We are now cat-sitting in Hong Kong, arranged through Housecarers.com, a five-week stay which will give us plenty of time to immerse ourselves in the culture, see the sights and of course drink copious amounts of wine and beer.
Our first night we ate in a small Chinese restaurant in the Causeway Bay area. I just had to write down a few of the English translations from the menu:-
The balsam pear meat fries the egg high
The fragrance fries the cotton rose egg
The sand whines the beef to fry the bean or sweet potato starch noodles
For anyone who is interested I’m trying to get the recipes! To be safe, I opted for beef curry and boiled rice.
We spent the first week settling in to our very nice 22nd floor duplex apartment. We thought we were high till we saw our building from the 46th floor of Central Plaza. We are dwarfed by many of the buildings around us. Still, it’s high enough for us and we don’t spend much time on the balcony or roof terrace.
This could, of course, be something to do with the weather which so far has been rubbish. It is warm but grey and foggy every day. Today it is particularly bad, constant drizzle, and it’s race night at Happy Valley. We’ll watch from the window this week and go to the races later in our stay.
Our mission today was to get our visas for our trip to Myanmar in June. While we waited we had lunch in Cafe de Coral. A busy place at lunchtime, the lady cleaning the tables was rushed off her feet. Then disaster struck. She tipped the tray she was carrying and leftover noodle soup went cascading down my back. “Solly, solly” she said as she dabbed at me with paper towels. I just smiled as the warm liquid made its way down my trousers and into my pants……….
This week we’ve done a bit of walking around and a couple of excursions further afield. We are trying to limit our visits to tourist attractions to weekdays as they get very busy at the weekends.
On Friday we took a ferry to the outlying island of Cheung Chau. A refreshing change from Hong Kong island as there are no cars. We spent a couple of hours walking around the southern part of the island, dodging cyclists and taking in the sights – cemetery, crematorium, sewage works etc. There were a few temples and a pirate cave too. It was all very pleasant.
On Monday our excursion took us to the aptly named Statue Square, apt if you think one statue of some bloke who isn’t famous warrants such a description. I don’t know how I had got this picture in my mind of a tree filled square where every clearing had a beautiful sculpture at its centre. That must be somewhere else. Anyway it is square and there is a statue so I can’t complain. In fact, before WW2 the square was full of statues but the Japanese took them all down and, although they were found after the war, the Chinese decided not to put them back.
Enough about statues. My next rant has got to be about the weather. One of the main reasons we don’t stay in Scotland is because we like good weather. By that I mean hot, sunny weather. We can stand the hottest, stickiest humidity if the sun is shining. Hong Kong in spring gets heat, it gets humidity………but where is the sun? I know its up there, we’ve seen it once or twice through the low cloud that descends onto our 22 floor abode. Maybe we should get out more!
I take that back. It has been quite sunny today and we had a lovely day in Stanley on the South Coast, a seaside resort with a pretty good market. We had a look at one of the few surviving colonial buildings in Hong Kong, Murray House. They moved it to Stanley from Central to make way for the Bank of China Building and managed to find some extra pillars somewhere along the way. After making a couple of purchases in the market (we’re not totally mean) we gave the trendy looking pub doing fish ‘n’ chips and a pint of Carlsberg for a tenner a body-swerve (yes we are) and joined the Chinese tourists for huge portions of Chinese food for a fraction of the cost.
A wander around the ultra new, ultra modern, ultra free Hong Kong Correctional Services museum was interesting and air-conditioned. They didn’t need to lay on the band to pipe us out to ‘The Road to the Isles’ (memories of singing class in primary school) but it was much appreciated.