THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT WILL NOW POINT OUT WHERE THE IDIOTS ARE LOCATED.

Whilst I gear myself up to write an epic post about the fantastic weekend Pauly and I just had please allow me to rant and rave for a few minutes, afterwards I’ll cool myself down with a large McDonalds coke and go about picking up all the hair I tore from my head and glue it back on and then after that’s done I’ll let tell you all about our weekend.

I’m not perfect, I’ve been told I can be annoying and I was told that quite recently by the boy I call my boyfriend, but I only annoy the ones I love and I try to refrain from being a menace in public (though it’s not always possible). So, when I’m travelling and being a tourist I can’t help but get so infuriated by the way other tourists act. I sit there and I waste valuable moments of my life wondering in amazement what happened to these people, what human being dragged these creatures up and made them into the things sitting in the rows directly in front and next to me on planes and walking amongst me near the beach and in the cities.

I’m talking about the people who have no common decency, no shame. People who don’t follow the unwritten laws of being a member of society. I’m going to do a roundup of some of the people I encountered this weekend.

1. The ‘I’m above airline law’ tosser.
I enjoy listening to the safety briefing and having a look over the emergency card situated in the seat in front of me. I don’t really like flying so feeling like I know what to do when the engines drop off and the plane splits in two pieces makes me feel a little bit better. Today we were on a flight with Air Aisa, we paid extra for the seats near the exits so we could stretch our legs out (totally worth the $80 extra) There was a guy in the row next to us who had his big nose in a book from the moment he sat down, whilst the nice lady was giving us the info on what to do in an emergency – bearing in mind we consented to help during an emergency when we booked the upgraded seats – he carries on reading his book which I can only assume was a book about cycling or some other pretentious middle aged white man tripe. Then when we were taking off he proceeded to take off his seatbelt and lay across the row of chairs with his feet up whilst reading his book.
Guy, I’m glad the only person you were endangering was yourself, keep up the good work.

2. The ‘I’m unaware of my bodily noises’ bastard.
Noises, I’m diagnosing myself with the mental disorder that makes you hate little annoying noises like eating, slurping, tapping, ticking, tocking, dripping.. and so on. One of the most vile noises you can possibly hear anywhere is the sound of somebody continuously sniffing.. *sniff*. Trying to enjoy Amy Poehlers book was hard when every sentence was punctuated with a *sniff* didn’t your mother teach you to carry a handkerchief, blow your nose son!
Second to the sniff, is the snore, you’re not allowed to sleep on a plane if you snore. Fact.
A noise that has become familiar whilst living in Hong Kong is the beautiful hock that people tend to do a lot, most often followed by a spit onto a road or public walkway. I’ve now experienced a gentleman doing this on the beautiful island of Sapi in Malaysia – Nothing says tropical paradise like a big green pool of snot! Welcome to Malaysia, we don’t have jellyfish, we have floating mucus instead!

3.  The ‘My ears are too precious for headphones’ pri… ok I think you get it.
Another thing I’ve encountered a lot here in Hong Kong, but didn’t expect it to occur on a three hour flight. People who are watching TV or movies or listening to music on public transport with their phone/walkman/tablet on loudspeaker instead of keeping the party to themselves with earphones. One guy watched ‘The Cabin In The Woods’ on our flight, on an iPad – that’s right the tinny sound of gore and murder rang out from his iPad, luckily for us he was on the row in front so we got to hear it all as well!

4. Last but not least (and this is by no means a comprehensive list of all the braindead fools of the world) we have the ‘Impatient imbeciles’. 
This is aimed at all you D-holes who think that not waiting your rightful turn and pushing past us patient folks is worth the 20 second lead you get walking to the queue for the bus that takes you to the queue for immigration so that you can get to the luggage carousel and wait in a queue to get your luggage which is still on the freaking plane. This is for the people that push up against you and stand in front of you as you wait behind the yellow line so that everybody can see the carousel equally whereas what you have done is blocked the view!

All I want is a world where people are more thoughtful of other travellers – I understand there’s traveller shaming sites but I’d feel too bad putting pictures of these tools online for everybody to see. I’ll just sleep peacefully with the knowledge that whilst these rems exist and roam the world and somehow manage to activate their brains for long enough to get a passport and book a holiday, I am not one of them. I hope.

NOT the best picture but adequately portraying my feelings.

NOT the best picture but adequately portraying my feelings.

WAY TO GO PAUL – and about flats.

Paul has now passed his one year Hong Kong anniversary – Yay Paul! Way to go, Paul! We knew you could do it, Paul!

Which means that my one year anniversary is just around the corner, and lets face it, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for me. I was the sole brainchild of this adventure and if it was left to Paul we’d be living in a quaint cottage somewhere near Whaley Bridge..

That’s obviously all a load of rubbish. I just wanted to feel special for a moment.

No, I definitely did not have much of a part to play in us being here except for giving my blessing and blindly following my boyfriend into the unknown, my successes came after the move.

My first achievement in Hong Kong was sourcing a flat for us, which is no easy task here. I may well have written a post about it last year, detailing the many different tricks that the tricksy tricksters of the Hong Kong rental market do to get you to pay more money for something you can barely fit in. If I have already posted about this then prepare to take a trip down memory lane as I’m about to get nostalgic.

