Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Fajita deliciousness

Ocean Park

Man, I think there are more Filipinos here than in the Philippines. If you have a small child, you also have a Filipino. Apparently it costs around $3,300HKD (~$400) a month for a Filipino woman to live with you, care for your children, cook, and clean your apartment. Why would you not!? During the day here at the Latitude, it's just me and the nannies. Sundays are their days off, so if you go to any park in HK it's filled with nannies. It's pretty cool to go and see hundreds of people just chatting and enjoying the amazing (although very hot) parks here.

Yesterday was Paul's last day of freedom, so what did we do? Went to the sweetest place in HK; Ocean Park!! We thought it would be more of a waterpark (hello OCEAN park), but turned out to be more of an amusement park, which was fine by us. We bused over there by 11, rode the raft down the crazy river, did a log floom and then 2 awesome rollercoasters all in a couple hours!! I've seen this park several times now because everytime you take a boat out you can see the rollercoasters hanging off the West Coast of HK island.
And, wow, were the rollercoasters cool. I hadn't been on one since Six Flags with Chetta 2+ years ago and had forgotten how much fun they are. You're hanging off a cliff over the ocean, what could be better!? On top of the rides and short lines, there was also a panda habitat, Amazing Asian Animals Expo, and a pretty cool Acquarium. Impressive HK, very impressive.

Day one Paul at work a success. I ran for the first time since April and worked out (our gym rocks and it's empty), applied for jobs, found myself a couple of headhunters (thank you Brian), went grocery shopping twice, and am about to prepare fajitas for dinner. I went to the grocery store to make Mexican food and guess what, I found everything I needed. In one store! What!? This never ever ever happened in Korea. I always had to run around to like 7 different stores before I could find what I needed. Today I got cheese!, tortillas!, refried beans!, taco seasoning!, salsa!, and then curry squid, shrimp and pepper beef. Can you tell I'm excited? Doesn't take much, eh?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thai Town

Kowloon is known as little Bangkok here in Hong Kong.
There are a plethora of Thai grocers and restaurants all within a 10 minute walk from home. It's amazing. Paul and I decided to try an almost packed place, Ruamjai, for dinner tonight. It was phenomenal!!! Paul got his normal Padthai which was very good, and I got seafood in a pumpkin. It was maybe one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life. Ever. For real. The pumpkin was demolished, and had there been another I probably would have finished him off too. An entire pumpkin filled with seafood, coconut milk and pure heaven. Score one for the boonies!

After a day of misses pumpkin nirvana was needed. We took a bus to a subway to a bus to the beach, 2+ hours, only to find the beach closed due to red tide. Awesome. We ferried off the island over to Central then to Kowloon and tried to get Korean. Twice. And both places were closed. But at least we found Ruamjai!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pumping Iron

well, kind of. I decided yesterday while at Clearwater Bay Beach what my new exercise routine should be. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I haven't run in months. Geeze, probably close to 6. And although not now (thank you Nepal) I was putting on the lbs in the end of my Kimchitown days (no thank you Cass). So I would love to start running but there are two little problems here. One being it is so freaking hot. Like 35 degrees (I think that's almost 100 F) and sunny everyday. This is not a complaint, but it isn't conducive to running. That's where problem two lays. I could go to our beautiful gym but then I'd have to run on a treadmill, and really who likes to do that? So I'm thinking there's only one solution; I'll run a little in the heat at the beach and then go swim lots of laps. Sweat and wash it off. The beaches here have no waves and are all roped off with large shark ropes which provide the perfect outlines for laps. Hello toned arms!

Beach days, sushi nights, tough times :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer time and the living's easy

What I've been up to the past few days:

Junk boat tour with Christy, her boyfriend Poi and his family.

There were 35 of us, mostly children, who went out on this triple decker boat. You cruise out for about an hour, dock outside a beach, then do fun speed boat things. I rode the banana boat, Paul did the flyer disc, and there was also tubing. So much fun jumping off the boat, eating sushi, and drinking wine. And this is what all Hong Kongians do in the summer (season ends in November- ha! take that winter). We docked at the beach and there were no less than 10 other junks out doing the same thing. I could get used to this. There was a 19 year old girl who was there who had just gotten back from 4 months in South East Asia, India and Nepal. We sat sharing and comparing our adventure stories and all came to the same conclusion; trip of a lifetime, but it will certainly be a long time before (if) we ever come back. She didn't have any pukey bus rides...lucky.

Then yesterday Paul and I ferry-ied over to Lamma Island. It's a quick 30 minute ferry and you're transported to another world. No cars, no crowds, just scenic strolls through the jungle from one beach to the next. We settled down at a restaurant on one end and enjoyed clams, squid, scallops, and shrimp. Yum! It's amazing how you can be in the hustle bustle of a huge city and then in this quiet deserted island in 30 minutes.

