American music--don't miss TV at all. Many of the other things balance out. For example, western food is more expensive here, but eating out is often cheaper. Shopping for clothes is a challenge, but shoes are way abundant and cool.

We love Hong Kong, or in Mandarin, women ai Xiang Gang!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pollution Comparison

When I posted the Pink Haze pictures the other day, I knew the pollution was bad; however I was surprised at the severity evident in this comparison. These two photos are taken of the same spot--looking west from the balcony. I cropped them to show the exact same portion of the horizon. You can't even see the large island behind the small ones in the hazy photo.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day to all those in the US. Labor Day for me has a more literal meaning, because I have to work. It is very strange how quickly I have forgotten about some of the lesser American holidays. When I woke up today, I was surprised it was September 1, but totally forgot it was Labor Day. Enjoy your Labor Day a little for me.