We were spoiled by the hospitality
we received from our friends that we
met in Morocco that live in Hong Kong.
It just goes to show you never know
who you are going to meet while riding
a camel through the Sahara desert. The
first time we met up we went to dinner
with all six of them—Kitty, Helen, Tracy,
Linus, Stanley and Vivian—at a
restaurant overlooking Victoria Harbor
and the endless panorama of
skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island. At
8pm we were treated to seeing the
“Symphony of Light” from our window
seat in the restaurant. This is a
lightshow that takes place from the top
of all the skyscrapers at 8pm every
night, and is set to music. We turned
the food ordering completely over to
our friends, eager to try some Hong
Kong specialties. We were soon
treated to a gigantic spread of delicious
food. We had eel, fungi, winter melon
soup, and many other tasty items. By
the end of the evening our friends had
Our wonderful Hong Kong friends!
(from front left): Jarrod, Erin, Tracy, Linus
(from back left): Helen, Kitty, Vivian, Stanley
compiled a long list of sights and activities to keep us busy while they
were at work, and we made plans to spend the upcoming Saturday
with them.
  We did have two responsibilities while we were in Hong Kong and
those were to get our China and India visas taken care of. So the first
morning we made the trek to these consulates to begin the process.
It is never as straightforward as it sounds and we found ourselves
making several trips back to the India consulate before it was all said
and done. But in between consulate visits Jarrod and I did what we
do best—wander around. Hong Kong Island is a wanderer’s dream. In
the space of a few blocks we passed the Man Mo Temple. one of the
oldest in Hong Kong, a market selling fake Rolexes and purses, an
eighty floor skyscraper, a traditional medicine shop with endless
herbs, roots, and other natural remedies lining the wall, and a
seafood market with fish so fresh they had to put nets over the tops
of the coolers to keep the fish from jumping out. We rode the world’s
longest elevator, which is 800 meters, up to Hong Kong’s SoHo
neighborhood. The area used to be sleepy, as the climb to reach it
from Central Hong Kong was strenuous. Since the installation of the
elevators the area has boomed and is now full of trendy bars and
restaurants interlaced with high-dollar boutiques. We walked through
Lan Kwai Fong which is a popular expat area full of Western
restaurants and sports bars. We were hoping to catch some college
football on ESPN but it seemed the sport of choice was soccer. We
rode a tram up to the top of Victoria Peak at night to look down upon
The Big Buddha!
Hong Kong’s glittering lights over a cup of coffee. We ventured out to one of the surrounding islands to see the
world’s largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha. It led us to wonder, does that mean there is another Buddha
somewhere in Asia laying claim to being the largest indoor, standing, non-bronze Buddha? Regardless, this statue
and the Buddhist temple nearby were stunning. The Buddha statue is 112 feet and sits on the top of a mountain
reached by 260 steps. His serene face looks down upon a large Buddhist temple and community where we
watched a group of monks participating in afternoon prayers.
  After blazing a trail through all of these activities we were all too happy to turn the reins back over to our friends.
We met Kitty for lunch and tea tasting on Friday. She took us to Lin Heung for dim sum. We would have never
found this place on our own as I’m sure it is not listed in any guidebook. We were the only non-Asian people in the
restaurant and we would have been unable to order had it not been for Kitty. The large room was packed wall to
wall with old men reading the newspaper, families visiting, and locals on their lunch break. We enjoyed shrimp
rolls, rice steamed in lotus leaves and beef balls. Afterwards we went to the basement of a department store to
what seemed to be a kind of gourmet food store for tea tasting. We tried chrysanthemum tea, ginseng tea and
green tea, and learned the art of steeping and pouring Chinese tea. We bought pearl jasmine tea and another
type of green tea, and would have bought more if we had space in our backpack. The next day Kitty and Helen
took us to breakfast at a small Chinese diner overlooking the Tin Hau temple. Again, we relied on their input when
ordering. Our favorites from this breakfast were a warm bun with a sugary design on the top resembling a
pineapple called bo law bau, and a milk based punch flavored with red beans. After breakfast we met up with Tracy
and Linus and journeyed out to Tai O, a traditional fishing village on Lantau Island. The village is built along a
narrow channel of water and all of the homes are on stilts. We decided to skip an official lunch and to instead
snack our way through the village. As we wandered among the stalls selling dried seafood and souvenirs, our
friends would recommend different snack options to try. We loved this, as we would never have known what most
of these snacks were and therefore would not have tried them on our own. By the end of the day we had tried cha
gwo (glutinous ball with chopped peanuts inside), boot chai ko (dark sesame pudding and brown sugar pudding
with red beans served on a stick, like a popsicle), yu dan (fish ball), siu yau yu (grilled dried squid) and dau tu fa
(soy bean milk pudding, can be served cold or hot and is topped with syrup or brown sugar). Jarrod liked
everything, and I liked everything with the exception of the fish balls. That night, after being joined by Stanley, we
experienced yet another dining delight...the Hong Kong hot pot. Basically two containers of different hot oil, one
spicy and one plain, are placed in the middle of the table and then you order all sorts of raw food that you drop
into the liquid to cook. We had eel, fish skin, and cow’s stomach to name a few of the more daring items.
Erin enjoying boot chai ko in Tai O village with Linus and
Learning the art and science of preparing and serving tea
   After being in Hong Kong nine days and being so well taken care of we kind of felt like we were leaving home
again when it came time to fly to Shanghai. Spending time with our friends was definitely the highlight of our time
in Hong Kong and we look forward to having them visit us back in the States.
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Hong Kong Hospitality
Hong Kong Island Skyline
   We deem it impossible not to have a good time in Hong Kong. No matter what you are seeking you can find it
here. If it is the urban thrills of a big city, Hong Kong Island will satisfy even the most tried and true New Yorker. If
it is a cultural fix you are after then the museums, such as the Hong Kong Museum of Art and the Hong Kong
Museum of History, will keep you busy for days. If you are a nature enthusiast, then surprisingly enough, 88% of
Hong Kong’s land mass is made up of the New Territories and consists of mountains, beaches and traditional
fishing villages. Foodies will have a heyday sampling Hong Kong’s endless dining options. We tried everything from
cow stomach to moon cakes. And if shopping is your game you just may never return home. There is enough
shopping in Hong Kong to keep Paris Hilton busy for a year. From kitschy souvenirs to Prada and Gucci, everywhere
you turn there is an eight floor shopping mall.