Here I am again

Category: By panda_eyed
Less than two weeks after I packed up my blogging keyboard, here I am again. I miss it - writing down my random thoughts, having the occasional rant, wasting work-time :) I stopped because I didn't really have anything of consequence to say - who really cares about my boring little life? It was also starting to become a bit of a chore, and there's no point in doing something unless you enjoy doing it, right? And yet, here I am again.

Yep, I've missed this little place. I started blogging back in May last year, mostly because I was bored in my job, and wanted to somewhere to put my thoughts. I'm glad I did, because I've made many friends; you're all very dear to me now :) I used to be very cynical, but you guys have proved that there are lots of nice, genuine people out there, and I'm glad that blogging has opened up this world to me.

So I guess my little stint away from blogging has been harder than I thought it would be. I have found myself smiling at something and thinking 'I could blog about that', and automatically structuring a sentence in my head to describe it. So I guess it's actually harder for me NOT to blog, rather than just waffle away every now and again.

So it's got me thinking I guess. Why do you blog? What made you start, and what keeps you going? And who is reading this? Stop and say hi!

Hong Kong, Macau & Shenzhen; stories & pictures

Category: , , By panda_eyed
So I finally got round to loading all the photos that I took on my trip. It took me the best part of a day, what with renaming, sorting, and loading the best ones onto Flickr. Then I realised that blogger won't let me link from there for some reason, and so I had to find an alternate way of publishing them : However, I have now found a way! Don't worry, I won't subject you to all 266 of them, you guys have the highlights.

So, the trip. I stay at my grandma's house in Sheng Wo Hang Village in the New Territories area of Hong Kong for the best part of the trip, but I also visited Macau and Shenzhen. I'll separate my trip into parts - Macau, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and then a Food photostory, since food is such a big part of my trips to the Southeast! I shall post the respective photostories at the end of each part. Don't worry if you can't open the photostories, you can see the full set on my Flickr.

Macau is a portuguese colony, an island about an hour from HK by hovercraft. It is famed for it's casinos and has been described as a mini Las Vegas. Macau is small and very polluted, but it's people are friendly, and they make they BEST portuguese nata tarts - crispy, flaky pastry, and a hot, melty sweet custard filling - yum!

I visited a couple of casinos, of course, mostly just to satisfy my curiosity, as I'd never been in one before. I wasn't planning on gambling, firstly because I don't know any of the games or rules and secondly, I didn't want to get ripped off. The layouts of these places are very clever - no windows and no clocks, so you can never tell what time is it, and everywhere looks the same. There are no signs towards the exit, which is cunningly hidden. In fact, it was a long time before we found the way out, circling round three times! It was a shame though, to visit a casino city, and not have a bit of a flutter, so I put $50 (about £3.30) on a game of computer roulette. Imagine my delight when I won 3 times in a row and tripled my money! I wasn't going to get sucked in after that and lose it all, so I, wisely I think, collected and left!

I stayed in the 5* StarWorld hotel (and casino) in Macau, and was met in the foyer by a VERY sexy concierge named Nino. He couldn't have been more than late 20's, and my eyes fell out on sight, because here was a face (not to mention body) that should have been gracing the covers of magazines. It was all I could do to stop myself melting at his feet (and imagining him naked ;). This was the highlight of my trip to Macau, lol. Tis a pity that I didn't get a picture for you girls to drool over..

Click here for Macau photostory

Shenzhen is a town in Southern China, just across the border of HK. We came here for a day trip to have some great dimsum, manicures/pedicures, massage, and of course, to buy cheap DVDs (70p each). Everytime I come here I'm surprised by how much cheaper everything is. Dim sum cost £22 (HK$340) for 5 people in a nice restaurant, and we ate a fair amount at that. Manicures cost about (wait for it) £1.30-£2 (HK$20-30) for the works (shaping, buffing, a design and paint), whilst a 3 hour massage (1-hour foot & leg and 2-hour full body massage, including snacks and drinks) only cost about £13 (HK$200) per person, including tips! If I lived here, I'd probably spend all my time in the massage parlour :)

I was a bit disappointed by the full-body massage this time. The last time I came, I was in heaven and almost fell asleep because it was soooo good, and so naturally, I had high expectations. This time, the masseur was awful and inexperienced and I came away with bruises on my back, despite constantly telling him to ease up and move away from the 2 spots he kept concentrating on. My first bad massage - I didn't think it was possible to be in so much discomfort during one! Still, the foot rub was heaven :)

Hong Kong
HK has all you can possibly need: a bustling city that literally never sleeps, a varied range of shopping (from designer to market chic), beaches, beautiful countryside, fabulous food, mountains, you name it, HK has it. I love HK! Christmas day was spent sleeping in, lounging in the sun in 23 deg C heat, and then eating the freshest seafood in the seafood district. I ate snails! They were actually really nice, not at all squidgy like I imagined.
I did the usual mostly - visited family and family friends, spent time with my gran in her picturesque village, visited the city, the markets, the seafood district and favourite restaurants. In fact, I mostly shopped and ate. I spent possibly a quarter to a third of my waking hours shopping whilst I was there. On coming back, I had to sit on my suitcases to shut them, and once shut, could not lift them.. I think I spent another quarter of my time eating, but you'll have to see the food photostory (below) for that :)
I did the touristy thing and visited Lantau Island too, but I stopped short at Disneyland (blugh). Lantau has a giant 134ft tall statue of the buddha and is such a pretty place. It used to be only accessible by ferry, but they recently built a cable car system that takes 25 minutes and gives you the prettiest views of the sea and mountains.
I realise I'm not really doing HK justice, but you'll just have to Click here for the Hong Kong photostory..

