Wow, it’s hard to believe that we’re already half way through the year. I’ve felt like I’ve grown a huge amount already, but then I still have so much further to go; the growth has revealed other flaws that I’ve not previously noticed, or given enough attention to… My time in Hong Kong has been très busy, and you can see that by both the length and content of this loong Sunday Summary.

Monday morning for breakfast we went out to fast food outlet Fairwood, which is kind of like a McDonalds, and a place fast becoming our staple breakfast venue. I had scrambled eggs and a deep fried fish cutlet on toast, with an ice coffee; price HKD$23, which is just under AUD$3. We then proceeded to catch the tram out to Central for my folks to take care of some bank stuff, and then we headed to the tailor for my brother in law to get measured up for a suit and some trousers at Cheung Hing Tailor. After having yum cha with my Auntie Christina we split ways to do our own thing. I wandered around IFC Mall for a little bit, before heading back to Causeway Bay to our apartment, via supermarket Wellcome to pick up some orange juice with aloe vera.
Later in the afternoon I wandered over to Times Square to take a look around at the shops. To my dismay, the Puma Shop was no longer there, but they have opened an Evisu store and an Onitsuka Tiger store. I ended up going shopping with my mum in Sogo and picked up a pair of leather shoes, whilst she got some mini thermos cups. As we wandered back to the apartment, we stopped in at Paul Lafayat to pick up some snacks; some macarons – ginger, chocolate, raspberry and passionfruit flavours, and a small cake – White chocolate with jasmine and lemon

The evening was meant to be a quiet one, but we ended up catching the tram out to Central, then walking a fair way out to catch the Star Ferry over to Tsim Sha Tsui for dinner and then heading back home. It was a good chance to get a few shots of the harbor at night too.

On Tuesday, we went for a short layover in Macau, catching the Turbojet over for a stay at L’Arc, thanks to my cousin’s husband: Andrew. Upon arrival, we were picked up by one of the concierge and whisked over to check in. We saw Andrew on the way up to our rooms and ended up lunching with him in one of the restaurants there. After a siesta, we headed out to see the mega-casinos, starting with Packer’s City of Dreams. I think with these hotel/casino’s there isn’t really heaps to see; it’s generally the feature items, and then the smaller details, but everything in between is just standard shops, which are mostly the same kind of thing… We went to take a look at the bubble inside of the City of Dreams, which was basically this dome which you stand in that’s a combination of projection, surround sound, smoke, lights, lasers, and dripping water show. We then headed over to the latest mega-casino; Galaxy for a wander around. Again heavy on the features: a couple of big sculptures in the entrances, and then a couple of other sculptures strewn around the complex, including a ‘live art’ piece. For dinner we met up with Andrew and his dad and headed to a Mediterranean restaurant inside of Galaxy: Terazza. We grabbed a whole bunch of dishes to share, including fresh spring chicken, wagyu beef steak, crab meat linguini, lamb chops.

I got a pretty nice room all to myself on the 17th floor (panoramic photo coming soon), with a king size bed, in which I was absolutely swamped. I got to watch a fair bit of fashion tv; which pretty much shows off models and fashion shows all the time, which I really enjoyed. Not just for the beautiful girls, but also for the fashion.

After a great night sleep, with sleep in, I got up, and went to find my family on the 20th floor. They weren’t ready to go anywhere, despite it being about 10am. Now I was keen for
A) Breakfast
B) A haircut at the hotel salon
And both of these could have been fulfilled at this time, but due to indecision and lack of communication, nothing happened except an hours worth of waiting, making me cranky and affecting my mood for the next day and a bit; something not particularly helpful, nor helped by travel around an unfamiliar place in the muggy rain. The places we intended to go for lunch by the hotel concierge were either closed or too difficult to find from where we were dropped off by the hotel car, so we ended up just eating at a smallish place specialising in crab, having congee, crab noodles and other fancy crab foods and then swinging past the ruins of St Paul’s church before catching the Turbojet back to Hong Kong. At night I went with my parents only to have dinner at a local restaurant, whilst my sister and brother-in-law had dinner with one of their friends from Sydney.

