Tuesday, November 21



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Today was pretty much a nothing day! The rain has finally arrived after 2.5 weeks of beautiful, sunny, dry weather. And arrive, it has! It was almost monsoon-like this evening.

This morning all but passed us by. We all slept fairly late, and by the time we ate some breakfast, and convinced the girls that the dancing tutus they bought yesterday weren’t good daily attire, it was almost noon. We took some fun photos of them dancing around the hotel room in their tutus, though. Emily is quite graceful and really looks like a ballerina while we describe Stephanie as Sumo meets the Ballet! Very cute and all very entertaining.

We all headed out together in a taxi around noon, and I did finally get to make some purchases at Marks & Spencer. Not too many, mind you, since the store employees were practically begging us to take our kids out after about 30 minutes! The fun thing is that the stores are now all adorned for Christmas so Emily and Stephanie had fun posing in front of the Christmas tree in M&S.

After the M&S shopping experience, we went to the opposite extreme and shopped the outdoor market of Li Yuen Streets. It’s definitely the opposite of fancy, quiet Marks & Spencer with the street vendors trying hard to get you to come into their stall to shop. The prices are fun, though, and you really feel like you’ve got a bargain when you leave.

By the time we finished there, the rain was coming down in buckets, almost literally. When we asked Emily and Stephanie what they wanted for lunch, I’m sure you can guess their response….McDonald’s!! Yikes, I’d managed to avoid that experience all the way from November 4th until now, and I really had no desire to go there, but go we did! Fool that I am, I told Danny to take the girls and find a table and I offered to do the ordering. If you’ve never been to Hong Kong or China, McDonald’s is as popular here now as it was in Canada in the 70s. People line up and fight over tables, so it’s a bit of a zoo. Hard to imagine since most Canadian McDonalds’ are empty most of the time.

Oh, and the menu is slightly different too. Slightly, she says! There is kernel corn in a cup. There is sliced fresh pineapple. There is a “Grilled Chicken Sandwich”, which is what I ordered. Not at all sure what the meat was, even after eating it, but it definitely didn’t resemble any chicken I’ve ever had or even seen. The colour was odd, the texture was odder. The really ridiculous thing is that I ate it! It came with some strange star-shaped potato things that reminded me of hash browns. Danny had their pepper burger. Essentially, it’s a double hamburger, with some strange peppery sauce between the patties. They also had cream of mushroom and corn soup. Very odd menu choices. Not a meal I wish to re-visit. Ever.

We had a heck of a time getting a taxi to get back up to the hotel. That’s because it was raining outside, but more likely because both girls had fallen asleep with Danny carrying Emily and me carrying Stephanie. The escalator wasn’t an option under those circumstances! We stood in the pouring rain for a good 15 minutes waiting to find a vacant taxi without success. Finally we resigned ourselves to using the escalator, in spite of the dead weights we both carried. We carried the girls up the first section, then decided we weren’t going to make it all the way up. We went back down to the ground level and fortunately found a vacant taxi.

We came back to the hotel hoping the girls would take a nap because tonight we were invited out for - you guessed it, a big family banquet dinner. This time Danny’s aunt Rita from Boston was hosting and it was to be a feast of very special seafood items.

The nap didn’t happen, so we knew we were in for some trouble at dinner, but we trouped off to the restaurant anyway. It was a long taxi ride that cost about $125 HKD, but it was worth every penny, given the monsoon rains and the fact that it was dark outside.

When we got to the restaurant, we met up with the rest of the dinner group and the meal began. The food was lovely, and indeed, very special. The girls decided they liked the Mah Jhong table before dinner, so we asked that the restaurant not remove it during the meal. Neither of the girls ate much, and then they sat at the MJ table, playing with the tiles. Emily also befriended a nine-year-old boy who is the son of a cousin of Danny’s. The kids played quite well, considering.

We got through the meal, but not without incident. One funny side effect of this trip is that Stephanie has gone from barely noticing that I exist to being quite attached to me. In fact, lately, if I leave the room, she has a meltdown until I get back. Well, part way through dinner, I had to use the ladies room (I’ll leave the details of that experience to the horror flicks) and I left Stephanie with Danny. When I came back a few minutes later, Danny was holding a screaming, red-faced Stephanie who had left a distinct wet patch on Danny’s leg. Yup, she’d peed her pants with her anxiety. Not sure who I felt more sorry for, since poor little Stephanie was really upset with herself that she’d wet her pants and cried and cried about it. Stephanie doesn’t have accidents; she’s just too disciplined. On the other hand, we were in a nice restaurant and Danny had been peed upon and wasn’t impressed. The funny end result was that I had to take Stephanie into the ladies room to peel off the wet pants and undies. I didn’t have any spare clothes for her, since she never has accidents! She had to sit through the rest of dinner in just a Pullup! How embarrassing! I’ll be keeping those photos for bribery!

The rest of dinner was uneventful, but long. We didn’t leave the restaurant until 10:30PM so both girls, and Danny and I were very tired. The meal was very nice, though, and it was nice of Rita to invite us!