Friday, September 01, 2006

Now where was I?

Hong Kong seems a world away now. I'm home, almost unpacked (a minor miracle considering the amount of stuff I bought back!) and off to London next week for a week. Life seems to be almost back to normal. The memories are still there, and I'm planning my next 'epic' already. The question is now, which to start with, and where to begin! East or west... :-)

On my last weekend in HK, as you can probably see from my last post, it was all a bit of a jumble of finishing off bits and pieces. I spent a day wandering around HK island, starting with the traditional dried fish shops, chinese medicine shops and had lunch from Olivers Deli - a large deli packed with british food - mmmm! (And proper bread, bagels and cakes!!! :-) ) It was then on to Hong Kong Park and the Tea Musuem to the library (enormous) and shops in Causeway Bay (enormous Sogo department store! Finishing off with the Food and Healthcare expo. If truth be told, the Food expo was a little disappointing. Apparently, according to the students at PolyU, in previous expos there had been many different types of food to try. At this one though, they seemed to have run out of a lot. I suppose going on Saturday evening might have had something to do with that... :-S The healthcare expo was mainly plugging the seemingly huge private (almost typed primate - hehehe) healthcare sector which has far superior service (from what they told me) and much better resources. Something to do with the funding to patient ratio probably. Lots of freebies - yeh, my favourite! A strange world to work in though. Could have been quite interesting to visit a private hospital I spose, though they're probably quite like the private hospitals in and around Harley Street, and the BUPA and Nuffield establishments around the country.

Sunday was a scenic trip out to Shek O beach (in my view - the beach to visit in HK) and Shek O village, before a dash back to Wan Chai to the Education briefing for HK students about to leave to study in the UK. We'd been invited to go and be available to answer questions from students and parents, and I was the only one who chose to attend. Very relaxing - nice comfy chairs and free Pret which was fab. Also got to chat to other representatives from UK universities and colleges - some from Portsmouth strangely enough! A quick bus ride back to central to find the HMV we'd seen (I'd received a $100 HMV voucher for my troubles, only it was only valid in HK!) Had a great time listening to CD's - nice to hear western music, then went to a book shop and got a few books about HK. One stunning one by Lorette E. Roberts with many watercolours depicting special things about life in HK.

Back to Kowloon on the Star Ferry and up Nathan Road to Granville Road. Here I stopped off to have some sushi. I've never had sushi before, and I'm quite annoyed with myself now as I can't remember the name of the place. Fabulous atmosphere though, and lovely lovely food and great service. Being able to pick all these weird and wonderful things off the conveyer belt infront of you was just brilliant. Tasted fab - a bit of a mission to eat the larger ones with chopsticks though, as they were too big to fit in your mouth, difficult to break the seaweed with your teeth and very tricky to pick up with chopsticks. Loved it though! Back late, and started to stress oh so slightly about the packing scenario. Ho hum. Off to bed. A lovely weekend soaking up the atmosphere of the city and meeting some more of the locals and getting out to do extra bits and pieces I hadn't expected to manage.

Work again on Monday, and my final week was in A&E x-ray. At Tuen Mun, there was one x-ray room functioning in their casualty as there were major renovation works going on. The final result will be a single room functioning using both CR and DR technology in tandem. Amazing, and great to compare just using CR in one room with the CR/DR combo which was also used at Prince of Wales. This A&E also served approx 1 million people. In one x-ray room. Truely amazing. Very fast method of working and boy did my feet, shoulders and legs ache. Thank god they didn't have a heavier tube. I got stuck in for the week, and thoroughly enjoyed it!! :-D

The evenings were running (not literally, but it felt like it after a day in A&E) around trying to finish bits and pieces off! Monday night was a trip over to HK island to Tai Koo, to Cityplaza there where they had an ice exhibition inside the shopping mall. Decided I needed to see it! It was amazing - a huge fridge with various ice sculptures packed in. They gave us coats to wear and off we went. I took some pictures - haven't looked at them properly yet though. After that, I went to Sogo to get gifts for the staff at the hospitals to say thank you, and then on to Lockhart Road in Wan Chai to try to find a Vietnamese Restaurant that my guidebook recommended. It doesn't exist, so I ended up in a lovely Thai restaurant then headed back home the long way. Oops. Minor mis-navigation on the buses!

