Goodbye to Asia: Guangzhou and Hong Kong

Wednesday May 15th, 2013 .

The Guangzhou “W” Hotel – Waaaay Over the Top!

Guangzhou was a last minute add-on to our itinerary, allowing John to attend the opening of the magnificent “W” Hotel – which showcased Kohler faucets. The city of Guangzhou was impressive. With a population of 12.7 million (compared to Shanghai’s 23 million) it is not as overwhelming in size as Shanghai, but it offers many stunning buildings and even more green spaces.

Mostly I saw the interior of our hotel, though, because we were there less than 24 hours. And what a hotel it was! Unfortunately and much to John’s chagrin, the snazzy “smart” toilets weren’t Kohler, and the brand shall be unnamed here (hint: Dorothy’s dog).

Here we are with our Kohler team and the owner of the new hotel.

Back to Hong Kong and Buddha Day at Stanley

Thursday May 16.

We took the train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong – another first for me. That night, we headed back to the Lee House Restaurant near our regular hotel “V” in hopes of replicating the Ice Candy Pork – but alas, they said they were all sold out! We were happy enough with our sweet and sour pork, rationalizing that you just can’t go back sometimes in the list of great meals we have eaten!

This sight is sooooo Hong Kong!

Friday May 17 (Anelise’s Birthday!) was a holiday, Buddha Day, so John had the whole day with me! What a wonderful day it was.

Wan Chai Market on our way to the bus stop.

The guy’s shirt says, “No Money No Power.” The meat is just hanging there in about 90 degree F heat.

There are pieces of meat hanging here that we can’t even associate with a body part.

After a trip through Wan Chai Market, we took a bus to Stanley, the southeast corner of Hong Kong Island, and watched the local Dragon Boat Races. Apparently there are even bigger Dragon Boat Events held here, but there was nothing small scale about this one! The canoes were huge, with rowers two-across. Each boat seemed to have a home “junk” style boat where the canoes were moored and the teams hung out between races.

On the bus to Stanley. Actually we are sweatier than we look.

There were swarms of dogs here, nicely groomed and pampered ones, prancing alongside their owners and tethered to the chairs at the outdoor dining tables. This answered our question about where all the dogs in China hang out. We later found out from George that many of the dogs – especially the large ones which wouldn’t fit in a crate – probably belong to wealthy people who own larger apartments and houses with yards in Stanley. Many of the apartment and condo buildings in Hong Kong and Kowloon, understandably, would not allow dogs. Remember, this is the land of the most expensive real estate in the world. (We saw signs in shop windows for rooms for rent which were only 6 feet by 6 feet – they call them “sleeping rooms.”)

Here we are at an outdoor restaurant called The Boat House, with a view of the races.

F So once again – just when you think you’ve got China figured out as a not-dog-friendly place, along comes a Stanley Dragon Boat Race Event, and you have to rethink everything.

We took the bus home and cleaned up (I wore my new Chinese top) and headed to the Hee Kee Seafood Restaurant. This was unreal! I didn’t know something like this could be food! We got to meet our crab (fresh out of the tank), and in no time at all he reappeared, all red and moist and pre-cracked in a HUGE pile of chilies, garlic and black beans. The bits of broccali and onion in the side dish were even better dipped in the chili-garlic-bean crumbs.

Outside the Hee Kee Seafood restaurant.

John made a new friend in time for the photo. Fun stuff.

Hong Kong History Museum and Peking Duck

Saturday May 18
Today, our last day in Asia, we took the metro to the Hong Kong History Museum – across the harbor in Kowloon. It was really excellent – a great way to get a feel for the development of Hong Kong from its geological formation to the present day. But first we had lunch with George and the Kohler team.

In the year 972, pearl diving in the region was prohibited. Too many pearl divers had perished because of the practice of weighting pearl divers down with rocks so they’d sink quickly to the bottom!

The replicas of the old fishing junks were stunning.

These little guys were busy doing their school work sheets in front of the model of the old walled city of Kowloon.

After a good swing through the museum we had a taxi take us to the shopping street. Our driver said, “Oh, you mean “Lady Street.” We laughed and said yes, thinking that he was making a joke about Temple Street, the famous shopping street. No – he actually dropped us of at a street called Lady Street.

But we did find Temple street and it was pretty much the same lineup of scarves, chopsticks, watches, purses.

We found a few little additions to the suitcases, including a waving kitty – the exact replica of a waving kitty that I know our little birthday girl liked at the Thai restaurant in Salisbury.

Here’s a guy entertaining crowds on the street with his art of kicking up and balancing a stack of metal bowls on his head – one bowl at a time.

We then taxied to a place that George helped us stake out – the Spring Deer for Peking Duck! (address: 42 Mody, 2F.) OMG! This should be illegal. John kept pointing out that this is pure skin and fat. The guy cuts the meat so that there’s really nothing to your little sandwich but a crepe, a piece of onion, a thin spreading of duck sauce, and a couple pieces of crispy, tasty, delicious duck skin and fat. What a way to end our trip to Asia! Feeling only a little guilty about eating something that we will never, ever, ever eat again once we start our healthy eating program in retirement.

Goodbye Asia

We went home to pack our two suitcases which we came with, our red duffle bag which we bought knowing that we’d buy souvenirs on our last trip, and the new suitcase which I bought in Guangzhou, once we realized that our stuff was in no way going to fit in three suitcases.

Thank you John, for giving me wonderful trips to Asia these past several years. I’m so happy that I had a chance to see so much, to meet so many people, and to fall in love with Asia. To my dear blog readers, however few you may be, thank you for reading and giving me a reason to write. My stories will now focus on dogs and grandchildren and staying home. And I’m happy about that, too!

Martha – Madly Traveling Asia with Faucet Marketing Husband

Location:Guangzhou and Hong Kong (Stanley)


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