I last left you with this picture: Anybody guess where it is?
This is the view from our table at breakfast where I had abalone congee (rice porridge) and chrysanthemum tea:
I hadn’t realized that Hong Kong was so mountaneous or hilly.
Mark met Meredith and I at the hotel as he was traveling from somewhere else in China. Our trip was only until Sunday evening because Mark is going to India all this week. Unfortunately, Mark was battling a cold all last week and after he left on Thursday night things got really bad and when we joined up on Friday he looked like death warmed over.
He had gotten an appointment with a dr in Hong Kong which was fortunate and also quite an experience. It was like going to a 5 star hotel. We hardly knew we were at a doctor’s office. We came away with a bag full of drugs (all dispensed from the office) which have helped somewhat, but he’s still having a lot of trouble with his voice and his throat being sore which is a problem when you’re talking in meeting after meeting.
As a result, Meredith and I were pretty much on our own, so we decided to do a little of the shopping that Hong Kong is so famous for.
There’s a number of things you’ll notice about Hong Kong as compared to Shanghai. It obviously was once a British colony.
They drive on the wrong side of the road. (sorry Jean!) The up escalators are on the left. Their Chinese accents are slightly British. They tell you to wait in the queue. The asian habit of handing you your credit card with two hands doesn’t exist.
It is quite more Western than Shanghai. The supermarket (not the grocery store-got blank stares when I asked for that!–same thing when I asked for the subway instead of the metro) had Driscoll strawberries and all the spices you could want plus some I didn’t even know I wanted. They actually had polenta and they didn’t want $10 a box for it which seems to be the going price for anything western here! (I bought two!)
And they have this British institution:
And for the Americans:
Tired of trying to be clever about our shopping we decided to just go to the giant IFC mall nearby.
Up on the top floor I tried to steady my camera in a brisk wind to take a couple of pictures of the skyline:
In the evening we went to a Thai restaurant that was wonderful and that took us into the heart of Hong Kong, down streets that looked like this:
Meredith and I had these French macaroons we’d bought at the mall for dessert. They were different flavors like raspberry, passion fruit, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and caramel.
Sunday, we didn’t have a lot of time, so we decided to walk over to Hong Kong Park which was just a couple of blocks from the hotel. I thought this was going to be pretty lame, but I was seriously wrong. It was a wonderful afternoon.
Then a climb in the heat up way too many steps, grumbling all the way, to a bird sanctuary.
Thanks to Meredith, who knows how to use my camera better than I do, for the bird pictures.
Feeling quite sweaty and hot at this point and still needing something to do until it was time to go to the airport we decided to go into the visual arts center and cool off.
Much to our surprise there was a wonderful exhibit by an artist named Susan Ko. Her paintings mostly incorporate flowers in various settings around the world and generally she has added a Bible verse with the painting that describes what she was thinking when she was painting. It turned out she was actually there and she spent quite some time with us taking us around to the different paintings and telling us about them.
She only does this as a hobby. She doesn’t sell her paintings. Her real job is as an insurance agent. She didn’t start painting until 2006-5 years ago!
We also spent some time talking to friends of hers who wanted to talk about 9/11 because they had just seen a documentary and had also had a friend who had been just 5 blocks from the tower that day. I was so touched by their sympathy, it very nearly made me want to weep.
Here’s the link to Meredith’s video of our trip. Yes, I already linked it on Facebook in my feeble attempts at figuring out how to link it here, I linked it there first. Sigh.