I am getting worse and worse at posting on time but December was a pretty exciting and blog-able month and seeing as I still haven’t posted the postcards I wrote back in September, I think I’m doing alright at updating this.
So, I had been excitedly (and admittedly very lamely) been counting down to my parents arrival in HK and couldn’t believe how quickly December came around and they were stepping off the plane. With neither of them having been to Asia before, I wasn’t sure what they would make of Hong Kong and was slightly nervous about showing them around my new city and was hoping that they would love all the things I love about it too.
Saying that, I think they arrived at just the right time – the novelty of the big city was wearing off a little and I needed to see it with fresh eyes again, which is exactly what happened. Plus, having your parents come to stay always means good food and nice drinks right? And with those being two things I thoroughly enjoy – I knew it was going to be a great visit.
As they came to stay whilst I was working, we tried to make the most of every chance we had together for me to play tour guide and show them all the best sights. These included many of the places I have already blogged about (such as TST Harbour, The Peak, Soho, Sheung Wan and Wong Tai Sin Temple) and as much as I repeat myself in person, I wont subject you to more ramblings this time, but I will treat you to some photos.
My parents highlights were already firm favourites of mine – Lamma Island, Peng Chau Island, Chi Lin Nunnery as well as the Big Buddha, which I had saved for their arrival. Wanting to still be impressed with a new sight in Hong Kong, I had been waiting for months to take the cable car up to the ‘largest sat down Buddha in the world’. Although the weather let us down and we had to give the cable car a miss, I think the eerie mist added a relaxing atmosphere to the top of the mountain, and of course the Buddha, in all his sitting down glory, was pretty spectacular. I was quite disappointed to discover that the statue was actually relativity new and not the historical cultural monument I had been led to believe that it was, but overall I think its still one of the best sights of Hong Kong and definitely not one to miss. Here are a few more photos from their stay:
After a rather tear-y goodbye, they headed back to the UK and I was left to countdown the days to my Xmas holiday! A week later, and after the 22 hour journey from hell (I am aware that I actually could have joined them in England in that time) myself, Lucy and Eleanor landed in the Paradise Island of Boracay, Philippines.
Staying at the Isla Gecko Guest, an adorably cute guest house about 2 minutes from the beautiful White Beach we quickly got into the Filipino festive spirit. With aims of spending the week doing absolutely nothing, we spent the first few days settling into Boracay life – spending hours on the beach stopping only for (incredible) food, mango shakes, cocktails and massages.
What stood out most for me about Boracay was the amazing friendliness we experienced everywhere. Now, I am not saying that the Hong Kongers aren’t friendly, but chatty they ain’t and the Filipino’s nature certainly put them (and the Brits!) to shame. By the end of the week I had fallen in love with pretty much every person I met, and didn’t want to leave. The atmosphere of the island was unlike anywhere I have been before, and especially came to life in the evening when the beach turned into one long strip of sandy (non-tacky) bars – obvious shout out going to Tribal Bar which served possibly the worst drinks I have had in my life, but always with a smile.
For all of us there, it was our first Christmas away from family, so it was always going to be slightly weird but we made the most of it – and even had turkey! I was lucky enough to have some presents to open on Xmas morning, and then we headed out to go paddle boarding with the owners of the hotel before having a ‘traditional’ Mongolian Christmas lunch and heading back for the standard Christmas walk along the beach, which was rather different to any Christmas walk along the beach that I have done before! We spent the evening sipping wine and looking at the sea as we tucked into a Xmas buffet, before heading back to tribal bar to continue the night in a slightly less sophisticated way. Here are some pictures of our very non-traditional Xmas:
The next few days weren’t much more active, although we did venture across the island to Puka Beach on a slightly death-trappy tricycle ride that gave us a brilliant view of inland Boracay. We ended up experiencing this type of ride again on our last night, which turned from a sophisticated drink to returning from a kareoke room in very rural Boracay with 10 barmen at 7am. I sang Eminem ‘Lose yourself’ if your wondering. It went down a treat. Here is our triumphant return, and the sunrise that awaited us back at White Beach.
Returning to HK with serious post-holiday blues, I had a few chilled out days before it was time to celebrate NYE, nervously sipping mulled wine (I was wearing white) and admiring the HK skyline from a Junk Boat sat in Victoria Harbour (casual). The fireworks were epic, and it was a brilliant way to welcome a year I am very excited about.