I was stood in our kitchen brewing my sleep tea 10 minutes ago (so if this post ends abruptly it’s because I fell asleep on the keyboard and hit ‘Publish’ on my way down). I looked at the tiny sink that is overflowing with an inexplicably high amount of cups, all of our cutlery and for some reason two chopping boards and I thought to myself ‘Holy Mackerel, I can not wait to look for a new apartment.’ This is wrong on so many levels, it means I’d rather go through the rigmarole of apartment hunting than put on a pair of marigolds – of which I have three pairs – and do some cleaning.

Apartment hunting in Hong Kong is the worst for a number of reasons the first being..

A lot of apartments don’t exist, never have existed and probably will never exist.

So, I email Mr Estate Agent about an apartment I’ve just fallen in love with and that we can comfortably afford, a few hours later I get an email back ‘Hello Mr Sarah, please look at these apartments which are nothing like the one you enquired about and are at least $3000 more per month, let me know if you are interested.’ You already know what has happened, you’ve been had by a fake ad, but you refuse to believe it so you persevere ‘Hello Mr E Agent, how about the one I asked about?’ to which you almost always get the reply of ‘Sorry Sir, that apartment was rented earlier today, earlier this week, earlier this month, but we haven’t taken it down yet – would you like to view this apartment in Repulse Bay?’
The worst thing is that eventually you’re going to have to take Mr Agents hand, and let him lead you into a random array of apartments, with you both knowing that you’re only there because he lied to you in the first place, so you’ll never trust him -or any other agent- again.

I actually gave a lot of agents the benefit of the doubt, I believed that maybe these apartments were so fabulous that they really did get snapped up. But recently I’ve been having a peek on the property sites and spotted a couple of places I liked last year that are now back on the market, less than a year later. It could be that they broke the lease a lot earlier or that I was right all along, and I’m always right (just ask Paul.)

If you’re from the North West of England (or any part of England except for London) you’re going to compare the cost of rent here to England, and it’s going to make your eyes water.

I’ve recently vowed to stop comparing the cost of things from HK to UK and to stop converting currencies in my head. I live here now, I make HK dollars and I don’t need to think about the sterling for a while. However, for the purpose of this very informative blog I’m  going to indulge.

So, in Happy Valley where we live you can currently opt to rent a 1 bed, 1 bath partly furnished apartment with 476 sqft of livable space for the grand sum of $22500 which is £1890 – you could probably negotiate down but in our experience it’s quite hard (unless you know someone, we’ll touch on that later.) in England near our hometown you can currently get  a four bedroom detached house for only £1100 a month. Heck, you could even get a snazzy two bed flat in London for about £1850 a month!

Happy Valley is quite an upscale part of HK Island to live but we live in quite a local, reasonably priced building. A lot of people must assume we live up in some of the absolutely huge, expensive skyscrapers up the road and drive our maseratis down to the race course to drink moet every week, but really I walk down to the 7-11 for some Volvic and hope on the tram (but I let people think the former.)

It doesn’t hurt to play people off each other

Use people and lie to them. That’s the only way to get the place your want for the price you want (or within $1000 of the price you want). I don’t know if this is a legitimate way of dealing with agents, but when we had finally settled on an apartment we were struggling with our agent. She wouldn’t negotiate for us, she wouldn’t even give the landlord our rent offer because she thought it was too low and the landlord wouldn’t agree. I understand that agents get commission (for what I really do not know) based on the rent amount, but she wasn’t even trying. So Paul used his savvy and sent a simple email to another agent based in Happy Valley. He basically just said ‘We want this apartment for this price, if you can get it you can have the commission.’ In a strange twist our agent personally knew the landlord and had our contract written up that night. The chance of that happening is pretty slim, but in this place anything is possible and it was certainly possible for us. You have to ask for it or you probably won’t get it (Even if you ask you might not get it.).

When all’s said and done I’m still looking forward to flat hunting again, trying to find that perfect apartment with two bedrooms, a balcony, a bath, a clubhouse, a view of both the sea and mountains, close to an mtr station, on a high floor with a double oven, 4 hobs and a walk in closet – for less than $20k.

A girl can dream.

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MARTIN MADNESS (an overview)

When I was younger, young enough to not know any better, I always thought it would be super cool to live somewhere with extreme weather conditions. Heavy rain, (proper) thunderstorms, typhoons!

On hindsight younger me was very stupid and needs to be beaten.

IMAG2321

I still think it’s crazy when the usually incredible view of skyscrapers in the distance completely disappears.

It’s been a week of rain, storms, monsoons and general greyness in Hong Kong and it has rudely carried on into our bank holiday weekend, I think it’s safe to say England will have a drier, sunnier bank holiday than we will.. but not hotter or more humid.. yay.

I should really say a big thank you to the weather though, as a few weeks ago Paul’s parents arrived and became our first ever visitors! Since that day the weather mostly held its little legs shut so that they had some semi-decent weather whilst exploring our beloved country.

We had a grand old time with the Martins, unfortunately we both had to work for the majority of the time they were here so that meant a lot of after work dinners with glasses of wine.. What a shame.. 😀 We ate in some absolutely amazing restaurants, some of the highest rated in Hong Kong, I tried quite a few new species of animal, mostly seafood such as jelly fish, mantis shrimp and sea snails. We had some agonizingly delicious Korean bbq beef with an incredible view of Hong Kong Island and drank eye wateringly expensive cocktails in the eye wateringly high bar at the Peninsula hotel.

