Friday, 5 December 2008

A General Introduction to Hong Kong Christmas Decorations

Location: Olympian City II (shopping centre)

Exhibit One
Rubber Ducks.  No, I don't get it either.

Exhibit Two
A Goose riding a bicycle.  As they do.  Check out the feather boa Christmas trees in the back too!

Exhibit Three

Exhibit Four

Exhibit Five
The whole shebang.  Make sure you note the psychedelic elf houses in the back too!

None of this makes any sense at all.  Like a lot of things here.

Merry Christmas from Olympic!  Ho Ho Ho!  (or should I say - quack, quack, quack?)

PS If you think this is nuts, stay tuned!  Next time we'll be coming live from Times Square, Causeway Bay, to witness the invasion of the massive floating heads!

Friday, 21 November 2008

End of the week take 2

Friday already! Again! Last week was so slow but this week has gone past like lightning :o !

My lessons this week were as follows:

Nursery: Hello, Bye bye, Stand Up, Sit Down, Jump, One, Two, Red, Blue

K1: H for Hat >w<

K2: Colours and the Rainbow Song

K3: Animals and Old MacDonald Song

...Now it is time to start planning for next week :(

This evening Ronald and I went to sing karaoke in Red Box in Causeway Bay :) It's fun to go by ourselves since we're not the best singers in the world :/ And being on our own means we can wail really terribly and not have to worry about offending people ^^ haha.

Our Ikea wardrobes arrived the other day. They weigh a TON. Seriously! We could barely move them! We bought a complicated Pax wardrobe thing and it comes with a billion different parts to make up separately :/ We laboured away at making the actual box, and then got really stuck because the sliding doors are well complicated :( So we went down to Ikea and asked them to do it for us xD They will be coming on Monday to fix it up. Yay :)

Tomorrow I can go and pick up my HK ID card :D Then I can go to the library and get a book to read because I have nothing left to read :(

Over and out >w<


Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Post Boxes

Observations from HK #2

Most of the post boxes in HK have "POST NO BILLS" written on the side.

Worth a giggle :)

Flat Pix

Pix for the peeps who can't see them on FB:

Window Views:
[1] [2][3] [4]

[1] [2]

[main] [second/office]


Living Room:
[1] [2]

New Sofa-Bed:
[1] [2]

Friday, 14 November 2008

End of the week

Yay its finally Saturday!


Work has had me pretty stressed out this week. I keep waking up in the middle of the night dreaming that all the kids are staring at me and I have to teach them something. So I sit up in bed and start saying stupid stuff like "Say Thank You!" Ronald calls this "sleep teaching". Its kinda weird ><><

Right now we are bumming around at home waiting for the sofa-bed to be delivered. They said they would be here at about 3:00pm, so when (at 2:45) we were still in Wan Chai we had to RUN home. We got here at about 3:05. Then he calls and says he won't be here until 4 :( Always the way. But you know - if we hadn't rushed home he would definitely have come early so :P Its probably good that we ran. Got some exercise anyway - haha.

After the sofa arrives I am hoping to go down and try out the swimming pool for the first time! Unfortunately the outdoor pool is currently closed (because of the weather, apparently it is only open in summer. They don't seem to realise that it is about 25-30 degrees C outside. Gah.) But never mind we still have the indoor one :P After that there is a Youth-Band-Festival on the habour-front at Tsim Sha Tsui today, we're going to go and check out the local Indie talent... I don't have hight hopes :P When we walked past earlier there was a lot of people dancing "street-style" to Jenifer Lopez. Oh dear. Rock on.

Posted lots of photos of our place on Facebook. Am going to try and post them here too so the none-facebook-people can see (I know you're out there!)

Until next time, readers :P

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Hong Kong - Day 11 - Olympic

Ahhh, I haven't updated in a while! First of all we moved into our new flat and didn't have any internet. Then I started my new job on Monday and have been really busy freaking about about it the last few days. Things are better at work now (I'm getting used to the kids and dealing with them, and also knowing what I am expected to do) so now I have time to write a post.

