Day: October 24, 2012

Linx visits Hong Kong

I just flew back home from Hong Kong. I was there for a week and this time was my third visit to this spectacular city. Hong Kong is a place like no other that I have seen. It is a place of many contrasts old world (where buildings crumble and ancient dialect is only spoken) juxtaposed with modernity (sleek, incredibly high-end, sophisticated, and an international set speaking English).

Our music selection to enjoy while reading this entry. No Promises by Hott 22 featuring Bonnie Bailey, Thomas Gold remix. A modern club music with a retro disco feel. 

always feels extremely safe in HK- more so compared to when I walk around San Francisco. The public transportation systems are meticulously clean (no one drinks or eats on trains…it is very frowned upon), the streets are generally clean, and there are no homeless wandering around.

The views of the skyline atop Victoria Peak are some of the most awe-inspiring, the food and choice of dining experiences (from total hole-in-the wall to 5 star) is simply mouth-watering, the people friendly (granted a certain distance that I attribute to their culture), and variety to do while staying keeps one very busy (if you want).

It’s hard to distill down to a simple blog entry about HK as you really need to go there to best understand the complexities of such a grand metropolis. Perhaps it is easiest to share through select photos and captions here…. One thing that I always am struck by is how the city continues to do its thing while major construction occurs in the middle of it all. Cranes, cement trucks, bulldozers, you name it….are all motoring through getting the job done. There is always a sign “greatly apologizing for any inconvenience” that the construction site might have caused. Always proper, so HK. 

There is always a photo shoot going on. At any time of day, on any random street, you will often see a young woman in bridal wear modeling Asia’s latest fashions.
Cafe Grey is one of the most beautifully appointed restaurants in HK with the finest service HK offers; impeccable 5 star food, gorgeous views, and every little detail (even down to perfectly press linen napkins). We had breakfast there every morning. I’m not used to regular breakfasts like pancakes, eggs, and pastries. When on vacation, I do splurge and splurge I did! On our last day, we ate their famous Dutch pancake (photo above). Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to do other than finish the first massive one (see how fluffy and huge it is? Primary ingredient corn with a hint of sour cream) and order one more. Let’s just say my trainer is very happy I have hired her for extra hours post vacay. 😉  

Views from the UpperHouse, our home away from home in HK. The rooms are modeled after apartments- so they are very large, spacious, and makes guests feel like they are living in a home versus a tiny hotel room.  Bathroom at Cafe Grey at Upper House. HK is the most vertical city I have ever seen. A million uber tall and skinny buildings.
Look at the simplicity of this gorgeous arrangement at the hotel. A sleek container potted with a plant and flower can make a room. Two great examples at our hotel where simple and modern can make a bold, high impact statement. HK definitely offers its fair share of oddities and curiosities. Not for the faint of heart. I stumbled upon this medicinal shop when I did a solo walk for 5 hours around the city one day when my husband was in meetings. I couldn’t believe how weird this was but at that same time didn’t want to judge. They seem to use all aspects of animals for various illnesses. There are medicinal herbal shops everywhere with roots of all kinds- mostly ginseng varieties. A tourist can walk in and ‘oh and awe’ at how serious they are about their herbs but generally you can’t buy any without a doctors written prescription.  The photo at the bottom are little deer fetuses. Eeek. Which way to go?  

Hong Kongers love their department store windows. These are some of the most ornate I have ever seen. Shopping in HK trumps pretty much any city. Gucci, LV, Prada, Valentino multiply after one another on the streets. Imagine how diverse seeing modern and expensive like Louis Vuitton juxtaposed next to a local merchant like the photo above of a very cluttered “Mr Fix It” sort of shop. 1-800 You Got Junk would be in heaven! Hong Kongers also adore their holidays. Any holiday! I had no idea how HUGE Halloween was in HK. Here are two photos of vending machines to purchase Halloween items in an express thoroughfare from one mall to another mall. HK is also a city of countless malls. Mall after upscale (and I mean really, really upscale) mall connected together by countless protected walkways. Professionals commute home often by walking these intricate indoor thoroughfares and stopping along the way to eat with friends and shop. They are filled with take-away restaurants, sit down restaurants, shops, and newspaper stands. A must have while visiting is Peking Duck. Here we are one duck later at Peking Garden. With some delicate negotiation and a little James Bond-esque Andersen techniques, I somehow managed to get us into a private club called “China Club” which is a very chi-chi bar and restaurant in the old Bank of China Building in Central, HK. The decor is in the style of the traditional Chinese teahouse and the floors, lighting and fans are reminiscent of 1930’s Shanghai. They are known for their incredible Chinese modern art collection. Giant shoes to fill! Spiral staircase at China Club filled with a grand modern art collection. More art work at China ClubOde to David Hockney?  Mark Stock perhaps? 

