My heart was heavy as we departed Japan. It is one of my favourite places in the world, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the 3 week stay.
Our flight to Hong Kong aboard Cathay Pacific was absolutely fantastic. The crew were faultless during the 4 hour flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. Teddy and Harriet slept most of the way and Abi watched movies quietly on her ipad.
James and I chatted in my “pod” seat, in disbelief at how quickly the trip is moving along and that our time in Asia was almost complete.
Hello Hong Kong. Land of the skyscrapers, neon lights, chaotic traffic, narrow streets, expensive shopping, markets, food, and people. My lord, the people!
Our 1 week stay in Hong Kong was never intended to be one of sight-seeing and a busy schedule. Instead, we chose to have some down time before trekking to Europe. My mother-in-law flew up from Sydney to visit us. We surprised the kids with her arrival and they were thrilled to see her, to see someone from home. I was so grateful to have a night off, while my mother-in-law generously minded the kids in our apartment. James and I walked down to Elgin Street and dined in a cute little Mexican cantina with oversized margaritas and pulled pork burritos.
Our 2 bedroom apartment on Caine Road in the Mid-Levels was absolutely brilliant. It was our first property we rented using Air BnB and we definitely scored the jackpot first time around. The views of the city were dynamic and changed every hour with the several light shows that rotate around the island and harbour. The kids shared a double bedroom and laid in bed every night, watching the lights twinkle and flash, something I hope they don’t forget too soon.
I made several meals for the kids, who were craving home cooked cuisine like the classic beef tacos and spaghetti bolognese. The supermarkets had most items we needed yet priced quite ridiculously.
James and the kids ventured for a swim one morning at the Four Seasons with my mother-in-law while I minded Harriet in her room at the hotel.
Even though we had visited both of the Disney parks in Japan, we decided to visit Disneyland Hong Kong as well. My mother-in-law was very excited by this, a thrill seeker at heart she is. It was stinking hot, the humidity was through the roof and the crowds were considerable. The park is much smaller than California and Japan but the kids enjoyed the day nonetheless. A separate post will have more details of our day.
We caught the Star Ferry most days, to and from Kowloon to explore the promenade and goliath malls that sit atop. You wouldn’t believe the crowds we experienced on the weekends, and quite pushy tourists at that.
One morning, James and my mother-in-law took Abi and Teddy over to Stanley and Repulse Bay for some browsing of the markets and sightseeing along the boardwalk. James commented that they endured quite the taxi ride there which lasted 30 minutes along windy, narrow streets which often are only wide enough for 1 car to pass. Sounds like I picked a good morning to stay home and catch up on the washing!
I decided to colour my hair like a mermaid, as Abi said. My green hair sure stood out amongst the Chinese locals. Some smiled, others looked on in horror.
James attended a Venture Capital Summit for a day and enjoyed being submersed in the local professional community. We had planned to give Hong Kong a test run to see if it could be a suitable place for expatriation but James and I are unsure it would be a good fit for our family.
Our generous host let us occupy the apartment until 8pm at night when our driver collected us for a transfer to the airport. We had a short wait in the new Qantas lounge while we tried to tire out the children before the 12 hour flight to London Heathrow. The staff were fantastic and kept the kids entertained while James and I sat nervously, hoping the flight would go quickly with no hiccups.
We finally boarded our flight BA26 bound for Heathrow at 11:00pm local time and settled into our pods. The cabin was only 1/2 full which was fantastic but we really lucked out with a lazy and uninspiring crew. Ted had an almighty tantrum as we were taxing down the runway but finally fell asleep upon take-off and did not wake until 1 hour before landing in London. I seriously could not have planned it better myself, what a champion little traveller. Harriet slept almost as long, Abi struggled to sleep. I guess she is like me, who struggles to sleep on planes, even in the nicest of surroundings. We had several bouts of heavy turbulence which kept my heart racing for a few hours.
As we landed in London at 4:15am local time, the sun shone through the airport windows and I was so excited to be in Europe again. As one door closes, another one opens.