seems like a lot has happened since my last blog post. i was supposed to do the scuba diving course in koh tao, but ended up getting really sick and had to cancel. a little bummed, but no big deal. i went to hong kong on january 5th … got delayed in the bangkok airport for most of the day, but finally made it there that night and was so happy to be at justin and marisa’s place! justin is a friend of mine who i have known since high school and marisa is his wife. they met at georgia tech and have been living a pretty amazing life together. they were in germany for 3 years prior to moving to hong kong. he is a teacher and she is a counselor and they’ve decided to spend some time working abroad. i was lucky enough to meet up with them along the way! hong kong was a place that i had wanted to visit anyway … knowing that i would get to spend time with 2 amazing people made me even more excited about the destination. even though i’ve known justin for quite a long time, he and i never spent all that much time together back in the day. marisa and i hadn’t spent much time together either … i had met her on several different occasions and knew she was a good one, but i didn’t have the chance to get to know her until this trip. certainly one of the best parts about my time in hong kong was getting to know justin and marisa a little better! they are such kind people and were extremely welcoming and helpful. i loved getting to see them together … they balance each other out really well and are so much fun to be around. we shared some really nice conversations and lots of laughs. i knew i liked justin’s sense of humor, but i hadn’t been around him in so long that i kind of forgot how funny he is. between his dry sense of humor and marisa’s bubbly sense of humor i was quite entertained. to be honest, i wish i could have stayed a bit longer. however, in the 4 days i was there we saw so much of hong kong! of course there is still so much more to see … the city is full of random little side streets and if you wanted to you could explore for months. they live in mong kok, which is on the kowloon peninsula. this area of hong kong feels very authentic … lots of people, busy streets, food everywhere, markets, multi-story buildings, not quite as western as hong kong island.
on sunday, we all went to lantau island to see tian tan (big buddha). justin and marisa hadn’t done this yet so it gave us all a good excuse to go together. we took a cable car ride over to the island and even though the sky was hazy it was still a really beautiful view. i didn’t realize that hong kong was mountainous in certain areas … so when you take the cable car over you get a really nice view of lantau island, mountain peaks, and valleys.
big buddha is pretty freaking big and it’s worth a look if you go to HK. there’s a monastery nearby and also a fishing village called tai o that is just a bus ride away. we had lunch in the fishing village and walked around looking at street food and fish … i still couldn’t tell you what a lot of the food we saw was, but it was interesting. we did try a sample of some pork. it was literally a sheet of pork and the guy just takes his scissors and cuts you off a piece. it was actually really tasty!
justin and marisa made mexican food that evening … this obviously made me very happy! it was a perfect evening after our long day out in the cold weather. tacos, chips and salsa, warm clothes, a game of qwirkle (i lost really bad), and watching some american football.
i spent the next day exploring mong kok a bit … just walking around and taking it all in. we had dim sum at a michelin rated restaurant. they had been wanting to try this place so i’m glad i got to experience it with them. the bbq pork buns (cha siu bao) were my favorite for sure. ended the night with waffles for dessert and hoegardens on a random rooftop bar that was located in a small, dodgy mall in mong kok. yea it was just weird … the mall is tiny with narrow walkways and they sell things like cell phones and porn and then you go up a floor and find this classy bar. it turned out to be a pretty good find!
sorry i’m giving you the play by play of my days in HK, but i just had such a nice time and wanna share what i did! my last 2 days went something like this … bird garden, nan lian chinese garden, chi lin nunnery, walking along the harbour on avenue of the stars, checking out central (hong kong island), soho, the midlevel escalators, tram up to victoria peak (amazing view of the city), dinner at HK brewhouse, a drink at one of their favorite bars, and taking a ride on star ferry. also, they totally surprised me and took me to a concert! i’m not sure how i didn’t know about rodrigo y gabriela before, but the show was amazing! they are a duo from mexico and they are absolutely ridiculous on the guitar. most of their influences are heavy metal bands so their twist on acoustic guitar is pretty interesting.
so yea .. i’m really happy that i went to HK and got to spend time with J&M. definitely wouldn’t mind going back again someday!
photos … big buddha, monastery, fishing village
mong kok …
ticket to get into the dim sum restaurant!
chinese gardens and nunnery
junk boat/avenue of the stars
central – hollywood avenue
victoria peak view