We went to the Happy Valley races where I made some amazing horse choices and Pauls dad managed to keep up his record of never winning a horse race in his life, not even during his brief stint as a jockey (complete story embellishment).

We also visited Lamma Island and successfully completed the hike trail (ticket off my To Do list).

Whilst we were slaving away at work they managed to see a lot of Hong Kong on their own, discovering gems that we’d never heard of such as the Hong Kong Museum which sounds like an interesting day out. I’m glad they had a great time and had a chance to see why we love this place so much. It was amazing and slightly surreal to have some of our family visit our new home, we  had some pre races drinks in our tiny apartment and it was lovely to have guests over doing the IMAG2313kind of thing we’d want to do more often if we were in England. I sincerely hope they come again and I hope other people visit us soon too (MUM).

So, that’s a round-up of why I’ve not posted in like a month and what we’ve generally been up to, which is somewhere between busy and very busy. Since the departure of the parents we’ve had a quiet week cooking meals that consist of more than just meat and then ended that by going to a Korean BBQ and eating just meat last night. We’ve been stuck in the apartment most of the time due to this dastardly weather. Oh, and I bought a blender.

So, here are some of the pictures we got over the past few weeks, I really need to remember to take more pictures as I’m sad that I don’t have more of our seafood extravaganza, but then again my phone battery was depleted for that.

I’m hoping to go into more details about some of the stuff we did later on 🙂

THE LITTLE RED TAXI WHO COULD – but didn’t.

Oh no! No awesome updates from me recently. Not to worry, there’ll be some soon as we will be having some visitors and we have some stuff planned for the weekend.

Anyway, I’ve been working this week in a different location than usuall. I wanted to share my awesome Hong Kong taxi story.

If you Google ‘Hong Kong taxi drivers’ you’ll get a lot of negative results. They pick and choose their fares, they’re rude, they’re dangerous drivers and sometimes they are just damn stinky (I assume the car, not the driver).
I’m now having to travel to the South of the island and due to minimal public transport (no trams or MTR) I’ve been taking a taxi down there as they’re pretty cheap and usually quite easy to catch. Yesterday, I was nearly late because no taxis would stop for me (or the other people in the queue) but eventually I got one and got to work on time. Today I left earlier and waited over half an hour before I lost my patience and bribed a driver to come get me using ‘Easy Taxi’ which is basically a version of Uber.

Within a few minutes a driver had took the bait of an extra $20 (£1.70) tip and he was on the phone telling me he was on his way “I’ll get you at tram stop, ok la!”. The lady in front of me overheard (i.e. was being nosey) my phone conversation and asked me if I’d called a taxi. After I explained the app to her she told me that they would now have access to my messages, photos and apps. When I explained just how stupid that was she then asked me how much extra I was paying and told me that it was a rip off. Excuse me, an extra £2 on top of a £4.50 fare is nothing to me. She was clearly only visiting Happy Valley as no one that cheap would be living there (I’m totally joking, I’m not that snobby.. yet.).

Within another three minutes he pulled up right in front of me and I swaggered like an absolute gangster into the car whilst the rest of the queue looked on in amazement and what I can only imagine as anger as they probably thought I’d just jumped the queue.

As soon as I got in I told him where I needed to be and that I had 15 minutes to get there.

This, this is my favourite part, the reason for me posting a blog at 1.15am.

My driver produced a single driving glove, snapped it on his hand and said:
‘We can make it.’ 
He drove like an absolute pro, I’m pretty sure we drifted around a couple of corners and due to paying the extra tip he avoided the toll road for me as it would have been further charges for me, which I think also doubled up as giving him an excuse to speed around Happy Valleys windy little roads.
Unfortunately I was a few minutes late, only due to the fact that we hit some rush hour traffic.

I could see him looking at his watch and sighing as we were so close to my building that we could see it, but we just weren’t going to make it.

He apologised and I told him he is my taxi hero and then we parted ways.

I got into work and nobody noticed me coming in, never mind that I was a few minutes late.

So I want to wish a big thank you to my excellent taxi driver who has now restored my faith in the drivers of Hong Kong.. Until I next need to get home from LKF at 3am.

"Kowloon side only" said every taxi driver ever.

“Kowloon side only” said every taxi driver ever.

THE STRUGGLE IS OVER (I got paid)

If you have Timehop on your phone you will understand that it causes you to relive some of your best, worst and cringiest moments… well at least the moments you shared on Facebook or Instagram.

Such as this one from 4 years ago.

timehop rororor

 

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That was, in fact, not the hardest part about moving to Hong Kong *rolls eyes at past self*

Last week Timehop reminded me that it had a been a year since we announced to the world -or at least the people we know in the world- that we were moving to Hong Kong. That’s not as big or celebration-worthy as both of our separate ‘arriving in Hong Kong’ anniversaries will be but it is pretty significant. Within a year our plans have been realised, and all the things that caused me anxiety and worry are long forgotten. We’re happy and settled here, and I think Hong Kong has exceeded both of our expectations.