Tuesday night, Tara and I went hunting for cheap electrical goods. They're not especially cheap, and with the risk of being ripped off we didn't risk it. A short wander (and small shop in Ladies Market) and we caught the KCR back. Wednesday night was a trip back to Mongkok to see the Bird Market and Flower Market - both beautiful and very worthwhile the trip. Then went to have more sushi (too much this time - I felt a bit ill afterwards!), and head back for some hardcore packing once the others had disappeared off for a final night out in Wan Chai. Thursday night was a final meal out together (Malayan, and very yummy too!), and more packing (yes, 2 suitcases, and 2 bags of hand baggage plus a carrier bag or two!) We made several trips with our suitcases to downstairs in the halls to weigh them. Mine were over 40kg together. Luckily we had a 30kg allowance on our tickets, and even more luckily the lovely lady at check-in didn't charge me!! :-D :-D

Friday was a case of getting my caution money back, then the last bits of packing, checking out and going for dim sum with the lecturers and a tour of their new radiography clinic before catching the airbus to the airport. I felt quite sad to be leaving. It had been a great 7 weeks, the atmosphere in the city (smog included) is just amazing.

Such a wonderful place to visit, and a brilliant opportunity given to us by Portsmouth Uni and HK Polytechnic Uni and all the staff at the hospitals. It's a place I'll never forget and I have learnt many things (both radiographic and cultural) which will hopefully stand me in good sted for the rest of my life. Sorry, it sounds puke-y, but it was a great time, and I truely loved it!!! Cheers...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

It's nearly over...

Ok, so I haven't quite updated you on the complete going's-on's of last weekend. I'm afraid packing calls at the mo though, and it'll have to wait until I return for me to complete what I've been up to.

We've just been out for our last evening meal together. Very nice! And... there's a typhoon warning again. Am I worried about getting home? Slightly - ok, a lot! Now I know I'm heading back, all I want is to be at home, sit on a nice sofa, sleep in my own bed and have a bath!

Back to the baggage - there's a lot of it! I need to sort it all out before tomorrow as I have to go and get my caution money back (am I really that much of a liability?), and we need to check out of our rooms before a final dim sum lunch (or yum cha as it's called when you have it in the morning!!)

Looking forward to seeing everyone, and I'll catch up soon I'm sure! Not looking forward to the mammoth 2-flight mission, but it means I'll get home so I don't mind really :-)

See you soon!!! :-) xxx

It's nearly over...

Ok, so I haven't quite updated you on the complete going's-on's of last weekend. I'm afraid packing calls at the mo though, and it'll have to wait until I return for me to complete what I've been up to.

We've just been out for our last evening meal together. Very nice! And... there's a typhoon warning again. Am I worried about getting home? Slightly - ok, a lot! Now I know I'm heading back, all I want is to be at home, sit on a nice sofa, sleep in my own bed and have a bath!

Back to the baggage - there's a lot of it! I need to sort it all out before tomorrow as I have to go and get my caution money back (am I really that much of a liability?), and we need to check out of our rooms before a final dim sum lunch (or yum cha as it's called when you have it in the morning!!)

Looking forward to seeing everyone, and I'll catch up soon I'm sure! Not looking forward to the mammoth 2-flight mission, but it means I'll get home so I don't mind really :-)

See you soon!!! :-) xxx

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shall I fill you in??

Ok, so the title sounds more interesting than the content will be. See, you won't be disappointed now! It's not ground-breaking news - just an update on what I've been up to for the last week or so.

I think I left off after the rather hazy night (and following day) of my birthday. A great relaxing day as it would emerge. The rest of the weekend was a bit crazy. On Saturday, fully rested, we headed for Macau. Macau is an ex-Portuguese colony, now also an SAR, but also a World Heritage Site (please correct me if I'm wrong). I wandered about looking at all the cultural bits, eating Portuguese food and drinking wine. I also walked around the edge of a tower 233m up! Yep - I've got the photo to prove it :-) The others headed for a black sand beach, and munched lots of lovely food too.

I didn't get home til gone mid-night and was up the following morning at silly-o'clock to go and watch Pink Dolphins (otherwise known as Chinese White Dolphins). A great experience, lots of english people to chat too, and I managed to burn the tops of my legs (lying out on the top deck of the launch - very refined!!) I got back to Kowloon early afternoon, and went to look around the Art Museum and then to the halls to collapse before heading out to see some Cantonese Opera. I think I was the only person there under 35 (I find judging ages here difficult) and definately the only caucasian! Back home late and off to bed. Another sleepy Monday morning!

