And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hong Kong Day 2

This was our final day to explore the city and it was just our luck that the sky was dark and the clouds were full of water.  We had packed lots of rain gear and even an umbrella but all the sights remaining on our list were outdoors and all of our rain gear combined could not have kept us dry.  In hopes that the rain would subsist quickly we decided to head over to the worlds largest covered escalators.  Part of the city of Hong Kong is built on a large hill.  Instead of making patrons walk up the large hill/mountain  they constructed a series of escalators that have breaks every 50 feet so you can get out to the store you want to.  The boys loved riding the escalators and of course had to touch EVERYTHING!  We stopped half way up and grabbed some yummy Mexican food for lunch at the Little Burrito and then finished the rest of the escalators.  To no ones surprise the rain was still in full swing and we no longer had shelter to hide under for the remainder of our journey.

We decided to head up to Victoria Peak despite the thick fog that was very apparently covering the vast majority of the city.  If we didn't go somewhere because of fog than we would have never been to Shenandoah, Mt. St. Helens, and now the Peak.  The walk was wet and long to get to the bottom of the tram but the boys did great!  They loved going straight up the mountain in the tram despite the heavy pull on our necks and the thought of plummeting thousands of feet to our death if the cable holding us were to break.  There would have been spectacular views of the city had the fog decided to dissipate, however, it was getting thicker and thicker with every foot we ascended so our hopes of a view at the top were very small.  Sure enough the top was a nice blanket of white with pictures all around showing us what we were missing and what the views would look like had we actually been able to see.  We were only outside for a short while because despite our high altitude there was a nice mist that was getting us more and more wet.  Long trip for no view, but we had fun none-the-less.

This because the breaking point for our little troopers in our day.  The boys were crying to go home but we still had a few things left on our list.  One things that I have realized as a parent is that the more you push kids (mine at least) the more they dig in their heels in protest, and kids can make or break a vacation.  We still wanted to take a ferry down the river and see the cites as well as see the laser show over the river.  However, the boys were clearly done and needed to go back to the hotel to dry out and rest up.  So that is exactly what we did.

We were able to rest up for a few hours and to our great pleasure the rain stopped just as the sun was setting.  Since we were leaving in the morning we really wanted to hit up one last local restaurant.  We took the shuttle into town and found a noodle place that looked really yummy.  The restaurant employees were loving Parker, who was totally flirting back.  The food ended up being interesting (to say the least) and the boys left still we topped everything off with a local and very ethnically diverse restaurant called McDonalds.  If McDonalds were a universal language, my kids would speak it fluently.  The food there is a sure win every time and one that we can count on every country!  The kids were happy, we were happy, and we could all leave Hong Kong feeling like we gave it our best shot. 

The flight home was quick and painless and since we traveled during the week and made it home on a Saturday so we were able to enjoy a long weekend of unpacking and relaxing.  Just the way I like it!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hong Kong Day 1

Technically we had already been in Hong Kong for 2 1/2 days but this was the first day that we were exploring the city so I would call it Hong Kong day 1.  We had a few things on our Hong Kong bucket list that were must do's and then weather pending there were a few things that we could do if we had time and energy to do so.  Dim Sum (dumplings that Hong Kong is renown for having) was among the top of our list of must-do's and lucky for us there was a Michelin award winning dim sum restaurant nearby a few other attractions we wanted to see.  This was a super busy restaurant that the waits can exceed 2 hours at times.  We decided to hit it up early and make sure we were able to get a table.  The restaurant is called Tim Ho Wan and is called the "cheapest Michelin restaurant in the world."  We had some pretty high expectations going in from all the amazing reviews we had heard so I was a little worried that the food would disappoint.  I was very wrong.  I could have eaten their little BBQ pork buns all day long.  They were flaky, sweet, and super tender buns filled with the perfect amount of BBQ porkey goodness.  The spring rolls were crunchy with just the right amount of filling, and the dim sum was amazing.  Judging by the hundreds of people filling the restaurant at 10:30 am I would say we were not alone in thinking that the food was out of this world.  If we lived in Hong Kong this restaurant would definitely be frequented by us.