Anyway, I wasn’t trying to get all soppy and deep there. It just came out. I really only wanted to post a picture of a chair that my skinny little derriere managed to break…

tommyhSo, I got a job. I’ve been working in that job for nearly a month now and I’ve actually had my first pay -my first pay since last July! It was only for 6 days work, but it was a pretty adequate amount seeing as tax doesn’t get deducted from it – reminder, save money for tax- so, naturally I’ve been making it rain at every possible opportunity. I’ve not hesitated spending $240 (£21.19) in the $12 shop, I treated myself to a flashy new haircut and acted like it wasn’t no thang when I handed over that $160 (£14.13).. I did break the bank a little when I got my nails done, I shelled out a whopping $300 (£26.49). Paul has also been feeling the love, I’ve slipped some $1 (8p) coins into the waistband of his jeans and treated him to a lovely mexican meal……… where they didn’t accept EPS cards so he had to pay (totally unplanned..)

It’s been nice having my own money again, I wasn’t exactly restricted when I was leeching off Paul but it’s been nice to have a bit of a spree – despite the fact my spree was in Living Plaza, Hong Kongs pound store! I even went and got a prepaid mastercard so that we can shop online. Yes, in case I haven’t mentioned it previously, Hong Kong bank cards are for ATMs and shop purchases only, to buy online you need a credit card or continue using your British card which gets pretty costly with charges. With our prepaid credit card we can top up and spend online, which makes it easier to book cinema tickets, order underwear in sizes other than AAA and get fast food delivered – which is useless to me really as Burger King don’t deliver yet and I’m craving a whopper.

With great money comes great shopping responsibility and I’ve now been able to get a bit creative with the places I buy my clothes from. There’s not a HUGE choice in Hong Kong when it comes to your average everyday high street fashion, there is Forever 21 (which has been my saviour), H&M and the slightly more expensive Zara and Topshop. Now, I know Zara and Topshop aren’t exactly high fashion but when you can choose to pay $300 for an embroidered crop top that you’ll wear twice and spill ice lolly juice on or just $100 I’m always gonna go for the cheaper option. Throwaway fashion at it’s finest. With the addition of our prepaid card I now have the ability to go forth and spend on two of my favourite sites, Asos.com and Yesstyle.com

Asos.com, to quote mean girls, “Everybody in the English speaking world knows that song”. I’m pretty sure everybody in the English and non-English speaking world knows of Asos.com. It’s now my go to site for underwear and swimwear because, as I previously said it’s hard to get these things in Hong Kong for curvy beauts like myself. They deliver within two weeks and if you don’t meet the limit for free delivery it’s only $30 hkd for delivery. Quicker and easier than starving myself so I can fit into a B cup bra!

pervertsweater

This is a thing now.

My all time favourite site is Yesstyle.com ALL TIME FAVOURITE. Long before Hong Kong was even a twinkle in Pauls eye I visited this site and marvelled at the cheap and cheerful clothes, bags and shoes that were on offer but I was too worried that any purchases wouldn’t turn up as it’s a long way from Asia to the UK. I rediscovered the site when we moved here and tried it out and was really happy with what I got. If you’re going to try it I warn you not to expect super high quality, the clothes are true throwaway fashion. I have mostly used it for t shirts (nice thin material to keep you cool in the hot sun) I’ve bought a couple of super cute bags which, for under $100hkd were really good quality, and a pair of chunky gothy grunge boots which were also under $100hkd and are absolutely amazing! The site is vast and you’d need to sit down and sift through the hundreds of pages to find what you want as the search feature isn’t incredible. The labelling can be pretty vague so it’s best to have a virtual rummage because you do come upon some absolute gems. I bought an oversized white t-shirt with the slogan ‘Hakuna Matata’ for about £5 last year, another for a similar price that says ‘I’m serious’ (Idk, I thought it was cute) and one with pints of beer on it for some upcoming boozy beach days. If you’re too posh to shop at the bargain basement of Asian fashion you should at least spend some time looking at the site just for the lolsome broken English and WTF! slogans that adorn some of the clothes. The big new trend amongst the Asian youth is wearing a top that states you are a Pervert and Yesstyle.com does not let you down in this field. I could talk about this site for 2 days straight, only breaking to quickly order THIS DRESS

It’s 9am on a Tuesday morning. I’m off to get ready to go to the beach.

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Have a nice day beaches.

BUMPER EASTER POST – with pictures :D

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As a lover of bad puns, I’m pleased to say I hope that everybody had an ‘eggcellent’ Easter, I know, I know. My Easter weekend was pretty eggciting :’) ok ok that’s enough egg yolks.. I means jokes.. for one post.

But seriously, I had an awesome Easter. I actually had my first bank holiday off work! So in total we had Friday, then the weekend and Monday and Tuesday off. Five day weekend! Ching Ming festival fell in such a way that we got an extra day off, I have no clue what Ching Ming festival is and I didn’t notice any celebrations so, yeah. I’m slacking a bit but it didn’t seem to be a big deal so I’m just going to accept the extra day off!

Last week, over a lovely Thai dinner, Paul told me we could look into going away for Easter weekend. Unfortunately it was far too last minute and the prices of flights to decent places (Thailand, Phillipines, Malaysia, Japan…) were all excruciatingly high as to be expected, they were literally double what they should be. After a few days of desperately searching we gave up and started making some Hong Kong plans instead. This resulted in us booking a day to Ocean Park, Hong Kong’s local theme park (It’s literally a 10 minute taxi ride away from our door). And then we booked a last minute ‘Staycation’ to an area in New Territories called Ma On Shan.. More about that later.

