Sun, Feb 15, 2009
Greetings from Hong Kong
Kiaora. Hello & Happy New Year
Well some time has passed since we have corresponded! Thanks to the many of you who have sent Christmas & birthday wishes over these past weeks. We have had a busy time both holidaying & working.
Elyse & Logan’s arrival Dec 22 was great – we had been counting down! We really enjoyed “hanging out with them”. We played tourists at some of the local places here like Ocean Park -sort of Gold Coast Sea World/ Dream World on a lower scale, The Peak – Madam Trouseau wax museum, etc & we had a couple of days up in Shenzhen China – shopping & ordering clothes through the tailor up there. Logan got a very nice suit made in 24 hours! They managed to go back to NZ with some items the rest I have posted since. We had Christmas dinner with our Canadian friends – all up a dozen of us having a very nice turkey with athe trimmings!
We came back to school on Jan 5 – it felt really strange teaching or even being at school in January – something neither of us has ever done in our lives! The cooler weather made us realise we weren’t in summer though. We raced through the 3 weeks leading up to the 23rd Jan when we had a week off for Chinese New Year. In the week prior my class parents came in & ran a C. N.Year party – whenever there is an occasion that warrants a party they are always there with everything!! I have to say it has certainly helped me in adjusting to & learning the Chinese culture. The year of the Ox this year – I found out that I am a Rat & Lester is a Pig!!!- thankfully we’re not into this astrology stuff – but it helps us understand some of the things that go on here. C.N Year is huge here & in China obviously – far more so than Christmas. My last trip to Shenzhen was just as we started our holiday & it was absolutely packed with people at the border – many of the businesses in the main shopping centre were already closing down & heading away for the break.
Sunday night ( 25th) we flew to Bangkok – another massive airport like HK. We spent a night at an airport hotel & waited for a connecting flight to Chiang Mai later the next day. We arrived in C.Mai early evening to a welcoming face – Mark Holt ( ex BC) – was great to see him & then the next day Viv & the kids – boy have they grown! We thoroughly emjoyed our time there – certainly recommend a trip there. The pace of life wasn’t as frantic as HK and there were few high buildings! We took 2 different tours – well worth it – the 1st day up the mountain to a famous temple – we had a guide , driver & air-con van to ourselves so was great. We really had our eyes opened to the Buddha religion – it is firmly entrenched in the local Thai people – many many rituals they follow – we couldn’t keep upi with the different buddhas & things they must do. We got taken to a Thai silk making factory – just beautiful, an umbrella making factory and also a place where they make lacquer items – that was really interesting. A traditional Thai buffet lunch and we thought we’d had a pretty good day out. The Holts took us to a really great authentic BBQ/Hotpot style restaurant that night where there were lots of locals. We had fun cooking up a huge range of different foods (most we knew what we were eating!) – the place was like a big marquee with no sides – it was a great experience!
Our 2nd tour was the next day to an elephant camp – that would be one of the highlights. Again we managed to have a guide , driver & air con van to ourseleves! The day started with a stop at a beautiful orchid place – just amazing colours & then to see the elephants. When we got there the elephants were being brought down to a river for a bath & then they performed with their trainers – I’ve always noticed in cartoons that elephants have happy smiles – well in real life they do too! They were absolutely hilarious & great entertainment – so clever & real characters! We took an hour long ride up to the border of Burma on one – itwas out in the bush so we loved it – a bit bouncy going down hills! We then were taken to visit a mountain tribe – these people live pretty basically – concrete/clay hut buildings – some with corregated iron roofs. They have apparently had govt assistance but they like to live the way they do – it was amazing how they all just sat around outside their houses. A lot of the women do beautiful weaving & applique type craft – it looked almost like Sth American materials. They grow coffee too -they had beans drying on their roof tops!
Talking about coffee – that was one good find in C.Mai – Black Canyon coffee shops were well worth visiting – the best e’ve had since leaving NZ. We were taken to another buffet back at the orchid place – we ate well!! That evening we went to the Night Bizarre – not unlike the markets here but much less crowded – there were heaps of tourists there. We took a couteousy van from our hotel but to come back had to take public transport so we got a tuktuk – that was an experience and a half – the driver drove like there was no tomorrow!! Thankfully we made it back in 1 piece!
On our last day we hired push bikes and took to the streets with all the motor scooters and Toyota hilux style vehicles – that’s what you drive there. C.Mai is in 2 sections – the old part of the city is still surrounded by a moat ao we biked around the outside of this stopping for Black canyon coffees & lunch – it was heaps of fun. By early afternoon we were getting pretty hot so returned to our hotel for an arfternoon at the pool. In the evening we sampled the foodcourt in the big shopping centre that was linked to the hotel. You buy coupons & then go around the food court picking what you want – delicious Thai fried noodles for 30 baht ( about $7 NZ) The food there is not only very tasty but very cheap. Added to this was the live entertainment – they 3-4 piece bands with lead singers doing a great job of the 70’s – 90’s music playing in the food court – apparently they are great at singing English songs but a conversation with them would be rather difficult! The trip home was long as the plane we came back on had been held up by fog in Dubai – we know Bangkok airport pretty well now – they had Black Canyon coffee there so that was good!
Back to work on the Monday & right into it again. We’re looking forward to our next adventure in about 5 1/2 weeks to Vietnam with Cathy & Gary ( my Ozzy sister & hubby for those who don’t know) – they arrive here Mar 17 so that’ll be great.
Healthwise it has been quite a challenge these past 6 months with Lester’s operation and now we have discovered he has gout. What we thought must be a broken foot wasn’t at all but gout – it took a bit of investigating but we know now for sure. He has just started some medication to help prevent the very painful attacks – he can’t take the meds for an attack as they would be dangerous with his stomach etc after his operation so we’re trying the prevention way. The other option is to look at Chinese meds – a colleague here is doing that – we’ll watch & see. Meanwhile we are both embarking on a better fitness regime – we can’t rely on stair walking so are trying to go to the gym weights room 3x a week & also walk outside a couple of times a week. I want to be able to get up the Mount when we come home in June!
Well a bit of an epistle – well done if yu’ve got to the end in one read! We do hope & pray this finds you well and enjoying whatever you are doing. Till next time
Love & blessings L & K