Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hello Hong Kong

In the fall we had started planning our 2014 Chinese New Year trip, but when the tornado happened and we lost our house, we couldn’t focus on both things.  We pushed pause on our original idea and instead planned something much simpler.  We chose to return to Hong Kong and spend time outside of Hong Kong Disneyland, which we visited on our first trip to Hong Kong.

We landed on a Tuesday afternoon and I didn’t want to waste a moment, so I made reservations on a replica Chinese Junk Ship.  We sailed around the harbor and took in the Hong Kong skyline and lights.  I loved it, but LBean was less-than-thrilled to be tossed around a boat with the wind whipping around us.  To say the least, it was not a highlight of the trip for her.

Hong Kong Skyline
Replica Junk Ship
Tad bit windy
Bright and fun!
The next morning we strolled through Hong Kong stopping at a bakery for breakfast and a children’s toy and clothing store I had discovered during my online research.  In the afternoon, we took the Star Ferry line across the harbor and had a proper English tea at a hotel.  It was fantastic and, for me, a highlight of our trip.  The McClintocks to get excited about tea!  We have tea parties at our house often, complete with tiny china tea-cups, sugar and biscuits and I think our girls enjoyed going to a real one.  Also, it was exciting for them to see adults having tea and using all the manners that we constantly talk about.  Each girl got their own set of fancy desserts and tea or hot chocolate.

On the Star Ferry

EBean deciding what sweet treat
to eat first!
ChinaBean enjoyed afternoon tea too!
That is a tower of pure goodness!
A bit of cream for ChinaBean's fresh scone.
The next day we took a double-decker city bus to visit the Stanley market area.  We enjoyed wandering through a part of the market and walking along the boardwalk.  After the girls had worn themselves out a bit at near-by playground, we had lunch at an Irish pub that overlooked the water.  Irish pub in Hong Kong, why not?!  We eat Mexican and Indian in Suzhou all the time.

Shopping for some fresh fruit for a snack.
ChinaBean was fast asleep in the Ergo carrier.
Snacking on the boardwalk.
Let's get Baba (daddy in Mandarin) in a photo too.
One of our views as we took the bus back to
the city center.
Jamie and I planned a surprise trip to Hong Kong Disneyland for the girls.  We had told them that going to Disney was not the focus of our trip (and it hadn’t been) and they had not once complained or begged about going to see the mouse.  We were happy to take ChinaBean to Disney for the first time and enjoy all the Disney magic as a family of five.  It was also our first time to get to Disney via a subway ride!
My three little peanuts could not be cuter-
but I am biased!
LBean pretending to have Tinkerbell in her hand.
When did this girl get so big?!

Dizzy in the tea cups.
A photo op with a Chinese "Army"
man from Toy Story?  Yes please.

Our last full day in Hong Kong we walked to a near-by theater to see a children’s play called The Gruffalow’s Child, based on a book of the same name.  It was an hour-long production and completely geared towards young children. It was part of a series of productions called KidsFest Hong Kong.  The girls enjoyed it even though parts of the play were still a little intense.  It reminded me of how much I miss theater, both musicals and plays.  We have ballet and some children’s shows in Suzhou, but most (and maybe all) are in Mandarin and there certainly isn’t the variety.  I started having crazy thoughts about how we could fly down to Hong Kong every so often to see a play…
LBean, getting a new do.
ChinaBean wanted a "haircut" too.
The kind woman braided Amelia's hair for her.

That night (our last night) at dinner ChinaBean didn’t eat much and she kept saying “full”.  I had an idea of what she meant by that, but I pushed that thought out of my head.  Unfortunately, I was right, and later as we were getting read for bed she got sick, really sick.  (If you’ve been keeping track this now means the McClintocks have had a stomach bug in Indonesia, Thailand and now Hong Kong.)  We got her settled and we all headed to bed.  

In the middle of the night I heard the gagging sound again and I yelled to Jamie “We’ve got another puker!”  We had to flip on the light to see if it was LBean or EBean.  EBean had one the prize this time.  Morning came quickly (or maybe it was slowly, I don't know) and we packed up the best we could.  We stuffed extra clothes for the flight home in our carry-on bags and crossed our fingers that we would make it home safely.  Jamie took EBean and I had ChinaBean and we tried to conceal our vomiting children as much as we could on the plane (sorry fellow passengers).  I was praying that our sick kiddos wouldn’t set off the temperature detectors at the mainland China airport when we arrived.  We got lucky and made it through immigration and customs.  Jamie stopped for a moment to grab some drinks before we hopped in the van to drive home.  When he stepped out of the store he sniffed the air and said “Something smells out here.”  I looked up and said “I’m pretty sure it’s us honey.  We’re covered in vomit.”  He still swears that it wasn’t us, but I’m not so sure.

Home sweet home felt so good (and so did a very hot shower).

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