Hong Kong Weekend – Day 1





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My phone woke me up earlier than I wanted but it gave me time to wash my hair before leaving town. I took the short bus ride to the port and boarded the hour long ferry to Hong Kong. I felt a little anxious in route to Hong Kong this weekend as it was my first time traveling there solo since moving to China in August; granted my other friends would be arriving just a few hours later. After arriving safely, I went straight to the Marks & Spenser grocery store inside the ferry terminal to get some of the most delicious chocolate covered caramels on the planet. I know it was a true “fat girl” move but unfortunately a move I repeat time and time again when I go to Hong Kong. I blame Reini, my co-worker for introducing the caramels to me. I also found some granola, another staple from the states that I miss dearly. I have not seen it in any of the international stores in Shenzhen yet. I have seen muesli in Shenzhen but I am confused on what makes it different from granola. They look the same but I am a creature of habit and haven’t been curious enough to try muesli yet. Since it was on sale at Marks & Spenser I bought some. I guess I will give it a try. It was close to 4pm and I had only eaten an apple and a granola bar so I headed over to Maxim’s Cakes to pick up two ham and cheese buns. I usually get pork bbq buns but I happened to taste the ham and cheese during my last visit and loved it. I sat and ate and watched people watching me. It is always interesting to catch people seeing me for the first time. The look on their face is priceless, their jaw literally falls open and they motion for whomever is closest to them to look at me too. It doesn’t happen as much in Hong Kong as it does in Shenzhen but when it does its just as funny or irritating depending on the day. My hair was in a big afro so that could have accounted for some of the looks. After eating I packed my new goodies into my rolling suitcase and headed out of the ferry terminal to Nature’s Village, a health food store that was holding some supplements for me, or so I thought. Of course I didn’t leave the terminal without sampling several of my chocolate covered caramels first. Yummy!!!

I hopped on the HK MTR for a short train ride from the ferry terminal to the Central stop to Nature’s Village Organic & Natural Food Store. The store is located in the trendy SOHO area of Hong Kong. I exited the Central station and was really clueless about which way to go so I called the store for directions. They directed me to go towards the mid-level escalators which is basically a bunch of escalators that lead to a popular shopping and eating area. It is one of the many tourist sites in Hong Kong that I still hadn’t seen. When I arrived I was not impressed and questioned to myself why the mid-level escalators are deemed a tourist site at all. Nothing especially cool about them. So I followed the signs pointing towards the escalators and road them two flights up and exited at Graham Street. The store was easy to find after exiting but that is where my good fortune ended. I walked straight to the counter and asked for the supplements they were supposed to be holding for me and was told, “Sorry we sold them.” I tried hard not to raise my voice when I asked why they sold my items when they confirmed they were there the day previous. I could have cussed! The lady; no doubt the same lady who agreed to hold my items, pointed me in the direction of a Chinese health food store that might stock the supplements I needed.   So I grabbed my purple roller bag and headed in the direction of the next store. I walked for about 20 minutes pulling my suitcase and popping my head into every store that even remotely resembled a health food store. After walking a few more minutes I stopped in the middle of the street, looked around and realized that I was terribly lost in a foreign country other than the already unfamiliar country I live in now. That was not a comforting thought. I took a deep breath, snapped a few pictures and kept on walking. I was surprised at myself and how calm I was. I can’t stand the feeling of being lost. I had prayed for peace earlier in the day and thank God it showed up. After searching for almost an hour, I realized I was not getting what I was looking for and decided to switch my focus to trying to find my way back to the train. I needed to meet my friends at the hotel soon. I have only ever stayed in Causeway Bay when visiting Hong Kong so I was in danger of being lost for a second time that day. I took the MTR to the Wan Chai station and looked for the Charterhouse Hotel using the directions I found on the internet. I was unsuccessful for at least 40 minutes. About the time my ankles, knees and wrist started hurting from walking and dragging my rolling bag all over town I employed a bystander to locate the hotel using his phone GPS. BINGO! He was very nice and pointed me in the right direction with his map. I was five minutes away in the opposite direction of course. So I turned around for the last time and soon spotted the rather posh looking hotel across the street. I was so excited to see the hotel that I darted into the street towards the hotel. From the middle of the street with a truck barreling towards me I realized that it was a two way street and I had only looked in one direction before crossing. So now I’m running up the middle of the street pulling my bag trying to beat the truck racing for me. I arrived to the hotel safely and sat in the lobby for quite some time while my friends waited to be brought from the ferry.

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I decided to get dinner at a yummy Thai restaurant until they arrived at the hotel. When I entered Bangkok Thai it was packed which was a good sign. The waitress sat me at a small table at the base of the stairs with a pregnant woman who was talking on the phone. Many restaurants in China and Hong Kong make the most of their space by sitting strangers together to fill every chair in the place. The lady I sat with smacked her lips loudly as she ate her broth soup, chicken and rice. I ordered my usual Pad Thai and Thai Tea. The pregnant lady left a few minutes after I ordered my food. The food was excellent! I haven’t had Pad Thai that good since leaving Los Angeles, oddly enough not even in Thailand. I ate my food and headed back to the hotel to meet my friend who had finally arrived. I dropped my bags in the room, talked for a few minutes and headed back out for one last thing in the Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) area. It was late so I took a taxi there and back. LKF is an expat pedestrian hotspot famous for its lively nightlife, bars and restaurants. I stumbled upon a really nice art installation in LKF. It was very colorful and a pretty kind of edgy with a positive message. I enjoyed walking through it, it made me miss New York a little. I am far from an artist but I have lots of artist friends and I always enjoyed going to their shows. I make it a point to make friends everywhere I go and Hong Kong was no exception, I met two very nice travelers Afonso from Brazil and Thomas from Germany. They were extremely interesting and a lot of fun. I only stayed out about an hour before returning to the hotel to rest up for the big day at Hong Kong Disneyland. Please come back to see how my day at Disney went.