Observations from HK!

1) Automatic sensor-flushing toilets.
Everywhere. The ones in the HK Airport are particularly fun.
You walk in the cubicle door and the toilet flushes. Uhm. Okay.
You sit down, and the toilet flushes.
You reach for the paper and... the toilet flushes!
Then you stand up and nothing - NOTHING - not waving you hands, not jumping up and down, not doing the can-can, will make the toilet flush when you actually want it to. I kid you not.
So you have to press the button. So much for that :(


1) Ordering a chocolate sundae ("Ju go lik soot go sun-day") in MacDonald's yesterday... I remembered how to say "or mm yew fa song" (no peanuts for me!) I was well impressed with myself :)

2) Brought a herbal drink at Cafe Coral (downstairs in the shopping centre next to our building) after work today because my throat was feeling really sore after shouting at kids all day :( The lady asked me "li do yum?" (are you drinking in (or taking away)) - I understood what she said! Woo!

3) Learnt how to say my address in Chinese so that if I need to get a taxi sometime I can tell him where to go "Long Tsing Wan - Hoi Fai Do - O-wan" (The Long Beach, Hoi Fai Road, Olympic)


Last night, Ronald and I went out in search of food. As we were walking along we suddenly noticed that we could see the sign for Langham Place lit up on a skyscraper quite close by! We didn't realise we were so close! So we walked in that direction and arrived in Mong Kok (shopper's paradise - no, really) after a 10 minute walk :o
(We ate at a place called "Monster Sushi" xD)

We finally bought most of our furniture. We went to Sha Tin last weekend, we were aiming to go to Ikea, but in the mall there were so many other furniture stores that, in the end, we didn't even get to go into Ikea!
We found the perfect sofa-bed, and it was on sale too! It is black leather (PVC), looks really stylish, and it very comfortable to sleep and sit on AND its the RIGHT SIZE :D Yay!
We also ordered a bespoke TV unit. Its a full-wall jobbie, with lots and lots of cupboard space for all our games/CDs/junk :) The peeps are coming tomorrow to measure the wall space to make sure they build it the perrrrrfect size :)
We also bought a folding away dining table from a cheapy cheapy store in Tsuen Wan (Direct Sale Centre) and I brought my computer desk for cheap, and on sale, from another cheapy shop (PriceRite) which is just downstairs. It is being delivered tomorrow!

For the mean time we are sleeping on foam mattresses that we brought from DSC - they only cost $100 each and are really quite comfy :) Unfortunately they have really ugly patterns (one is lime green with little hearts, the other is light blue with bright coloured circles... and these were the least offensive ones there! The others were truly horrendous.)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Hong Kong - Day 5 - Tseun Wan

Still in Tsuen Wan! (Must type fast because I have to be up super early tomorrow because I'm going to Sham Shui Po to observe another English-Kindergarten-Teacher person in action - I will be taking lots of notes! I have to be there at 8:45am :( )

Today we got the keys for the flat finally - yay :) Ronald called up some dude who came round and changed the locks for us (this is because many estate agent shops have access to the old keys, and we don't particularly want them just walking in ya know). Tomorrow when I am out observing stuff, Ronald will be in charge of cleaning (lol) and buying things (oh no). Hopefully he will be able to manage until I get back in the afternoon!

We have been looking at some cheap furniture store in Tsuen Wan Discovery Park. I think its better than ikea because 1) its WAY cheaper, about 1/3 the price - although possibly less quality? 2) its better designed for HK spaces (i.e. not much space) whereas a lot of the things in Ikea are just too big to be practical. The HK store has some really clever folding away tables, and some good desks with lots of shelves and storage and stuff :) I'm looking forward to buying from them :D Maybe we can get a discount if we buy several items from them....

