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Hong Kong 2013 - Day Four

Written March 5, 2013

At Disneyland
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After our mandatory breakfast at McDonald’s—had to have their wings (!), I spent my 24th birthday at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland!!! This is actually another gift of my dad to me. I bet he really didn’t want to be in this magical place because he probably never wanted to become a princess like me, but because he loves me that much, even this silly request he granted. And this isn’t even my first time here, so that gives me reason to be all the more grateful about my dad’s affection for me. :p
And here are what we did, or saw, in photos:
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—-
Back in TST
One of the must-try restaurants I encountered when I did my food blog research was Delicious Kitchen, which surprisingly was just located beside our hotel along Ashley Road. This was such a happy coincidence because at least I got to try something new this time around that didn’t require much effort (such as lining up, walking or traveling too far). And while I didn’t expect much, because I’m not really a pork fan, I have to say that Delicious Kitchen’s pork ribs was one of the best meals I had during my stay in Hong Kong this time around. It was very meaty with not much fats and bones, and it had a sweet ham-like taste to it which for me was a pleasant touch. :) 

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Besides their famous pork ribs, I also was able to try their fried tofu, string beans, and tan tan men, and they were all pretty good as well. Nothing beats their pork ribs, though! ;) Next time I go back, I will make sure to eat here again. 

Hong Kong 2013 - Day Three

Written February 26, 2013

I just turned 24 about 1 hour and 45 minutes ago, so I will make this quick!

Today was spent doing the following:
Breakfast
McDonald’s for breakfast, because we can’t not let this trip pass without that. Rode the MTR to Causeway Bay, and proceeded to Times Square. Left my parents at City Super and did my first shopping hurrah (for the day). 
At Times Square
First stop was Pull & Bear, and as usual, they had really great bags and accessories! Ended up buying a bag (again), a scarf (again), and a hoodie that I saw in Singapore last November but held myself back from buying. 
And then I walked by a few more stores from P&B and entered Bershka, but I didn’t really find anything I wanted so my stay there only last 2 minutes maximum. Thanks to the nearing opening of Bershka in Glorietta, I didn’t feel the need to pressure myself into getting anything from there just for the heck of it. 
At Haysan Place

Once my shopping urges were satisfied temporarily, we transferred to Hysan Place and tried out this Japanese ramen fast-food chain at their food court. Thankfully, it was a very calm and relaxed kind of food court and I found it refreshingly awesome. :3 Food was pretty great, too! It was about time we tried a different cuisine! Chinese overload, doi.
In Harbour City
I was really, really looking forward to my H&M shopping as usual, but I was yet again failed by their current collection. It was a consolation that the place wasn’t packed so I didn’t find a hard time looking around and trying on clothes as much as before, but to be honest, I really got disappointed by H&M. And this is the second time. First was in Singapore, which I thought was just because it was SG and not the fabulous shopping country that is HK. But it seems now as though they are degrading in their taste in style! Either that or I have changed preferences. Hmmmm.
Anyhoo, I ended up buying only a few things, most of which were basics and all of which were plain. 
At the Symphony of Lights

I’ve heard about this tourist attraction since the first time I went to Hong Kong, but it wasn’t until today that I actually got to find out where it actually is and gave it a try.
And it was just okay. Hehe. I didn’t expect so much but my expectations were still a little better than what took place. Or maybe I think that because of my self-diagnosed ADHD….. Hehehe.
Around Nathan
 
After having a quick dinner at Cafe De Coral, we headed back out to Nathan for some less grand stores compared to the offerings along Canton Road. This was obviously my dad’s request and not mine. Hehe. But it’s okay! It’s not like I really had any agenda in LV, Gucci, Chanel, etc. anyway!
But after a few stops at random stores, we realised we were all too tired to walk any further and conveniently went back to our hotel. 
At Central

And just when I thought my night was over, I got a WhatsApp message from my block mate Johna asking to meet up. And since our other block mate Stu’s here as well for vacation, we all decided to push through despite the time being very late and the MTR shutting down operation very soon.
They had breakfast meals for midnight snack at The Flying Pan, while I had a Stella. (Happy 24th to me!)
In as much as we “tried” to hurry up, we still missed the MTR by a couple of minutes and ended up getting a cab! Really pricey fare but it was worth seeing them and the adventure it brought me that night!

Hong Kong 2013 - Day Two

Written February 24, 2013

The good thing about not having the most smooth start is that it gets better. And today is a testament to that.

