Sunday, March 12, 2017

Saturday, March 11 (Liz)

Mark and I began our day by heading to the Hong Kong LDS temple. I was pretty excited about this because I remember when it was built when I was younger and it was always one of my favorites. Our session in the temple was very full; they had to bring in folding chairs for people to sit on. It was conducted in Cantonese but about a third of the patrons wore headsets for either English or Mandarin translation. We ran into some fellow American tourists outside and we took each others' photos across the street from the temple. We've noticed that when people like to ask us why we are visiting Hong Kong, and then assume that it's either because we know someone who lives here or because one of us served a mission here. Many are surprised to learn that we came solely to explore and have an adventure.

After the temple we started heading back to our AirBnb but grabbed some lunch from a chain called Hokkaido Dairy Farm in a subway station. I just looked it up and learned that it is in fact a Hong Kong chain, not originating from Japan. They had some weird "fusion" options on their menu. I ended up getting a fusion dish that had bolognese in its name but by no means could it really be considered bolognese (which I did figure when I ordered it). It was macaroni in a Spaghetti-O's-esque tomato base with some thin pieces of beef and milk-scrambled egg on top. It ended up tasting pretty okay. Mark had a less unusual ramen-style meal.

This is the only outdoor train station we've been to so far. Mark will probably correct my terminology.
We took a break in our AirBnb for a couple hours (Mark's heel still wasn't feeling great), then ventured out for our afternoon tea experience at a hotel just down the road. I had really wanted to do high tea while we were in Hong Kong because of the British influence of the city. We went to a Norse-influenced place called FINDS cafe which had a more unique menu and better price than many of the other options I had looked up. The afternoon tea was definitely a-traditional: no cucumber sandwiches or the like but we really enjoyed it. I did wish it had a few more savory dishes, as it seemed about 2/3 of the items were sweet. My favorite was this dessert puff filled with a creamy passionfruit filling because PASSIONFRUIT! Mark's favorite was of course the scone.

We decided to spend our evening back on Hong Kong Island in the Causeway Bay area. We began at Victoria Park, the largest park on Hong Kong Island. When we got there it seemed there was a large event going on inside which we could access for a small fee - hooray for spontaneous discoveries! It ended up being a flower show occupying the entire park grounds. Flower displays and foliage for sale and food vendors and the park sculptures covered in greenery and flowers. This place was PACKED! Everyone had their phones and cameras out taking photos but it was very difficult to get a decent photo without it being photobombed. We walked through at a snail's pace due to the large crowds. It was an impressive show.

The best selfie we could manage

Floating garden type exhibit

Outside of Victoria Park, many foreign women (Filipina and others) had set up blankets on the ground and were partying and eating with their friends. According to our guidebook, a lot of foreign women are domestic workers or nannies and their only day off is Sunday so it seems as though they were just getting their "weekend" started. I'm guessing we'll see a lot more of that on Sunday when we go back to Hong Kong island. I'll try and snag a picture.

We headed to a candy shop recommended in our guide book next which ended up being a bit of a bust. It was empty and while I'm sure the candy was very good (hard candies made in-house), it was really expensive so we didn't want to stand around and watch them make candy when we weren't planning on buying any. Then we headed to the heart of Causeway Bay, the shopping centers. There were several malls, one with 17 stories. We went into a mall that was a little bit smaller but had a bookstore occupying 3 floors in it. We probably would have enjoyed perusing more, but at that point we were starting to get hungry and my feet were getting sore. We didn't dawdle too long and then headed back to Kowloon. We grabbed some quick bites on the way back including a BBQ pork bun and a satay beef bun from our favorite little bakery and then called it a night.

Awesome hot dog stand we ran into. Note the double foie gras option.

Pretty lights over expensive shopping street


  • The Hong Kongese don't seem to care much about the appearance of the outside of their buildings. From everything that we've seen which of course is limited, the inside of apartments and stores are generally well-kept and nice, but the outsides look very run-down. There is stained rust on the sides of many building and they just look old and dilapidated. I'm guessing the cost of maintaining the outsides of the buildings just isn't worth it?
  • Almost every Hong Kong toilet we have encountered has had a smaller button to flush liquid waste and a larger button to flush solid waste. While some in the US are adopting this system, it is usually done by either pushing down or pulling up on the flush lever. The Hong Kong button method is much more intuitive and easy to use.

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