T&J Travels #13: Hong Kong 2019 (Part 3)



We still have time for the day and Reagan suggested we go to the Kowloon Walled City Park. We have to ride those small shuttles that took us nearest which is easier than the rest of the options.

Before getting there we got a glimpse of the less glamorous side of HK, buildings that are quite decrepit and the atmosphere is a bit laid back. There are shorter towers for apartments and most stores are not chain. 



The park is a nice respite from all the buildings we're clustered in these past few days. Even on a Saturday it's not crowded. We were able to play Pokemon Go here (there are three gyms) and have enough time to visit some parts that were kept from the old walled city. 



The opened rooms can be walked into and even without a guide. They have also installed motion sensors that automatically play for visitors to look at. 



On the last room we found ourselves joined with a group who happened to have a tour guide who tried to explain what the sensors are showing. A bit problem on my part though, I'm quite accent deaf :-(.



We've walked some more but I was anxious in leaving already because it could be evening soon and we are still on another island from our hotel. Which is why I suggested we visit Victoria Park! It's sort of infamous because of the stories how our OFWs loiter over there. I haven't been and wanted to see it myself.

We arrived there almost evening and was surprised to find an event. Some of the gates were closed so we had to walk to the main gate just to get in. We're lucky it's free!


We have no idea what the non-English words meant but we came in anyway. It seemed like a fete, because the people manning the booths look like students.


Wasn't too hungry yet so we just got some drinks. I forgot what Reagan ordered but mine was unforgettable because it was too funny. I got a pineapple ice drink and it's essentially it's name. It's a cold water with some pineapple on it. I still giggle when I remember it.



There's a concert at the far end of the park but it's also gated. We sat near it instead because it looked like you have to pay (?) because there are people guarding the entrances... or so we think. Once the first singer came up we finally realized what the concert was about.


She was crying, and was barely singing, more like lip syncing. The audience were cheering her on to continue. Later on she started talking in between sobs. We can't understand anything but we eventually understood that we found ourselves on a concert rally. They even tried to hand out ballers which we had to refuse because we don't want to be banned in HK :-(. We left after the second singer came in because we thought that we can't be caught here being aliens and all. It's much much more dangerous to us I think. 

We took a different route going back and found a familiar store that made me really giddy:


We went in, and was glad being serviced by a Filipina. We've only been here a few days yet seeing this store gave me so much comfort like as if I was out of the country far longer. We're not hungry but I would not pass an opportunity to know what our burger taste like anywhere. Verdict: it's much drier and!! much more expensive! 

+ Last Day +

It's souvenir shopping day! We went to the nearest SOGO where we had our fill of Japanese (!!) snacks at the basement. I intend to buy bags but I was too conscious being around Reagan so we just hunt for souvenirs instead. 




In one of the strip of stores in front of SOGO we found a jackpot store where they have various snacks and chocolates. We bought so much from here we were able to fill our luggage with various food products we had to arrange it at the hotel. I liked that they allowed us to leave our bags even if we're already checked out!

Another perk I love about our hotel is how it gave us a free ride to Central where we can take the train to HKIA. We've also tried the In Town service where we were able to check in our bags and were able to roam around luggage free, we have even had our late lunch at Shake Shack!




As of writing (which is around 2 months later) there is still some chaos on HK shores. I hope they find what they're aiming for and hopefully, in the near future would be as stable as it was the last years. In that time I would love to visit again. I'm not yet done with what HK can offer.  

T&J Travels #13: Hong Kong 2019 (Part 2)




+ Ferry and Golden Bauhinia Square + 


We missed this the last time we were at HK due to time constraints and since we have a very loose IT we decided to get one to get back to Kowloon. 





A ferry to and fro is really cheap although I forgot how much it was because we paid via Octopus card. It's a nice break from the bus and the subway. When we're there it's quite cloudy but still humid so we went in the aircon side of the ferry. It's convenient that the drop off is near Golden Bauhinia Square so we got to see it in person too. 



We did had a hard time going back to our hotel because the bus stops are muddled due to rerouting. We got back our hotel already worn out. Even Reagan didn't woke up after "napping".

+ Day 2 +




Today is Van Gogh Alive day! We got some snacks from the 7/11 next door and proceeded to take the bus near FT Life Building. We were too early though that even after eating we found ourselves at the Yoshinoya at the Megabox mall just to pass time. I even remarked how I won't finish the bowl yet I left mine spotless.  It's a huge mall but there aren't much often yet. We planned right away to come back for lunch here and visit the IKEA branch inside the mall instead of the one at Causeway near our hotel.


The holding room has explanations on his most famous works which we're about to see in a moment. There's also a representation of his most favorite piece, his bedroom!



There are two halls, there's one big hall after this holding area, a smaller one with more spaces to sit and an extra hall that have easles for those who wanted to try painting themselves.

