Mid-autumn Festival

 

A few weeks ago we had the Mid-Autumn festival which promised to be a wonderful event. We read up on other blogs and checked out the HK tourism site and everything pointed to it being an unmissable experience. Of course this meant that S and I had to go, we had already missed one or two events that we had wanted to go to so we thought we would make sure to go to this.

The warm up to the festival included lots and lots and lots of Mooncake adverts, as well as some eating. 🙂 My Center Owner bought some and gave us each one on the day as we were working the Saturday. Also the Lantern displays were up for a few weeks before hand at TST and in the New territories somewhere as well.

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The official ceremony was on the Sunday night but one could go and look at the lantern displays from the 23 -28th of September(before the festival)they were open every night from 6:30pm to 11:00 pm.

At the same time there was going to be a fire dragon dance at Tai Hang that I wanted to go to. Luckily though instead of having to choose between the two the village extended the fire dragon dance to join the mid-autumn festival at Victoria park for that one evening.

We left semi early because there was supposed to be a lot to see and do at the festival grounds and we did not want to miss a thing. Off we trekked in excited anticipation and grabbed the MTR. We took the red line to central and then grabbed the exit my gps told us to. In the end we just had to follow all the people and the lights but when we first got out of the exit we were not sure which way to go and so we used our innate South African sense of direction, clued in by the lights, to go towards the arena.

The whole festival took up a large amount of space as it was spread out nicely so we weren’t crushed by hoarders of people. When we entered we saw a booth selling all sorts of lighted headbands and bracelets.There were also first aid booths, drinks, food, jewellery and other random booths that you could buy stuff at. These were all along the length of the park on the one side while the lantern displays were in the middle of the park.

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They had other booths as well along the opposite side of the park. Here we found them craft items such as amazingly crafted art on olive pips and they showed the making of the Chinese opera head pieces. They also had a bunch of selfie style stations in to put your face through and they had a large area where you could line up, get dressed in traditional wear and have photographs taken.

We walked around and took photographs of the lanterns, looked at the booths and watched one or two performances. Taking photo’s of the Lanterns was a mission though, the people walked in front of us as we were trying to take photo’s. they stand right in front of the displays so that no one else is able to take pics and then they spend like 15minutes blocking the view. It was really frustrating even trying to just look at the displays because of this. However we did get some good shots and got to see everything. The organization was pretty good as well, they had volunteers walking around that would take photo’s for people and help them out.

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As to I t being unmissable, I suppose that is a matter of opinion. I enjoyed looking at the displays, they were phenomenal and if we hadn’t been waiting for the fire dragon dance we probably would have just left shortly after we saw everything. Unfortunately we really wanted to see the fire dragon dance. The dragon was awesome but it really was not worth the log wait. By the time it started it was after 11pm. They had about 30 minutes of speeches and then they did a dedication of sorts for the dragon, then there was another 15 minutes or so of watching Scottish folk dancing ( no Chinese dancing)with bagpipes, before the dragon finally made an appearance. It looked amazing but I could have left after a few minutes. We couldn’t see much as everyone was standing and shoving. We stuck it out to almost the end and finally managed to get closer to the front and see the dragon properly.

I will definitely not go out of my way to take part in the festival again, but I really did enjoy seeing some of the crafts on display as well as the lanterns.

 

 

Getting to Stanley Market

 

As always you can use trusty google maps if you need to.

But just to make life easier have a look here, I wish I had been smart enough to check out the bus routes 🙂 

 

If you are going from Mong Kok then you have at least two options  MTR ->Bus or MTR -> taxi.By MTR take the Red line to Central and from there find  bus 6, 6A, 6X , 66 or 260 from Exchange Square bus terminus.Make sure to get off at the stop that says Stanley Village!

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If you want to take the MTR to Wan Chai instead then leave the station via Exit B2 and catch Bus 6 or 6A to Stanley.

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Monkey Mountain

Well I have been a little lazy after setting up the blog and took a hiatus from writing for a bit. And so at long last I am writing about Monkey Mountain, eish.

S and I decided to fit in as much sightseeing stuff as we could in the two days off we had together. This is day 2, after a somewhat long day at the harbor the day before. Im still trying to remember why we thought this would a be a good idea so soon after 6 hours on our feet lol.

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Dragon boat Festival 20/06/15

 

Lets start with direction . if you want to know how to get to Stanley look here: Getting to Stanley

We had a break in June for the Dragon boat Festival at Stanley beach. It was one day, but that one day makes the world of difference in a long week.

