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    Simply Southern Saturdays: The Hong Kong Edition

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Good morning all and ni-hao!

    I hope this Saturday morning finds you healthy and happy. We're going through our days making more decisions about the immediate future, keeping busy, and yes, working in some good fun.

    Moments of levity and laughter have made the past three weeks completely bearable.

    I'm happy to say we're moving in a forward direction. Even though there have been moments saturated with enormous amounts of frustration, moving forward is the only direction we can go to create a sense of everyday normalcy...especially for the children.

    While in Hong Kong, Husband has been away at work. This has left the children and I up to our own devices. We've taken it easy, but explored local areas near and far within Kowloon. We've ventured to Hong Kong Island twice, and are headed to Lantau Island this afternoon to see the Big Buddha.

    Museums, discovering amazing local artists off the beaten path, taking in local cuisine, and successfully fending off touts have further broadened our horizons within Asia.

    I'm always amazed by how much can fit within a small space. Hong Kong seems minuscule compared to Japan, yet there is so much to do and see! This may be why they continue to build everything so close together and upwards into the mountains.

    Now let me show you what we've been up to!

    SEEN

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    The scallywag enjoying his prime view of Victoria Harbor while aboard the Star Ferry. He adores the water~as seen by his love of the beach in Guam and bathtime~and loved being able to sit so close to the rails. No need to worry, my grip was iron tight!

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    Rickshaws for sale! We've yet to have a ride, but if anyone wants purchase one of their very own, be it for business or pleasure, just give Mr. Hung a call. I'm sure he'll give you a sweet deal.

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    Eldest drove the little guy into hysterical laughter when she participated in an optical illusion involving mirrors. She's half the young lady she used to be. Ha! Taking place at Hong Kong's Science Museum, the entire building was a child-friendly four story playground of information and interactive exhibits. It was dated, but delightful!

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    The giant horse by Kitchen restaurant at the W Hotel. We were fascinated by its grandeur!

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    Gorgeous jewelry at the Jade Market. Did you know besides green, there are multiple colors of jade? I had to get a purple jade necklace~not only for the beautiful color, but because of the timeless style. And by the by, if you purchase your jade at the Jade Market instead of a regular vendor, you can haggle and bargain your way into a great deal! I know I scored several.

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    Vivid advertisements are everywhere in Hong Kong~even along the sidewalks. The scallywag loved this picture!

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    Eldest really enjoyed learning about Hong Kong's history at the National Museum. We were especially lucky as it was the centennial anniversary of China's 1911 Revolution. We toured a special exhibit and were fascinated to learn about all the major world powers that contributed to its initial division.

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    While getting her measurements taken at Sam's, Eldest and her long-legged self enjoyed picking out the fabric for her dress. We decided as she's 10 and still growing one would be enough for her at the moment. Following this logic, the fabric chosen had to be one she absolutely adored...see further down how the progress of the dress is going!

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    Meats and other various food items were cut and wrapped in plain view as we strolled through the crowded roads of Temple Street. I love outdoor markets, I really do, but the smell of the raw fish and meat even had me trying to be discreet as I covered my nose. The children weren't quite as subtle. My son gagged out loud.

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    Elderly Cantonese gentlemen playing a rousing game while taking a break from selling their wares.

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    Eldest used her chopsticks like a pro while we dined with one of Husband's co-workers. We were so impressed! So much so, the scallywag began using his chopsticks, too.

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    The view from the top of Hong Kong Island was breathtaking. It deserves a post unto itself as the entire day was a real adventure. Let's put it this way: a tram on a steep mountain, boat trips across Victoria Harbor, soaring heights with chilly winds. Throw in a banana, coffee, and wildly running children and you'll have an idea of how much fun we had.

    TASTED

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    After a fitting for our clothes at Sam's Tuesday evening, we met with one of Husband's friends, Polly, for an authentic Chinese meal. As she's Chinese and makes the normally hard, nasal language flow delicately, she ordered the meal for us. It included fried tofu, small cups of tea and hot water, and a chicken and green bean dish. The specialty is what you see above: suckling pig. It's made to order and happily I can report it was superb! Both of the children ate it as well, though the little guy preferred the baconesque skin to the actual meat. We still consider it a culinary victory!

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    A famous delicacy in Hong Kong is the egg custard tart. It was made most famous by former Hong Kong governor, Chris Patton. You have to look for these divine little treats, though, as they're not sold everywhere. The Chinese consider the tarts prepared in flaky crusts to be superior, and look down at those who prepare them with milk, or sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon.

