[dear vanessa] thinking of you

Everything in this note is the truth.

 

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[paris] day 3 highlights

Paris isn’t all fluffy macaroons and fashion-clad romantic types with perfect, tousled hair and pouty lips.

Charles de Gaulle airport leaves a ton to be desired. And the outskirts, or suburbs, are just like any other developed city anywhere in the world. Unattractive industrial buildings, overgrowth of weeds along the highways and empty lots. I like that there is this layer of ‘real-world’ before you get to the historic city.

So. Paris is normal too.

First. Our last day. One little girl states that she’s sick even before breakfast arrives to our table at Rose Bakery, which means the parents will have to take shifts at the hotel with her the rest of the day.

Second. After hubs went on a quick shoe hunt (came back empty-handed), Perry, Ava and I took the Metro to the Arc de Triomphe. What a gorgeous day! We walked along the Champs Elysees (along with all the other tourists), and enjoyed a wonderful treat before heading back to the hotel.

Last. Dada took Perry and Ava to the Eiffel Tower in the early evening. Teddy wasn’t too bummed since he promised to bring her back little Eiffel Tower key rings as gifts for her friends back home.

Then the next morning we were off to the airport.

So long Paris – until next time.

Rose Bakery photos via: The Taste of Paris; Qype. Trouvez. Partagez.; Breakfast, Lunch, Tea – Rose Bakery, Phaidon Books

[paris] day 1+2 highlights

News flash. Parisans are not snobby. And are you sitting? The food is great.

Eight years ago I wouldn’t have said that about the food. Back then Hubs and I had such horrible luck finding food that didn’t consist of goose liver or bone marrow. But my how things have changed – and it’s easy.

I love Paris.

From the wide sidewalks of Barcelona, to the narrow ones of Paris, we’ve been walking a ton. Just ask the girls. They are tired of it. But they’ve been excited about Paris since the start of the trip. We arrived early evening, checked into the hotel, Jules + Jim (what an amazing little hotel, with the friendliest staff), and then got movin’.

Day 1. Crepes, Notre Dame, BAM (the duck + steak tartare were amazing – even the girls liked it!), and Seine river ride.

In that order.

Day 2. First. It was pretty easy to just walk about and find a café for breakfast. Petit dejeuner for us all at Café Crème. Being a tourist in almost any city can be frustrating when shops/things to do don’t get started until 11ish. Note: we are not a jogging/running family. So we walked. Slowly. And the Parisian gods of ‘non-touristy-events’ shined down on us as we stumbled upon a local park hosting a school/community carnival fundraiser.

At first the girls were worried they might not understand what people were saying. But it didn’t take long for them to feel comfortable knocking over tin-cans, and selecting their cheap toy winnings.

Day 2. Second. Versailles vs. Louvre. We struggled, and thought it best to stay in town – so Louvre here we come. Perry and Ava fell in love with the Egyptian wing – Perry trying to sketch as fast as she could, Ava begging me to tell her everything about Egyptian people/culture “stories.” Paris was just on our side for this trip – there was little to no line to get into the Louvre, and no big crowds at the Mona Lisa, and the weather was superb!

Day 2. Third. Edible stuff time. You’ve never seen three girls happier when Dad told them there was a Chipotle in Paris. And boy did we all enjoy it! And at the Hotel Jules et Jim, there were the best little caramels greeting us on our pillows. They come from Jacques Genin (photo: Paris-Lifestyle), they have a dessert café – yay! Then for dinner we enjoyed empanadas. That’s right. From Clasico Argentino – and they were sooo-soooo yummy!

[sweet girls] tea for two

Perry’s Hong Kong wish list item number one. To have a traditional Chinese tea. I know, totally sweet, right? Today we started our search with Lock Cha Tea House.

We cut through the Admiralty MTR station to get to Hong Kong Park (our version of Central park). Just after entering the Park, we reached the tea house, a very sweet building, with a tea museum next door. Jealous? We enjoyed vegetarian dim sum with our White Rose White Tea.

Lock Cha is on the tourist maps. But don’t let that hinder your tea time. You can learn about tea and tea service, or enjoy traditional Chinese music with your tea and dim sum (schedule). Charming traditional setting with ornate, dark wood dividers and screens. And of course you can buy blocks of tea, tins of tea, banana leave wraps of tea, etc. Everything reasonably priced.

And yes, we did walk through the museum too. Lots of tiny tea pots to be seen.

It was wonderful. Mostly because of Perry.

Lock Cha Tea House
Main Shop  //  UG/F, 290B, Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong  //  t: 2805-1360
Tea House  //  G/F, The K.S. Lo Gallery, Hong Kong Park, Admiralty, Hong Kong  //  t: 2801-7177

[sweet girls] a promise of toys

Teddy doesn’t mind being a tourist, but only if we promise to go ‘shopping’. For anything. I don’t know where she gets this need to shop. Not from me. Ask my mom. My sister, my friends. My hub. I’m not really a ‘shopper’ that way. Although, here in HK, it’s pretty much forced down your throat — there are SO many malls.

Anyway, she scored a bead craft thing and some water paints in exchange for a few snapshots. I got the better deal by far. Our little Latina.

dough balls at:
Pizza Express, SOHO Square, 21 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong  //  t: 2850 7898

shirt: Zara via Stanley Market

[love it] our first public holiday, more

So two weeks later. I, for one, enjoyed the Fire Dragon Festival in Tai Hang. Teddy thought it was okay. Ava was wary of the burning incense. Perry didn’t like all the smoke.

Here are some additional observations and activities from that night.

Public sidewalks. aka place to sort through your loot. aka backyard grill. aka designated public walking path, remember?

Chilly bliss. We grew tired (and hot) of waiting for the festivities to begin (45 minutes of ceremonial blah blah, in Chinese). So we mosey’d around the corner and found a ‘smoothie’ shop called Xiao Tian Gu (address at end of post). Chinese style. Cool, refreshing and cool and refreshing. Blended ice fruit concoctions, sweet red bean–pure chilly bliss.

I just love a marching band. Just before scrambling to follow the winding dragon through the streets, the crowd moves and gets excited. And then without really knowing it, the people part to make way for a marching bagpipe band. Yep. Kilts. Furry, tall hats. Knee-high socks. Bagpipes. And all Chinese, except for one guy. It was A W E S O M E!

smoothie+ shop:
Xiao Tian Gu, G/F, 10-11B School Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong  //  t: 2882 6133