It's getting to the point where I need my notes to remember what I did on given nights during the week. It's all blending into one exploring extravaganza! I'm doing a lot more walking, and loving seeing the bits of Hong Kong which aren't just crammed full of westerners. Don't get me wrong, it's lovely to see other westerners, but sometimes I do want to see some of the other Hong Kong beyond the tourist hype.
Ooohh, I do remember doing a climbing course on Monday night though! Great fun, got chatting to some local teenagers which was nice, and have learnt my climbing basics now (very basic!) Can't wait to try it again at home :-) Tuesday night was a tram-ride on HK island from Central to nearly as far as North Point. Very pretty, and I wish I'd done it earlier as it made me realise how much else there is to see on HK island! Best bit - it only cost $2 each way. That's less than 20p! Wednesday night was one of wandering about in Hung Hom (pronounced Hong Hum just for mega confusion). I got some cheap "DVDs" which are actually VCD's (Asia's answer to VHS). Hope they work on the computer and DVD player at home :-S They were cheap thoughh!

On Thursday night I wandered off in search of food (Taiwanese in the end, and very yummy too!), then clothes (you didn't hear that mum...) and then to Temple Street Night Market to get some final bits and pieces and have a relaxed walk-about!

Friday was a day in the other part of Kowloon and the eastern New Territories. I went via PolyU to Lok Fu in search of a model HK apartment, but my guidebook is a little out of date, and this exhibition thingy has closed. Boooo!!! I hopped on the MTR again, to see a nunnery. Amazing place. Very serene, especially considering the traffic noise outside the walls, and lovely! Some great photos of the gardens, and brilliant memories from inside! After this, I got on a bus to the beach!!! :-) I went to Clearwater Bay (does what it says on the tin, strangely enough), which was really nice. Packed but nice. I lay in the sun, and the shade (it was mid-late afternoon by now) and read my book and slept. Soooo nice. No swimming though as I couldn't leave my bag which was a shame! I got back quite late, and at the moment (it's late again...) I can't quite remember what I did in the evening. There wasn't any alcohol involved though, that's for sure!!

Saturday and Sunday were two more busy days, but I really will have to write more about those some other time. It's gone midnight and I have to be up early for work again tomorrow morning!! Zzzzzz

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Less than a week left...!

Well, my time in HK is nearly done. I can't believe it, and there's still soooo much to see. I'd quite happily spend a year living in this city. Such a mix of cultures, and a vibrant place to live. It's been a pleasure!! :-)

Today's my last free day. I'm off to the beach in a min (sat in a coffee shop having breakfast at the mo...) to have a paddle then to the British Council to speak to students leaving HK to study in the UK. Yesterday involved a lot of wandering about (I've got sore legs and feet) and Friday was likewise, but in the New Territories rather than HK island. I've got loads more to tell... and I will, I promise. But the timer's about to run out of my 15 mins allowance. Must drink my tea and get going otherwise I'll never get everything done!

Just one final note... not quite sure how everything's going to fit in my suitcase on the way back. I started packing last night, and tight doesn't even begin to go there. Errrkkk! Travelling light never was my strong point I spose. Oops.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Beautiful things

It could not be denied this morning that not one of the four of us looked at all beautiful!

It's my 23rd birthday today, and we headed out to Lan Kwai Fong last night, since Thursday night is Ladies night (free drinks all night...). Needless to say it all got a bit hazy and slightly messy. We all looked particularly stunning this morning, and have had a relaxing day!

My beautiful thing is being mentioned on Three Beautiful Things, by Rosey's sister Clare! I love her blog, there's always something new, and it never fails to make me smile! Take a peek... (Haven't mastered the old link thing yet...)

Just to update you on my adventures in HK this week... we went to Ocean Park (the theme park in HK) on Wednesday, thanks to PolyU for arranging it, and Brian Kot for showing us the ultrasounding of the dolphins and suggesting the best way to see lots of the park! We saw the female dolphins being scanned, and were very close to them - cheeky dolphins splashed us a good few times!! After lunch, we then headed to the rides side of the park and to see the stunning aquariums. Truly amazing place, should you ever visit HK!

And that's about it really... for this week. Lots of time spent on the buses commuting to and from Tuen Mun, and a busy day on mobile x-rays on Thursday... I won't go on ;-)

Off to Macau tomorrow, and then doing bits and bobs on Sunday, including hopefully off to see some Cantonese Opera which should be brill!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Crazy weekend!

What a weekend... I think I need another one to recover!

Friday involved going to the radiography labs at the uni (geeky I know...) but I wanted pictures as our uni has nothing like this at home. They were very friendly and helpful. I then explored the union... shops, banks, function rooms but no bar. This is HK after all...