Words learnt today:
Doy ("bag" (plastic)) - learnt because the lady in the store asked me "lei yew mm yew doy?" (Do you want a ) and I had no idea what she was talking about, and I looked stupid :) (looking stupid is by far the best way to learn!)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Book - "Shakespeare" - Bill Bryson

Bought this cos it was cheap and on sale in the airport, and I needed something to read. I've not read much Bill Bryson - only his European travel adventures in Neither Here Nor There. I know he's pretty funny. This particular book kinda - isn't. Its got some good, subtle giggles in there. But nothing laugh-out-loud-and-then-read-aloud-to-your-friend-or-person-sitting-next-to-you-on-the-underground-so-they-can-laugh-too.
Its interesting - I guess - if you're interested in Shakespeare (I am). What is refreshing about the book is that Bryson makes no qualms about admitting just how much we really don't know about Shakespeare. Arguably, the details of Shakespeare's life are not important (I'm a big believer in anti-author-ism myself), but they are still pretty intriguing - and deep down we all love a good gossip. What Bryson does really well is expose the vast amount of absolute bollocks that scholars have passed off for "fact" over the last 400ish years. Its shocking how many esteemed Shakespeare scholars and fellow writers have done such stupid things as - decide Shakespeare didn't write this particular play because it isn't very good. Or, decided that Shakespeare must have done this, because it would be nice if he had.
Overall this is a really easy read, which - if you don't know much about Shakespeare - and even if you do think you know something (I learnt quite a bit myself) - you will enjoy. This book will helpfully make you less ignorant overall. Not a bad deal really. You never know when those random facts may come in useful one day.

Hong Kong - Day 3 - Tseun Wan

My blog looks kind of sad :( Its one of them default templates. Soon I will work on prettifying it - but not today! Because I am tired!

Incidentally, the name of this blog is "Fan O Kei La" which is the Cantonese version of the Putonghua "Hui Jia Ba" or "Let's Go Home". I heard it at the end of a song and thought "Awe, that's nice...." So yeah :P

I visited my schools today. They're pretty nice, not particularly interesting. Imagine a kindergarten right? And... yeah that's all - you got it :)
Afterwards I collected my visa from Wan Chai, tomorrow I plan to go to Macau to activate it :) After that I can apply for my HK ID card! OooOOooooooOoo.

Me and Ronald bummed around in Ikea. Looks like we're going to be living in a(nother) all-Ikea house! Although we will probably have to look elsewhere for our Futon (cos the Ikea ones all suck) and Ronald's office furniture.

We went for sushi for dinner in AMP (big big shopping centre, somewhere. I forget. Its on the green line lol). There we met some of Ronald's distant cousins, a boy of 14 and a little girl of 2. I'm rubbish with kids. But somehow I became involved in a poking game with her and we became friends. She didn't understand English. I don't think she understood Chinese. I resorted to a weird mix. She was "helping" me to pick out some hair clips in a shop. I was yammering away like a real dummy - "yat go" ("one")... "learn go" ("two") ..... "or yew learn go..." ("I want two of them") (at this point she gives me one of them...) "LEARN go" (then I get the other one). The shopkeeper is listening in to all this. I manage to ask him whether the price is for 1 or 2 of the clips. "sup yi mun, yat go" ("$12 for 1"). Okay. Then he starts talking in cantonese like I know what he's saying. What? - no >< I speak baby-cantonese only! Tsk. Some people, honestly.

Words learnt today:
"Siu Sum" (Be careful!) - learnt when I was in danger of having my eye poked out during the poking game .....

Monday, 3 November 2008

Hong Kong - Day 2 - Tseun Wan

Today on the MTR (the Hong Kong Underground) I saw a poster that advertised the Hong Kong Wetlands Park. It told me to "Unroll the Hong Kong Diverse Green Temptations." Classic example of a direct translation fallen on its arse. Its not even funny but I laughed about it anyway ;)

We took Ronald's iPhone for repair in Mong Kok (ya - it broke), and he got a new phone, mMMmm shiney.

