Hong Kong Part 3

We’re all settled in here once again and recovering from our jet-lag. Meredith seems to have had no trouble at all: “I can’t fall asleep during class, Mom.” That’s true. However, no one cares if I fall asleep over my Chinese while studying on the couch!

Mark and I both had the same (separate) reaction to the house in Corning–it’s much too big! One of the things we’ve so liked about living here is our apartment and it’s compactness. We never lose anything. It seemed we were both constantly looking for stuff the entire time we were in Corning, even though there is hardly anything left there to lose things under! Other than the home theater (and maybe some gardening space) we can definitely see ourselves living in a similarly sized house in the future when we hit retirement land–it’s just so much less stressful–at least for the chronically absent-minded.

I didn’t get to tell you about my last days in Hong Kong, so I’ll do that now (please excuse me if I repeat myself–I’m getting older, you know.) The Prince’s building where I had my eye appointment had some really interesting stores–they actually had merchandise I wanted to buy which isn’t typical. However they also had a number of jewelry stores that out=blinged the blingiest jewelry stores here in Shanghai.

Frankly I thought these jade necklaces were a little grotesque

More big jewels

Here's something for the little girl who has everything--a jewel encrusted teddy bear

Apparently hats have made a comeback in Hong Kong--this was a whole hat store

I decided that I wanted to thank the woman who had helped me find the Prince’s building the day before, so having a lot of time after my PT appointment I bought some amazing cupcakes at Caffe Habitu at the bottom of the Bank of America Building where my PT was and took them over to her shop, now that I knew the lay of the land. Ok, I was quite clear where I needed to go because as I said, this area of Hong Kong called the Central is quite tiny and it has some pretty big landmarks like this:

Unfortunately I can no longer remember the name of this building, which is a shame because I think it's really cool

that make it pretty easy to get your bearings. However, it was trying to get across the highways on those darn walkways that kept slipping me up. Not infrequently I would go up or down some stairs like this thinking I could cross the street at the bottom:

these look promising, don't they?

only to find that they were the stairs to nowhere and I could go neither left, right or forward–only back up.

The only way to get across the street was to go up the stairs (not down) and walk a quarter of the way down the block on the elevated, go down the stairs and then turn left. None of which was inherently obvious from the bridge above.

Once I did manage to get down on this particular sidewalk, I found a secret stash of Hong Kong’s version of bamboo brooms

Hong Kong's brooms are more square and sewn on, rather than tied in a bundle to the handle, and the ends are trimmed of the seed buds

Hong Kong might be a bit "blingier" in their merchandise (although Shanghai is certainly nipping at their heels), but it was generally dirtier than Shanghai.

You would never, ever see a trashcan even close to being this full in Shanghai, let alone overflowing. Shanghai is squeaky clean. I even saw somebody washing down a phone booth the other day on the coldest day of the year.

I took the woman who helped me a chocolate cupcake with salted carmel frosting, but it was the last one, so for myself I made do with this pretty little lemon one. It was delicious, along with an amazing pot of passion fruit tea I bought to go with it.

On Friday, between my PT and doctor’s appointment, I decided to visit the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Garden that I had almost walked into by happenstance on Wednesday. After all, I knew where it was, right?

On my way I saw people doing Tai Chi in the park--my arm was not working well enough yet to join them

It unfortunately started to lightly rain, just as I arrived, but, what else did I have to do? I just threw my sweater over my head and proceeded.

Apparently someone had listened to the weather report in the morning

It being the middle of winter, even in Hong Kong there wasn't much vegetation except in the green houses

I thought these were the prettiest of the bunch

I decided to move on to the animals. My oh-so-cute physical therapist, Eddie, made the same comment that I had also thought, which is that the animals aren’t displayed very well. The cages are positioned in such a way that often even when the animals are in view you can barely see them.

It's only because I have a very powerful zoom on my camera that you can see these flamingoes. They were far away and way above our heads

These bright red birds were really impressive (and also far, far away)

A reminder in the middle of the park that you are in Hong Kong, not China--and why everyone speaks Chinese with a slight British accent

The turtles were friskily doing laps back and forth across their pen. Well, friskily for a turtle.

The monkeys became my new role model that day--if I do all this painful physical therapy someday I too can hang by my arm and eat bananas!

After my last PT appointment with Eddie (sigh) I wandered back to my hotel room. The last bit was always confusing as I had to pick one of the crowded alleys with all the vendors (they tended to look very similar–after all one fruit stand looks a lot like another, right?) and if I picked wrong I would pop out on a street that would take me away from the hotel. Which of course I did. Drat! But it was a happy mistake because it happened to be a street where all the vendors were selling things like buttons and thread and Mark needed a new button for his winter coat!

I'd told Mark he was going to have to wait until we went to Corning because I had no idea where to get a button in Shanghai, and then I just wandered into the button man in Hong Kong! Can you see all his buttons hanging in the middle of the picture?

Enormous apples were on sale at a lot of the stalls. For comparison, these apples are about twice the size of the asian pears they are sitting next to, which are usually bigger than a typical apple.

Here, you have a true specialty shop and its most prized piece of merchandise. The shop sold dried pig skins in various sizes and forms. This is the prize--the whole pig! My guess is, it is pretty pricey.

If you followed the arrow, you could choose new heels for your shoes at this vendor. Open 10:30-4:00

Just had to show you this one. What is the scent of bride? Terror? Nervous sweat? White?

So that’s it for Hong Kong. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t need to go back for any medical reasons–only for fun and recreation!

Back to the real world now. Chinese classes have started up again. I had to do a lot of reviewing last week in preparation for the beginning of my class–hence my lack of posting.  (and the jet lag!) I’m also going to PT twice a week. It is incredibly unpleasant. I told Patrick, my Italian physical therapist, that I was going to bring a whiskey soaked rag to bite on, but I don’t think he appreciated my humor. Or maybe he just didn’t understand me–his English is great as long as you only use words related to physical therapy!

I might bring that rag though–minus the whiskey.

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About DECRYPTKNIT: knitter on the loose in Shanghai

Hi, I'm Marisa Newhouse, a former pharmacist (for a brief time during the Reagan administration) who's real calling was probably anything that has to do with cooking, plants, literature and especially knitting; hence my last and favorite job, working at Woolyminded, a wonderful yarn store. But now, I have moved half a world away to Shanghai where my husband will be working. Lots of people are interested in what we will be doing here and I have always kept journals of our travels, so I thought I'd do it the modern way and keep a blog.
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