At The Vine
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After having a relaxed breakfast at Fairwood on our street—yes, we did wake up pretty early, we went to Wanchai to attend the 11:30 service of The Vine Church and met up with Crae and Tita Cynthia there. It was my first time there, and yet I already felt like it was home to me. :) I say that because I honestly haven’t felt as connected to the whole church experience in a while, until today.
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I loved pretty much everything about The Vine so far! The singing and the band, the pretty purply stage lights, the gleeful crowd. And I know this might be too early to tell but I love their take on things. I say that because today their Senior Pastor John Snelgrove talked about our doubts, questions, and fears. Now I’ve encountered people who either dismissed rational questions with a simplistic answer (which is totally annoying), as well as people who simply aren’t the type to question (too much or at all). But I am a person of questions. I think a little too much for my own personal good sometimes, but a lot of times, I can’t help but subscribe to the belief that unless we question our faith, it won’t really be as sturdy, powerful, pure, and effective. Not that I’d be able to help it nevertheless.
So back to Pastor John… Today, his word brought me comfort knowing communities like The Vine exist, not exactly to spoon feed us the answers because they admit that a lot of times, they also have them; but that they exist to explore these questions together and sometimes have to learn to keep moving forward, together, even when not all questions are answered. And personally, I have such deep respect for that.
Towards the end of the message, he also told us to just offer all our doubts, questions, and fears to God and let Him reveal not really the exact answers we’re looking for but simply Himself - and hopefully that’ll be enough to shut us up for the meantime and allow us to move a step closer to Him. One small act of faith, a little at a time.
Pictures of us:
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At Causeway Bay
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Post-church, the five of us (my parents, me, Crae, and her mom) went to CWB for a late lunch at Tsui Wah. Not the cheapest Asian food around but they had big servings and they tasted differently from the ubiquitous Cafe de Coral and Fairwood. :p (Sorry, no food photos!)
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Then for dessert, I finally got to try the milk pudding I keep seeing randomly along small streets. This place’s called Yee Shun, and they obligate every single person who enter their crowded space to order something/anything, or else they’ll charge them 12 HKD just for sitting there. Haha.
The Watch Hunt
After parting ways with Crae and her mom, we went back to Nathan mostly because I couldn’t wait any longer before I continued my watch hunt.
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Background info: I saw this Navy Leather Parker Chronograph Glitz watch on Nordstrom a few weeks ago, and I fell in love with it at first sight. Because 1.) I actually liked their brown version earlier on but I was looking for an all-gold watch then so leather wasn’t my top priority, and 2.) navy blue’s my latest addition to my favourite colours.
So after looking for the only Michael Kors store in the area, which is at The Peninsula, and finding out their collection’s blah as all the MK stuff I like weren’t there, we went to Watch Station beside Imperial Hotel. This store also had a branch at The Peak and I saw they had the brown strap one, tried it on, and was smitten by it as well. But, I knew that I at least had to try looking for the navy one before I settled for the brown one. And so I did. And quite unfortunately, the Nathan branch also didn’t have the navy, but thanks to their very efficient sales lady, she checked its availability at the other branches and made the reservation for me. It turned out that only one branch had one stock left. And since this watch just came out for the spring season, I knew how limited the stocks were and upped its worth to me. :p
Long story short, we ended up at Elements in Austin Road West around 8 and bought it right away. Initially, the arrangement was to have it charged on my dad’s credit card and then I’d just pay for it when we get back in Manila, buuuut, I don’t know what generosity (or love) bug bit him but he said he’d pay for it as his birthday gift to me instead! AWWW. <3 I actually did not at all see this coming, because this whole trip itself is mostly on him, so how could I expect for more? But apparently, love is thicker than his wallet now. HEHE. I hope what I just said made sense to you somehow.
After the watch hunt, we finally got to have dinner. At Fairwood. Again.
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At Prat Ave.
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When it comes to traveling, I tend to go back to the same things again and again because I simply can’t not.
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So to maximize our time tonight, I decided to bring my parents to Prat Ave. where I stayed with my mom the first time we traveled to Hong Kong. And since I found my Ice Cotton experience before unforgettable, we went for it, and ordered other desserts too, at Lucky Desserts.
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This time, though, my appreciation for the Green Tea Ice Cotton wasn’t as heightened as before. Regardless, I’d still love to franchise this dessert place and bring it to Manilaaaa!

Hong Kong 2013 - Day One

Written February 23, 2013

I like and dislike today at the same time. 

