November 30, 2008

My First Day in Hong Kong


Our first day in Hong Kong was a crazy, fun, dizzying tour of this fantastic city. Our friend and fabulous tour guide, Matt, guided us as we criss-crossed the city and experienced a the broad range of what this city has to offer.

From our hotel, we walked to breakfast and then took the tram up the peak. Overlooking the city from this height is beautiful. We were lucky to experience this view on a day with clear blue sky and sunshine, a striking view of a striking city. Next we climbed back into the tram and descended back to the bustling streets.

Late in the morning, following some time in the shops and on the streets of Central, we traveled by public transportation to Diamond Hill to visit a garden and temple. The garden and temple are situated on the grounds of a Buddhist nunnery and is an amazingly beautiful and calming place. We walked through the garden paths, enjoying and photographing the flowers, plants, trees, ponds, and buildings. Standing in front of the front of the statues in the temple I felt relaxed and quiet, even in the middle of this vibrant and hectic city. Before leaving the nunnery we stopped for a delicious vegetarian meal in the cafe in the middle of the garden.

After our relaxing and rejuvenating time in the temple and gardens we returned to the fast-paced streets. In the Mong Kok area were dove into the crowds and experienced the craziness of the Lady's Market and shops of this area. Being a Saturday the market and shops were packed with people and noise – it was an intense and fun experience! From there we continued on foot towards the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui to check that neighborhood. We continued walking and walking – exploring the shops and sights.

We eventually ended up at the Peninsula for a relaxing – and much appreciated high tea. Scones, tea, and classical music were a contradiction to the busy streets outside. As it became dark outside we headed to the edge of the harbor to watch the lights of the Hong Kong Island before riding the ferry back across the water to our hotel.

It was a great day – great food, a beautiful day, and a fun tour of the city thanks to an excellent guide (thanks Matt)!

November 28, 2008

Welcome to Hong Kong

After 14 hours aboard a United Airlines 747-400 we landed in Hong Kong. Entering the airport terminal we navigated through immigration and customs to the arrival hall. After such a long airplane trip Jonathan and I were excited to see a friend in the crowd ready to help us find our way to our hotel – and more importantly a fabulous dinner.

So, we're in Asia. This is my first trip to Southeast Asia and I am excited and wide-eyed as we walk through the streets and take in the sights of the city.

This morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny day! I'm looking forward going out and exploring the city!

November 27, 2008

Leaving San Francisco

So, today we leaving San Francisco – home – and flying to Hong Kong. I have been looking forward to this trip all year and am excited that the time of departure has finally arrived!

For the past few days I have started to contemplate the assumptions I have about this trip and the destinations and experiences we have planned. What is Southeast Asia like? How will I experience these distant place? What are my preconceived notions? I have read about the cultures – both present and past – the history, architecture, and food; I have listened to what others have to say. But what will these places be like for me?

One thing I know for sure is that we will be visiting places unlike any I have experienced thus far. I will have the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture that is very different from my native culture – it will be a world that is new to me. And I look forward to experiencing and learning! Off we go!

November 22, 2008

Prologue


I have been very lucky to throughout my life and have been able to travel to many different areas of our planet. Next week I will have the opportunity to visit a place I have not been to before – my husband's native country, the Philippines. This trip has been several months in the planning and I am very excited that our date of departure is almost here!

In the past I have traveled to many different places in North America, Latin America, and Europe and am looking forward to my first trip to Southeast Asia. I have always been fascinated by the many unique cultures around the globe and enjoy experiencing and learning about each one.

I have begun this blog to chronicle and share my experiences, thoughts, ideas, opinions, and visions about this trip – this experience.