Ocean Park, we’ve been there before for Halloween but there was so much we didn’t see there as we mainly focussed on the rides and later on I was far too terrified to enjoy myself. This time, we decided to set our sights on zoo side of the park as Ocean Park is home to a lot of different animals, some I’ve never seen in person before so that was quite exciting. The most exciting part of the day was the awesome ‘Penguin Encounter’ that we took part in, Paul and I and two other couples got to go into the Penguin habitat, all dressed up in wellies, coats and overalls and fed and stroked the penguins! It was amazing being so close to the cute little things, they just stood next to you, or attacked your knee like in Paul’s case, and ever so slightly in my case too (which made me yelp much to the zoo keepers concern!). The organisers try to educate you about the life cycle of the penguins up to when they start to reproduce and also give you information of how to protect the penguins environment. It was pretty interesting but the poor guy had to say his spiel in Cantonese and English so it felt like we were sat in the classroom area for quite a while. We also got to see how they take care of the penguins, where the keepers weigh them and check their little cutey feet for any cuts or infection. The penguins came waddling in in the super cute waddle run which made mine (and Pauls) hearts melt a bit, and then they hopped up on to the scales for measuring. We want penguins. Actually, I did see a penguin do a poop, and it kind of just squirted out and made a lovely line spanning from the penguins butt to a couple of feet behind it, so after a bit of consideration I’ve decided I don’t want a penguin, too messy.

The staff were all super friendly, they clearly took their jobs seriously but they had a laugh and a smile with us and seemed happy to answer any questions. Who wouldn’t be happy and smiley with the job of penguin mamma and pappa.

After our experience we got let back into the park and given a token to pick up our souvenir photos. We’ve already decided our next experience.. Seals.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around and meeting all sorts of different animals, including giant pandas! Fortunately we weren’t in such close proximity as the penguins as giant pandas really are huge. There were alligators, lizards, dolphins, red pandas and even some exotic looking goldfish. Of course, that wasn’t the extent of the animal collection but I guess you’ll have to go find out yourself. There’s still some things we haven’t seen, including the dolphin show (but whether you should watch things like that is pretty questionable in this day and age.)

We fitted in some rides as we got to the park as soon as it opened and it was eerily empty for a few hours, do not ride ‘The Dragon’ it’s a rickety roller coaster masquerading as a modern coaster, our heads got thrown around so much that I failed to notice when we did a loop de loop.
I can safely say we both had a fantastic day, the sun was out, we stroked penguins and this time we didn’t spend a ton of money on the awful park food!

When we got home, we set about booking somewhere to stay for a couple of nights and settled on the Courtyard by Marriott Sha Tin. It looked like a nice hotel in an area that would give us easy access to some parks and most importantly to Sai Kung as we have wanted to check out a specific beach for a while now. It took us about an hour to get to the hotel on Saturday, it was right near the MTR however I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody who wants to be in the main parts of Hong Kong, it’s pretty out of the way which is why we went there.
Our room was lovely, big and modern with a lovely view of a river where you could see people cycling alongside it. At check in, the receptionist asked us for a credit/debit card for a deposit, however due to the incredibly awful Chinese banking system Pauls card doesn’t work for things like this due to the card type, so the guy told us we can’t use the minibar. Which is fine, you’d only end up paying extortionate amounts of dollars for a small tube of Pringles and some bad wine anyways. A couple of minutes after we got in the room there’s a knock on the door and it turns out they sent themaid up to get rid of all of our mini bar merch, she locked it away underneath the tv and even put a lock on the minifridge to stop us from using it. I think, for the price we paid, that is exceptionally awful service! They never even offered us another way of paying a deposit despite Paul trying to ask, the guy just interrupted and said ‘don’t use the minibar’.

Anyway, aside from that (which made us laugh at the time but after pondering it for a while it got us a bit annoyed) the hotel was lovely, the beds were clean and comfortable, the shower was an amazing rainfall shower and the hotel restaurant food was delicious. Also, there was a pool, and we enjoyed being in the pool in the early evening before dinner, whilst the sun was setting.

We had a lovely walk around one of the parts of Ma On Shan (though I can’t remember which stop oops) there was a lovely waterfront, with a small maze, a shop selling ice lollies and some amazing views. It was so hot, so we just sauntered around and tried to look for somewhere to eat, we had no luck which is why we ended up eating in the hotel for the first night. If you go into these little areas in the New Territories, you find the food choice is limited to mostly local cuisine, and a lot of the menus are Cantonese only which isn’t a bad thing but I’m not very good at ordering Chinese food that I enjoy when the menu is in English..

Wow this is getting long.

