Posts Tagged 'chinese'

Happy Valley and The Peak

Work’s been similarly not really interesting this week as the kids are still on exam leave. We’ve been spending most of the time preparing for the next few events we have. Outside of work, we’ve been busy as usual though.

On Wednesday night we went to Happy Valley Racecourse for a cheeky flutter or two. Really great atmosphere there, lots of Westerners and a really easy way to bet on the horses. Minimum bet is $20 and I had 3 different bets, no winners. But was a great night anyhow.



On Saturday, Aids, Tony, Flintoff, Tommy and I got a takeaway Dim Sum from a Michelin Starred place near our house, which cost a whopping $606 in total. It came in a box the size of a hoover, and they gave us 12 sets of chopsticks, thinking it would serve 12 of us, not 5. Was an absolute feast and well worth it. Later on Saturday we had a football match in Kennedy Town so Dim Sum-ed up we headed down there. Chatteris FC played really well and linked up in the best way I’ve seen yet this season, but we still got hammered despite scoring 4 goals ourselves, with 2 assists from yours truly.

On Sunday, Nat and I headed down to check out Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was decent there, a little maze, fountains, plants – the usual. Few old men sat painting the landscape which was good to see, and loads of the Filipino maids who meet up and hang out together on Sundays. We got the Star Ferry over to the island after that, and headed up Victoria Peak, which we hadn’t done for about 4 months. Great views up there again, so much to look at, one of my favourite views in this place. And one that I’ll ever get bored of I reckon…




Last week before Christmas

On Tuesday, we had the Pantomime in Kwun Tong. Got to say, after 10 practises and hours of graft, it came together perfectly. Was really chuffed with how it went, must have been funny to watch and can’t wait to see the video. Below is a photo of the whole Chatteris gang there. Classic ‘To the Pub!’ pose…


On Wednesday we had a chilled day at work again, played some piano that had been left in the CILL and watched Emperor’s New Groove. And got paid for this. Life is sweet. Thursday was similar but this time with Indiana Jones. Life is still sweet. Thursday and Friday were again, chilled and pretty similar to the previous days but we went out for a curry on Friday with the staff and left at 15:00 to start the holidays! We went to a bar near our place called ‘Oasis’. They NEED one of these in Manchester, was a great place to have a chill and a drink…
Then we went round to Molly, Jade, Jayde and Aaron’s flat for drinks with the rest of the CNETs who were still in Hong Kong, then called at Jack and Rich’s place after. Was a great night for seeing people and have some drinks. Saturday was out last day before heading to the Philippines on Sunday, so we spent it buying last minute things ready for our holiday away for Christmas. Merry Christmas to everyone wherever you are!

Christmas in Hong Kong

Feeling slightly gutted I won’t be at home this Christmas. You appreciate the repetition of tradition more when you’re out of the loop, watching it happen without you. Family parties, nights out in Manchester with mates and of course the build up to the big day. I won’t be spending Christmas in Hong Kong this year either: lucky me will be on a beach in the Philippines. But I’ve noticed a lot of things about how they celebrate Christmas here:

The Weather – Because it is much warmer here than the UK/USA (although feels much cooler because of the months of sweltering weather…) I think we miss out on the Christmas feeling when we’re walking around the streets, or in town or at work. I remember shopping in Manchester for Christmas stuff with the house-mates in first year of Uni and (naturally) it started raining so we headed to Starbucks, then Weatherspoons to warm up and get something to drink/eat. As bad as the weather is at home, I guess it really puts you in the mood for Christmas. Especially if it snows. Seeing Heidelberg full on snow a week before Christmas, last year in 2011,  did give you a great Christmas feeling. That’s one thing I’ve noticed is a big gap this year. Not that I’m complaining, I sitting typing here with the door open and just a t-shirt on.


Weather on December 20th 2012, Kwun Tong, Kowloon.