It was a beautiful experience. I guess some people would find it boring, just sitting, watching the paintings "come alive" with an instrumental accompaniment. But honestly I enjoyed it. We just sat there taking it all in, since most of the walls have a different part of the painting projected. After it ran the second time I then started watching everyone else on how they're doing, the kids who are dancing ballet, the girls who would anxiously wait for the best scene on so they could take their best Boomerang or IG profile photo.





Price: 1600PHP++ each

+ IKEA +



I LOVE LOVE LOVE STORAGE!

My condo might be furnished but it's not at the levels I wanted it to. There were talks on an IKEA opening in the PH finally but while waiting I can't help but be excited seeing it elsewhere. Again, for a spontaneous trip, we made it a point to go to one so we'd know what's the big fuss about.

Once we're in, I finally got it. The feeling is akin to a kid going to a toy shop. As an adult it's exciting to see well made furniture and practical yet pleasing to the eyes storage. I love it when they show sample rooms where they put together different pieces to form stylish rooms.




No IKEA tour would be complete without sampling their food. We got lucky finding a chair at that time because there were just so many diners! I really liked that they they have tray carts so you could walk to your table hands free.




There's so much choices we got so much food I feel so bloated once we're out. I hope they keep the prices competitive once they get here in PH because I would try out the rest of the food that we weren't able to get.


T&J Travels #13: Hong Kong 2019 (Part 1)






Basically this trip was born out of spontaneity. The moment I saw the Van Gogh Alive! ad on my feed and how it's barely weeks till it leaves HK I immediately asked the bf if it's OK for us to go and wouldn't you know it he agreed! I think I've already ticked the top destinations on my previous trips as far as I'm aware so we are not pressed into doing a stringent IT this time.  

+ DAY 1 +

I incorrectly booked our Grab to take us to Terminal 3 Bay 1 when it was supposed to be Terminal 1. We were already in line at the tax payments when we learnt this, where we were only told we are on the wrong terminal. My anxious planning sort of paid of because we were there 3 hours earlier, enough time to get another Grab to Terminal 1,  queue getting IN the airport, queue for ages at the Hong Kong Airlines check in counter only to find out we still need to pay taxes (in all fairness the one at Terminal 3 already said we're good) and queue for the third time. We were lucky to still manage to get through around 20 minutes before loading. It's just a really good reminder to be as early as you can in the airport, you have no idea when something like this happens.

+ Hong Kong Airlines +



They are a fairly new budget airline that opened routes to our country and knowing how the prices would eventually cost like it is in Ceb Pac (it's an unplanned trip after all, no promos anymore) we tried it for the sake of trying. Plus comparing the prices between them and Ceb Pac / Air Asia, it's very competitive. Cathay and PAL had sales but only AFTER I booked our tickets. I'm still bitter about it. 





We always fly economy because our trips are not long hauls anyway so we are just as fine in sacrificing a few inches (I'm not tall so...) of leg space or those tasty meals really good airlines offer. Which is why it's a bit of a "luxury" to get in flight entertainment, some snacks and a blanket on the trip.  I don't even have to add for luggage since it's already on the ticket already. Snacks are nothing to rave about, but since it's free, I have not much complaint. 

Other than the long line from NAIA, I liked the overall experience. I also find it really convenient that they're a part of the In Town Check In, something you won't get from other budget airlines from PH.


+ KKDay +

Both passes and WIFI are from the app. It's convenient because their booths are easy to spot from the arrival area of the airport. We arrived early so there was no queue, but nonetheless there weren't any hassles in redemption. We just presented our print outs to them and barely even a minute later and we already got our device and pass (different booths). 

Returning the WIFI device and balance retrievals (from the Octopus card and passes) are also a breeze. If I find myself brave enough to travel on my own finally I would still get the services of the two. 

+ Novotel Century Hongkong +




We've learnt our lesson from our first trip and got ourselves a room at Wan Chai, away from the shoebox rooms they have near TST. It was actually hard looking for a place with decent pricing and some space to move around. Agreed that it's on Hong Kong Island, far from wherever we want to go, but! This is Hong Kong. Transportation should not be an issue.




There are so many things I love about this hotel. We were able to get free shuttles from the airport, and another one back to Central Station. This is not only just saving a few bucks, but also the effort in hauling luggage. The location is also perfect, near bus stops and MTR. It's also not in some back alley, restaurants abound, and it has a unique feature of being situated on a corner. Left doors would take you to 7/11 and the right one to where you could walk to take the buses. 




First time you open their doors and it blasts you with some nice AC and perfume. We weren't able to check in early because they're fully booked but they are gracious enough to allow us to leave our things with them. We were able to do this as well AFTER we checked out on our last day, more perks! 




Interior of our room is excellent. I don't know if it's because they upgraded our room or it's just what normally it should look like. It's modern, it had all the amenities we could hope for. Nice AC temp throughout the night, comfy pillows, clean sheets and comforter. They have an abundance of charging stations, they even left one adapter for us to use in case we haven't thought of bringing one.





The bath is amazing. Water pressure and temp is like as if I'm home, and the towels are thick and soft. They also provided us with so much hangers and storage which is one of our none negotiables when it comes to hotels.