    Wishing for an authentic egg custard tart experience, we discovered some by accident our first full day in Hong Kong. It was so very good. But it wasn't served piping hot, as it is best meant to be enjoyed. We lucked out after our museum visits, however, and found some at a tiny street bakery.

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    They were piping hot~right from the ovens. The custard jiggled as it had yet to set, and the owner excitedly took four out and placed them into a pretty little box. The pride she took in this little treat was evident.

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    Oooooh they were perfect!

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    If you're not into custards, you won't appreciate this, but watching the flaky crust crumble and steam escape from the filling as it escaped its confines was a thing of beauty. To keep things honest I'll admit my tongue was burned a few times~and each sting with every bite was completely worth it.

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    I hope to have at least one more before we leave on Sunday...or maybe two.

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    Peking Duck...no, we actually haven't had this yet. It was hanging outside a store off of Reclamation Street, and this coupled with that end scene from "A Christmas Story" doesn't have me inclined to try it anytime soon. I'm not a fan of duck to begin with, and pretty as it looks with its dark glaze, I cannot work myself up to wanting some. That said, if the opportunity presents itself, I'll try it. I will not run from a challenge.

    IN OUR SUITCASES

    We had to get a few things for the children while we were out of the hotel. We picked up some colorful maracas, a chinese hand drum, a jade pendant for Eldest. We also picked up some other pretty things that will always remind us of our time in Hong Kong.

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    While letting the children pick out some fun things to bring back to Tokyo, I couldn't help but eye the colorful sea of bracelets. Some were very ornate, but others were jade in different shades. I decided to get a few in traditional green.

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    On our first full day in Kowloon, the children and I ventured out to Nathan Road, also known as the Golden Mile for their colorful lights at night. We picked up their baubbles here, and found something truly remarkable: a local artist who sold his oil paintings in a dimly lit alley, next to other vendors. His name is Ah Koon. His work was often overlooked because they weren't "tchocky" items. It was real art. I was so excited when I saw his black and white oil painting of old Hong Kong. What a gorgeous reminder of our trip! And because we were his first visitors of the day? He knocked the price down significantly. Win-win!

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    This sweet skimmer dress being altered by our tailor at Sam's is fabulous. Though we had to let the hem down by 5 inches, we were thrilled at how it turned out! It's going to be great for the spring and summer months~wherever we may be.

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    We'll be bringing back memories of a fun afternoon at the Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens with our new friends, the Benefields. I know Kathleen from her two blogs, The Benefields and Roux in a Wok, and I have to tell you, we have so much in common it's crazy. Our two boys were pretty crazy about one another as well! Eldest helped to watch after them as Kathleen and I chatted, and they were so good together~not to mention super cute. I hope we get to do this again before our tour of Asia is over! Perhaps we'll play host next time?

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    Of course, we'll be bringing these two precious people back with us as well. Their smiles and sweet laughter are the best things ever!

    We're headed back to Tokyo tomorrow, and feel pretty good about things. We've had plenty of time to consider things and evaluate what we know. For now, we feel comofrtable returning and take comfort we have a home to return to. Thank you all for keeping us close in your hearts and minds! We are so lucky.

    A lovely Saturday to you and yours...

    9 Responses to “
    Simply Southern Saturdays: The Hong Kong Edition

    High Heeled Life said...

    Looks and sounds like a fabulous time! These truly are memories you and your children will have for a life time!!! xo HHL

    Mrs. Cozy Home said...

    That purple jade is mesmerizing ... I am so glad you bought one of the necklaces, so I can live vicariously! :)

    Katherine said...

    I didn't know you knew Kathleen! She is a good family friend! Love that ya'll got to meet up! Two Ole Miss alumnae in Hong Kong!!!!

    Katherine said...

    I didn't know you knew Kathleen! She is a good family friend. Two Ole Miss alumnae in Hong Kong!!! I hope ya'll got a picture to send to the Ole Miss Alumni Review!

    Suburban Princess said...

    It looks like you are having a wonderful time - what precious quality time with your children!

    Your Southern Peach said...

    What a lovely, lovely post. Your family is just beautiful and very blessed to have such a wonderfully diverse exposure to lifestyle! Wishing the best for the return to Tokyo.

    Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

    What a fun trip!! I've heard so many amazing things about those famous little tarts. I LOVE LOVE egg custard and am drooling just looking at them. Yum!

    Ruth said...

    Looks like a blast. I love the painting and Maddy's dress. What about yours?
    And if I had known about the jade market I would have said yes to you picking up something for me. Oh well!

    Kerri said...

    Your life is such an adventure! I admire you, so. The last picture is a money-maker :))