A quick ride on the KCR (Kowloon Canton Railway, does what it says on the tin) to Sha Tin, I found the 10,000 Buddha's temple this time (2nd time lucky...). It was 644 steps up and down, and even though we'd had a fairly nasty typhoon (only level 3) and the humidity had dropped, I was still very sticky and thirsty by the time I reached the top. Golden Buddhas lined the path, and a pagoda, temple and more buddhas than you can shake a stick at were at the top.

A few photos, and a climb up the pagoda and it was time to head back down to go to the hospital, where the department manager took Tara and I out for a Dim Sum lunch. We were fed all manner of things, all tasty and in lovely surroundings. The random award goes to the jelly-fish and the beef bicep. Both to be dipped in vinegar before eating. I actually quite took to the jelly-fish after a bit... The other dim sum was tasty, and my chopsticks behaved which is crucial!

Back to the halls to relax on the very full stomach, and then out with my friend Dee to "do the markets" - including Ladies Market in Mongkok, and Temple Street Night Market in Tsim Sha Tsui. She left this morning to go home to Texas, after roughly 10 weeks here! I managed to find a cuddly Miffy (one of my target purchases...) and a suitcase (I bargained it down...) and Dee bought lots of gifty bits.

And that was Friday...

Saturday was taking the others to the Prince of Wales Hospital to show them round as we're "switching" placements as of Monday, then to afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel (bit like the Ritz...) with Dee which was loads of fun, and filled me up for the rest of the day. Good cup of proper tea too (without condensed milk which makes a change...). After that, we went to the Chinese Arts and Crafts shop, and I tried Chinese Kung Fu tea. The guy in the shop made me lots of (very small and dainty) cups, and I bought some to drink at home. Very yummy!! Then a bit more shopping on Nathan Road and back to the halls to help Dee repack her mammoth suitcase - Jimmy.

Today, I went to Lantau Island by ferry from Hong Kong Island, did some walking, caught a bus to Tai O (a small fishing village) and saw some temples, went to a market and had dinner at a recommended restaurant (good prawns...). Caught the bus to see the Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastry and Wisdom Walk. Didn't manage to climb the 943m Lantau Peak (it was a bit hot and humid for walking...) and got the bus back to Tung Chung (crazy driver... but absolutely stunning views!) to catch the MTR back to Jordan (near the uni). Walked home the last bit, and got a bit of a shock when I got in and looked at the mirror. Despite putting on factor 20 (admittedly only once...) I'm very pink. Centrally heated Jen is not good in such a hot city. As you can imagine, the moisturiser is feeling well loved at the mo!

More photos will go on Flickr when I manage it. And well done Anna, if you're reading this... International Bling!!! :-)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Over half way now...

I can't believe I've been here for nearly 4 weeks, it's flown by! Having said that, it's just as well I'm home soon-ish. I don't think the cash would last much longer, erk!

It's much quieter around the halls now most of the friends I made with Summer School students have left. Work's been good this week - my last week at the Prince of Wales Hospital. I'm going back tomorrow for lunch as the manager is taking me and Tara out for a dim sum lunch.
Should be good, if I can make the chopsticks work tomorrow! Like some people have good days and bad days... I have good meals and bad meals. Lunch today - was good. Dinner this evening - not good! It might have something to do with rice being easy to eat with chopsticks, and noodles in soup being difficult... Could have something to do with me being up late last night, dancing on the bar in Carnegies in Wan Chai (it's great if you're ever in HK).

Nights out in HK can be expensive... on Wednesday and Thursday nights tho it's Ladies night. This means most bars do free drinks for ladies (and not the David Walliams type of ladies...) Last night was Sam's last night so we went to Wan Chai - where Carnegies is. Anna told me its a must-go place, and it was just like being back in the UK. Cocktail bar, with loads of westerners (and just a handful of filipinos for a change...) free Champagne which tasted more like Cava for the ladies, and dancing on the bar!!!! It was amazing. Great atmosphere, soooo good!

I'm on my weekend now. Loads to do, but it's pouring with rain and blowing a gale! There's a typhoon warning at the moment - level 3. At level 8, you don't go to work, but I don't want it to get above 3 really. Already today, my skirt got blown up in the wind - aaarghhhh! And, Tara and I were walking from the hospital back to the station when a tree in front of us was blown over. It's very windy!!! (And wet...) Might be a museum weekend... or more shopping :-D

We're off to Ocean Park next week with the uni, to see the dolphins be ultrasound-ed, and then to go round the park. It's the theme park to visit in HK, and I've never seen dolphins up close. Will be very cool! :-D Off to bed now... still sleepy after last night and a long day at work...!! :-)