Man do we have a lot of catching up to do. This rapid fire traveling schedule doesn't leave us with all that much time to contemplate and write. If we aren't checking in somewhere, we're checking out and trying to catch a plane.
We were worried about where we'd stay in Hong Kong. It's a famously expensive city and we intended to be there for about ten days.
I always say, "Everything always works out perfectly," to which Todd always replies that it's dangerous to say that.
But for Hong Kong, things once again worked out perfectly. A week or two before we were to arrive we got an e-mail from a couple who live in Hong Kong, offering us their two extra bedrooms. Wow!
Even better, they live on Lamma Island, which is this strange island just off the coast of Hong Kong. Despite being only 25 minutes by ferry to the city consistently rated as the best city in the world to have a business, the island feels more like some Thai beach town.
There are no vehicles on Lamma island, just narrow pathways that connect the apartment complexes, waterfront restaurants, and beaches.
We met Jenny and Aaron as well as some of their friends right near the ferry pier and they showed us the way back to their place. We sat up for a while sharing our stories. .
They have an adorable daughter named Maeli (which means beautiful in Mandarin). Normally this would mean a settled normal life, but they traveled throughout Asia for a year or two with her until settling down to live in Hong Kong. Aaron is a programmer and is well known for being on the board of directors of Apache, the web server that runs most sites on the internet (including this one).
We spent most of our time with Aaron and Jenny. It makes such a huge difference to have a local to show you around and steer you away from the overrated tourist attractions. The highlight was definitely the vegan barbecue on the beach the last night that we were there. One of the things Todd and I are constantly looking for is guacamole, and Jenny made a ton of it. So good.
Hong Kong is a really cool place. It's a relatively thin strip of super developed urban area, bordered on one side by the bay and by beautiful green mountains on the other side. The perfect mix of nature and dense city.
In fact Hong Kong seems like nearly the perfect city. The ONE problem with it is that they speak Cantonese, which is a language I have no interest in learning. If they spoke Mandarin, I'd be there for months on end.
I may not go back for months, but it was an amazing place and a great time, and I'm sure we'll be back to visit our friends there next year.
Eh... I'm already working on 4 other languages and I don't need to overload myself (further). Once I get these four down I might start learning new ones, but Cantonese isn't really popular enough that it would be one of my top choices. After these I'd go for Russian, Arabic and Hindi.
That sounds amazing. One of the beauty's of having a travel blog is that you get to meet so many interesting people from all over the world. I am staying with a family in England who also offered me a place to stay. If nothing else, blogs help people get connected and your experience is proof that there are many wonderful people out there.
And you two are always welcome back!
Seriously, had a great time with you in Hong Kong. Glad to know you liked the city. Good luck in your further travels.
Oh, and I read The Game on the flight over to Portland today. I think I annoyed the guy next to me by laughing during the part about you and Style attempting the uber-man schedule. I couldn't help myself.
I've always hated anime. I never really gave it much of a chance as it combined two things that I didn't care for: cartoons and words I couldn't understand.
One night I was at my friend Charlie's house, hanging out in the living room. Someone in his family put on Hayao Miyazaki's anime mastepiece, "Spirited Away".
At first I ignored the movie, giving it just a small fraction of my attention. By the time it was over I was totally enthralled. The story was fantastic, the characters were great, but most of all the movie was beautifully drawn.
What a treat it is to visit the South Pacific. People always ask what Fiji is like and I always say the same thing. Fiji is simply breathtaking. The beauty is unmatched and the locals are extremely friendly.
We spent our days basking in the vibrant sun–fanned by the relentless ocean breeze. At night, we were lulled by a moonlight that seemed much closer to the earth than normal. If that wasn't enough, we sang soft rock from the early 90s while trying feverishly to follow the words attached to a television monitor...Karaoke anyone? We laughed and drank Kava- Fiji's traditional drink of choice, comprised of a ground root soaked in water. Always open to new experiences, I took the cup offered to me by a charming man with grey hair and leathery brown skin. I held the cup, which was more like a small bowl between my hands, and I drank. Kava is beloved by native Fijians. The drink had an earthy flavor. Once down, my tongue went numb in some places. On the bright side, I felt more relaxed–one of the benefits of drinking Kava.
We stayed at an all-inclusive resort run by native Fijians on the private Matamoanoa Island. The island is located about 2 hours from the airport by ferry. The ferry ride over was an amazing journey. The views were astounding and the weather was perfect. We zipped along dropping off passengers at islands scattered in the sea. As we approached Matamoanoa, we were greeted by nearly a dozen people standing on the beach singing a lovely welcome serenade. "Bula" the Fijian word for welcome was stated then and we felt that way during our entire stay.