Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we both worked but got out early. We went to a very nice Italian restaurant for dinner. After the meal, we went for a few drinks in the popular bar area of town. It was completely packed--the level of Halloween or New Year's Eve. I guess we can't hang, because we were home before midnight, right when things were getting going.

On Christmas day, we had a nice breakfast, opened gifts, packed for our trip to India, and relaxed. I made a nice dinner of crab cakes, smashed blue cheese potatoes, and sugar snap peas. I surprised Erik with a Wii, and he spoiled me with a new wedding band I had my eye on. We each received some smaller gifts too. It was a wonderful day. We miss all of you terribly!

On onto the next adventure: INDIA!!!
Chrsitmas Eve dinner:
Rooftop bar in Lan Kwai Fong after dinner Christmas Eve:
Christmas Day:
Our Christmas tree adorned with peacock feathers and Chinese silk tree skirt:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Decorations in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is loaded with huge shopping malls. They are all decorated for Christmas. I seemed to be drawn to the Christmas trees more than other types of decorations. The holiday decor in the mall near our apartment is weird: black and red victorian circus???

My office building, Hutchison House (real tree):Kowloon Tong:Mong Kok is blue and white this year with a huge dessert tower and some girls posing as reindeer (I think?):Exchange Square with beautiful poinsettias:Finally, the most beautiful display is in the long hallway of the subway station where I walk everyday. It is an advertisement for Swarovski crystal, and the whole ceiling is covered in crystal snowflakes the size of my palm. It is hard to capture with the camera, because as you walk, all the snowflakes glitter and sparkle. (Yes, this is a normal volume of people for rush hour.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas in Hong Kong

Some of you have asked if Christmas is celebrated in Hong Kong. Yes it is. Christmas Day and the day after Christmas (Boxing Day) are public holidays in Hong Kong. In mainland China and at Erik's plant, Christmas is not observed. The city is very decorated, and many of the buildings have Christmas lights which make the skyline even more spectacular than normal. Most of these building light displays are animated which makes the pictures a bit blurry.

The HSBC building is normally red and white but is red and green for Christmas.I'll post more Christmas decor in the next few days. I have heard that the east coast has been having very cold weather. On Sunday, it was almost 80 here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What Recession?—Part Two

Tsim Sha Tsui is a very popular part of Hong Kong on the tip of Kowloon. I was there Sunday afternoon to pick up a last minute Christmas gift and get a few things for the upcoming visit by my Mom and sister. There’s tons of shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) including high-end stores. This was the scene outside Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton; a long wait to get into each store, all of which are only a few steps from one another. At LV, there were at least 50 people in line. It wasn’t as if the stores were empty to preserve some snobby shopping atmosphere, they were packed, and these are huge stores. Again, I beg the question, “What Recession?” Some people have told me the shoppers are mainland Chinese who come into Hong Kong to buy luxury items. I don’t know if that is true, and it doesn’t matter. I am constantly amazed by the wealth in this city.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Second Chinese Wedding

My colleague was married last week which makes the second Chinese wedding I've attended. Erik was not invited, and this practice is very common--only invite the people you know, not the spouses. Here I blogged briefly about the one we attended last year. The wedding was quite western. It is very common to be married on a weekday, and this wedding was on Wednesday. The wedding date is chosen for its auspicious dates. 12/10/08 was a very popular day for weddings. The reception is about the food. There really isn't dancing and the drinking is limited to wine with the meal. It is common to have many courses. I took pictures of most of the items we had.

The beautiful bride in one of her 4 dresses. The bride changes clothes several times during the reception. Beautiful centerpieces: The menu showing the 12 courses:The suckling pig was presented whole with the head. It is then portioned out by the waiter. I didn't eat mine. This shrimp dish was excellent. I didn't get a picture of the next dish, the taro. Taro is a starchy root vegetable that is rather popular in SE Asia.Here is the infamous Shark Fin Soup. I ate a few bites, and I've had it before. Despite the inhumanity, it is still ultra popular in China, and it would be unheard of not to serve it at a wedding banquet. The taste is OK, rather bland, but the texture is very slimy.
I really enjoy abalone, and the braised lettuce under it was amazing.
Steamed grouper is also very popular, and it was presented whole with the head. After the fish is portioned out, the head is served, which is considered the best part of the fish. For example, in the grocery store you can buy only the fish head.
The crispy chicken has a great flavor, but it is cut "Chinese style" where the entire chicken is chopped with a cleaver so each piece contains a bone. I am not skilled at eating it the correct way by putting the whole piece in your mouth, sucking off all the meat, and leaving a clean bone. Yummy fried noodles:
By this point in the meal, it was midnight and there were still two more courses. Since we had to work the next day, we left before the end. It was a good time, and I think the bride and groom enjoyed it too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Etsy Shop is Open

I have opened an Etsy shop for GreenSeam. Click here to see it. If you aren't familiar with Etsy, you have been missing out. It is a virtual store where everything is hand-made. There are some amazing artists on it. I encourage everyone to shop and support the artists..

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Central Christmas Tree

In Central Hong Kong, a huge, beautiful Christmas tree has been erected in a drained fountain.

Around the base of the tree is a large electric sign--you can see it being constructed in the previous photo. The strange blue glow at the bottom of the tree is from the sign.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

GreenSeam Show

I am coming away from the GreenSeam show with mixed feelings. We did not sell a lot of onesies, but the response was overwhelmingly positive. Compared to my jewelry, I had many more people stop and admire the merchandise. Numerous people said they would buy one, but didn’t know any babies. I also had several moms ask about different sizes or styles of clothes; i.e. long sleeves, t-shirts, etc. Overall, the traffic at the show was not as good as the one in November—most vendors agreed. I am not sure these shows are the right venues for hand-made items. We have a good product, but we need to figure out how to capture our targeted customers—back to the drawing board to do some head scratching on the next move.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What recession?

Today, I went the Jewelry Manufacturers Association trade show at the convention center. Imagine a huge convention hall filled with several hundred jewelry stores. Most vendors were selling high-end jewelry such as diamonds, gold, and south sea pearls. There were also diamond dealers who had loose diamonds by the bucket full, as well as, stones as big as gum balls. The show was completely overwhelming and mind-blowing. I kept thinking about how much wealth was in that one room.

I had to wait almost an hour in line to register and enter the show. It was that busy. I was completely amazed at how much people were buying. I am talking about multi-carat diamonds and tens of thousands of dollars. People were crammed three deep to push up to the glass cases. I saw wads of cash, many inches thick, crossing the counters. While there were some people buying wholesale, most were simply shoppers. The badges were different so you could see who was shopping for business or pleasure.

I guess someone forgot to tell all those shoppers (buyers) that we are in a recession. It was actually quite refreshing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Last Sunday, we joined some Gore folks for a hike. Hong Kong has a large amount of green space and some really excellent trails. This was my first outdoor foray since arriving over a year ago. I want to make it a regular habit. The weather was phenomenal: clear, low humidity and in the high 60s - low 70s. It doesn't get any better than this in Hong Kong. We hiked over Hong Kong island and ended on the south side at Stanley for some well deserved beers. The hike was pretty tough due to an assent of about 1500 steps--literally stairs. I was the only woman to join and was the slowest, but the guys were patient. The hike took about 2.5 hours. It was a great afternoon.
Beginning of the hike on top of Hong Kong Island. Our apartment building is pointed out by the arrow.

See me in the distance in the magenta shirt?

Good perspective of the trail and mountain.

Getting close to our destination:

Gore guys leading the way: