So, I left you hanging at the end of October with the promise of talk about Halloween, Sheung Wan and HK International Food Festival, and I am not a blogger that goes back on my word.
Fresh off the MTR with Friday Feeling, I transformed (little bit of facepaint and hair in a bun) myself into Black Swan to celebrate (play beer pong in fancy dress) Halloween! We went to a flat party in TST to celebrate the occasion and had a fun night, but possibly what was the most amusing was travelling through Hong Kong in fancy dress as we received a lot of looks of utter confusion and surprise from Hong Kongers. You would think that as it was Halloween our appearance would be self explanatory – but evidently not! My flatmate Amy particularly enjoyed winding the locals up with her rather impressive zombie noises as we travelled on the tube:
The following day I felt a little bit worse for wear so instead of the usual ‘escape the city’ Saturday, we decided to have a leisurely stroll around up and coming, slightly hipster, and ‘oh so very cool’ area Sheung Wan. Sheung Wan is kind of like an area of London, or Bristol, or any UK city with a quirky side, has just popped up in HK, merging western trendiness with Asian tradition. I love it. Any place that offers a maze of streets filled with cute, arty cafes and design orientated boutiques, is my kinda place – especially as it doesn’t have quite the same pretentious expat feel of Central Hong Kong…. and you do still feel like you are in China, which is always good when you are! We spent a lovely afternoon wandering around the galleries and trying to play it cool when we looked at the price tags in the shops – $270 dollars for a ceramic skunk with a Hitler face? No thanks. Nonetheless, I think Sheung Wan is pretty sick if you fancy indulging in a little bit of hipster action for the day.
Afterwards, we headed down to Victoria Harbour for the Hong Kong International Food and Wine Festival and it was incredible! This was just the perfect example of how much HK can offer- and at a reasonable price! For just $10 entry (less than a pound) we were in my kind of heaven (live music, nice wine and lots and lots of food). With a latino band playing on the big stage, the sun setting on HK skyline and a feast of parma ham (very rare in HK) in front of me – I sat back and thought ‘yeah this is good.’ I didn’t actually take any photos which is a shame, so thank god for Google:
The following weekend saw Amy turn the big 2-5, and this provided us with the perfect opportunity to try a Korean BBQ. Now, I had heard good things, but nothing could prepare me for just how good it was going to be! For $98 (about £7.80) we were offered an all you can eat buffet of meats, fish, vegetables, salads…..and candyfloss. In the middle of your table is a grill and you just pop everything on the BBQ and eat until you sweat…..and then eat some more.
We continued the birthday celebrations into the evening with cocktails on Knutsford Terrace in TST (a lovely european style street of bars and restaurants) and then headed off to LKF for a dance. The following day was nice and chilled, and we spent the afternoon watching the day go by in possibly the best Starbucks in the world (situated on the avenue of stars with a large balcony looking over at the famous HK skyline.)
The following weekend we opted for a nice slow change of pace and decided to explore the island of Peng Chau. Just half an hour from HK, Peng Chau is an undiscovered gem. With no cars and literally no pollution, you could be forgiven for thinking that you had been transported across the world to a Greek island. Taz and I decided to hire bikes and go for a gentle ride along the sea front and around the island.We did this, but of course it only ended in a Bridget Jones style disaster, with me falling off my bike and into a large ditch of manure….and then walking into the sea with my shoes on in attempt to clean off. Classic.
The following day, I decided to head off to Hong Kong Park as I had not been yet. I was slightly disappointed by it’s size, but was still impressed with how I felt like I had completely escaped the city, even though I was still surrounded by sky scrapers. I’m sure my friends at home will be really surprised (and hopefully proud) that I attempted to get over my bird phobia and by braving the aviary. I even almost enjoyed it. To be fair, the birds were beautiful – but they still had sharp claws, and you know how the claws bother me! I also ventured to Hong Kong zoological and botanical gardens. I would say that the word zoo is a slight exaggeration, and I was actually quite upset to see such large animals in such small cages. However, the entire park is free entry and so I would say it is worth a visit just for the gardens.
The following weekend saw all of us escape into the country to Tai Po for a day of relaxing outdoor pursuits. It was beaut. Tai Po is up in the New Territories towards China, and is home to some stunning scenery. We spent the day cycling, walking, barbecuing and boating on and around a gorgeous reservoir. It was an amazing day, and just shows that even when Hong Kong gets too much, you don’t even have to leave to escape it.
On Sunday, I headed back out to the New Territories to the Ping Shan heritage trail, which takes you on a walk that allows you to see some of the old remaining signs of Chinese heritage in Hong Kong. Included on the trail is one of the few Hakka walled villages that still exists and an array of temples and village buildings. However, although the buildings themselves were beautiful and interesting – it was very touristy and the area itself is fairly unimpressive.
And so that brings us up to this weekend. This Saturday, I ate. Alot. I had my first fry up since arriving in HK (amazing!) and in the heaving had a proper jokes night at all you can eat chinese cafe, Mr Wongs. Mr Wong took a particular shine to me this time, and asked me to be his number one wife. He even offered to buy me a cow, and when he discovered that I am allergic to milk, he promised he would drink all the milk for me. What a babe. Here we are, in the most awkward pose ever:
On Sunday, Lucy and I decided to kick start our ‘get fit for the beach’ routine, whilst giving a little back. We joined HK volunteer meet up group to hike to Tam Tai Reservoir in aid of Philippine relief. Expecting a nice gentle stroll, we were slightly surprised by the intensity, but were amazed by the views that we saw. Situated in the middle of Hong Kong island, Tai Tam is a little haven which I would definitely recommend. We had a brilliant day, and the event raised more then 2 thousand pounds!
So, see ya November! Next month I will have tales of my parents visit to Hong Kong, Christmas on Boracay Island in the Philippines and NYE on a boat in Victoria Harbour!