Thursday was a day for visiting people. We went to visit one of dad’s aunties and auntie Ivy, who is one of the Chow’s who is laid up in hospital. Spattered in between that was spots of shopping at Wing On; a department store kind of like Myer, but only in the one location at Central, and then at APM mall at Kwun Tong. When I’d made my way back to Causeway Bay I ducked in to Times Square and got my haircut at a place called Via il Colpo, before rushing back to the apartment to head out to dinner at the same local restaurant as the previous night, this time opting for steamboat, and the addition of the all-you-can-eat bar, which offered drinks and sweets for HKD$8 per head. The steamboat was pretty good, although I did manage to burn my tongue a little. The all-you-can-eat bar was definitely worth it!!

On Friday morning we headed to the Hong Kong Football Club for breakfast with the Chows again. On my way back home, I dropped into HMV and picked up some cheap, new release CDs:

  • Balance 18 (Mixed by Nick Warren)
  • Structures Two (Mixed by John Digweed)

Around lunchtime we headed out to this pretty famous noodle house in Wan Chai which serves these fish noodles. It took a fair amount of time for all 5 of us to get there… This place wasn’t too close to any of the MTR stations, which is where my mum had organised to meet my sister and brother in law, but we ended up walking all the way to this place, and then my dad and I were sent to collect my sister and brother-in-law, but got a little lost, so my dad ended up sending me back to the restaurant, then going to a different MTR station, catching the MTR to Wan Chai to fetch them and walking back to this restaurant; a 45-minute exercise in the end… In the afternoon, I went with mum to the 3 shop to pick up a mini-sim for my iPhone4. When we put it in, the phone didn’t recognise it, meaning that my phone was sim-locked to Telstra, despite purchasing from the Apple Store at launch. After some quick twittering with @Telstra support, and google chat with Jason, my phone was unlocked and free to travel the world and use any micro-sim!! In the evening we headed out to Tsim Sha Tsui to have dinner with some of my extended family, a tradition that we have within our family for weddings. Unfortunately my cousin Calvin and his fiancee Chloe weren’t able to join us. I do miss playing touch football back in Sydney, but I’ve been told that Jase managed to make it down, and even scored a try!!

Saturday was the big wedding day; the morning was a slow relaxing morning, taking in brunch before heading out to Hung Hom via taxi for the wedding at the church where my uncle Young Man is the senior pastor. Hong Kong weddings are a bit different to the standard Australian wedding. There was a couple of musical items, one during the signing of the register performed by my cousin, and Calvin’s younger brother, Wallace, and the other just during the ceremony, featuring my uncle Young Man on the saxophone. Now the ceremony was in cantonese, so it was quite difficult to grasp most of it, but the thing that struck me most was what came in place of the sermon. When I asked my dad if this was meant to be the sermon, he told me that these were “words of encouragement“. I found it really odd, because the guy that was speaking was a family friend of Calvin’s, yet the majority of things that he was saying were quotes and sayings from famous people throughout history, rather than being wisdom from the Bible… Anyway, what would a CHONGLAND post that covers a wedding, without a wedding photo? so here’s one of the happy couple (more photos to follow on my Flickr):