+ Jade Market +



After dropping off our stuff, we're free to roam. An officemate wanted to buy some jade rollers at Jade Market, Jordan which we just went to do first since it's very far from our hotel. It was some dead hour, there's barely any people and the stalls most often sell the same thing. We were stuck in one of the stalls who was excessively selling us her stuff. It was really hard to say no to her because she's quite eager and possibly because she's a bit old, we don't want to sound rude.



We didn't stay here for too long because I'm not exactly a fan of jewelry. But if it's your thing and if you have the time, maybe you could get some really good deals. Not sure if they'd allow non-cash payments but we only used paper money when we're there.


+ Space Museum +




Time went by quick! When we've arrived we didn't made it in time for the showing and it would be late when we try the 4pm slot. So we just went in to see the exhibit.

The museum is interactive and would be a hit for kids who are curious and wanted to learn more about space. It's actually cute seeing parents and their kids bonding over science. I've overheard numerous adults explaining the display . I would also love to bring my kid someday, and maybe watch the 3D show!







Price: 10 KHD / adult 




Jason Mraz - The Good Vibes Tour (05.08.2019 MOA Arena)





It's just a few days shy when it's exactly 7 years since Mr A-Z has graced our shores but based on the evening we had last night, the man still got it!

Like the last time, do not expect anything flashy on his performances. There are no tricks up his sleeve, no surprise games, just pure night of fun and music. You could tell by the way he croons the audience that he really loves what he do. He had just one quick pause to catch his breath and off he went singing one hit after the other. The setlist I was following was almost perfect if only for one or two songs I didn't knew he would do. One was the duet with our local talent Renee (who was said to be also performing on the Singapore leg) which I have yet to find. They did Lucky too, and IIRC Jason already did last 2013 with another local singer as well.

Renee was, and I've been vocal about this, sings in an Indie Girl style I abhor to the core. But to her benefit, her voice is clean, you couldn't hear any hesitation and her intonation was spot on. Others won't mind but I did quite a lot especially when she breathes more than usual. But then what do you do, it's the in style nowadays. I'm just glad it's just two songs.



Back to Jason, the songs are a myriad of old and new but as I've noticed mostly old happy ones. What the stage lack in pizazz, Jason and Raining Jane made up through dancing and running around the stage. It's reciprocated by the crowd who is unsurprisingly alive (it's a work day give us Titos and Titas a break) in all of his performances even up to the last song. His voice all these years shows no signs of weakening. He could still hit the notes he set a long time ago and his rapping parts still crystal clear.



There is one advantage on my really high seat is that the only obstruction I have is the railing at our balcony (upper A). No Ipads, no non stop dancing, no need to stand up. And the acoustics are so good that even up top I got really decent audio. What I hate though is that I haven't been this far up since probably the first Script concert and that was what 5 shows ago, so I truly dislike not being able to look at their faces at a decent distance. AND MY PHOTOS ARE HORRIBLE TOO! HOPEFULLY next time I could coax my mates into getting the much more expensive ones. I mean, after all this time Jason Mraz's concerts are still really good. Why not right?

Psych



I've always wanted to watch this show in full ever since I've seen it in when I was really young at Diva (I think). So colored me excited when I saw this also available in Amazon Prime! I immediately started watching episode to episode after I finished The Office and it was an amazing experience. Watching it in 2019 the jokes still land and I felt like I've went through the past years of my life, Psych is just rife with pop culture it's impossible not to relate to what was happening at the moment. I particularly loved the London episode because Gus was such a Potterhead and the Twin Peaks parody of sorts (which is in my To Watch list since forever).

Psych started with a really simple plot. Shawn Spencer and Burton "Gus" Guster are best friends who started a detective agency only that Shawn pretends to be a psychic (hence Psych) and lends their services to the Santa Barbara Police Department to solve (mostly) murder cases. Together with Shawn's father Henry and the SPBD: Chief Karen Vick, Juliet "Jules" Ohara, Carlton "Lassie" Lassiter, Mcnab and Woody, their trusty car the Blueberry and even the random appearances of a pineapple they form this wonderful cast of Psych that is entertaining as hell. It's one of those shows that I personally believe would stand the test of time and I could easily re-watch over and over (just not now because I saw Monk at Prime as well, I had to finish that one too). It's charming, it's not trying to be too smart for comfort. I liked how the characters are funny on their own made stereotypes and it worked well together even if most episodes only focus on the four of them, Shawn, Gus, Jules and Lassie. 

I am currently watching the off Psych show and it amazes me that they've wrapped up the show quite recently than I thought because Twitter and smartphones already exist. I'm really glad I took this journey with them, it's rare to find shows that are still really good until it was over (I'm still looking at you Community!) and still have some steam left on it that they could actually pull off 8 seasons without feeling too rushed and with a movie to boot, and as I've read from wiki, a sequel on the way this year. There's no way I would miss that wherever they plan to show it and this time I won't be late to the party. Come on son!