One funny thing about HK. There are approximately 3 billion million people everywhere you go trying to do the same thing you are. The subways have guards in the morning with big red STOP signs insisting you stop trying to push onto the train. For real!? But I can understand why. People are very pushy here in general. Waayy more than in Korea, which is hard to believe if you've ever been on the green line at 8pm. So this is one thing I am learning to deal with and accept. Well trying...

Today Paul and I are going on a picnic to a beach; location TBD. We bought avocados ($1.25!), 3 kinds of cheeses, turkey, salami, pate, crackers, and of course, wine. This is Paul's last Saturday off work until October, so we better make it a good one. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Still reeling.... how awesome this city is! Yesterday Paul and I took the subway to the beach. Yes, that's right. The subway to the beach. At Sheck O, apparently one of the bigger beaches, there was beautiful clean sand, floating platforms to swim to in the water and tons of people hawking umbrellas and chairs. It was magical! And all just a subway away. The lunch options were phenomenal too! I finally got the Tom Yam soup I have been craving since Kho Pangan. Then after a looong (don't take the bus during rush hour) bus ride home, I showered off and hit LKF for happy hour. Paul and I enjoyed some wine and beers and then met Katie. Katie is a friend of a friend who used to teach in Korea and moved here a year ago. And she's not yet turned back. We met at this amazing bar where you give a business card and have unlimited drinks of any sort from 9-11. How great is this!? We obviously didn't have business cards, but a quick search through the wallet solved that right up. Tonight is ladies' free drinks night in Wan Chai. I could get used to this.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Holy Macao!

Yesterday Paul and I set out on a visa run to Macao. Macao used to be a Portuguese colony up until the late 90s, and is now kind of Chinese and kind of on its own. But for all functional purposes you can think of it as Vegas. A quick hour long ferry and you're no longer in beautiful Hong Kong, but this other magical playground for adults.

It was a little ominous in the morning with dark scary clouds, but they blew away in time for the boat ride. It's surprising how many people are going gambling on a Monday morning! We hit the Venetian where we had a lovely dim sum lunch, each gambled $100HK (~$12 USD), lost, then found vouchers for more money and played with those! We love Macao! Since we signed up for the loyalty card we got a spin on some other machine where I won a $100 voucher for dinner. Asa! All in all we gambled for a good 5 hours, mostly on slots and roulette, and I mostly watched, had 2 meals and free drinks and spent <$50 USD. Now that's a good day.

Paul is officially here on a work visa and I officially have to leave in 3 months. Humph. I had a great lunch with Angelina on Sunday where she gave me some confidence that yes, it is possible for me to get a job. EVen in this economy! She got her job with RBS before leaving Korea, but her boyfriend didn't have one. He found a job with a leasing company within a month of being here. Then tonight I'm meeting with another "friend" for happy hour. We haven't actually met but have been exchanging emails about HK for months. Friend of a friend sent me Katie's email. She taught in Korea and left for HK and never looked back. Networking. Tis all about the networking.

As for now, it's 9am and we're hitting the beach. Decision today; Shek O or Lamma island. Life is tough...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Love Hong Kong

Things are going swimmingly here in Hong Kong. The past few days have been filled with sushi, furniture hunting, and get this, for the first time in over two years, SHOPPING. Yes! Paul and I hit 3 malls yesterday and put that credit card to use. For those of you who have been to Korea, shopping is not that fun. It's all cheap small crap or at the opposite end, Gucci, Prada, etc. Here in Hong Kong, there's everything!!! It's weird, after going out on Thursday with Andrew and his grad school buddies, I realized how out of it I was. Everyone was dressed, well, for work! For the past 2 years business casual has meant jeans and a T. Now I have cute new tanks and skinny pants to fit in at happy hour :) Poor Christy is probably rolling her eyes, we still have stuff all over the living room because there's no room in our bedroom, yet we come home with 5 bags of more clothes. Oops!

Last night Paul and I put on our new duds and hit the town. We met up with Catherine who is Maria's (my best friend from college) best friend from high school. She's been living and working here for the past year and has an amazing apartment in the heart of Wan Chai, which is in the heart of downtown, and had quite a few people over on her amazing rooftop terrace. We go out to the bar and I notice this girl dancing on the table. Turns out we had hung out with her in Udaipur, India, a month ago!!!! What a small freaking world! She's still on holiday and just happened to be at the same tiny bar we were at. How bizarre, how bizarre!

In other bizarre news, I got an amazing email this week from Angelina who was my substitute teacher when I went home last September. I found her on criagslist, have never met her, and shortly after subbing she moved to Hong Kong for a finance job. Sounds familiar! Last week I guess I showed up on her linkedin page and she sent me an email saying her company is hiring. Asa! And the job she has now is mid-office on a trading floor, eerily similar to what I was doing in my pre-Korea days! We're meeting today for lunch. I love Hong Kong!

