Posts Tagged 'asia'

Macau Trip!

Recently, a few friends and I went to Macau for the weekend. Macau is the SAR next to Hong Kong, about 1 hour’s ride away on the jet ferry from Hong Kong, and at a pretty affordable price.

We went early on the Saturday morning for our trip, with the feeling of really going abroad when going through customs when we reached there. The free casino buses were eager to take us to their casinos, but people just use them to get around the city for free! We boarded one to take us to the Old Town part.

There we did a lot of photography and sightseeing, particularly looking at the Façade of St Paul’s Cathedral, the only remaining wall of it. We grabbed some lunch from the stalls around that main tourist hub, including some traditional Macanese pork chop bun.
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As it got later, we headed to the night-life sector where all the brand new, huge super-casinos are. Having never been to Vegas, this place gave me that awe-inspiring ‘Vegas-feeling’ and more! Brightly lit up in the dusk, and later, night sky, they were amazing.

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We headed to The Venetian first, which had a mock-style canal similar to Venice (complete with gondolas!). We tried out a few of the casino games there too, only a few bets though. It’s a shame we did not get to see a show this time round, but will try and come again soon.
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After a long night of checking out the casinos, we headed to our hotel. With this being a weekend trip, we stayed at a hotel we found through Hotelclub.com for the night. A much needed rest after the long day we had!

The Sunday, being our last day, we headed out again to check out the Macau tower. This thing is huge! The views were amazing from the top, and, even though we were too chicken to do the skywalk, that looked amazing too. You can actually walk around the outside of the highest point of the tower (safety harness on, of course). This would make a great birthday/Christmas gift for someone who is an adrenaline seeker for sure.

With our last few hours, we headed back to the old town to explore some more and walk the streets. We went past the Lisboa, the most famous and one of the oldest of the casinos there. With it being time to head to our ferry port, we caught an evening ferry back to Hong Kong, ready for work on Monday morning.

All in all, I thought Macau gave the tourist everything they would want. Great food, a new culture to experience, many modern and old places to visit and a great atmosphere. With the price of a ferry from Hong Kong, it is definitely worth a visit if you’re around Hong Kong and have a couple of days to spare.

My Last Post

Just before Adrian and I headed to Vietnam, our time with Chatteris came to an end.

The Saturday before (25th May) we had our last Junk Boat with the Chatteris lot. Despite the early rain, it was a really great day messing around in the South China Sea, drinking gin and genuiniely being an idiot.

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Thursday 30th May was our last day on campus – a Shanghainese Dim Sum lunch with colleagues, as well as a ton of photos with students and staff and receiving gifts. Was a good day, and especially good as all the staff were thanking us for our positive contribution to the English learning environment throughout the year.

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Friday 31st May was our last day with Chatteris. Getting gratuity and bonus money was a win, while photos, award ceremonies and speeches all brought our time to an end. An all-you-can-eat buffet at the Royal Plaza was amazing that afternoon, and everyone loved the Yearbook our Yearbook Committee had put together, especially the Signing Pages during the buffet! We took it chilled and had a memorable last evenings drinks at Red Bar with everyone before we all left to do our separate things.

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So that’s it – 10 months of living and working in Hong Kong finally comes to an end with Chatteris. From the first buzz of reading the e-mail that they’d accepted me, on a hungover Saturday morning in April, to pigging out at an all-you-can-eat restaurant 13 months later, it’s been a blast.

I’m lucky enough to be heading back there in August for Round 2, teaching Primary and Kindergarten children, which will be a lot different to what I’m used to but hopefully more fun. I won’t be keeping the blog up as much next year I don’t think, mainly because the novelty is definitely over now – I feel like a proper Hong Konger now.

Big shout out to everyone who had read this blog or kept up with it over the year. Jack W and Ka-mun deserve a mention for constantly telling me they’ve read it, as have a load of my best mates from Lonsdale/Uni.

At last count, I’ve had a total of 3,500 views, with 101 people reading it on a single day at one point. I’ve had people reading from mainly HK, UK, US, Canada, Singapore and Australia, and most weirdly from Guam, the UAE, Afghanistan, Oman and Moldova. Only had 1 view from China in total, which figures with their censorship laws. But thanks to everyone who has read about how mainly we go out and get smashed at weekends and have the time of our lives in Hong Kong. Cheers!

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Ho Chi Minh City

After our contract with Chatteris ended on Friday 31st May, we were free!! Adrian and I had tickets booked to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam from 1 June – 4 June, but on different flights.

