Well, it’s Christmas Day and it’s time to report on a brief trip to Hong Kong earlier in December. I’m now back to Taiwan and back to normality, or at least what I have grown to know as that.
My 5-day adventure began on a wet, Thursday morning. Just the morning for the bus to be very late! It was so late that I engaged in conversation with a boy with a scooter, who offered me a ride. With no evidence that the bus was coming, I accepted. Of course, as I prepared to mount the bike, the bus rounded the corner. Reluctantly, I climbed aboard the bus, but the good news is that I seem to have made a friend. The boy (he’s about my age) left his details with the Grandma at my house and we're now talking.
So, I got soaked and I missed out on a scooter ride, but there was worse to come at Tao Yuan airport where the plane sat on the tarmac for 1.5 hours as some engineers tinkered with a faulty engine. Of course, I’m delighted that they found the problem before the plane took off!
All the hanging around was worth it though. I landed in Hong Kong to be greeted by my Uncle Tony (mum's younger brother), a man who appreciates that a growing lad needs good food. So, that evening he took his favourite nephew to his favourite steak restaurant, and so began my Hong Kong Weight Gain. It was a short trip; it lacked much physical exercise; and I ate lots. But hey, that’s what holidays are – a change of routine!
For the first full day in Hong Kong, I found myself experiencing the life of an 80 something year old man. I was staying in my Granddad’s flat, so I spent the first day drinking tea and talking to his friends, which is not that easy. They don’t speak English and I don’t speak Cantonese.Fortunately, Mandarin and Cantonese use the same Chinese characters, so we were able to communicate by writing. Usually mum does the hard graft translating.
The theme after leaving the house in Taiwan was waiting. Waiting for buses, waiting for planes and, on the first day in Hong Kong, it was waiting for my sister to send me a message. She was flying in from Beijing and her boyfriend (Kyle) was flying in from Edinburgh for a few days. I was only there to resume my role as "third-wheel", as I have done many times before. They enjoy my company!
After a long day of writing Chinese characters, we met up in the evening to plan the following day, which had already been planned. Courtesy of Aunt Athena (mum’s younger sister) and Uncle Bruce, we were heading for Ocean Park (a leisure park). I know it well as I'm pretty sure I have gone there almost every time I have visited Hong Kong. Athena and Bruce brought their two kids, Tin Lai and Tin Yue, who are as cute as ever, despite 2 years passing since I saw them last. Then it was out for a family meal when I came face to face with my worst nightmare - my eldest Asian cousin (Dong Dong) has outgrown me. The perception that the Chinese are a small nation had lulled me into the false expectation that I would be taller than my young cousin – he’s six foot tall and may still be growing!
The hectic social whirl continued the following morning with our next appointment, breakfast with a very important person – mum’s best friend Eddy and Waverley’s god-mother. She really is wonderful – apart from her incomparable chat, she fed the hungry students and even brought them all (including Kyle) a present. I spent the final day in Hong Kong with my Granddad (aka Gong Gong) before meeting up with Kyle in the evening for a romantic boat ride across Hong Kong harbour in the Star Ferry. I think Waverley was too tired to come but I can't really remember - it wouldn't be my blog if I didn't forget at least one thing.