Decorations – The shopping centres, houses, places of work and streets are all decorated. There’s big lights on some of the skyscrappers on the island and in Tsim Sha Tsui too. If anything, they go overboard with the lights and statues in public places, and they’re really random too – like cartoon characters or carousels or something, rarely Santa or Snowmen or the Nativity. Here are some pictures of the shopping centre near our work, aPM, which had a Carousel, Cello Players and a big throne for kids (and big kids) to have their picture on:



There is also lots of flowers. Wreaths and mistletoe are popular and surprisingly so are Poinsettias. They’re everywhere! In public, places of work and loads lining walkways. I never knew the name until a few weeks ago. Normally it’s the red plant Mum and Nan always have at Christmas but it’s sprung up everywhere here:


Some also see it as a way to really demonstrate their artistic skills or how good they are at design, like this Christmas ‘can’ tree I saw:


The Day – Lots of the students we talk to spend their Christmas like they would a Saturday. They say they will meet up with friends, go shopping or hang out somewhere. Much more about friends than family. The teachers we have asked seem to spend it like a Sunday – Church, family and go out for a walk/hike somewhere. To complaints that there are not too many places around Hong Kong to go hiking, they should think outside the box for a bit because there are loads! Anyway, this really seems like a typical Sunday agenda – especially coming from a town on the edge of the Pennines, where there are so many places to go for a family walk on a Sunday. Maybe it’s just the Chinese culture which is so popular here – they have other festivals for family time, seeing grandparents, eating big meals. Maybe Christmas is just an added day to do these things if they want – not many huge traditions surrounding the actual day. I don’t want to generalise, but this is the vibe I’ve got off people I’ve talked to so far.

Presents – one of the most popular parts of Crimbo at home is the same here but nowhere near the scale we are used to. Maybe one or two gifts is common, while at the staff Christmas Party, everyone got a small gift from the Head of the Language Centre too. I think it really depends on whether people see themselves as more Hong Kong/Christian or more Chinese/Buddhist/don’t care. I’ve come across people at work who won’t speak a word of English to me and get so excited over Mid-Autumn Festival or Chinese New Year who have been acting like Scrooge the past couple of weeks, while some are wearing Christmas ties/earrings and have plans over the holidays. Again, don’t want to generalise, but interesting to see how different kinds of people celebrate (or don’t) the day here. Anyhow, the streets are piled with Christmas gifts in Sham Shui Po near our flat:

IMG_0882At work – Because Christmas was our monthly theme this month, we’ve had lots of fun activities for the students. In workshops, we made paper snowflakes, coloured Christmas cards and made ornaments for the tree (not baubles here, but ‘ornaments’. Cheers, America). We had a huge Christmas party with Christmas songs (had to explain the importance in the UK of a Christmas No 1 Single), Christmas Bingo and Lyric Filling. We also made Marshmellow Snowmen, like Frosty here. Again, it is weird to see 19/20 year olds loving colouring in a card or cutting out paper. Like I’ve said before, you’re best to forget Fifa, beer and pizza for this guys, and instead have a good game of scrabble and do arts and crafts. Cultural exchange at it’s best.


New Year’s Eve – We’ve seen this on the TV at 4pm on NYE back in Britain, when it is midnight in Hong Kong. They do in style, to say the least. Not as much as Chinese New Year, which I hear is mental! But still a big graft and excellent result. Luckily, cheers to Ian for this, we’ll be on a Junk Boat in the middle of Victoria Harbour to watch the fireworks. This picture was from 2012. Honestly cannot wait.


Anyway, that’s what I’ve noticed about the Christmas Holidays here. I’ve had a great 4 months here already and wish everyone here are Merry (& Messy) Christmas wherever they are. Also major thanks to people who’ve sent me stuff over – Mum and Dad for the German Stollen, Christmas pudding, advent calendar and presents, Grandma, Nan and Grandad, Auntie Margaret, my bro Tommy, Amy Wareing, Erin too for their cards. Weird how I can send 3 cards to the UK from here for the same price as 1 card can be sent here. Hope everyone at home really enjoys the holidays.

Final shout out to the anonymous students who designed his Christmas Tree Ornament like this. You’ll Never Walk Alone, mate….

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