Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hong Kong 2011

 
In 2011, my mom and I made a trip out to Hong Kong, my mother’s hometown. We were originally planning to take my grandfather so that he could visit the graves of his parents, but when he backed out of the trip, we decided to go anyway since it was all planned. We had gotten a great deal on the flight and I had already gotten my time off approved.
 
I absolutely loathe flying, especially when it’s more than five hours. The flight to Hong Kong is sixteen hours. I do, however, love their airport. My mom and I always have an arrival tradition of picking up custard tarts and chicken pies at the Maxim bakery at the airport before catching the Airport Express train to the Mong Kok area and taking a taxi to our favorite hotel, Langham Place.
 
We always take a super early flight in so that we have the whole day ahead of us and can go to bed at a normal evening hour instead of being wired in the evening. We dropped off our luggage at the hotel and took the MTR (conveniently located downstairs in the mall) to Wan Chai. We grabbed a quick snack, some flowers for the grave, and wandered the market for a little bit before catching making our way over to the cemetery.
 
 
 
I had heard horror stories about this place. Not the creepy kind, more the functional kind. A couple decades ago, there were no guardrails, the stairs were extra slippery, and there were over a hundred stairs. My great grandparents are somewhere towards the middle, so it’s difficult either way. My mother had not been here in years and I had never been at all. We had marked the location and had an old photo to go by, but that was it. It took us about 20 minutes of stairs to get there but we finally found it. The welcome center also provided some pretty cool views of Hong Kong that I've seen. Ignore the fact that this is a gigantic cemetery.
 
After the trip to the cemetery, we had a quick dim sum lunch and then wandered back to the hotel. The next day, we hit up Hong Kong Disneyland. It is the smallest Disney park and while not exactly notable to a lot of tourists, I think it’s pretty adorable. Everything is in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. We grabbed a super awesome dim sum lunch at the Crystal Lotus inside the Disneyland Hotel. We reserved in advance and when you see the photos, you will understand why.
 






 
 
The food was awesome and after our lunch, we hit the park. It had expanded since I had been the first time. They had added a Toy Story themed section and looking back, I wish I had gotten Slinky Dog earmuffs. We watched the Christmas parade and enjoyed the fake snow. For dinner we went to Plaza Inn. It was okay but not the awesomeness we have come to expect from Maxim restaurants.
 
I had never seen a panda. I told my mother this was kind of wrong since we’re Chinese. So my mom took me to Ocean Park. We spent the afternoon admiring the Great Pandas and the Red Pandas (my personal favorite). They have some of the coolest panda exhibits I've ever seen. We even hit up the Panda CafĂ© for bean buns shaped like pandas. I will be back on my next trip to Hong Kong since we only checked out the lower half of the park.
 




 
The rest of the trip is a huge blur of food and shopping in the street markets. We had lunch at the famous Maxim City Hall which was awesome, but some of my favorite meals were in the little cafes we found off the main road (the kind where you can get a full meal for two people for about $5). I also overdid it more than a little when it came to my Stitch shopping… See the last photo…
 
Aji Ichiban, Japanese candy that's everywhere...

Outside the hotel...

Early morning wet market...

Mong Kok photos...

The adorable Charlie Brown Cafe in TST...

Tiffany & Co Christmas display...

The awesome little gelato place in the hotel mall...

Dim sum at Maxim City Hall...

The Tiffany & Co carousel...

A tea place in Mong Kok with a great mango tapioca drink... Lined
with local school kids, so you know it's good...

Hello Kitty display at the hotel mall...

More Charlie Brown Cafe...

That $5 breakfast I was raving about... 

 I think this was dim sum at the Western Market...

Hot custard from a dairy place.
 
 

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