Vietnam Airlines wasn’t the worst in the world, despite a tonne of negative reviews, got me there in 1 piece and I got a cab from a company recommended on WikiTravel, which were cheap enough at 170,000 Dong (about US$8). The hostel we stayed at was the Ngoc Thou Hostel in District 1 (the main place for tourists and backpackers) and was a decent hostel, which didn’t over-charge and were dead friendly.

The first proper day we had we were up early for a tour out of the city to the Cu Chi area near the Cambodian border where the Vietcong Tunnels were. Our tour guide called himself ‘John Wayne’ and his Dad used to be in the VC himself. That day, we…

– Went to a ‘Victims of Agent Orange’ shop where they allowed victims/people born with deformities to do art, sculptures and crafts which they sell. That was pretty poignant and our first taste of the other perspective of the ‘American War’ as they call it.
– Watched some VC Propaganda videos of them training
– Saw VC booby traps (proper chilling stuff…)
– Firing AK-47s (expensive, but SO COOL)
– Went down the VC tunnels themselves (really hot, little oxygen and you had to stoop, proper kills your calves!)
– Went in an US Tank which was destroyed by a missile and was now just a shell.

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That evening, we headed to the famous make-shift bars where Siagon or Hanoi beers are 50c each. We had about a dozen I think, with people from the tour that day. Great to meet so many new people, but I felt rough the morning after.

Day 2 was the Mekong Delta tour. Early get up, feeling rough and on a coach for 2 hours. But worth it. The tour itself was padded out with things like ‘Hold a Snake’, ‘listen to these musicians play, and look they have a CD out…’ and ‘fruit tasting’ but the highlights were definitely the small canoe boat rides with Vietnam hats on, and visiting a huge Buddha and Temple.

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That evening was more chilled due to me still feeling rough. So Cartoon Network in Vietnamese on TV was perfect.

My last day there, we spent checking out the markets, saw the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and went to the former US Embassy to South Vietnam, which was now the War Remnants Museum. Basically any war stuff that the Americans didn’t have time to evacuate or use as the north’s forces were approaching. It was full of propaganda and bias, but really showed a lot of truths about the war you can’t really get the feel for from books. A well good experience.

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After that, we chilled a bit before I had to go to the airport and Adrian had one more night before Kathmandu in Nepal, the lucky sod.

All in all, Vietnam is bloody amazing, Saigon even more so, a definite recommendation!

Hong Kong: My City (2013)

My video project I’ve been working on…

Inspired by the photos my Grandad showed me from when he was here, through the James Bonds set here in the 1970s and retro YouTube videos of old Hong Kong.

Let me know what you think!

Lonsdale Fwwends

So we got back to Hong Kong from China at the start of April. A measly 2 days at work Monday-Tuesday was made much better by the fact that Jess and Zack, mates from uni, were coming to stay. I met them at the MTR on Tuesday night and we stayed up late to catch up over some beers.

On Wednesday, we headed to Happy Valley Racecourse with some beers, Jess and I had a few cheeky wins, while Zack’s horse ‘Zachary’ unfortunately didn’t win. We headed to Wan Chai afterwards and showed them Carnegies, where Jess samples the free Ladies’ Night Champagne. Thursday night they met me at Hung Hom and helped me out at PolyU for the English Society’s Big Mouth Corner. It was great to introduce them to some of the students I work with and let them find out more about China and uni life here. After, we let them check out Ladies’ Market, where Zack got nearly harassed by a woman trying to sell him a belt, while Jess got to haggle a Mulberry purse down from $250 to $60 (I think?). We went to Mr Wongs after, the usual great spread of food where the legend gave 4 of us all-you-can-eat for a total of $150!

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On Friday, after a busy day at work with our monthly event of a Superhero Fashion Show, we headed for a big night out in LKF. I let them sample the classic Char Sui Fan for dinner, while a game of Beer Pong and Pass the Dutch entertained us at Pre-Drinks. LKF was a great laugh that night, but was sad at the end to say goodbye to Jess and Zack who would be leaving early in the morning.

Saturday was spent nursing a hangover-headache but Sunday was much better – Jackson and I went around Sham Shui Po taking pictures in the afternoon. We got ourselves into some buildings, went on random rooftops and explored around Shep Kip Mei.

