Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas this year was very relaxed which was wonderful. I surely needed the downtime from the business of working two jobs. It was also nice not to rush off to a vacation like we did last year. We are going on a short trip to Beijing over New Year's weekend

For Christmas Eve, Erik and I went to an Irish pub and had a fabulous turkey dinner. Most of the restaurants in Hong Kong have special menus for Christmas which are very expensive and extravagant. It is similar to New Year's Eve in the US. We wanted something casual and enjoyed the pub. Christmas Eve night was super busy and was definitely a party night. We had a good time.

On Christmas day, we had brunch with Ruth and our other German friend Monika. All of us were feeling the effects of a raucous Christmas Eve, and we enjoyed a yummy brunch, went home and took naps, and then met up later in the evening. The small ball we are holding was a puzzle in the Christmas cracker. I was the first one to successfully assemble it. It was a running joke all day.
The weather was very warm as evidenced by our short sleeved shirts and enjoying the outside bar Christmas evening.

Here are some Hong Kong style Christmas decorations. I really don't understand this pink and purple fairies display, but people seemed to love it. They waited in line to have their picture taken next to it.
More tasteful decorations at the 1881 Heritage Building and the Peninsula Hotel.

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

East Asian Games

Hong Kong hosted the East Asian Games in early December. For the week of the games, there was a boat parade each night in the harbour—beautiful. For the finale of the games, there was a spectacular fireworks display. We only found out about the fireworks show twelve hours in advance. We invited friends to join us for the show, and a few were able to make it. It was an enjoyable, impromptu gathering.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ruth: A Good Friend

Our good friend Ruth, who works with Erik and lives in the apartment block next to ours, is leaving Hong Kong soon to return to Germany. We are spending lots of time with her before she leaves. Ruth has been trying to squeeze in all the things she never did in HK, as well as, redoing her favorite things. We are happy to tag along, such as to dinner at Hutong where Erik and I went for his birthday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bling Bling Varoom

As I've mentioned before, glitter, glitz, and everything sparkly and bedecked is super popular in Hong Kong. This Swarovski crystal covered Mercedes convertible is completely outrageous and beautiful. It is in the mall by our apartment, and I think it is being raffled off, although I cannot read the Chinese sign.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bowl O Fire

A few weeks ago, Erik took me to his favorite noodle soup place near his Hong Kong office. This place serves Sichuan-style noodles which means they are very hot. There are 13 levels of soup spiciness. The menu depicts levels 1-10 with level 1 being 1/10 of a chili pepper and level 10 being a whole chili. Even more hot than 1-10 are the levels low, medium and high spiciness. I should mention that Erik and I both like spicy food, and I think I can take it pretty hot. Erik warned me that his female colleague had ordered 1/10 spicy (the least spicy available), and she needed to order extra broth to cut the heat level. Erik proceeds to order medium, one step below the hottest available. I ordered one notch below him at low. I can honestly say this was the spiciest food I have ever eaten. I couldn't finish it. My eyes were streaming tears, my face was red, I was sweating, and my nose, mouth, and lips were numb. It was good, and I want to go back, but next time I think I'll order 6/10.

Sorry, I haven't posted in awhile. The past few weeks, I have worked harder than any time in my life. My new job is going great, but I am still freelancing at my old job. In essence, I am working two full-time jobs. I hope things settle down in January.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Joined the Cool Kids Club

Since I use a Mac at my new job, it was mandatory that I get an iPhone. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Now I just need to convince Erik that I need a Mac Book Pro.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends. G out did herself and made an amazing meal. It was nice to celebrate on the actual day, unlike previous years. I am extremely thankful for the overflowing happiness my life contains.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More Dim Sum

Have you had enough of posts about Dim Sum? Honestly, it is one of our favorite aspects of Hong Kong. It is a nice mix of socializing, ritual, and delicious food. The small portions allow you to try a bunch of different flavors. The Dim Sum restaurant in City Hall is very famous and a popular tourist stop, but we only visited it for the first time a few weeks ago. The hall is massive, maybe 400 seats, and there is always a wait. It is the very traditional style of Dim Sum restaurant where the ladies push carts of the various dishes. Delish!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tea Time

High tea is very popular in Hong Kong--a residual effect of the former British rule. I went to tea at one of my favorite hotels, The Mandarin Oriental, on Sunday with my good friend M. It was a fun was to spend a Sunday afternoon. Yum--scones, clotted cream, and homemade jam, what could be better?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cambodia--Angkor Wat

In Siem Reap, are the famous, ancient temples of Angkor Wat, the main tourist attraction of Cambodia. The temples are approximately 1,000 years old and are a mix of Hindu and Buddhist shrines. It is amazing how many temples there are, and they are quite spread out. For many years, they were hidden by the jungle, and some of temples are intertwined with the jungle trees. The vastness and ornateness is breath-taking. Most recently, Angkor Wat was where the movie Laura Croft Tomb Raider was filmed, and subsequently, Angelina Jolie adopted her Cambodian child.

As an aside, the poverty is pretty severe in Cambodia, and a disproportionate amount of the population are children. Kids are everywhere. Mostly, they are foraging for food, selling souvenirs, or just having fun. They certainly touched my heart.

We felt Cambodia was very easy to navigate, more so than North Viet Nam. I definitely felt safer, and virtually everything was priced in US dollars, so it was easier to gauge the markets. Neither of us got sick, even though we ate salad and fruit.

These girls are fishing in a ditch after school: Erik buys grilled bananas from a street vendor. Note how small the women are. The people seemed to be the smallest in Asia as far as we've seen.Erik and our driver who took us took us to many of the temples--see how small he is.
We had a fabulous time in Cambodia! Our next trip is to Tokyo for Christmas weekend.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fun With Laura

My cousin, Laura, spent the weekend with me before heading into China on business. It was great fun to hang out and show her the sights. I hope she is able to come again for my sake and for the great work she is doing to help our planet.