Hong Kong Day 1
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2002
Hong Kong
All Photos © 2002 Ting and Randy Vogel

 Morning Falun Gong Ritual
 The Hillside Park Outside Our Hotel Window
 Ting and Mom & Pop Entering the Lodge
 the Grapefruit Peeler, Hard at Work
 the Subway Train is Looooong
 Ting & Mom & Pop on the Subway
 Giant Teapot in the Shopping Center
 Ting, Mabel's folks, Mom & Pop
 Doh! Nothing like a Brick in the Head to Ruin Your Day!
 Need a Little More Stress, Anyone?
 Giant Wine Barrel
 Giant Wine Barrel Reaching for the Sky
 Hipo-fant Logo
 Pink Apartments...
 Notice the Interior Light Well?
 Yellow Apartments
 Shopping at the Jewelry Store
 Apartments as Far as the Eye Can See!
 Green & Blue Apartments
 ? Troll House ?
 Multi-colored Skyscrapers
 Noodle-Selling Demon
 Dried Skate Snacks
 Mei Ying Writes the Order
 Presentation of the First Dishes
 the Full Spread
 Mom and So Mui
 Smile Pop!
 So Mui and Mei Ying
 ? Human ? Hair Salon
 SeaDog Pills?

We all pretty much clonked out as soon as we got to the hotel, as evidenced by the picture that closed the preceding page, and after a fitful night of sleep it was up and at 'em for our first real day of vacation.

The MTR, the extensive underground Hong Kong railway system, was a block from our hotel and the first thing we did was to buy "Octopus" cards, which are prepaid debit cards that allowed us to ride any of the trains, buses, or ferries in Hong Kong. Then, we took the MTR to Kowloon Bay Station where we met Mr. Kwan. The Kwan's used to live next door to Ting's family many years ago when they all lived in Kowloon. Ting had no memory of the Kwan's at all as she was only 8 years old when she left Hong Kong. Mr. Kwan was a jolly fellow with a couple of missing front teeth that in others might have added a certain sinisterness, but on him, only added a bit of innocence to the overall jolliness. We walked to his daughter Mabel's apartment to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Kwan (Mabel was away on a business trip in North Carolina). Mrs. Kwan, a short lady with a perpetual smile, was hospitable to the point of aggression. Our teacups were filled at every chance. Like most Cantonese conversations between more than 2 adults, there were at least 2 going on a once and they all seem to be arguing with each other, although since Ting knows the language, she knew that they were just trying to catch up on all the missing years (rapidly). Ting tried hard to translate all the juicy tidbits for Randy, so he could keep up with the dueling conversations in the room.

After an hour or so, we made our way down to the mall that is at the foot of Mabel's apartment complex. We settled on Mei Sum (Beautiful Heart) Restaurant for Dim-Sum. As an expression of hospitality, Mrs. Kwan made it a point to keep our plates filled with food. Ting noticed that she did not put much on her own plate. At the end of the meal, there was a flurry of hands reaching to grab the check and Ting won (for this round). We then waddled out of the restaurant with full stomachs to check out the surrounding mall. The mall was huge with at least nine stories of shops. While Mom and Mrs. Kwan were looking at white-gold necklaces, Ting found herself a beautiful white-gold cross.

It was already 3:30 by the time we were done with the visit. Mr. Kwan walked us to the bus that would take us over to Hong Kong Island to Ting's parents's Optometrist. The bus trip took at least 1/2 hour. After a bit of hunting, we finally found Canaan Optical on Stanley Street. Ting's parents have used them for ages and ages -- they never switched to an optometrist in the States (and Ting thought she had a long way to go to San Jose to get to her hairdresser!). Both of Ting's parents had their eyes examined when they were there, but both nixed the idea of getting new glasses since their prescriptions hadn't changed and the glasses would have cost over HK$2000! That seemed excessive even in US dollars!

We got back to the hotel around six o'clock and had a couple of hours to rest before dinner. Mom had made plans to have dinner with Mei Ying and So Mui for dinner at 8 pm. Mei Ying and So Mui used to rent the extra room in our apartment and baby-sit us kids, so they were almost family. Ting remembered So Mui but couldn't recall Mei Ying. She did remember that So Mui disciplined her quite a bit when she was a kid and she used to be afraid of her. Now Ting towers over her. Funny how perspectives can change!

We settled on dinner at Fuk Yuen Hot Pot Seafood Restaurant. Hot Pot restaurants are popular even in the States. A pot of hot water sits on top of a burner at each table. Waiters walk around with heaping plates of raw food that the patrons cook themselves in the pot. It seemed to be a great deal for the restaurant. We do the cooking for them, but it sure is fun and thus the popularity of the concept.

After the meal, we made our way to the Temple Street Night Market. The Night Market featured several blocks of street vendors selling all varieties of merchandise. Ting bought a phone power adapter since her phone was running out of batteries and it had registered "Roam" even though it was not supposed to work overseas. At $4 for the adapter, it was a worthwhile purchase, even though it turned out that the cellphone couldn't link up to the local network. It was close to 11 pm by the time we made it back to the hotel, so we turned in for a well-deserved rest.