Today I woke up at at around seven as we had an early start. Wai Wai needed to renew her passport/visa/something-along-those-lines and we needed to hop on an MTR to go to Sha Tin. After everyone was up and dressed the family popped next door to say howdy to her grandparents. She lives in this little village that their family has always had a house in so it was really sweet that her grandparents were so close. It is surrounded by these ancient trees with thick, twisting roots (or vines) hanging from their branches. You get a real sense of age standing beneath their branches. As someone who spent a lot of time in England looking at tress it was fascinating to really study the crazy species over here.
Before Wai Wai sorted out the bits she needed to we had a little adventure pf our own searching for a 7Eleven. This task proved harder than either of us thought it would and we spent a long time going uo and down in an elevator trying to track down the recently elusive shop. We were asking countless people for directions and ended up standing in the elevator and getting more and more confused by the lack of food. Once we had found it, the boy that worked there could not speak English very well so I had difficulty ordering the sausage I wanted. It looked like a Mr Wimpy bender-burger but they had none left so I got four little cheese sausages that were tasty. They had a smoky quality and were probably the most western thing I could have ordered. Wai Wai bought these packets of food that the guy microwaved for us, yakatori chicken skewers which were yummy and some fish balls that I did not try. We ate those after she had sorted the visa/passport/something-along-those-lines and while we waited for her mum and brother to appear.
For lunch the family treated me to some dim sum, I’d been looking forward to eating some all week and now here was my chance. Eating as a traveller on your own means that you know if you like something but not if it is very good. Eating with Wai Wai’s Mum, Dad, brother and Grandma meant that I was getting a running commentry that the food was not that great. We had all sorts: pig skin, chicken feet, yam past, turnip past, pork buns, pancake rolls, congee, tripe and even more fish balls. On our way back to the MTR I was thrilled to discover that I knew the way (mainly from the road signs) though Wai’s grandma did not agree with the directions I was giving. I felt like one of those kooky tour guides albeit without a nylon flag to wave.
Shopping was great and it made me all the more sure that I want to move out here eventually; if only because the shop we found was AMAZING. It sold all the best kinds of furniture: funky lamps, filing cabinets, desks, moose heads etc and it was good fun going through and pointing to everything and saying how we would have it in our house. We also found this insane place to hold the umbrella we had with us, like a safety deposit, and best of all it was free.
You just popped the umbrella in, locked it, and took away the key. Wai Wai managed to find the building that did not house all of the shops, just the furniture ones and would not let me into Ikea because ‘all Ikeas are the same’. On our way to the main shops in Sha Tin I spotted a monk I had seen at the Po Lin monestary. Bizzarely it made me feel like a local, you never expect to see a familiar face when you are travelling.
The first thing we did when we got there was buy meat. Dried meat. It was really tasty and we realised that in fact most cultures and countries have a form of dry meat. I am not complaining, I love the stuff, but it is funny when things like that are so universal. After the meat shop we paid 50HKD to go in a ‘diamond maze’. This was a massive rip off as it was not a maze; just a pretty photo-opportunity. Plus it was all cordoned off so that you had to walk in and turn around and walk out again. Being the rebels we are, Wai Wai and I simply climbed over the rope and carried on around though it would only take a minute to walk around the whole thing. Like I said, good photo opportunity. Check out Wai Wai thinking she is a rockstar!
After the ‘maze’ Wai Wai was going to take me to Snoopy World…but it was shut. Again, still got a whole load of photographs becuase it is out of doors and this cheered me up no end. I agree that Hello Kitty is cute but she doesn’t really do it for me so finally there was something to get excited about. SNOOPY!
The shopping was good. I managed to find Log On, my new favourite, and bought some presents for Ben’s christmas stocking. Wai Wai seemed to like there too and there was so much I wanted to buy. Things I did not buy today include countless action figures, a gillette, a rucksack, a camera, a camera strap, leg warmers, gloves, a hat, a mug, a jar, furniture, more furniture and pencil sharpener. Really wish I had more money to blow on myself here but sadly it cannot be. Ah well, I’ll just save up mega-hard for when I next come over here! I did buy myself a nice flannel shirt for UniQlo which was pretty good! Wai Wai got one too so we can match like little twins!!!
We headed back to Wai Wai’s Grandma’s house in Sheung Shui. This part of Hong Kong is totally different to all of the busy areas I have been before and the whole day has been a really nice change of pace. We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring an old village and on the walk there saw these two oxen seperated by a river. Because I am staying on the very outskirts of Hong Kong we saw some buildings ACTUALLY IN CHINA! That is how close to the border we were. Wai Wai told me I should not try and cross because she did not have her ID card and we would be shot. It would have taken us way too long to walk there anyway so it’s okay, I have not been shot today! I am going to write a story about it called ‘Vega and Altair’ and it will be based on the Chinese Valentines Day myth. When we got to the village it turned out to be terrifying as loads of doors were opening into dark, caved in rooms. We saw an empty school but at one point could hear children really close…we never found them…it was spooky. I took loads of pictures of the creepy buildings and it got to the point that I just needed to get out of there. We did find an old saucer that has a crown and the letter HK on it. Clearly left there for me to find? Wai Wai is insisting it is for Hong Kong but I am pretty sure it is a plate destined for me! Her Aunty washed it off for me when we got back to the house and again tried to convince me they are not my initials. I will not be fooled.
This evening we went out for dinner and I had sushi again but there was so much of it I cannot begin to list what we ate. Wai Wai had to teach me how to say I am full and despite repeating it several times, I kept finding myself with chopsticks in hand, munching away. That was some good eating!
It is certainly still very strange being surrounded by Wai Wai and her family. I am seeing a totally different way of life to how a traveller would be doing things and it is a great opportunity. I think one of the best parts is that I would never have visited this area of Hong Kong if it wasnt for staying with Wai Wai. It is also confirming that I would love to live here with Wai so that we can hang out like this all the time. It would be the best thing ever. Now just to graduate!!!
Wai Wai is currently having a nap while I watch National Treasure 2 with her brother. Night night world