We’re back in England

Our adventure in Hong Kong is officially over and we are now back in the UK.

I have no idea what the future holds so I won’t say we are here for good.

 

The last month in the Kong was hectic: packing boxes, trying to find somewhere temporary to live in England, visiting family, friends, places I wanted to see…

Departure day came round so fast and in the blink of an eye we were in the airport saying goodbye to loved ones.

Thankfully the flight was direct and perfect – I really recommend Virgin Atlantic. We made our way bleary-eyed from Heathrow to Birmingham while dragging 3 fully packed suitcases and praying that we wouldn’t encounter stairs.

We’ve been here for two weeks now and things are still all over the place.

We are renting a room via Airbnb and living out of our suitcases – while our 8 boxes of belongings wait for us to have an address to be shipped to.

 

Jeff started work immediately while I take a handful of driving lessons (I’m rusty after being car-less for 6 years) and look for a job.

I can’t wait for us to find our feet… have our own place, a car, jobs… just so we can settle down a bit.

Until then, there may not be any new posts on the blog, unfortunately.

 

 

Down Under – Melbourne & the Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road

One hour flight from Sydney and we were in Melbourne – the final city in Jeff’s student life I had yet to visit!

We strolled around town visiting the landmarks of Jeff’s year in the city. The college where he studied, the State library, Chinatown….

We went to St Kilda pier to see the famous little penguins return to their nests after weeks at sea. Even though a wooden walkway has been built to keep tourists off the beach, people (stupidly) dangle their feet while sitting on the ledge, leaving no space for the penguins to exit the water.

After waiting in the freezing cold at sunset, we saw a penguin stick his head out of the water, take a look at the mass of humans on the beach and swim off. And then another. And another.

I lost it at that point and shouted quite loudly that if people lifted their legs, the penguins would have the space they needed to access their nests – common sense really. Half the people saw the light and stood up.

By then we realised we could distinctively hear the penguins chirping and calling… from the other side of a fence. The smart little things had moved their nests to a side of the breakwater inaccessible to humans!

After a while we did see a handful of penguins waddling around the breakwater, hoping from stone to stone. They are SO tiny, SO cute.

 

The next day we joined a tour bus and drove down the Great Ocean Road – in miserable weather.

The view is beautiful and I imagine it would be spectacular on a good day. We stopped by the 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge and even saw a double rainbow!

PS: excuse any typos, at time of writing I am in the midst of packing boxes and going crazy.

Things you see at the beach in HK

deep water bay

You’d think going to the beach is a pretty universal experience. While it generally is, certain Hong Kong beachgoers add a sprinkle of entertainment.

 

Facekini wearing women – this is not a joke, I’ve see it with my own eyes… multiple times. Don’t know what a facekini is? Google it, you won’t be disappointed.

Person completely slathered in tanning oil – to the point that they shine like a disco ball and refuse to move/touch anything in fear of smearing their sleek layer.

Stretching elderly gentlemen– warming up before they swim, just like they are preparing for the Olympics. Doing split lunges on the steps leading to the lifeguard office.

Sun avoiding young lady – sitting under the sun umbrella, with clothes on and never entering the water. ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down Under – Bondi Beach & Blue Mountain

Bondi beach

While in Sydney, we obviously stopped by Bondi Beach. Unfortunately, not that many lifeguards are around in winter, so we didn’t witness a live episode of Bondi Rescue.

There were quite a few surfers hitting the waves, even in the cold and rain. I loved seeing the waves crash on Bondi Icebergs Swimming Pool. I can’t believe people actually swim there!

I would have loved to take a stroll along the beach in summer to feel the Bondi vibe…

We continued our promenade with a stroll to Watson’s Bay light house where we, by mistake, tried to enter a restricted army base – and got shouted at by the security guard (typical Jeff stuff).

On the next day we visited Blue Mountain. We took a cable car and the steepest funicular railway in the world!

All passengers were sitting there looking real relaxed while I had the impression I was about the slip off my seat and crash into the front of the carriage…

The railway isn’t scary at all, it just makes you want to grab onto something to make sure you’re not gonna fall off your seat.

Blue Mountain reminded me of the Grand Canyon (not that I’ve ever been). The air was so crisp, we filled up our lungs knowing we wouldn’t get anything like that in the Kong!

 

 

PS: by the time this post is on the blog we will have moved back to the UK….

Tsz Shan Monastery in Tai Po

Tsz Shan Monastery

Whilst riding our bikes along Tai Mei Tuk reservoir, we saw this huge white statue at the foot of the hills in the distance. I knew I had to visit.

The statue belongs to Tsz Shan Monastery, a Buddhist temple funded by Li Ka Shing the second richest man in Asia – and the richest in Hong Kong.

After putting it off for months I finally managed to visit the monastery with one of my good friends.

 

The temple is in a remote location in the countryside and getting there is a tad difficult, but nothing terrible.

The location is very peaceful with views of the Tolo Harbour to one side, and big green rolling hills to the other.

The temple has 3 halls and the big statue of Guanyin so doesn’t take long to visit.  There is a zen calligraphy workshop which is quite long – as long as the visit itself!

I think it is a nice place to visit but not a must see in Hong Kong.

 

A few points to note:

  • Advance bookings required
  • The easiest way to go is to take the MTR to Tai Po Market and then Minibus 20B. Alight at Universal gate road and walk to the monastery.
  • Make sure to wear long trousers and sleeved tops

 

 

 

Down Under – Port Stephens

Sand Dunes

On our second day in Australia we joined a bus tour to Port Stephens, 200km north of Sydney.
The first thing we did was hop into a 4×4 mini bus, bobbed up and down for 5 minutes until we reached the sand dune surfing spot.
I was incredibly fun and I kinda felt like Calvin and Hobbs going down the dune at top speed.

 

We next went on a 2 hour dolphin watching cruise. I’m not good with boats, but since we were staying in the harbour I thought I would be fine.
We managed to see a handful of dolphins swimming along next to the boat, but I didn’t snap any pictures. The boat was stable most of the time and I felt okay, except for the 5 minutes were we sailed past the mouth of the harbour – I was not feeling good at all!

Once the cruise was over (much to my relief) we drove to a vineyard for a small tasting session. We found plenty of locals enjoying a glass in the sun with the live band strumming away. What a nice Saturday they spent!