I have been wanting to see the Flag Raising Ceremony at The Golden Bauhinia Square for quite some time, but with an early 7:45 am start, I found it difficult to crawl out of bed and head over to Wan Chai. However, everything seemed to align this past Sunday morning as I had an early night on Saturday and vowed to haul myself out of bed (which is becoming increasingly difficult to do with this cold weather) to watch the “enhanced” ceremony.
For those who aren’t familiar with Times Square in Causeway Bay, there have massive themed displays that are put on every few months that can be quite impressive. This area becomes a hub for locals and tourists alike to gather around and take photographs of themselves with every single thing on display.
What expat doesn’t like going out with their coworkers for a delicious cold beverage after a long day of work? Add in some horses, beer drinking contests, and gambling, and you’ve got yourself a great evening at the races for Oktoberfest at Happy Valley Racecourse.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club (Happy Valley Racecourse) is a cesspool for expats on any given Wednesday night, however, during Oktoberfest the racecourse was completely packed to the brim with people. To get from the entrance to midway into the racecourse was maze-like, with a whole lot of “excuse me’s”, some elbows in the air, and a few not-so-subtlety mumbled curse words scattered about.
Earlier on this month Lantau Island held a weekend-long festival called Silvermine Bay Music Festival on Silvermine Beach (located right beside the ferry pier). You really have to hand it to Hong Kong for being able to put something like this on; with the initial support and minds of a local group of Mui Wo friends whose passion for music brought them together to organize this yearly event, it has since grown in popularity and scale.
Here’s the lowdown: On October 11, 12, and 13, Lantau Island saw a tonne of local and international performers and music lovers flock to Silvermine Beach for the day or night (or both!) to enjoy some street-eats, a few drinks, and some live music.
It’s that time of the year again – Mid-Autumn Festival is on September 19th 2013 this year (also known as the Moon Festival as the moon is currently at its roundest and brightest). This festival has been around since the Zhou Dynasty of 1046 – 246 BC when it was a moon sacrificial ceremony. The ceremony was all about giving thanks to the moon for the seasons, as it allowed their crops to harvest.
Since then, this festival has clearly been adopted to a festival with family and friends; either indoors where you eat Moon Cakes and give thanks, or outdoors where many celebrations take place in the form of dragon dancing, the lighting of lanterns, traditional Chinese plays, large displays, and so forth.
What better way to spend a day off than exploring the city? We decided to head over to Kowloon side to do a bit of touristy sightseeing and weren’t disappointed!
We were ready to cram in three sightseeing adventures into one busy day: 10,000 Buddha Monastary, Chi Lin Nunnery, Nan Lian Garden!
The students are crazy; antsy in their seats, buzzing around with anticipation for the break to begin. The teachers might be more crazy; with last minute marking to finish, getting packed and ready for our vacations, and in desperate need of some rest and relaxation. It’s the period right before winter break, and we all just want to head out for the holidays and leave school and work behind for a few weeks.
My first off-the-island adventure was to Lantau Island (the largest island in Hong Kong!). This island is immediately to the west of HK and we took a ferry to get there and the MTR to get home. The airport and Disneyland are actually located on this island. The island is not heavily populated and mostly caters to tourists.
The Big Buddha is a huge pull for people to travel to the island and there are many trails for the adventurous hikers who are looking for a new challenge. Once up there, there are many sights to see – temples, incense burning areas, beautiful architecture, statues of warriors, and the Buddha of course.
Where to even begin … The first few weeks in Hong Kong seem like such a blur now. L and I were frantically travelling all around the island to try to find a flat, there were so many new faces to get to know, restaurants to try, and streets (and people!) to navigate.
We spent ten days staying at the Ibis Hotel in North Point. I remember getting off the bus and heading up to my floor. I had never seen a hotel room quite like this – one room with a double bed that left about one and a half feet for walking space and a bathroom. Needless to say, Hong Kong is quite the compact city.
After a long search for a two bedr0om flat, L and I finally settled. We live only a ten minute walk from work. Though our place isn’t spectacular, it works. We have all the necessities within minutes from us (Starbucks, Subway, grocery store, McDonalds, laundry, MTR [subway] station, 7-Eleven, and the list goes on) and are paying much less than what some of our co-workers who are living in a more central/western area are paying.
Though we had the keys to our place, there were still some essentials we had to deal with; we needed new mattresses and air conditioners, the house needed a good cleaning, Internet was not set up. Living out of a suitcase and sleeping on our couch for just over a week was not particularly pleasant. Looking on the bright side, it could always be worse.
Now that the dust has settled, I am so happy we chose this place to live. The convenience, price, and location of our flat is perfect.