Week One

Hello all! I’m writing this from Hong Kong International Airport, as we wait to board a flight to Tokyo. Mark is sitting next to me learning how to say the phrase “I am not Japanese” in Japanese. The past week has been an insane blur of planes and jetlag and delicious food.

We left Vancouver on Monday morning, after trudging to the Skytrain station through snow (!). After consuming our last double-doubles, we boarded a 12.5-hour flight to Shanghai. I am a pretty good flier, but that one was brutal. I managed to sleep for a few hours, but poor Mark didn’t get any rest at all. We watched movies on our computer, read a lot, played some rock-paper-scissors. By the time we got to Shanghai, I had the worst case of cankles I’ve ever seen.

After a five-hour layover in Shanghai, we had a quick flight to Hong Kong, arriving around 1 a.m. and getting to our hotel close to 2.

Hong Kong was a great place to begin this trip, because although it was overwhelming in terms of population and size, it was very easy to navigate. Things were just so efficient – their subway system is hands down the best one I’ve ever been on.

During our first couple of days there, we did a lot of walking around the area we were staying in, Kowloon, and also checked out Central, where the downtown core is. We also met up for dinner and drinks with a cousin of mine who was here working on a movie. He dished about celebrities but I can’t tell you anything. Except maybe for money.

Because we had the good fortune to be here over the Lunar New Year, there were lots of exciting things happening.

We spent a fantastic day going up the mid-level escalators, the longest covered escalator in the world, then wandering over to the Zoological and Botanical Garden, which was gorgeous and filled with monkeys and flowers.

After leaving the gardens, we took the terrifying, rickety tram up to Victoria Peak for an incredible view of the city.

On our third full day, we took the ferry over to Macau. The Portugese influence was immediately apparent, and mixed with all the New Year decorations it was pretty fun to take in the main square.

Macau is the birthplace of one of my very favourite desserts – the Portugese egg tart, also known as “heaven in your mouth”. Mark put a gun to my head and made me buy one:

They were DELICIOUS, you guys. If you live in Canada and want to try them, go to TNT. Make sure you get the ones with the caramelized tops, not the Chinese egg tarts that look similar. Is this bossy of me? I don’t even care.

On our remaining days in Hong Kong, we visited the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, a Taoist temple that was absolutely packed with people worshipping before the New Year.

Immediately after the hustle and bustle of the temple, we hopped the MTR and took in the Chi Lin Nunnery and the Nan Lian Gardens, two of the most beautiful, peaceful places I’ve ever been.

The next day we made the trek up to the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. There were 400+ steps and a lot of annoying tourists, but it was totally worth it.

Other highlights of Hong Kong included the Kowloon Walled City Garden, hot and sweet milk tea that we stopped for daily, and catching a glimpse of the New Years parade that was right around the corner from our hotel. The Temple Street night market was pretty fantastic, and I found a keychain there with my name on it – the first time in my life that has ever happened. I haven’t even touched on the food, but it was spectacular – dim sum, congee, South Indian. You could pretty much get anything you wanted. I was very happy.

The first week of our trip was pretty great and made both of us so excited for the rest of the trip. Next time you hear from us, we’ll be in Japan, where hopefully more stuff like this will happen:

For more pictures of Hong Kong and Macau, click here.

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0 Responses to Week One

  1. Heidi says:

    Yay! So glad to hear that you guys are safe but also having a good time. You should add an ‘our progress’ map for the rest of your travels….
    xoxo (to both of you now that Mark doesn’t have a dirty ‘stache)

    • Mark says:

      I’ve updated progress page (we were actually just talking about how we needed to do that earlier today). Don’t worry, Heidi, I can always grow the moustache back for you since you liked it so much.

  2. Corinna Cochrane says:

    Hong Kong looks so colourful and fun. I want a bite of that giant bowl of noodles!!!

  3. Dave says:

    Just getting caught up on your travels. So fun, I’m glad the first week was a good one. You’re sure to have a not-so-good week at some point, so you can think back to this one and be reminded that travelling is fun 😉

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