Archive for the Category ◊ Hong Kong ◊

27 May 2009 Say “Cheese”
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While on the subway with Aaron in Hong Kong, Sherri & I were stared down by a Chinese man and woman. They kept looking us up & down, up & down, and even when you looked back at them they still continued to stare. Aaron noticed, laughed and told us that they were probably from a remote area in China and probably had never seen two white girls in person before. This was just a warm-up for what was in store for us in China.

Posing for photos inside the Forbidden City

Posing for photos inside the Forbidden City

While wandering through the Imperial Garden inside the Forbidden City we were approached by a Chinese tour group. Their guide asked if they could take a photo with us. Being total hams & loving to have our picture taken we of course said yes. We posed for pic after pic with each individual tourist. It was hilarious…some even motioned for us to take our sunglasses off because they wanted to be able to see our eyes in the photos…random passersby were even stopping to take photos. We posed for so many pics (seriously 25 or more) that my cheeks started to hurt from smiling so much! This continued to happen to us as we explored the Forbidden City…people would just come up and motion (most did not speak English) for us to pose for a photo with them. A few would even try to be discreet about it…walking in front of us & then turning around to snap a quick pic. We couldn’t help but laugh.

Cocktails on the roof of the Emperor Hotel

After the Forbidden City we went for a sunset cocktail on the rooftop bar of The Emperor Hotel. They happened to be doing an editorial photoshoot for an Australian magazine and the photographer came over and asked if he could snap a couple pics of us enjoying our martinis. If they end up being published in a magazine we’ll let you know!

We also awoke after camping overnight on The Great Wall of China, to a group of about 6 Chinese tourists snapping pictures of us in our sleeping bags. They were clicking away as we just barely opened our eyes…it was 5am! They gave us the thumbs up, smiled, took a couple more pics and continued on their way. Again you just had to laugh…

23 May 2009 Hong Kong
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Hong Kong is an amazing city…it’s so clean and incredibly efficient! Our friend Aaron, who use to be my roommate and worked at Billabong in Irvine with Rana, has been living in Hong Kong for the past 3 years. We’ve always had a blast hanging out with him and were super excited to visit him as we have been saying we would ever since he moved there.

As Aaron instructed, when we arrived at the airport we took the Airport Express train to Hong Kong Island. The train drops you off in a beautiful mall. From there we took a short taxi ride to the trendy Soho area, where Aaron lives with his girlfriend Li Ting. When we arrived, Li Ting was waiting for us on the sidewalk by their building. She is very sweet and was a wonderful hostess…she even gave us a little bag complete with an extra cell phone that we could use, 2 rechargeable subway cards, tissues (since a lot of public restrooms don’t have toilet paper) and she even lent us her Lonely Planet book on Hong Kong. Their apartment was super nice and we loved their rooftop patio…it had an amazing view. We thought we were going to be crashing at their pad, but they surprised us and arranged for us to stay in a vacant furnished studio apartment across the hall from them. We were so stoked! It was cute and modern and had an incredible view of the city. We seriously couldn’t have asked for a better host and hostess! They took us out to some great restaurants…we ate at Sushi, Chinese (of course), Mexican (surprisingly great), a steakhouse, Japanese and a tasty dim sum restaurant by Aaron’s work. We let Aaron order for us at each place so we could try his favorites and we absolutely loved everything, especially since were were starting to get burnt out of Thai food.

In addition to eating good, we also had a wonderful time exploring the city. We road on the world’s largest escalator (which goes up the steep city hills), took a cable car ride over the bay and mountains to the world’s largest bronze Buddha, and had dinner at The Peak overlooking the entire city…the view was breathtaking! We even fit in a great workout when Li Ting took us to her yoga class. And of course Aaron took us out for a fun night of bar hopping and we weren’t planning on going out that night…but several pitchers of margaritas later we found ourselves out on the town until the wee hours of the morning. We got lucky at Club Volar and got to dance the night away to the music of turntable prodigy DJ A-Track. It was such a fun night…which we ended with 90 minute massages at 3:00am…thats right, their spas are open 24 hours!

Another thing we loved about Hong Kong is that

21 May 2009 The Big Buddha, Hong Kong
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Sherri and I took the cable car up from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping to visit the Tian Tan Buddha (aka “The Big Buddha”). The views from the cable car were amazing as we climbed higher and higher, away from the towering buildings of the city, over the beautiful ocean and into the lush green mountains of Lantau Island. At the top you walk through Ngong Ping village which is very commercialized and sort of feels like you’re at Disneyland with all the gift shops. Past the village and up 268 steps you stand below one of the world’s largest Bronze Buddha’s, towering over 110 feet tall. It was huge! There were lots of hiking trails in the surrounding area and we walked out to the Wisdom Path which has 38 large wooden beams, ranging from 8 to 10 feet tall, inscribed in Chinese calligraphy the Heart Sutra, one of the world’s best known Buddhist prayers. We also explored the Po Lin Monastery which had some very beautiful buildings, views of the Big Buddha and gardens. To return to the cable car we had to walk back through Ngong Ping village where we stopped for lunch and checked out the Tea House. Our cable car tickets also included the multimedia “Walking with Buddha” exhibit, which explains the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the man who became Buddha and his path to enlightenment. It was quite entertaining and educational. The funny thing was you exit the exhibit right into the Ngong Ping Buddha gift shop (so Disneyland but definitely worth visiting).