On Sunday we got up and navigated our way to Sai Kung. This was pretty easy, just a bus ride. Until I then looked at ‘Step 2 of getting to Sai Kung beach’ and realised we needed to get another bus and then a 2 hour walk. Eesh. We had a pit stop at a restaurant in Sai Kung, Anthonys Ranch. This guy was a super friendly American, with all sorts of cowboy and indian memorabilia all over the walls. He was running the ‘ranch’ with his wife (I think) and their son (I assume). Their son, who was pretty young, made a cute little waiter who was so friendly and seemed really happy to be helping out despite the fact it was a sunny bank holiday weekend. I ordered deep fried pickles. Deep Fried Pickles. And I got a huge plate of them and they were amazing. And we both ordered a steak and onion sandwich which was also huge and also amazing. Usually steak on sandwiches is quite tough but this was so soft and so easy to eat. If you go to Sai Kung, pay him a visit as he was a great character and made us feel really welcome.

Full of meat and armed with a football and a frisbee we took our second bus to a random stop (I promise I’ll update this when I figure out the details, otherwise just google Sai Kung Beach) where we then began a walk that I didn’t realise would be as harrowing as it was. It started off enjoyable, we covered ourselves in bug repellent and got the only remaining drinks from the vending machine at the trail start (lemonade and Aquarius energy drink) and off we went. It started well, nice views, a few ups and downs. And then came the major ups and downs. I’m not fit, I just did 5 minutes in the gym and found it difficult to walk back to lift, I’m deadly serious. I hurt pretty easily. So when I’m trying to drag myself up a near vertical hill with a frisbee in one hand and a can in the other I feel like I’m going to die. I got a bit moody, not too moody, just a bit.. and Paul will back me up on that. I started thinking we wouldn’t make it to the beach, that it would be dark if we did make it and I was under the impression we were going to one of the nicest beaches in HK, but not THE NICEST beach in HK. And I wanted to go to the nicest beach (it’s easy to forget how fortunate you are at times, and this was one of those times). If you want an example of how unfit I am here it is, an older lady was dragging her dog up the hills in one of those shopping cart bag things, she was dragging another being up a hill and I couldn’t even deal with dragging myself up. We managed to overtake her but she got to the beach not long after we did (yay we got to a beach).

Eventually my eyes met with a shop sign that was advertising surf boards for hire, we had made it. We stopped for some well deserved water, met a cute little friendly man and then carried on to what we then found out was Ham Tin Wan beach. We’d made it, and we’d made it to THE beach, the ultimate beach. White sands, clear sea and not overly busy. There was space to have a kickabout and a throwabout and there was restaurants (which we didn’t use as we had hardly any money.) I exclaimed to Paul that there was zero chance of me walking the hell walk back to the bus and told him to go ask about boats back to land, which he did, for some reason after me being a bum pain he was still being nice to me. He came back and handed me a voucher valid for one person back to Sai Kung. Yes, Paul had spent the last of his cash on a boat trip for me back to Sai Kung, the last possible space on the boat… which meant Paul was walking back. I know, I’m an awful girlfriend, but you have no idea how unfit I am, I tried to explain just how unfit but it doesn’t do me justice… if that makes sense.

We had a good few hours on the beach, it was hot and the sky was clear and blue. The sea was pretty choppy so I didn’t venture in too far as didn’t want to get swept to sea. Most of our time was spent kicking the ball to each other and laughing at Paul trying to throw a frisbee. He wasn’t too good at it.

Paul got a headstart on me and left before my boat got there, the whole boat thing was a bit of an ordeal for me. We got put on one boat and then taken out into the sea and told to climb onto another boat, and the ride itself was mega choppy. The boat was lifting off the water and then slamming down hard, it physically hurt and was so loud and cold. Still, it was better than walking back. Paul made good time without me and I ended up meeting him in Sai Kung and we had dinner! Success!

Now I need to tell you that I’ve had a 24 hour break since I wrote the first 2000+ words so if I repeat myself I guess I apologise. I’m not a professional writer and I can’t be bothered to reread all that business up there ^^.

Ok a little lie, I just reread the last paragraph so I know where I got up to. That’s basically it for our Easter weekend. We made our way back to the hotel and it was hometime the next day, sad times. I’m pretty sure Paul will write a more summarised and hilariously funny post about the weekend if he gets time between being an international QS and a world renowned football player.

So, it’s time to bombard this post with pictures as usual. Enjoy them 🙂 – Ok so I put in a slideshow and it put it at the top of the post and I’m too scared to move it down in case I destroy all that I created… So I guess you’ve already enjoyed those pictures and you might not have read this far down the page because Oh Boy this is one long post! If you got this far then you deserve 50 gold stars.

Sarah

NO MORE WORRY, A LOT OF CURRY. wow.

IMAG1335~2I’ve tried to write a post about my first week at work since I got home from work on Saturday afternoon. Yes, in my first week of work they had me getting up at 6.30 to work for four hours on a Saturday morning! That’s fake rage, it was actually a really easy day and I got to go home early on the Wednesday for agreeing to work the Saturday. Score. I literally just drank coffee all day and chatted about Hong Kong with my new colleagues.

For some reason I was having trouble writing about it, it all sounds so boring and too much like a white whine.
‘Holy mackerel guys, they gave me hours that meant I had to wake up with an alarm clock instead of regaining conscious naturally, all so that I could go to work so I can buy myself shit I don’t need.’.
Sure, I was tired from the change to my routine and my sleeping hours went part time for a few nights. Yeah, I had to get up before Paul on Saturday to make sure I was fresh for my Saturday shift.
Apart from the fact that the amount of hours I spend awake has grown, the only thing that has changed about my daily routine is that I do more stuff. I’m out and about in the city, meeting new people and making friends. I’m learning a lot of new things, more than I can store in my brain at times. I still have time to cook dinner and the apartment has actually stayed tidier for longer as I’m not here to mess it up.