HK is all about the food, baby! I ate out every day, possibly even more, but restaurant food is much healthier over there than in Europe, so it was impossible to feel too stodged-out. I couldn't do it justice with just descriptions, so c-lick here for the Food photostory.

I hope you enjoy the photostories - do view them, just to honour my hard work, since it took me so long to actually find a way of publishing the photos! I might not be around much after this, as I seem to have lost my way somewhat, in terms of blogging, but I'll still be around and will visit your blogs.
Ta-ta for now! Love muchly,
Panda xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

On Hong Kong, New Year's resolutions, Fitting room fiascoes and other fat tales

Category: By panda_eyed
I'm back! I've been back a few days now, but I think I have blogger's block, because I've come online a few times, meaning to tell you all about my trip to Hong Kong, Shen Zhen and Macau, but I've just been staring at the page, not knowing where to start or what to write. I think I might just start typing now, and see where it takes me.

Photos - I have so many, but dread having to load them, sort them, and publish them, and so have put it off. Sorry! I have got some good ones though, so will do it sooner or later. Hopefully sooner.

Flying - Guess who got upgraded to FIRST both the journeys there and back..? Hehe, they must recognise that I am a girl who will not tolerate anything less than excellence ;) . I had champagne, canapes, a full range of movies, designer food, a fully-flat bed, velvet slippers, pajamas, a duvet and a mattress! I have never slept so much on a plane! WooT! Get me! :)

New years resolutions - How many times, since I've been back, have I seen the title 'A New Year, A New You'? It's getting annoying. I tend not to make resolutions, but I'd like to try and
get rid of my spare tyre. Carry on reading, and I'll tell you why, besides starting to look like I'm wearing a float around my middle. I haven't gotten off to a good start - I bought lots of snack food back from HK, and Sainsburys have had lots of discounted seasonal produce (chocolate, biscuits, chocolate biscuits), and I haven't held back. I think I should get some tips from Youngmummy and Mylozmom..

Hong Kong Skinnies - One bad thing about going to HK is that I always feel bad about my weight. Everyone there is soooo petite and skinny, and to them, my size 12/14 (UK average, and a 'medium') must seem morbidly obese. I'm not exaggerating. I have to buy clothes in XL sizes. I say this with shame, but I am a size XXXL over there! ARGGHHH! Every girl's nightmare.

On Christmas weight gain - regular eating out, dim sum, and general yummy food in HK = baaad for weight. On returning, I jumped on the scales. They protested. I'd put on 5lbs! Strangely enough though, the next morning, before I'd had breakfast and after having taken all my clothes off and having had a wee (lol), the scales said I'd lost 5 lbs since the day - how is that?! Either clothes, food and wee weigh a LOT or I need new scales.

Doing a 'Houdini' in a fitting room - Whilst January sale shopping, I realised a new talent. I saw a pretty corset in my size, which I decided to try on, to see if it would do anything for my tummy. It was one that you pull over your head, and then zip up. I got it on fine, but then found the zip wouldn't do up, so I gave up and tried to take it off. You know what happens next..
It wouldn't budge - I would need an extra pair of hands to pull from the top. Like hell I'm going to go out there and ask the surly shop assistant. 5 minutes later, I'm contemplating cutting myself out with nail scissors, or just ripping the damn thing. Then, I find that I can wriggle it more downwards than up. Hurrah! I undid my belt, took my jeans off and extremely slowly, managed to wriggle out! I emerged from the changing rooms red, sweaty and out of breath. That was the defining moment in realising that I must shed a few pounds.

On being back - Waking up in the morning not knowing if it's day or night has been depressing. I miss being able to bask in the sunshine every morning too. I might get myself one of those UV light machines :) Still, there's no place like home, and I am glad to have my own bed, long luxurious baths, and proper English tea! It made me smile to come back and see the big bright moon in the sky - in HK, it is much smaller, and lies on it's side. I'm not kidding, the crescent moon is the shape of a sad mouth there, I have pics to prove it!

I had a good trip overall, and I realise I haven't said much about it, but I don't want to cram everything into one big post. I'm just going to take my sweet time, and you shall all have to be patient :) I'm signing off now, but I hope you all had a brilliant holiday season, and happy 2007!