Macau/Hong Kong and catching up with friends
Updated: Apr 8, 2018
Next stop after finishing with Korea, was Macau, followed by Hong Kong. We had been to Macau before and enjoyed it, (although last time we spent the afternoon gambling, and this time, it's not in the budget), but wanted to take time to explore more of the island.
We were lucky enough to get upgraded on our flight to Macau, although we couldn't figure out why, but who are we to argue. Also, upon arrival at the hotel, we were upgraded to a larger room. Perhaps we should have gone to the casino. The weather was grey, cloudy, and overall blah! We did some wandering with no real itinerary and stopped at Senado Square, which is the main square one sees when looking at photos of Macau. We thought after dinner we would go to back and take photos, since decorations were still hanging from Chinese New Year. By the time we finished dinner and being exhausted, we opted to take photos the following night. Morning came, and weather looked a bit better, although cloudy, there were periods of sun and blue sky. We hiked up the fortress, where one could go via an escalator or you could hike up to it. Guess which one route we went, and it wasn't the escalator. The view was quite lovely and we were able to get a 360 view of Macau. There is a history museum attached to the fortress which happened to be free so we decided to get some learnings (Mark's word) in and took advantage of the opportunity. After getting our history lessons, we took the escalator down to St. Paul’s church. The old cathedral was destroyed in a fire and the remains are what we see today.
Decided to rest and find a place away from the throngs of tourists, to grab a quick bite, and drink. Oddly more times than not when wanting food we end up in areas where there is everything except restaurants. Typically we end up in areas where one sells tires, plumbing, wiring, or auto body shops. After 20 minutes or so we found a place which had a nice display of wines, only to find out, the wines are not for consumption just for display. Don’t ask, because we couldn’t figure it out either. We did however, get a pitcher of Sangria. In the evening we went back to St. Paul’s, and Senado square to evening photos.
The following day we were off to Hong Kong. We wanted to spend time to visit friends, pending their availability, and explore places we haven't yet seen. From Macau, we took the ferry to Hong Kong, and made our way to see our dear friends, Holly, Skip and kids. They are currently residing in the Stanley Park area.
Holly and I have been friends for many years, and although we were not in touch for a few of them, we found each other via FB while we were living in China. Unbeknownst to us, they were no longer living in Europe but Japan. We continued to be in touch, and periodically see them in the U.S or other parts of Asia.
Holly and Skip were kind and invited us to stay with them. We stayed 2 nights, and could have stayed longer, but also didn't want to wear out our welcome. Hey, we will probably be back, and want an invite again.
Similar to Macau, the weather was blah. There were moments of sun, but pretty much cloud and storms in the evening. We have been fortunate enough to have traveled to Hong Kong multiple times, so the need to sight-see wasn’t high on our list, although nice, but not our primary focus which was to meet up with friends if their schedules allowed for it.
Once settled, and after seeing the spectacular views from their home, we walked to Stanley market and meandered around the area.
It was great spending time with them, and seeing their new place. Their children have grown so much since the last time we saw them, which I believe was either Chicago, or Japan. We enjoyed the time to relax, and not have to worry about what to see or do in Hong Kong.
One night, Mark grilled fresh fish, and after dinner Skylar, their daughter, entertained us with her jokes, while Mark reciprocated. Meanwhile, Blaydon, their son, was teaching us various skills through YouTube. He is a very inquisitive child, and will watch different videos on how to build, create, or fix anything. The children are spitting images of their parents. Thank you Holly, Skip and family for letting us stay with you. Hope to see you all again before this adventure is over. An old classmate from Xiamen University, Sara, is currently living in Hong Kong, and we were able to connect on Sunday evening. Lugos, another friend, we believe was in Hong Kong, is still in Xiamen and hope to meet up with him there.
On another note, Mark was in need of a haircut and found the oldest barbershop in Hong Kong.
The rest of the day we wandered around to different areas we had not seen previously.
The late afternoon, to our delight the Schwartz's (minus Skylar) were around our neck of the woods, so we were able to meet up again.
The next day which was Sunday, is unique in Hong Kong. The live-in nannies have one day off so they meet up with friends and family. The sidewalks, underpasses, steps, anywhere there is space in Hong Kong, you will see groups of nannies. Many bring blankets, or break up boxes where they can sit and enjoy the day with friends. They knit, play cards, sing, dance, read, etc.
We took the Star Ferry over to Kowloon, and we're hoping to get to the National Museum of History, but it was about 1730 and decided to leave it for next time. We did however, make our way to the IFC building where there is a lovely park with benches, and restaurants on the top floor. Nice views of Hong Kong island, and Kowloon.
Back to Soho where we met up with Sara at a Spanish restaurant/bar. I believe the last time we saw each other was 8 years ago. It was so good to see her, and she hasn't changed a bit. Now working in Hong Kong, we were able to catch up on each others lives, mutual friends from China, and more about life in Hong Kong. Great seeing her again.
One of the best things while traveling is the ability to see friends and family. Spending time with them is truly what makes the memories. It's not just the sightseeing, or going to fancy restaurants, it's the ability to reconnect with people in your lives who you may not see often, but are always in your heart.