Sunday, November 29, 2009


OK -- since my lengthy and informative email from last night did not save, here I go again with all the latest from Hong Kong. As mentioned, my friend, Emma Mercado and myself decided to travel to Hong Kong for our Eid El Adha school break. We left on Wednesday November 25 around midnight and arrived in Hong Kong on Thursday November 26 around 3:00 p.m. We booked a lovely 5 star package flying from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Doha, Qatar on Qatar Airlines. We had a 1 hour stopover and then we flew to Hong Kong -- the entire journey took about 8 hours. We are staying in the luxurious InterContinental Grand Stanford and it is fantastic -- well located and beautiful upscale service!!! Hong Kong is glittering with Christmas lights on the face of so many buildings -- snowmen, Santa's, Christmas trees and more! It is so beautiful and spectacular. I'm sure my pictures will not do it justice. Our hotel is gorgeous all done up in gold and white lights with Christmas trees and garland -- stunning!!!!

As mentioned, the customer service at our hotel is so prompt and exceptionally polite. I always said I was in heaven with the efficiency of Disneyworld in Florida -- not a touch of incompetence at Disney -- no sir -- Walt wouldn't stand for it. Well here in Hong Kong, our hotel is like Disneyworld with a Chinese accent and small half bows. I LOVE HONG KONG -- and why wouldn't I? Efficient, hustle and bustle and shopping paradise -- have I died?

Friday evening we went to Temple Street to the "night market" -- can you say HK dollars flying out of my wallet!! Everything is crammed along several well-lit blocks in small stalls with so much activity of all types. A smorgasboard of people, food, bargaining and excitement. I was in a shopping trance for sure!! Of course, I loved all the bargaining and the deals. From leather to jade to figurines to Pashmina shawls of cashmere -- top that off with hanging dead chickens in the windows of restaurants and lot of local Chinese having late night snacks -- you know when the locals are hanging there it is the right spot to be. It could have used a few more eligible middle-aged, flirty men, but they must be traveling somewhere else on the planet.

We visited lovely Nan Liem Gardens -- so beautiful and peaceful with the serene sound of chinese music playing in the background as you strolled the well-manicured grounds. We ate a late lunch/early dinner at a restaurant behind a waterfall.

Prior to that stop we went to "Wong Tai Sin" Temple. It was somewhat of a disappointment but everything can't be a winner.

Today, Emma and I decided to take the "Hong Kong Island Tour". It lasted 5 hours and we really enjoyed the hassle free trip. We crossed the harbour in a tunnel between Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island. It reminded me of the Windsor/Detroit tunnel. O.K. -- let's start with the history lesson -- you all know how much I adore history. Hong Kong is a city of 7 million people -- 2 million of those people are extremely low income and live in government provided housing. All of Hong Kong is on "reclaimed land" meaning reclaimed from the British as it was a British colony until 1997. 36% of Hong Kong is mountainous, therefore, only 18% can be used for people to live and prosper. Space is an issue. In 1997 Hong Kong was returned to China -- this includes the Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong Island and 260 smaller islands. An agreement was met between mainland China and Britian ( Margaret Thatcher) that 2 systems of government would prevail for 50 years -- socialist and capitalist. It will be interesting to know what will happen when the 50 years are up -- I'll be dead by then, but it is history in the making. The British influence is alive and well and I am told that little has changed since 1997 when it changed hands -- probably due to the 50 year capitalist agreement.

Hong Kong Island is very busy and the streets were packed with people and dead chickens and fish heads and shops -- you get the picture. Feng Shui is very important to the Chinese people and Feng Shui masters are often consulted for wealthy people's homes and businesses. They are also very superstitious about certain numbers with the number 4 being extremely unlucky and the number 8 being the best number.

We visited the highest viewing point in Hong Kong called "Victoria Peak" -- probably named after Queen Victoria. There were great city views and typical shops -- Haagan Daz and Starbucks. We only had a 30 minute stop here -- very nice, but a bit hazy for the best pictures. We then traveled to the seaside port of "Aberdeen" -- of course named after Aberdeen, Scotland. It is the lower income area and considered a fishing village. We took a boat ride that brought us into the harbour and we saw the famous floating restaurant "Jumbo" which was used in a Jackie Chan movie.

Next on our tour we went to a jewelery factory -- it was really a jewelery stop at a nice shop to buy, buy, buy -- I bought nothing. I really wanted a strand of beautiful cultured pearls, but decided to pass -- it took a great deal of restraint!!
We continued on to Repulse Bay where the wealthy of the wealthy Chinese live -- we passed Jackie Chan's house and we passed a gorgeous view of the South China Sea. Our trip concluded at the "Stanley Market". We only had about 30 minutes here, but I managed to make some souvenir purchases.


Gotta run for now, but will blog again in a couple days to report all the latest happenings from Hong Kong.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


GREETINGS READERS -- I am so sorry to have slacked on the blog for the past month. Right after Halloween (did you see the pictures I posted?) not much happened. Just business as usual -- school, school and school. I started tutoring a native Egyptian girl named Dara 3 times per week to make some extra cash. She is in grade 3 and a real doll -- I love her!! Around mid-November I finally got sick. I went to a seminar on "How to buy a good carpet" and the sore throat and cough started. I went to the clinic Sunday night after school. The visit cost me approx. $17.00 Canadian dollars. It turns out I had started with a virus and it turned into an infection. I am still finishing my antibiotic, antihistamine and puffer. Yes, after selling puffers for Glaxosmithkline, I finally had to use one -- a competitor of course!!!

The big news is that I am updating this blog from HONG KONG!!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I booked this trip with my friend Emma Mercado ----- after typing all about Hong Kong last night in Starbuck's, I have just opened my computer to notice that it did not save all my laborious work -- this is the 2nd time this has happened!!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Halloween pictures of my class

Here are my kids in their Halloween costumes -- just like home!!! Of course I had treats for them and they brought in goodies as well.