After our tummies were sufficiently full we headed down the road to the Ladies Market.  This is not a market exclusively for ladies but since the market has a lot of knock off designer clothing, shoes, jewelry, and hand bags it is called a Ladies Market.  There were also electronics and toys so the boys had a good time perusing.  TJ got a laser pen and the boys picked out some obnoxious light sabers that make the most annoying sounds....I'm praying they break in the near future.  I found the market to be pretty overwhelming as the vendors were quite aggressive and the narrow street with tons of people made for very crowded and in your face shopping.  I was even stopped by a "monk" and blessed.  He wasn't too happy when I didn't give him payment after the blessing and I'm pretty sure he cursed me and my children for the "disrespect." 

After the market we hopped on the Metro and went down to the Temple.  The fact that the temple sits in the middle of a bustling city with so much going on around it seems crazy to me.  But then you walk through the gates into their little atrium area and you are transported to a world of peace and serenity.  Such a testament to the truthfulness of the gospel and the peace it will always bring amidst the chaos.  The temple was beautiful and such a nice break from the overwhelming city just outside its walls.

This is the church building/distribution center right across the street.  The building was under construction and the scaffolding was made entirely of bamboo and crazy!!

At this point in the day we were all pretty tired and ready to call it a day.  There were only a few things left on our list of to-do's and we still had a whole other day to do them.  They were all clustered on the opposite side of the city as well, so we decided to call it a day and finish the list the next day.  Being able to relax in the hotel with my family reminds me of how blessed I am to have two incredible children and an amazing husband.  I am so lucky to travel the world with them by my side!!

The views from our hotel...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Disneyland with a Detour

Planning two days at a California or Florida Disney seems like hardly anytime; however, one day at Hong Kong Disney is more than enough.  Our first day at Disneyland we were able to see and do almost everything we wanted to.  With ride times being no more than a 5-10 minute wait and shows being done in English quite frequently, planning to spend one day in the park is a good amount of time.  Having two small boys in tow proves to slow us down quite a bit and Dominik is knows for his lackadaisical walking so we thought that planning two days would give us enough time for the boys to really enjoy the park.  Most things in Asia don't seem to open until 10 or 11 though so we figured we would hit up another local attraction and then head over to Disneyland. 

The Big Buddha was just a stop away on the metro line so it was the perfect fit for our morning adventure.  The Buddha itself sits back in the mountains just outside the main city and can be reached by hiking or taking a gondola ride.  We opted for the glass bottom gondola and were so impressed by how amazing it was.  The boys were un-phased  by the fact that they could see just how far they would fall if the bottom dropped out from under them.  The ride went over the city, across the ocean, and up a few mountains until you could see a giant Buddha appear.  It was incredible!!

We had a fun time letting the boys run to the base of the mountain to see just how big the Buddha was that we could see from the gondola.  They were very eager to get to Disney though so they seemed very unimpressed.  Dominik was even worried that we wouldn't be there to open the park (he was more than bummed to find out that opening that park the day before was the chance of a lifetime and not something that would likely ever happen again).  We took the gondola back down the mountain and hurried over to Disneyland just in time for lunch.

Disneyland the second day was just as fun as the first.  We knew exactly the rides we wanted to redo and had a small list of rides that we still needed to do.  Dominik and TJ rode the Big Grizzly Mountain ride several times while Parker napped and then we enjoyed a yummy chicken and French fry lunch.  We skipped the parades this day because we wanted to maximize our time on the rides and since everyone else tends to flock to the parades we breezed right though the lines to get on our favorite rides.


We ended the day with the firework show over the castle and the long metro ride home after two exhilarating days of fun.  The ride home gave me ample opportunity to think about how excited I am to move to San Diego this summer and live so close to a Disneyland Park!!