Friday, January 18, 2013

Bridal High Tea

This is a little belated, but it was specially requested by Deli so here you go. 

Back in the busy week between Christmas and New Years, after somehow convincing Adele that she really wanted to participate in some very dodgy acting for TAFE assignment I'd long been procrastinating over, we got into our pretty dresses and headed for the Hilton Hotel in the city. Were soon joined by several other classy ladies and were escorted to our table to celebrate Maggie's Bridal High Tea.

Started off, of course, with a glass of champers, and lots of chatting and gossiping as we ladies are known to do. Had a browse of the tea bar which had samples of all the various teas available to order. I got a pot of cinnamon tea which was pretty darn tasty I must say.

Amid lots more chatting and gossiping (we do so love it!), the food came out. So much food! We all got a tower of delectable little treats to share between 3 of us, with goodies including salmon and cucumber sandwiches, prosciutto, spinach and cheese tarts, curried egg puffs, scones with jam and cream, walnut cake, various cupcakes, fruit custard tarts, and macaroons.

Stayed chatting away and struggling to fit more food in until well after the hotel's official tea time had ended (they were very nice and didn't boot us out...though they did eventually resort to turning lights off in our area. We rather failed to take that hint). Finally headed off armed with our little jars full of marshmallows from the Maid of Honour who also did a great job of organising a lovely afternoon. Thanks Nat!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pearl Land

With a big exciting weekend approaching (very long awaited wedding of some good friends is here at last!!), here is another nostalgic blog from China. This was from a few months into my time in Zhuhai when we all decided to check out the theme park outside the city. There was a really fancy looking roller coaster that could be seen from the road, but I'm still yet to find anyone that ever actually saw it in operation and so can only conclude it was used to lure people in. Anyway, it was a unique place, I have to give it that :P


So on Thursday after winning a small victory over a scheduling conflict with TPR admin, Hanne and I met Kim, Caris, Ashley, Brandy, Amanda, Anny and Kevin at the school and headed out to Pearl Land, an amusement park just out of town. Kind of reminded me of the end of National Lampoon's Vacation because there were hardly any people there (we actually had to stand around trying to round people up because they wouldn't run one of the rides with less than 15 people) but it meant no lines for anything so it was all good. 

Spent a while indulging in China's favourite national past time (posing for photos with the random collection of animal, cartoon character and old west statues scattered around the park) and then took a couple trips on the roller coaster (securely strapped in as we were with one old seatbelt looped around our shoulders). Took a spin on the worlds slowest (and hottest) ferris wheel from which we got a great view of the rest of the park and the rarely seen Chinese suburbia and then went on a couple kids rides and the carousel which ended abruptly when the ride operator got sick of all the pole dancing (not me for the record).
Went on a couple fast show rides that were pretty fun. Luckily we were properly strapped in this time and let me tell you, nothing makes you feel more confident about being thrown up in the air and spun upside down than looking down at your harness to see a giant "Made in China" label on it. The rides pretty much went downhill from there. There was a log ride on which I think i actually ended up drier than before i got on, the world’s most pathetic haunted house (the only scary part was that it was so dark you faced the very real danger of smacking into a wall) and a mirror maze.

A highlight was "Experience world" which took us from a Chinese speaking King Tut in ancient Egypt to a polar bear dropping from the ceiling, a replica of the Bocca della Verita (ancient roman  lie detector) - that was entertaining actually because Amanda tried it and jumped a mile when it pretended to bite her fingers off, a model of New York in which the Statue of Liberty was missing an arm and finally a volcano. Did a lap on the oddball cycles (Hanne and I spent most of the time trying to figure out how to steer ours since the handlebars didn't move and one wheel didn't quite reach the ground properly) and got queasy on the spinning tulips ride (or Flower Cupry if you will).

Can you feel the excitement?

Overwhelmed with all the excitement we eventually headed out of the park where we were all delighted to find a selection of fairy floss, BBQ and drinks being sold off the back of bicycles, which we gobbled up pretty quickly and headed for home.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hong Kong (the first time)

Happy new year to my awesome readers!! Hope 2013 is treating you all well so far. 

With a bit of a lull on the adventure front predicted while I wrap up my studies (finally) and get stuck into my volunteer interviewer position which I'm very excited to be starting this week, I thought I'd take this time to gather all my old, old, old travel updates together from before I started blogging so I have them all in the one spot. Luckily, since I haven't deleted any sent emails for the last...well ever really, this is proving easier than I first expected (hurray for copy & paste).

Starting off, my very first overseas trip which I was very busily preparing for at this time 6 years ago (eep!), Hong Kong!

22-26 Feb 2007

Greetings all. Just left Hong Kong after my 4 day stay on the way to China and I have to say, it was fantastic. The city is really nice, clean, easy to navigate and the whole place lights up and comes alive at night which is just amazing. I stayed in a guesthouse in Kowloon where the room was very, very tiny but quiet and comfortable (and most importantly, cheap!).

My first full day there I caught a ferry to the beautiful nearby island of Lantau. Immediately on leaving the ferry I was greeted by the sight of hundreds of bikes parked together. Took a bus along a steep windy road (which was clearly not designed with buses in mind) up into the mountains to Nong Ping which houses the Po Lin monastary (lots of beautiful architecture, incense burning, monks etc, very atmospheric) and giant Buddha which you have to climb 260 steps to reach but its well worth the climb as the statue really is huge and the views are spectacular. Spent the rest of the afternoon exploring a few areas on Hong Kong island and rode the 800m long escalator through the Soho district (which you would really understand if you saw how steep the streets are), then headed back to Kowloon. Visited the Avenue of Stars which is a Walk of Fame for Cantonese cinema on the waterfront. Found stars for Chow Yun Fat, Jet Li, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. The city then puts on a very impressive light show on all the skyscrapers across Victoria Harbour.

The next day travelled to Sha Tin and climbed another 400 steps, these through a bamboo grove and lined with golden Buddha statues (and monkeys allegedly but I didn’t spot any) to the 10 000 Buddha Monastery which was really beautiful as the main temple is filled with over 12 000 tiny gold Buddhas and there were pagodas, statues and shrines everywhere. Next visited the Tsuen Lung Wishing tree and got to have a go at lighting incense and making a few wishes of my own by writing them on scrolls which are then hung on a wall next to the tree. Also visited some interesting street markets and the Man Mo temple in Tai Po.

ok I look a bit weird in this was the first time I tried using the timer on my camera :P
Next day I took the historic Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour then stumbled across the Stanley Markets accidentally after I missed my bus stop. Woohoo because the markets were great and I got to see a dragon dance being performed in front of a roast pig to celebrate Chinese New Year so that was a pretty lucky mistake. After a good long wander through the labyrinth of tiny shops, I backtracked to my original destination of Repulse Bay and added 12 days to my life by making a couple passes over the Bridge of Longevity at a fascinating shrine dedicated to assorted deities for protection, marriage, fortune etc., all covered in bright tile mosaics and perched on the edge of the beach. Back in the city I took a very steep tram ride up to Victoria Peak and enjoyed a great view of the city from the top of the Peak Tower. Went for a walk on a circuit of the summit before returning to the tower to see more of Hong Kong lit up at night, including a lantern festival on the harbour. Spent a little while walking around the city at night one more time before returning to my room to pack.

Checked out the next day and headed to the China ferry terminal via Kowloon Park to await my ferry into Zhuhai. Really great start to my trip and I can't wait to return.