Posted by: Jill | August 1, 2008

A new stamp in my passport

I just spent a few days in Hong Kong with my dad.  It was a perfect vacation half way through my summer in the Philippines – I got to be in a big city, have air conditioning (plus toilet paper AND a toilet seat in the bathroom!), eat delicious food, and spend some time with my dad.  It was wonderful!

Being in Hong Kong felt not so foreign after 5 weeks in the Philippines; I imagine if I had gone straight from Seattle to Hong Kong, everything would have felt completely exotic and unfamiliar.  As it was, I felt much more “normal” there than I do here; I also blended in more with the foreign crowd in Hong Kong and no one really seemed to pay special attention to me (unless they were hoping I’d buy a purse/sunglasses/jade pendant).

It was even hotter in Hong Kong than it is in the Philippines.  The ever-present haze provided a totally unnecessary insulation layer.  On Monday, we walked everywhere and by Monday night I was tired and achy and seriously regretted our enthusiasm.  On Tuesday, we took more breaks in air-conditioned hotel lobbies/taxis/bakeries/anywhere.

We shopped our way through crowded markets, rode the historic Star Ferry across the harbor to Hong Kong, talked ourselves out of buying the pungent dried sea scallops, rode the steep cable car up to see the views from the Peak, and explored some nice parks.  We also sampled lots of tea till we settled on our favorite to take home; did you know that the second cup of tea is always tastier?  My grandpa would say that it’s actually the fourth or fifth cup that tastes the best.

My dad at the night market in Kowloon

The Star Ferry in front of the Hong Kong skyline

with Dad at the tea shop

Much to my delight, we also found an amazing Western-style gourmet shop with an entire ROOM of cheese.  Cheese is one thing that I really miss here; except for ice cream, Filipinos just do not each much dairy.  My dad and I stood for a long time in the cheese room and just inhaled, deeply and joyously.  Lunch that day was bread, cheese, and a nice glass of Shiraz.  Oh, heavenly.

Would you like some cheese with that wine? Why yes I would, thank you.

We stopped by the Hong Kong science museum for an exhibit on life in the deep sea, with amazing photographs from Claire Nouvian’s new book.  Dr. Eddie Widder visited The Island School while I was there and shared some of the photos and stories that make up this exhibit.  We supported deep sea research by buying a HK$2 bookmark.  To please all the scientists in the crowd, the museum also had an entire exhibit on energy efficiency!  My dad played all the games, read all the exhibit explanations, and used a laser to shoot the objects in a typical household that are energy vampires.

We also found our way to a fresh fish market, where you can wander the stalls and pick out your favorite (live) seafood, then bring it to one of the restaurants to be cooked while you wait.  The stalls were packed with grouper, blue spiny lobster, geoducks (probably imported from Washington state!), razor clams, tiger prawns, scallops, and something that I think was a mantis shrimp and my dad thinks was an alien creature from some deep, dark, slimy cave.

Outside the fish market

Outside the fish market

Pre-dinner fish.

Pre-dinner fish.



  1. This sounds like soooo much fun Jill! Thanks for being a great blogger! Hi to your dad!

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