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When deciding which places to add to the HoneyTrek itinerary we usually search out the tallest mountains, most ancient cities, picturesque beaches, and fascinating cultures…but in the case of Hong Kong it was all about our great friends: Nancy, Guillaume and their two-year old daughter JuJu. It was so great to stay with old buddies after months on our own but as it turns out their local knowledge showed us that Hong Kong is an incredible destination in its own right. A metropolis alive with culture, inspiring architecture, quaint neighborhoods, lovely landscapes, and the best dim sum in the world…Hong Kong was a world-class city and the ideal entree into China.
To celebrate the six years since our first date at The Hoboken Writers Hang, we went to one of Hong Kong’s most iconic restaurants…Jumbo’s Floating Restaurant. Built like a Chinese palace electrified from every eave, this place is as kitschy fabulous as it gets. To access it, we took this pagoda-style barge across the Aberdeen Harbor and went up to its chic new restaurant Top Deck for a romantic meal.
The following day Guillaume played hookie from work and took us to his favorite beach for some pick-up volleyball and a dip in Repulse Bay (fyi, aptly named after the British “repulsed” the numerous pirate clans who used this bay as their home base). After we got our fill of bump-set-spikes we meandered back through the beautiful mountains of northern Hong Kong to meet Nancy and JuJu for a few steins of our new favorite brew, Kronenbourg’s 1664 Blanc, at their local beer garden.
For a bit of family time Nancy’s parents took us all out to a traditional dim sum meal and taught us all the Hong Kongese dining tricks–from what to order to properly pouring a cup of tea.
To burn off one-too-many barbeque pork buns, the five of us went for a walk in Tai Po, the region north of the city center, where Nancy grew up. It was so great to explore the winding streets and food stalls with a local and to see our New York Nancy in full Cantonese mode. The highlight of our walk through town was stumbling upon this small 19th-century temple, smoking with incense coils, that even she had never even seen before.
Hong Kong is a shopping mecca, no two ways about it. If you put the electricity of the Las Vegas Strip, the glamorous store fronts of New York’s Fifth Avenue and the opulence of Dubai in a blender, the result would be something close to the endless shopping malls of Hong Kong.
As luck would have it, while exploring the temples and historic shops climbing in the historic Hollywood Road neighborhood, we stumbled upon this amazing lion dance celebration. Check the slideshow to see these mythical creatures dance 15 feet off the ground.
The architecture around Hong Kong is otherworldly, from skyscrapers that look like Transformers to skylines that would make any sci-fi director jealous to British colonial mansions, there is no shortage of excuses to look up.
After day trekking the city, we decided it was time to pull up a stool and order a frosty beverage and simply watch Hong Kong go by. We watched posh Hong Kongese strut down the cobblestone streets of trendy SoHo (South of Hollywood Road) as we sipped our two-for-one Asahis for a Sunday funday.
As the day ends, the night markets come alive. Jam packed with knock-off designer fashions (or are they knock off….hmmm) and all sorts of interesting foods, the Ladies’ Market is the premier place to shop cheap. Anne picked up some cute “Chinese MC-Hammer” pants, and I scored another terabyte worth of hard-drive space to house our ever growing collection of photos.
For the perfect ending to our stay in Hong Kong we went up to The Peak for lovely dinner with Nancy, Gui and JuJu at Cafe Deco. The views from the highest point in downtown, with twinkling buildings and waterways stretching in every direction, left us with a deep respect for this city and excited for what China has in store.
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12. A list of everything we packed