Street art work I discovered while wandering around Sheung Wan.
Seriously good chicken soup on a work day while cooped up in the hotel room. Zero salt. All fresh ingredients (the dark things are mushrooms). On a hike one day around the city, I couldn’t help but notice how intelligent this system is for moms on the go with tyke. It is the recommended safe route a mother should take the little one on. A mother’s choice. I also found this on a hike one day. So random….two precious little buddhas with burning incense. A trip to HK isn’t complete without a visit to Sevva. Sevva is an incredibly sophisticated bar and restaurant in Prince’s building in Central where glamour intersects with world-class views and famous cakes- all of which are housed in a jewel-box like setting. Think ambient lighting, warm colors, flickering candles, and Venini chandeliers. Owner, designer, and founder Bonnie Gokson is famous for her very pricey and delicious Marie Antoinette cake topped with cotton candy (perfect for a birthday princess, tete-a-tete with old friend, or romantic date night). We enjoyed a fantastic lemon crunch meringue cake and wine to pair on that perfect balmy evening. 
At Sevva…I always pack lots of dressy clothing for HK. Flats for day without question and heels for evening with lots of sparkles as well. I even bought the Sevva CD…all romantic songs.

Lady Gaga makes a statement every time! This cake is no exception. 

Bonnie’s Million Dollar Truffle Cake. Perfect for a Silicon Valley IPO soiree. 😉
On a glorious run one day (I tried to work out each day given the amount of meals out) to the Peak, I saw this building under some sort of construction and couldn’t help but immediately think it resembled Christo.

Your glutes will love you for this…..typical HK stairs

Busy HK street in the afternoon

The kitty sleeps while his owner mixes unusual herbal concoctions and remedies.   Afternoon street games played by local merchants. A great way to pass time and get a little workout too.   Cheap and easy street food in Tsuen Wan, HK. My hubbie had a few bites, I passed on the glorious opportunity that day. We traveled from HK island to Tsuen Wan to visit a semiconductor factory to understand international logistics and chip testing behind the scenes. Our friend, Chris, toured us, showing us how detailed their business is. No cameras allowed inside. This particular company occupies multiple floors in a large industrial building. 12 hour shifts for the factory workers, 6 days a week. No one passes time on FB or runs out for Blue Bottle lattes here. You work, keep working, and then work some more. You are efficient and perfect is expected each time. Weddings are a big business in HK. There are gorgeous spots for photographs. One in particular I found was the Hong Kong Park. Here is a sign for the actual place to register with your loved one. Wan Chai streets filled with trolleys and folks wandering all around, at any given time of the day or night. We enjoyed a Cantonese meal in Wan Chai at a private kitchen of sorts. Nondescript building, no English name, not one tourist, and very authentic food. Most unique and delicious was the chicken and fish stew. After a fabulous trip, we returned home to receive this email from our hotel. They are so attention to detail focused and so proper. What American hotel would ever alert you that you left carrots in the room?! 

Dear Mr. & Mrs.,

Thank you for staying with us at The Upper House, we hope you enjoyed your visit!
Upon your departure, we found a box of dragon beard candies, an apple and a small bag of baby carrots in your room. The lost and found reference number is 07888.
I am afraid the apple and carrots cannot keep long, but could you let us know if you would like us to keep the box of candies for your next visit?
If we may be of further assistance in this or any other matter, please contact us at your convenience.
In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming you back at The Upper House!

Best regards,

Housekeeping Secretary