I dropped into Language Tree to pick up my work visa. Didn't get it! They only gave me the fax confirming that it is ready for collection, and told me to get it myself. Charming. I didn't have my passport on me so I have to go by tomorrow.
They did, however, have a school for me. Of all irony its out in Tin Shui Wai (N.T.) and also in Tuen Mun. It is one school but they have two campus and I will be alternating between the two. Its fairly straightward to get there from Olympic, either by MTR (+KCR) or there's a good bus service. However it will take between 30-45mins. Boo.

However! If you're wondering why I'm talking about distance from Olympic its because this evening we put a deposit down on a flat there! Its a brand new (shiney) building :) And we've got a harbour view AND we're on the 23rd floor, with just over 700square foot for 13k/month. The club house is really godly! Its got an outdoor pool, spa, indoor and outdoor jacuzzi, mini golf course, gym, badminton courts, tennis courts, function room, beauty rooms, piano rooms, fully equiped music studio (where I can use their drum kit!) a BBQ area, a mini private cinema, a bar, a reading room, cigar room, quiet room, billiard room, and... wait for it... a private karaoke room!
All going well we will have access to it by Thursday, and can see about buying the furniture that we need.

I found it quite ironic that the landlord was telling us how picky he was about tenants, he was waiting for a good tenant, and had already refused families with young children because he was worried they might make a mess of the place. And they think that WE are good tenants. Shocker!
In England we'd be the last on the list because we're potentially noisey, party-throwing young unmarried couple of doom. (We're not really like that, but that's how we appear to most landlords.) However here we're suddenly highly desirable :o Its because I'm a Teacher now, and Ronald is an IT Professional. We sound quite fantastic :)

Tomorrow I have to go to Tin Shui Wai at 10am (/sad) to see the school with Helen from Language Tree. The school needs to "approve" me before I can start work there - hopefully on Monday next week. Will let you know how it goes -

Good night!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Hong Kong - Day 1 - Tseun Wan

Well.... technically its day 2 since we landed here yesterday, but since this is our first full day, its now day 1 :)
Welcome to my new blog! Not blogged in a long time but I shall try and keep this updated reguarly. Yesterday's flight was fairly uneventful, I slept through most of it - kept waking up with a cramped neck :( I still feel like we're here on a holiday, we're currently staying at Ronald's Mum's place in Tseun Wan, which is where we stay when we are visiting. The flat is pretty full up since Grandma is here as well. Aunty is having to sleep on the sofa! I think once we get our own place set up this will begin to feel much more like a real move. On that note, we spent today looking at different places -
Firstly we looked in Tseun Wan. We told the agents at Centraline that we had a king size bed (which we do), and they kind of freaked out. They spent AGES pretending to rummage through all their information trying to find a bedroom which would fit our mythical giant bed. They then told us it wasn't possible except for a Penthouse flat and a custom renovated flat above the City Plaza shopping mall in the centre of Tseun Wan. So we went to see them. The penthouse was FAN-TAS-TIC. Had gorgeous views over the city, was on the 33th floor, had ACRES of storage cupboards, and you could even see the harbour. It was over 900 square foot, which in Hong Kong terms is enormous. However it cost a whooping HK$14,000 a month (over £1000) which is okay for central areas but Tseun Wan is in the New Territories, which are supposed to be cheap. The building was pretty old too, even though the flat had been newly done up. We liked it a lot but the landlord seemed unlikely to compromise, so we headed downstairs (to florr 22) to see the other flat. It wasn't finished yet. No, really. It wasn't. It was a building site. The walls were gone. The floor was gone. The fittings were - gone. Everywhere was covered in rubble and builders junk. The only thing it didn't have was a hole in the wall. It's not due to be finished until December - so we left. But not before being shocked into silence by the price of it. 13k for 700 sqaure foot, in Tsuen Wan.


I don't think so.

...gotta eat dinner now - will edit for more of day's info later :)