After hanging around, taking some more photos and catching up with relatives and family friends, it was time to make our way back to the apartment for some R&R before the reception. Some of my relatives, also from Australia were also staying in the same apartments as we were, so we split our group of 7, which is too many for one taxi (normally seating 4 or 5 passengers), into a 4 and a 3, me being a part of the three with my auntie Margot and cousin Zoe. When we were leaving, it was just before 4pm, which is a crucial time for Hong Kong public transport, because it is the taxi drivers changeover hour, along with 6pm, making it very difficult to actually hail a taxi to take you anywhere, let alone from Kowloon side to Hong Kong side, which is where we were headed. After a short period of not being able to catch a taxi, we decided to go and catch a bus, so that we’d at least be on Hong Kong side. We jumped aboard and made our way to the edge of Causeway Bay and then proceeded to try and hail a cab to take us the (very short) rest of journey, without a great deal of luck for a good 20 minutes, but in the end we succeeded and made it back, only having to face the heat for a short(ish) period. By the time I was back in the apartment, I had developed a headache, which had been brewing since the wedding ceremony, so it was straight into bed for me to try and sleep some of it off. After a good 45 minute sleep, my mum and dad wandered in, having had quite a difficult time catching a taxi and travelling back. After another half hour of sleep, it was time to get dressed up again for the reception, which was over in Kowloon Bay.
We arrived a little early so that my parents could partake in the traditional Chinese tea ceremony, where the newly married couple pours tea for any older married couples in their extended family, and receive gifts in return, I think that’s the gist of it… I’m not sure what is the reasoning behind it… I assume it would be some kind of respect thing though… To say that I had a great time at the reception would be overstating my experience… Whilst the food wasn’t bad, I was seated at the singles table consisting of extended family & their close friends, but felt extremely estranged there… Now all of my extended family on mum’s side were born in Hong Kong, except my sister and I, and they’ve studied in both Hong Kong and Australia as well, so they’ve kind of networked a bit more together and we (my sister and I) are a little left out of their circles… Having arrived early I had staked out a seat that would give me a fair angle to shoot photos, and meant that I could get up and out easily, if I needed to manoeuvre for any shots, but then I was moved to the most inconvenient seat possible for photography, which upset my mood a little more, and pretty much shut my camera down for the evening…
The main question asked of me during the night was when it would be my turn to get married, especially since I’m the eldest male in my extended family, and the second eldest amongst the unmarrieds. Of course my answer was that I need to find a girlfriend first, but that’s a topic for another post…
It was a good celebratory time for our extended ‘Chan‘ family; I think we managed to get a photo of the entire family at some point in the night, and when they showed the photo slideshow of the newlyweds growing up, I did get a little choked up and teary seeing Calvin with my grandparents, who have both passed away. I also wonder what they, especially my grandmother, would think of our family as they were now… I mean we’ve all grown up and have made different avenues and pathways in our lives… Are they what she would have wanted for us, or expected us to travel, do they hold true to her expectations and values she instilled in us?

Today we got to church, again at Tsim Sha Tsui Baptist Church. The service ran a bit more smoothly this week, but again with some pretty dated and horrible hymns, which no one really knew how to sing, except the service leader, who immensely overpowered everyone with his already strong voice, singing into the microphone. The sermon was given by a different speaker, yet just as confusing and difficult to understand as the last. His sermon was from Genesis 4:3-10, which speaks of Cain & Abel, which is already a difficult passage to understand. He seemed to read alot of things back into the text, especially on sacrifices; how to tell if they’re pleasing to God, what was to be offered and how, and he also tried to explain things from the Hebrew, yet still abiding by the Good News translation, which was not helpful at all… finally he didn’t really address v7, which is a key verse. He did question it, but I believe he was asking the wrong question, and not looking at it in enough context. After a quick brunch at DeliFrance we headed over to Central for lunch with an old family friend who used to live in Australia at Chiu Chow Garden. After a rest in the afternoon and a quick shopping trip to pick up a shirt from my staple shopping stop me men, we headed off to Kowloon City for dinner with family friend Francis Choi, who ranks on Forbes billionaires list, at a chiu chow restaurant he owns, in a mall he owns… Dinner was nice, but kind of awkward, as things go with the rich and famous… Each time we’ve come back to Hong Kong we’ve caught up with Uncle Choi and his family, but as with a lot of relationships, they need regular contact and nurturing to develop, which ours just haven’t had the time to… Sad thing really…