I haven’t been in to the city since December… so I made an expedition this weekend to go shopping for TShirts and birthday presents (we live in the wop-whops so normally I shop closer to home).
While out shopping I also ‘impulse cut’ my hair! Oh dear… not a good move… its very short, very difficult to style and looks thin and wispy! I just hope it grows back. Fast. I don’t have any nice photos of my hair to show you (I will give it a few weeks to settle down), but here are some photos of my favourite place to shop in Bangkok (MBK).
MBK is like a giant air-conditioned 6 or 7 story market style mall, in the last 10 years it has gotten very touristy (unfortunately the prices have gone up accordingly) but its such an easy place to shop. And it’s right next door to Siam Square (where the Thai Teens like to hang out) and where there is even MORE great shopping!
When I think of Chinese food, I think of Chinese takeaways in New Zealand… I am pleased to report the food in China is much better than Chinese takeaways in New Zealand! Less deep frying and a little less oil (its still pretty greasy though – I really don’t know how the Chinese stay so slim!).
When we weren’t working in China we seemed to be eating. Our host Mr Mai took us to some very nice Chinese restaurants that were surprisingly quite different to the Chinese restaurants in New Zealand. The menus are more interesting too, check this out:
No, I didn’t order the ‘Give Birth Menu Beef’ it sounded plain scary!
Another restaurant we went to was rather interesting… it was a pick your food while you order restaurant. There are a lot of these in Thailand where you pick your fish you want to eat, but Ive never seen it taken to this level. This restaurant had soooo many different types of seafood (many Id never heard of before) and a few bits of livestock.
I can usually handle picking live seafood and eating it (except that time in Bangkok) but this took it to a new level. I couldn’t cope picking out a cute fluffy bunny rabbit and then 30 mins later eating him up! No way!
OK, I know this is a little bit hypocritical… When I eat a nice cut of lamb I do know deep down that it was once a cute little fluffy lambie skipping merrily in the New Zealand countryside enjoying his/her youth without a worry in the world.
But still, cute fluffy bunnies!?!
A highlight of our visit to China was when Mr Mai took us to the tea shop. The tea shops in China are sooo cool, unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me – next time I will take photos.
So we went into the local tea shop (one of many down the main shopping street) to find it loaded with fresh tea, dried tea, tea cakes and all the tea accessories you would ever need.
Before you buy you can try… so we tried a couple of different types of green tea. The fresh green tea is so delicious; it’s a lot smoother and tastier than the dried stuff…. Its absolute heaven. Ok you coffee drinkers out there… compare a cheap supermarket instant coffee to a top of the line coffee in a top class cafe… that’s the difference we are talking about here!
Mr Mai was very generous and bought dad and I some gifts from the tea shop. I got a lovely cup (perfect for the office), a tea making set (little jug, sieve…etc), lots of yummy green tea, a beautiful little tea pot (that is too pretty to use) and some little Chinese tea cups the size of shot glasses.
We were met by Winnie (the lovely lady who works in the office who speaks English VERY well) and she dropped us off at a very nice hotel. Seeing as the standard of accommodation is usually so low when I am backpacking I love staying at posh hotels and am like a kid at Disneyland (I don’t stay in them often, so its still novel for me!).
The funniest thing about my hotel room was the two ‘fire masks’ at the top of the cupboard (see above). Now seriously… a fire mask? My room was so close to the lobby/main exit I would have just legged it if there was a fire (not bothering taking the time to mask up). I must admit, I did wonder if these masks are for a purpose other than fire?!? Here is a close up, what do you think!?!
Ok, so the trip to China was for work… but even though it was a work trip I was soooo excited about going because it’s was the first time I’ve been to China. For some reason (not sure wyy) ever since I was a little girl I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to China. I plan to go back sometime soon for some travelling, but in the mean time I am really enjoying these little work trips. The place we stayed in at China is called Jiangmen, it’s a little city (by Chinese standards) about 2.5 hours by ferry from Hong Kong. Its quite an industrial area and there are many manufacturing factories there (we were visiting one of them). While I saw a few westerners in the hotel its not somewhere people generally go for a holiday when they are in China.
Here is a map (click to enlarge):
The evening before we left for China I did manage one tourist activity…. I dragged dad around the Temple Street Market. As far as markets go it was pretty typical for an Asian tourist market and having been to MANY markets in Asia I personally thought this one was a bit average. Having said that, even though it was very touristy and rather expensive it did have lots of ‘Made in China’ junk that made me laugh. Like the little furry pussy cats (so tacky I laughed out loud) and plastic toys that wizz, spin, make noises and light up (my favourite was the remote control UFO).
Other photos from the market area:
So… even though I ‘wasted’ tourist time doing work (it had to be done as technically I was on a work trip) I had a great time in Hong Kong! I have another trip to China coming up so I will see if I can tack on another weekend in Hong Kong and this time it will be 100% tourist, 0% work!
OK, I looked fairly hard but I couldn’t find King Kong in Hong Kong… and no, little bro… I didn’t play ping pong with Suzy Wong while looking for King Kong either!
Hong Kong is pretty cool though, it kind of reminded me of lots of places… It reminded me a little of home (Wellington) because of the hills, harbour and compactness of the city. And it reminded me of London because of the greyness, coldness, metro/tube, double decker busses, school kids in blazers, plugs and ridiculously heavy coins. It was quite a unique place to visit… very Asian but with a nice easy familiar feel to it!
Unfortunately… as far as being a tourist in Hong Kong went it was an appalling effort on my behalf. So bad that I will just have to come back and do all the touristy things I wanted to do (ie, go up the big escalator, get the tram to ‘the Peak’ and check out the Giant Buddha). Why did I do such a bad ‘Tourist’ effort… well… unfortunately I had lots of work stuff I wanted/needed to do before I got to China. So except for one mini shopping spree at H&M (because I was so grateful to find a western chain with cheap clothes that fit me) I ended working most of the time in Hong Kong.
Ok… its a terrible photo but it illustrates my point about Hong Kong reminding me of Wellington… This photo reminds me so much of Wellington…. the hills behind the city, the motorway from the Hutt…… Ah…. am I imagining this? Do you think I might be missing Wellington a little too much?!?