My new job is pretty awesome, it seems to keep everybody busy but they still have time to catch up and chat and make it fun, which is important to keeping yourself sane at work. The ‘customers’ are mostly friendly but if they’re not it’s fine because I’m working in the medical industry and you can’t blame people for letting their social skills slip if they’re ill or they’re worrying about somebody close to them.

There’s no bans on social networking, I can use my phone, I don’t have to wait until the clock turns to the exact minute of my shift times before I leave for the day and I’m getting a uniform made to measure so I don’t look stupid in an over/under sized top. It’s a completely different set up to what I’ve been used to over the past few years of working. They seem to trust that you’re going to get your work done without taking the piss, which is something that I didn’t feel in some of my previous jobs.
My colleague was so bemused when I was sat at 5.25 still logged on my computer, she was saying ‘Go, get out! Go home!!’ Haha.

So that’s it, that’s my summary of my first ‘week’ at work.

Outside of work we’ve had a couple of outings this week. We went for a meal at ‘The Mango Tree’ with another couple. It’s Thai cuisine so think lots of curries and meats. I had duck in red curry with pineapple and lychee and it was… ok. I wasn’t actually hugely impressed with the place considering the prices were quite high. The duck meat was nice but my bowl was full of fatty lumps of skin with the remains of feathers poking out of it. The curry was described as mild but it was actually pretty spicy and I wasn’t the only person who said that. The nicest part of the meal was the spring rolls we had to start, they were lovely and crunchy and had a lovely sweet chili dip with them. Apart from that I wasn’t overly impressed. Sorry Mango Tree, there’s better That restaurants in HK.

On Friday we went to a comedy night at ‘Tamarind’ restaurant in Wan Chai. Included in the ticket was an all-you-can eat buffet. The buffet was absolutely gorgeous and it’s made me want to go back for an actual meal. There was chicken tikka, masala curry, onion bhaji, pakoras and a lot more popular Indian dishes. A few people went back for seconds and thirds whilst I stuck with my one plate as by this time I was shattered from work and wanted to curl up in a ball.
The comedy side was three Irish comedians, they were mostly funny. Oddly enough they got worse as they went on, I’m sure they’re usually meant to get better?
Anyway, it was a whole load of Irish jokes, swearing, verbally assaulting hecklers and a lot of audience interaction. All the comedians seemed to watch the whole show as they remembered who’d been picked on and went back to them throughout the show which was pretty funny, I’m really glad we sat right at the back though.

I’ve been poor with taking photos again recently, but here’s a few stragglers that I found.

In the seamstresses store room

In the seamstresses..

My first bubble tea

My first bubble tea

The view from Tamarind

The view from Tamarind

Comedy!

Comedy!

I’M WORRIED THAT I’M A WORRIER.

Last night I tossed and turned, wide awake unable to sleep as I was filled with nerves and anticipation for my first day of work. It must have transferred on to Paul as we both ended up sat up and watching football until 1am. When you can’t sleep, lying in bed trying to force it is usually the worst thing you can do, shortly after we both finally went to bed I found myself drifting off quite easily. I woke up early and the nerves had returned, when Paul left for work I got up and got ready having a nightmare doing my hair and makeup and changing my pants at the last minute (quiet down, it was because they didn’t suit my top, I wasn’t THAT nervous). I got to work a full half hour earlier than necessary so spent 20 minutes in Starbucks staring at my phone and sipping my coconut water until I finally decided on a time that was good impression early but not ‘why the hell are you so early’ early – 9.50 – but, by 10.20 I was done for the day. With a handful of paperwork to fill in and instructions to return back for training on Wednesday.

Like usual, I’d worried my socks off for nothing. I’d fretted and fidgeted and my stomach had churned and there was no reason for it. There’s no doubt that tomorrow night I’ll be feeling similar, despite the fact that I’m now pondering what if something bad actually happens on Wednesday, will I think ‘Oh, well it’s a good job I was worrying about that, I feel very prepared for this situation.’ I highly doubt it.

On my way home, after my very short first day, I instantly felt annoyed. What was the point in my going there? What a waste of time! What a waste of time indeed, I’m currently sat on the couch in my pyjama shorts, I’ve just eaten a banana and watched a ten minute infomercial about a blender and I’m worried going to my new job for half an hour is a waste of my time. I’m filing this one under ‘Hormonal and over-thinking things’ because I think that’s what happened today. After a month of waiting for this job to start my first day was an anti-climax and I guess it’s ok to be a bit upset about that.

So this is me looking on the bright side and coaxing myself out of my little moody shell.
I’m home in my comfies with the rest of the day to entertain myself.
Monday is done with, I’m currently part time so my next day is Wednesday and then we’ll be halfway through the week.
Technically, I shouldn’t have any more first day jitters despite the fact I still have to meet all my co-workers (which is actually quite exciting!)
Monday is done with. I feel that deserves a second mention.

I’ve managed to cheer myself up enough to make a little image to go with this post, I usually Google them but making one is a good form of procrastination.

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The image and the badly aligned text have nothing in common whatsoever. But it’s text on an image with a filter applied to so it’s fine.

