The Final Countdown

My finals are over!! Finally. (Haha bad puns.) Glad I don’t have to deal with them anymore, but it does mean that this semester is actually over. Considering I was supposed to be studying all last week, I did quite a bit. Knocked out a few good bucket list items.

I finally had conveyor belt sushi – something I’ve wanted to do forever, but it’s a little difficult when you’re eating vegetarian. They did have one of those yummy egg sushis though. Basically the way it works is sushi on small plates comes around on a conveyor belt and you take whatever you want. The cost of each plate depends on the color – that purple plate was my one splurge item. Crab and crab roe. Yummy. No, I did not eat all those plates by myself. I’m not that much of a fatty, I was with a friend!

I also took a ferry out to Cheung Chau for a day, one of the smaller islands in Hong Kong. There’s a small neighborhood and a couple beaches and trails. It’s actually so small that there aren’t any cars on the entire island! Everyone just gets around on bikes, even little old ladies. Most of them use training wheels though, which I thought was pretty adorable. Cheung Chau is where they have the bun festival every year, but that isn’t until spring. I don’t actually know much about it except that people climb up this gigantic structure covered in buns. It sounds pretty weird. The buns were delicious though! Just steamed bread with red bean inside, my favorite.

Like most tiny little islands, Cheung Chau also has amazing seafood. We had a gigantic meal of ginger crab, clams with bell peppers in some sort of gravy sauce, steamed shrimp, some kind of fish, and mantis shrimp. Mantis shrimp are also called pissing shrimp, and they’re sort of purplish inside. Really good but not worth all the effort it took to get their shells open.

Whenever I have a really great meal here I’m always shocked by how cheap everything is. All the seafood I could possibly stuff my face with, and so fresh. It came out to less than US$10 per person. Really, the little places with folding tables and plastic chairs are always the best.

On Saturday I went to Ozone, the highest bar in the world. It’s on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton in the ICC building.

Super swanky, super expensive. The view was really nice, but honestly I more just went so I could check it off the list. I had an unbelievably overpriced “dragontini,” which was delicious, and got really sad when I remembered I won’t be able to do any of this when I get back home. I don’t turn 21 until next August, so it’s all pretty miserable.

Sunday was probably my best day ever in Hong Kong. The plan was: wake up early to watch the live stream of the dance show at CMU, go to Tuen Mun where my local friend lives for a nice lunch, study, and then finish up with a free concert. I made it through the dance show (which was AWESOME guys, so proud of you! and so jealous I wasn’t in it this semester!), but then about ten minutes before I was going to leave for Tuen Mun I started feeling really sick. Spent the rest of the day going back and forth between sleeping and throwing up my guts. It was a fun time. I still don’t know what got me so sick, but I woke up on Monday feeling great again.

So that was my week, besides two finals and an essay. The next couple of weeks until I go home are going to be absolutely crazy, so I don’t know how much time I’ll have for blogging. I’m off to Taipei tomorrow, then Bangkok and back to mainland China before I leave Asia for good. Well, not for good, but for now at least. I’ll be back.

Someone Ate All the Buns

Last week I went to an absolutely amazing dim sum place in Mongkok. Definitely one of the best in Hong Kong. On a weeknight, we only had to wait a little over a half hour, but I tried to go again on Sunday afternoon and was told to come back in three hours.

This weekend a friend from school was here, so I got to be a cool local and show him around. We went to the observatory on the 100th floor of the ICC building, plus basically every market ever: ladies’ market, Fa Yuen market (well, what’s left of it after the fire last week), goldfish market, bird market, flower market, jade market, Temple Street night market… Lots of walking. And eating. I made a video, so instead of telling you about it, I’ll just show you.

This is the last week of classes, and I’m feeling pretty sad. I have 26 days until I go home, and 15 of those days will be spent in other countries. I don’t want to go home! I don’t want to leave this:

Most of all, I don’t want to go back to school and have to deal with snow.

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I made you a Google Doodle to celebrate!

It’s official – I go home in less than 40 days. The whole thing is pretty bittersweet. I miss home, my family, my friends, obviously, but I really could stay in Hong Kong forever. That being said… I have no Asian food to talk about this week! Terrible, I know. It’s not that I didn’t eat any, of course, just nothing blog-worthy. Although I did go back to that Japanese place, Miso Cool, and had some melt-in-your-mouth eel.

On Sunday I went to the horse races in Sha Tin. Since I obviously know absolutely nothing about horse races, I decided to bet on the horses with the coolest names: Dreams Maker and Forest Fountain. I wanted to bet on Super Pistachio, but that race wasn’t until much later in the day and we didn’t want to stay that long.

Well, Dreams Maker did not make my dreams. Neither did Forest Fountain. But I only bet about $5USD, so it was okay. The guys I was with did win, though, so of course they had to gloat.

On Monday I walked around TST looking for a new lens for my camera. Everything is all decorated for Christmas already! I swear, Christmas starts earlier every year. They’re building an ice skating rink right by the school, but I don’t understand how it will stay frozen since it’s outside. Outdoor ice skating rinks in Pittsburgh make sense. Pickwick in Burbank works because it’s inside. An outdoor rink in Hong Kong? How is that possible? Anyway, I walked all the way to Harbor City, a ridiculously expensive mall, and they had a huge Toy Story Christmas display. They Toy Story section of Disneyland just opened up a couple weeks ago, and I am so excited to go!

Of course, Christmastime doesn’t really start until after Thanksgiving. Depressed over missing out on a huge dinner, most of the Americans went last night to Outback Steakhouse, the most American restaurant within walking distance from the dorm (besides McDonald’s). It was the least Thanksgivingy Thanksgiving I have ever had, and it was great.

We got a Bloomin’ Onion, of course, which was inhaled in about three minutes.

Instead of my usual Tofurkey, I had shrimp and mushroom alfredo. That’s what the Pilgrims ate, right?

For dessert, no pumpkin pie. Instead, the Chocolate Thunder From Down Under, the most ridiculously named brownie a la mode ever. Also inhaled within 3 minutes.

It was a pretty great evening, I must say. Plus, in case you couldn’t tell, I got to use my new lens! It’s 50mm f/1.8. I’ve been having tons of fun with it. There are honestly about 3 camera shops per block in Hong Kong, so no shortage of new toys to buy… I might end up coming home with a couple more.