Some other weird things about being here. Men don't wear shirts. Perhaps I'm used to the Indian mentality where you have to cover up, but I've been amazed at the number of shirtless beer-gutted men here! There appears to be an inverse relationship to shirt wearage and beer guttage. Bigger the gut, smaller/more pulled up the shirt.
People tend to push their dogs in prams. There's even a movie in theaters now that appears to be all about a fluffy faced dog.
People CANNOT walk here. Somehow, someway, someone will find a way to walk into you. Not like Korea where you get elbowed and pushed, people will straight up walk dead into you. I don't understand it. I'll just be standing, not even moving, and someone will find a way to walk into me. Someone please explain this to me!

Tomorrow it's off to Macau on a visa run. Paul needs to leave the country and come back with his work visa, and Macau is just an hour ferry away and filled with casinos galore. I'm just excited for the boat! Wish me ( or more likely Paul) luck!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dinner Fail

The kitchen pantry is bare, or I guess I should say non-existent. It's hard starting from scratch! Last night I planned to make Paul and I seafood with white wine sauce. Christy came home and asked if I wanted her to get me anything from the grocery store...No I'm good. Then she said her boyfriend was coming over soon....for dinner. I had mentioned we could all do dinner together the night before but never got a definitive answer, good thing pasta comes in big packs! I sautéed the onion in olive oil (still don't have butter), then the garlic, then threw in white wine and seafood. We have zero salt in the house and limited black pepper. Thank god for sriacha sauce! It was bland but they were good sports and it scored us an invitation on a junk boat cruise next week with Poi's family. Asa boats!

In good news, my cereal for breakfast this morning was quite delicious.

Day 3

Hong Kong has been totally amazing so far. I'm close to getting all of the mold out of things, although I do still need to bleach suitcases and bags. BAH YOU MOLD!! Last night Paul and I went to the supermarket and picked up some sushi to go and brought it back to "Club Latitude" (the amenities for the building) to sit outside and enjoy. On the 6th floor of the club house there are 5 or 6 BBQs with huge counter space and full tables. It's gorgeous and totally deserted! I can't wait until winter to go out and grill all night! Or summer, I just dont have any friends yet.

Today was my first solo day!! I'm already feeling comfortable with the neighborhood and transportation systems and have managed not to get lost so far. Today I had lunch with my friend Stoga's friend from DC. He's Korean but grew up in NY and now lives in DC and is interning this summer at Google Hong Kong. It's like we're twins...only he has more education and a better job. Andrew was the best host. He showed me around his neighborhood, his apartment, hooked me up with Lonley Planet HK, and then showed me his Google office. Google offices are no joke. It's like going to work in the funnest place ever! There are decorations and balls to sit on and just cool stuff everywhere. I was impressed and Andrew just shrugged and says it pales in comparison to Google Korea. It sucks that he's leaving this week to go back to DC, but we plan to meet up tomorrow night to go out.

So the Latitude is set up like this. Floors B1-2=mall. Floor 3 is ground for all towers. There are only 5 towers, but somehow we live in tower 8. 3, 4, and 5 were mysteriously skipped. H,mm .4 means DIE in Chinese so throughout the Asian world the 4th floor is skipped, but here they take it to the extreme and skip 14, 24, 34, but not 40-49. Again, hmm. Here are some apt. pictures:

Our closet, I mean bedroom


Living Room

View from outside our tower enterance

I'll have to get some pictures of the Club and our view later, but as you can see I have been very busy. Tonight I'm cooking clams, squid, shrimp, linguini in a white wine sauce for dinner. Tomorrow I may head out to Ikea and get a dresser for our room, but I don't know if I'll have the time. We're turning the wall at the foot of our bed into a closet so I need a bar for that. We have too much crap and somehow I have nothing appropriate to wear for "business casual."

Perhaps one of these days I'll have time to start looking for a job. Macau's looking far more likely this week :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

No Joke

The street that I live on is King Fuk Road. Seriously!?

So the apartment is, no exageration, AMAZEBALLS!!! It's brand new, shiny, and someone opens the door for you at every enterance. Oh and did I mention it's on top of a mall!!!? It's in the beginning phases so there are only a few stores and restaurants open, but the grocery store and more stores are coming soon.

The apartment itself is small, but managable. Paul and my room is tiny! We put our wardrobe into the living room and are looking for more furniture to fit the obscene amount of clothing we sent, which, has been sitting in a humid closet for the past month. Ew mold. But the place is gorgeous. 19th floor view of the pool, which sadly you do have to pay for, but only $3 and rivals any hotel pool I have ever seen. Take that back, it's probably nicer. For free we have a gym with boxing ring!, sauna, jacuzzi and locker room, and we also have the option to rent out the bowling alley and private theater for cheap. You really don't have to leave!

Our roommate seems really nice too. Christy is 30ish from Australia and is dating a Hong Kongian. She taught in China for a few years, then worked in England, and has now moved here to be closer to Poi.

So things in HK are exciting! It's hot, we figured out the bus to HK island (super easy and right outside our apt), and Paul starts training tomorrow. That's right folks. Tomorrow will be the first day in well over 2 months that I will be alone! All day to myself!!!! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011



As I am not officially in Hong Kong yet, I do not feel totally comfortable with a full post. So, just "Hi" for now.