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On Monday, I had a Campus Swap with Nerys from Morrison Hill, which meant I spent the day with Ka-mun at their campus. Thought it was much better working in Wan Chai than Kwun Tong – loads of great places to eat at lunch, 7/11 next door for snacks, and definitely a lot less people stared at me as they’d be more used to seeing westerners there. We had a mint day, highlight being constructing a fort…

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Another highlight this week was a tweet from the famous Percy Stark in the morning saying he’s coming for lunch at our campus, so Holly and I finally got to try out a Canto-speaking place we always see but can’t go to without a native-speaker. That evening, we met up with my mate Danny Ovens from Lancaster, who’s in town fixing a machine for work (one of the best jobs ever?). We went to Tequila Jacks and had some beers and took advantage of the $10 tacos in Happy Hour, which was fun and good to talk about Lonsdale, Founders and Lancaster with so many people recently. I plan on letting him sample a LKF night on Friday too.

Beijing, Xi’an, Zhujiajiao and Shanghai

For the Easter break, Nat, Rich and I headed to China to do what was basically the ultra-tourist trip of the mainland. Figured we’re so close to China we might as well do it properly.

We did far too much to mention in this blog, so here are the Vlogs (Video Blogs, Mum, if you’re reading).  But the highlights included:

– Eating Peking Duck in Peking (Beijing).

– Seeing Tienanmen Square (site of the 1989 protests) and the Forbidden City.

– Seeing the Great Wall of China, getting some epic photos of it, going on the illegal, forbidden bit and definitely Tobogganing down it!

– Travelling on a Bullet Train to Xi’an at 300 km/h

– Seeing the Terracotta Warriors!

– Travelling on a Sleeper Train for 15 hours from Xi’an to Shanghai

– Seeing the Bund and Pedong in Shanghai (Bund is so much like Liverpool)

– Going up the Oriental Pearl Tower and seeing the magnificent views there

– Seeing the beautiful Zhujiajiao, known as the Venice of the East.

Here are the Vlogs:

Mancunians: On China:

Street Beijing:

Exploring Xi’an:

Shanghai Streets:

Birds, Cam3ls & Fleas

This week has been another corker in HK. We had a usual sort of week at work. I’ve started March workshops on Greek Myths and Switzerland, which the kids love. Also had a more boring vocabulary/grammar workshop to prepare the kids for their upcoming exams but nothing too difficult. We’re still having big preparations for our highlight event of the year – Spring Ball. We have spent around $3000 on food and drink for it (almost £300) on Friday, and went for a massive Dim Sum with Joanne (our mentor). Still trying to learn some of the dishes but I’m still at the stage of ‘That white thing with prawn in it’ or ‘That one that’s like sausage roll but with BBQ pork in it’.

 

On Friday night we headed to Sandy and Erin’s place for some drinks before Red Bar to meet a few others and LKF afterwards. Can’t remember everywhere we went to that night but the African Bar had a good vibe to it, even if the drinks were expensive. Getting in at nearly 5am showed it was a sick night though. Met a cool guy Fabian, Angela’s friend from Boracay. Obviously my alcohol-fuelled self thinks he speaks fluent German, but Fabian was a good sport with it.

 

On Saturday we took a very chilled day. Adrian and I ended up on one of our camera walks to wherever we ended up. We headed to the Bird Market in Mong Kok, had a drink from Pacific Coffee Company and found a new market on Fa Yuen Street that we hadn’t been to yet. The weather was gorgeous recently, hitting 27 degrees on Sunday. The shorts and flip flops are back out, jeans back in the suitcase for now. On Saturday night we headed to Jack’s Cam3l Bar at his flat. A great house party despite stopping feeling ridiculously hungover only a few hours previously.

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On Sunday then we had the Chatteris Flea Market in Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui. Tony, Ka-Mun and I were pretty lucky to have the promotion job, walking around, giving out balloons and flyers to families and kids. Highlight definitely was Tony being swarmed by kids outside a playground, them all wanting balloons.

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A proper nice day, Jack W and Adrian playing tunes on the guitar, all my mates were there: pretty damn sweet. To top it off, Adrian and I headed to Cocky Bar on the 18th Floor of The One in TST to meet Maddie and Ellie for a few beers. Bloody fantastic views up there, and we caught it at the right time to see the sunset and the island begin lighting up. Reminded us so much of how lucky we are to be here, how fantastic this place is and how it’s gonna be a long time before we leave indefinitely. Mostly, it hit home how much Hong Kong is definitely our home now.

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