Happy Monday everyone.

ONE HIKE TO RULE THEM ALL

I’m coming to the end of my last unemployed Monday, no more lie-ins and lazy afternoons on the couch.. Alas, this is a good thing as it means I’m bringing home the bacon, or at least a share of it.

So, my last Monday has been spent laying on the couch with crippled calves and hips due to a monstrous hike that Paul and I found ourselves on yesterday. It was meant to be a stroll really, a couple of hours. Unfortunately, without a compass in my vision with a flashing way point – a la video games – I am not the best navigator, so a couple of wrong turns took us on a 7 mile uphill stroll.

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It was, in fact, pretty amazing. Despite the fact I was wearing movement-restricting skinny jeans, and we were both in Converse – not exactly rated for their hiking ability – we managed it without too much complaint. The only complaints came from my mouth as I struggled up one particularly steep section of terrain, out of breath and starting to feel my knees wearing giving in.

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As we made our way further into the hills we were surrounded by mist, you could barely see anything below and it really was like being in Lord of the Rings or Skyrim. It was great as every so often you came to a plateau and there was a lovely cool and fresh breeze, perfect after dragging yourself up from the polluted streets of Hong Kong.

We saw Wong Nai Chung Reservoir, Jardines Lookout, walked along Wilsons Trail and Mount Butler Road. We took in a spot of cricket and some tennis at the Hong Kong tennis club and saw a huge quarry and Hong Kong radio receiving station (whatever that is). We walked past a lot of people on the way, some people who would certainly have been walking when night fell, which is what we tried to avoid. There was no lights at all on the trails and with the mist there would have been zero visibility, scary.

Google Maps was eventually checked and we found out the mistakes I made in my direction giving, we’d gone a long way away from home and we were literally on top of a mountain and still had another mountain to climb before we were in the direction of home.

We eventually got home, bought some ice lollies and then ordered a fat takeaway because hey, we’d walked 7 miles! This morning I woke up early and found that my legs were stiff and proceeded to get stiffer for IMAG1248the rest of the day.

I’m somewhat glad that I attempted to rely on my awful non-TomTom mental sat nav to get us to where I wanted to go, because we ended up getting completely lost and seeing a lot more interesting stuff and pushing ourselves more that we would have if we’d have gone with my original plan. I am very glad that Pauls phone had coverage as we came to one fork in the road that would have probably resulted in us getting heli lifted home if we’d took the wrong direction. Long ass route

There’s our route if anybody wants to willingly walk it..

Well, I’ve kept this one short and sweet as I have it on good authority that the boyf will be posting soon..

So here’s some more pictures from our foggy walk!

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SARAHS KITCHEN NIGHTMARES.

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Another drizzly, gloomy and grey day in Hong Kong. I actually had the urge to go out and do something today and found myself getting dressed and ready to go out soon after I got up, which is really bizarre for me especially as I didn’t get my early more caffeine fix due to PJ being in China.

I’ve calmed down after yesterdays rageburst. A takeout (it was only soup and a sandwich!) and a night watching Netflix and playing Tomodachi Life sorted me out. So, today I felt refreshed and wanted to do something productive. We’ve been in our apartment since September and every week we complain about something or other.. the kitchen is too small, the ‘office’ is unorganised, the bed is mouldy. Yeah, humidity and spilt water don’t mix. Don’t worry it’s sorted now, the only fungus in our apartment is any that might grow on PJ.

Anyway, the point I’m getting to is that we most oftenly complain about the kitchen. It’s pathetically small, however we are lucky to have our kitchen separate from our living area. You don’t have to be assaulted by the smell of your tea cooking whilst you’re in the living room and if there’s a wash on (which there is practically every day) you can close the door so the spinning doesn’t give you a headache. I appreciate this, I really do. But it is a pain in the ass to cook in, especially as I wanted an oven which takes up most of our counter space. I have a surface area of about 7 cm2 oh no my writing has gone all small now.

Oh there we go. So I’ve been trying to figure out ways of making our kitchen area tidier and a little bit prettier without having to set up a makeshift pantry area in the living room. I went to my favourite bargain store in Hong Kong – Living Plaza. It’s a freaking pound shop but so much better than the ones in England. The products are of a pretty good quality and you can get the kind of crap that people who frequent DIY blogs and Pinterest would give a lung for. There’s awesome baking utensils and craft stuff which I really want to get into but really cannot be bothered. They also have this section that I’ve never noticed until the other day. It’s basically a ‘make your own shelving system’ section. With all sorts of metal wire sections and baskets and hooks. So I raided it.

I started off with this..

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But then I went back and got more and that became this..

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And now I want to go back and get more and continue it on every spare wall in the apartment but I think it would start to resemble a pop-up shop if I do that.

I’m quite pleased with it, it’s not really freed up space as such. It’s made everywhere look tidier as there’s no spices lining the window ledge and there’s no risk of any bottle or boxes falling out the window like my beef stock pots. Also, there used to be a ton of stuff on top of the oven which was a terrible fire risk.. but that’s all gone now.

And the best part is that it only cost me around £12!

Now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that my sticky hooks don’t give in and make it all come crashing down.

That’s all from me today, I’ll leave you with this.

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Watch out ladies, there’s a bloody big lion looking at you!