I was looking forward to a day at the beach and having a blast. We took the MTR to Wan Chai and were supposed to take a bus to Stanley. We had walk around a bit to try find the bus, and then we were going in the wrong direction for the Stanley bus apparently so we turned around to go in the other direction. It’s not very well-marked, I suggest looking up the exact directions before you head off. We eventually found someone who showed us where to go and the line for the bus was incredibly long! We decided to rather just take a taxi and split it between the three of us, while this worked eventually it took us forever to find a taxi, let alone one that stopped and would take us to Stanley.

The route was lovely, winding roads and greenery all around us. We saw the ocean, not that hard to do in Hong Kong, but it was still rather stunning. When we were close the taxi driver asked us if he could drop us on the main road and not take us all the way down as the road was now seriously congested. After paying him we started walking down the road and down the hill. We found a path to the beach and took a stroll towards it, slowly realising just how busy the beach was. S and A took off their shoes and walked through the water in the sweltering heat. We got closer to where the boat races actually were and started looking for a place to sit down .

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This did not happen; we ended up standing in the water to try stay cool. We were on the side close to the starting point and had teams warming up all around us. There was also this really annoying family, they let their sons swim up to the boats and try to touch them. Firstly it’s a race, so that’s just wrong and secondly they were paying so little attention to their kids that they are just lucky other people were! The one boy hit his head against one of the boats but he didn’t learn his lesson.

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After about an hour or two of this we had enough and went for a walk to Stanley market and some food. It was incredibly hot, we were getting sun burnt and had resorted to hiding under our ever trust umbrellas. We found this fabulous restaurant called The Cave and went in to cool off in the glorious air con. We were so hot that at first even the much cooler temperature did nothing, it took standing in front of the drinks fridge for me to actually feel human again. Once you ordered and paid for your food you could grab a seat, there was not a lot of seating available but we managed to grab the last 3 spots and then just took it in turns to get our food. Luckily S managed to find something to eat there.

We took a long time to walk through the market, it is big and has some really stunning stuff and then it also has the usual touristy stuff. I am planning on going back to buy some Christmas presents there. We then walked towards the amphitheatre and found that they had some special stores set up there as well. I found some amazing jewellery there and will be visiting the actual stores soon!

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We didn’t stay past 5pm as A had dinner plans and we were all really tired. I’m not sure if there ended up being a big party or celebration, apparently there was going to be.

On our way back we managed to find the big bus easily enough, poor S almost got sick on it. We saw an old lady hurl into a packet in her bag, she looked so miserable I felt so sorry for her! The bus was driving at a normal speed but on the windy roads it did not feel great!

We were told that if you go to Stanley to watch you have to go early to find a spot and that the roads were too full and insane. Now while it was busy and if we had planned on sitting on the beach all day going early would have been a good idea, but the roads were fine and we were not stuck in traffic once.

Overall I enjoyed the day but I would rather have gone later in the afternoon than as early as we did. According to the websites and info the races stopped at 1pm but we still heard them going at about 4pm.

 

Flats in Hong Kong

 

For many foreigners moving to certain areas in Asia can be a huge shock. I’m not talking about culture or food, we have after all experienced some of the foods in our home countries. Im thinking mostly about accommodation.

I did my research and so I knew to expect small rooms and apartments and I had lived in Res where we had small rooms. I was also used to not having my own home or space and had lived in a relatively small complex flat before I went to study, so for me the shock did not even register. However, everyone I have spoken to since moving here has said the same thing, they were shocked.

There are millions of people living on small piece of land, so the building go up and the sizes stay relatively slim. When moving to Hong Kong do not expect big rooms, yes sometimes you find them and generally they are more expensive. Living in a place by yourself is unlikely to happen on a budget and expect to pay about HKD 5000 for a small room in a small apartment.

Now our apartment is not tiny and I do have the medium sized room, yay me! We can fit a double bed in the room with standing room between the bed and the cupboard. The cupboard doors open with a cm of IMG_1216space to spare. S’s room is the bigger rooms, it has a double or a queen size bed in it with room around the bed.its just big enough for her to do some yoga in it, although she cannot lie on the floor and stretch her arms out next to her.A’s room is tiny, it can fit a single bed in it with the same amount of space between her bed and cupboard door to that of mine. 

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Our lounge is relatively big, in comparison.The bathroom is small and just fits a shower,sink and toilette. As you walk into the kitchen the door for the bathroom is on the left.While the kitchen is also small at least we have one and can do some basic cooking on it.

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