Hello! I am now almost 2 weeks into my travels, staying with my Dad and family in Ham Tin, Pui O, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. I've written a few pages in my journal every now and then so to fill you in on what I have been up to I shall include some excerpts...
29th/30th November 2012
It's coming to the end of my flight from Heathrow to Hong Kong and I'm starting to come to terms with everything now.
Not got much sleep at all and feeling pretty emotional after saying goodbye to Mum, Ian, Nikki and Niall, especially after reading their cards.
I'm so excited to see Dad and the girls and really hope my bag gets there ok!
2nd December 2012
I've been in Hong Kong for a couple of days now and have settled in to Dad's new place well. It's Sunday so the girls are all here and Roselle (the domestic helper) is on holiday.
I've given Jasmine my phone for a while so she's distracted from asking me her endless questions... she's playing Temple Run! Normal for a 3 year old??
On Friday night when I got here I went on a walk with Dad and Jenny to see the area. We stopped at the beach to talk to a friend who is camping there and ended up staying there to drink wine and talk with other campers late into the night.
Yesterday morning was pretty much wasted as I tried to get over my jet lag. I eventually got up to find that Jenny had taken the girls to the play park at Mui Wo, the nearest town.
I went with Dad to meet them and we walked along the beach while the girls collected shells. We then put the three of them on the bus back home while we got the ferry to Central.
Once there, we got a taxi to Wan Chai and bought me a camera :), then went for a drink before meeting Cody, a former colleague of Jenny's, for dinner in an Irish bar called Delaneys.
Once we had eaten Cody left as he had to get back to his home in Shenzhen, which is in mainland China. After saying goodbye, we went to a couple of bars for a drink and got the 12.30am ferry back home.
10th December 2012
As I write this I'm sitting on the balcony in the sunshine, mountains either side of me, overlooking the village. I would have a perfect view of the beach if it weren't for the tree next door being in the way.
On days like this it's hard to believe it's December.
Ham Tin is a quiet little village consisting of building that are all 3 storeys high with a roof terrace. It's against the law to build them any higher in this area so it is a complete contrast to what I became used to when Dad lived in Wan Chai.
There is a real sense of community here - everyone is very smiley and friendly - especially to Jasmine who brings out the best in everybody.
Pui O is a 5 minute walk from here across a winding concrete path which passes through a swampy open field area. You will usually see water buffalo grazing here with small birds perched on their backs, crabs will emerge from their holes in the soil and scuttle around, and the variety of birds, butterflies and insects flying around is enormous.
At night you will see bats flying above you and the sounds of the insects and lizards in the undergrowth become very loud.
This open area is all that seperates Ham Tin from Pui O, and it took me a while to realise that they are classed as seperate villages. Pui O contains a few small shops, a couple of restaurants and the school that Jenniel and Julianna attend. The bus route also passes through here.
The nearest town is Mui Wo, a 15 minute bus ride from here. There are a number of shops and a supermarket, restaurants etc. There is also a Cooked Food Market and some stalls selling beach supplies.
Silvermine Beach is long and sandy and very popular in the summer. You can also get a ferry from Mui Wo to Central and some of the other surrounding islands.
Dad has been working a lot since I got here so I haven't seen very much of him. Last week he took a trip to Beijing from Wednesday to Friday and the only day off he has had since last weekend was Saturday.
So I have been spending a lot of time with Jasmine. Her bus from kindergarten gets in at 12.30 so we get to spend most of the day together while the other girls are at school.
She was off sick for a couple of days last week and on one of these days I spent the entire day playing with her. I don't know how such a small person can have so much energy - I was absolutely exhausted!
Early in the week I decided to catch the ferry over to Central as I had a few things to buy.
Once I had looked around Central I decided to walk along to Wan Chai as I was enjoying wandering around on my own, and it was there that I managed to find most of what I was looking for .
On the way back I decided to visit Hong Kong Park to test out my new camera. I got some good photos in the park and the aviary but it started to rain so I made my way back. By the time I was on the ferry it was dark anyway and i got back at around the same time as Dad.
On another day Jenny, Jasmine and I went for a hike over the hills to Chi Ma Wan.
It was a nice walk and we had a good chat, Jasmine was completely worn out by the end.
On Saturday Dad, Jenny and Jasmine left early to go to a picnic which was being held by the kindergarten, so I took 'Niel and 'Yana into Mui Wo.
We wandered around the shops and they bought some toys, then we got some ice cream and went to the beach. We met the others after lunch and went home.
That night Dad, Jenny and I went out in Lan Kwai Fong, Central. We had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and then we went to Club 97 for a few drinks afterwards.
The speciality was a tower of wine glasses covered in alcohol and set alight while you drain the drink from the bottom glass with a straw. We watched a few of these happening and then a group of guys next to us bought some and offered me a straw :)
We ended up getting the 3am ferry home feeling rather merry!
So! Back to today, 11th December. I've only got a couple of things to add - the day after the night before, I went to Discovery Bay with Jenny and the girls while Dad was working - they got some balloons, played at the playpark on the beach etc, it was a nice way to recover.
Yesterday I went for a walk on my own and found myself halfway up one of the neighbouring mountains! It was extremely peaceful and there were some really lovely views, I could have gone a lot further and only turned around when I realised the sun was going down and I didn't want to be stuck up a mountain in the dark on my own!
Today I got the bus to Tung Chung and got a cable car over to Ngong Ping to see the Big Buddha. I shouldn't have bothered with the cable car really, it was so misty I couldn't see anything! I spent a while looking around at everything Ngong Ping has to offer - it's up in the mountains and the main attraction is obviously the Buddha but there is also a monastery and a little touristy "village".
The Buddha itself is huge and situated up a very long staircase on top of the mountain. Even though there were so many people there it did seem very peaceful and a lot of people were stopping to pray at the top. Once I'd had a look around I went back down the stairs and sat in the sun for the short amount of time it made an appearance for, then caught the bus back.
Tonight I was mainly occupied with entertaining Jasmine and she managed to pull the curtains down in my room, so I could be waking up at sunrise tomorrow!