Even if I had all the time in the world to prepare for this trip (particularly the itinerary specifics), I still wasn’t able to be as proactive as I apparently needed to be. This is because, this time around, I’m not traveling with friends who usually don’t insist on making to-the-dot plans, and also not just with my mom who’s very easily pleased with good food and a good weather. This time around, I’m traveling with both my mom and dad—my mom who’s very easy-go-lucky and my dad whose mind is always one step ahead making him easily stressed out a lot of times. What a combination, right? And not to mention how I perfectly managed to stay up all nigh before my very early flight at 5:40 am. The plane hadn’t even taken off and things felt crazy already.
At HKIA
I initially planned for us to take the Airport Express going to our hotel as it was what I’ve grown used to. It’s fast and convenient, but also pricey. I never really gave much thought to the cost before, though, until today. Because, again, this time around I’m with my dad who’s anything but wasteful with money. Unlike my mom who’s all about convenience and the experience - pretty much like me (un/fortunately). So, anyway, a one-way ticket would cost us about 100 HKD per person. Compare that to the 33 HKD bus fare that also brings us straight to TST and we know who wins hands down. A realisation like this makes me wonder why I kept using the Airport Express all those times before. Once is okay, but for every single time I was there - I know it was my laziness to look for an alternative route that my biases thought would be much less convenient. Clearly, I was wrong.
So, that’s one. Since I had to figure out a new way to get to our hotel, aside from the tried and tested Airport Express, people got stressed out again, and this time, even I was included in the crime. 
Good thing the double-decker bus was cozy and we even got to sit with a  Filipina who happened to go down the same area as us. Which was pretty much heaven-sent, considering how it was my first time to do this bus thing from the airport. 
 
At the Hotel
After iSquare, Cafe de Corale, and International Supermarket, we finally got to check in at our hotel and rest! 
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It was my first time at Citadines Ashley Hotel, and so far, it’s been great. It’s the second most spacious room I’ve encountered so far here in Hong Kong. And yes, if I haven’t said it enough, I’m also digging their orange room accents. They’re like twins with my laptop case, my bag organizer, my iPhone case, and so on.
*Insert Annoying Orange face.*
I wish I could’ve slept longer, but I also didn’t want our first day to be put to waste. So I put on my eager-beaver face and braved the weekend crowd.
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At the Star Ferry 
 
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From Harbour City, my dad somehow got to convince me to ride this 10-minute ferry and learn to enjoy simple pleasures. And true enough, it was an enjoyable first-time experience for me. It was short but sweet. 
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At the Hong Kong and Central Stations
Since the Star Ferry had Central as the destination anyway, I decided to push through with what was on today’s itinerary - The Peak. But before that, we had to get to Exit J2 of Central first. 
Longest MTR walk ever.
 
At The Peak
 
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Another “I’m glad I did this so I know I wouldn’t do it again incident” this was. 
I was able to do this before already, but I did it in the afternoon, which I realised later on was probably why I didn’t appreciate it so much. There were no city lights, and I’m kind of a sucker for that. 
And so, against my better judgment, I stubbornly wanted to maximize today by setting this plan in stone. And you know what happened? We ended up lining up outside the Terminus for about 1 and a half hour — after having to “hike” from J2 towards The Peak Tram Terminus! Too much for braving the weekend crowd! Wrong moooove.
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What else? We went to the Sky Terrace 428 of The Peak, hoping it would make all our walking and waiting in line efforts worth it, but it still fell short! The skyline was awesome, of course, especially the city lights, but I personally think it’s a little too far from the buildings that photos taken from up there are not as nice as I had expected them to be. Either that or it’s because I’m not using a professional camera. 
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But even after that, our Peak mishaps weren’t over yet. The waiting line for those riding the return trip back to the Terminus was once again very long. And like I said, it was extremely cold up there, so we ended up riding a bus instead.
Hmm, this may very well be the day I became bus dependent! 
 
Back in Ashley
Despite the crazy day full of shallow arguments and poor decision-making, we ended up walking around Ashley Road where our hotel’s located. And it was a nice wrap up for the day. 
Not only our hotel located in between the wide stretch that is Nathan Road and the shopping-crazed Canton Road, it’s also along a street filled with an interesting variety of restaurants - from the known ones like Ebeneezer’s and Delicious Kitchen to the strangely named (at least for me) Ka Ka Lok (hehe *insert a*). I think deep inside, the idea of this makes us feel like we don’t exactly have to go too far to explore the city when the city’s pretty much here already. 
Hehe.
Goodnight!