I’ve been told there are three phases in the expat experience.
1) the happy-tourist phase, 2) the cry-in-the-shower-this-is-not-like-home phase, and 3) the yay-we-live-here phase. We’re of course in Phase 1. And here are just a few of the touristy things we’ve done.
^Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market: this wholesale fruit market in Kowloon was listed as one of the ‘themed’ streets to visit on an HK web site. It’s a maze of stalls in an old, tin-roofed type warehouse building spanning about a block.
Mostly selling wholesale, these vendors sell to individuals too. As we walked through, we quickly realized that this place must be listed in all the tourists books as one of the stall owners tried to sell us a crate of six mangoes for $150HKD. That’s $19.23USD. Good thing I took my anti-sucker pill.
Rumor has it that all the open-air markets in HK will someday be forced to sell indoors due to hygiene concerns. I simultaneously like and hate this plan. These markets are part of the charm of this great ‘old with new’ city.
^Maxims Palace: come on, it has ‘palace’ in the name (like almost every other big restaurant in HK). Listed as a must for dim sum, I’d say this was not a must, but a if you’re in the neighborhood. Please note, there are about a gazillion and five dim sum restaurants in HK. We are in China after all. The girls were great and tried almost everything!
^Nan Lian Garden + Nunnery: we didn’t see a single monk or nun, but this place is amazing. And free. Each building/temple structure was pieced together like a big puzzle, not a nail or screw lives here. Buddhas around every corner, complete with monk chant soundtrack piped throughout. It really is peaceful and does settle your mind (if you’re not dragging three young girls around who are complaining about the heat and would rather eat at McD’s for lunch). Cross a bridge over the busy street and you’re in well manicured, winding gardens. If you’re hungry they have a vegetarian restaurant – it was yumalicious.
^And we’re not the only ones being tourists. In our first week we’ve had visitors! My Aunt Sue first (from LA), then her son/my cousin, Aaron (USC) with his pal, Cody (Berkley). It appears that it’s a requirement that USC students vacation in HK, because Aaron has been running into them left and right.
Getting around is pretty easy, but it includes a lot of walking (I’ve lost 2 kilos in a week, you do the conversion). The girls are pretty pumped about having their own MTR passes (aka Octopus cards) – or as they like to call it, their ‘debit card’. Not only do these get you through public transportation, you can use them at tons of shops.
There have been a lot of other touristy things that we’ve done as well, it seems to go on and on…but we’ll save them for another time.