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Some of the unbelievably funny…and not so funny things that have happened to me since moving to China. Pt. 1


I might love you, if I knew you…

Tonight I took a bike taxi home from sea world (no whales there, just an expat hangout) after my massage. Any time I walk past a bike taxi or they drive past me they ALL feel the need to slap their back seat and yell “HELLO!” So to be fair when the five bike drivers I was walking towards all did the customary slap and yell, I felt obligated to take a ride from the first person who offered. When I swung my leg around the back of his bike and sat on the seat all the other drivers gave out a gleeful cheer as we drove away. I began to put the death grip on my driver’s jacket, as I tend to do on bike taxis when he grabbed my hands and wrapped them around his rather large waist so I could ride like he was my man. I laughed out loud literally and so did he. He then proceeded to speak to me in Chinese. My response was “wo ting bu dong,” which means “I hear you but I don’t understand you.” He laughed as all Chinese do when I respond that way. So he says in English, “I love you!” several times as I laugh hysterically and try not to fall off the back of the bike. Then he says, “English, wo ting bu dong. I love you!!” He was so comical and genuinely happy to be giving me a ride home that I asked for a picture when we arrived at my apartment. He was happy to pose with me and I posed with him for a picture on his phone. We parted ways happily without proposal of marriage or even a date which I hear often follows repeated declarations of love. Oh well no Chinese romance in the cards for me this week…



Cheese, how I love thee…

One of my colleagues posted this picture to Facebook with the caption. “In case you haven’t looked at the cheese section of Walmart recently, the selection has greatly improved!” For real… No lie… And it may seem that I’m poking fun but I’m not, I promise. This is real life in China. Cheese is like gold bullion. I wish I would bring cheese to a gathering in China and leave the left overs. No ma’am! If I and anyone else I know is asked to bring cheese or salad dressing for a communal dinner, best believe we are leaving the house with the few shreds of cheese left in the package and the corner of dressing left in the bottle. Scenarios like,  “That’s enough cheese for an omelet” and “I can add a little milk (ranch) or vinegar to that corner and top my salad tomorrow.” True life.


It’s nice to meet you too but can you stop touching me?

Went to get a foot massage a few weeks ago. FYI…The massage parlor automatically becomes more lively when foreigners walk in. All of the extra staff come to the front and motion for you to sit down and get comfy. So I did. Then they all began talking about me, pointing and smiling. Not sure if the talk was good or bad but I smiled anyway. Once my massage was done and I was at the counter paying a woman who has moved from the back of the shop to the front only to watch me get a massage and make commentary has moved extremely close to me. Now she’s in my head! Ok, so I turn around and smile and ask “would you like to touch my hair?” I had my hair in bulky two strand twists at the time. So I grab a twist and stretch it out. To which she and several others in the shop responded by letting out a loud gasp. I am assuming it is at the disbelief in how much longer my hair is than it looks in these twists. Shrinkage is not only a problem for men is all I’m saying. Now she and at least two other men all have a twist in their hands. They are pulling in different directions, smiling and laughing. She just about untwisted one to see what my hair looked like. I stopped her and showed her a picture of my hair untwisted from my phone. I don’t exactly know what she said but it was very clear that she LOVED my hair out and big and didn’t care too much for the twists I was rocking at the moment. Just a few minutes ago my twists where the coolest thing since sliced bread but the pictures of my hair out and wild trumped my current care free hair-do easily. After intensive investigation of my hair by several parlor employees and a few patrons, the woman asked to take a photo with me. Well she pointed to her phone and opened the camera so I assume that is what she asked. She must have taken 10 photos and in every one she is hugging me so tightly that it is hard to breath. She was so happy and it was so funny that I had to capture the moment for myself so I got a few pictures of us in a tight embrace. I was pleased that she didn’t just stare, mouth gaping open like so many other locals in China. I was delighted with her effort to express herself. Believe it or not this is not the first, fifth or even tenth time this has happened to me in China. I like to think it’s because I am just that fabulous.


Below are some of the pictures I showed her from my phone.

China style!

I have never been one to get dressed to the nines every day for work or ware a face full of make up on any day but I do put a good deal of effort into what I wear and how I accessorize even when wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Well I am shame to say that when I left the house one night during the Chinese New Year holiday, I clearly left all the fashion forward rules I usually abide by at the house. I just needed to make a quick trip to Walmart so I just threw a jacket on over my pajamas and flip flops over my socks. I know I was wrong and have since repented for my crime against fashion but I just couldn’t get it together that night. When in China…  As it turns out, other than my mocha skin and kinky hair I fit right in at Shekou Werma, as the locals call it.


I look forward to sharing many more adventures in the classroom and the streets of China as they unfold.  Until then, be blessed.