Monday, 16 May 2011

On Being Chinese

I am happy to report that the offerings for breakfast was different from yesterday! Different enough to keep me happy anyway. I was going to make the most of the opportunity to have rice porridge and spring rolls for breakfast. My mother was happy with the big bowl of dragon fruit that was supplied. The children simply loved being able to choose their own food.

The familial duties continued today after breakfast. My father had "business" to attend to, and we were all asked to follow. As a child, I remembered hating it as it meant meeting up with his business partners. It usually equated to a boring time of being shown off to someone. It was only recently that I started paying more attention to what he actually did for a living and the stories told about him and his friends. For the first 16 years of my life, I only knew that my father did "business" for a living, and that he was away a lot because of it! It took having my own children to want to know more, and appreciate just how far he had come from having nothing to being successful.

The children did well as it was a long morning, which started with a trip to the bank. This was followed by a trip to meet up again with his long time friend, with whom we had dinner with on our first evening in Hong Kong. We waited outside his office whilst they finished their discussion inside. We then headed for lunch together (which was absolutely delicious!). My father wanted to show off the grandchildren and his friend wanted to introduce his to us. I feel that this is a small price to pay for having great guides to take us around Hong Kong! I was more than happy to oblige my father. His friend had his son come as well. We had played once as a child (aged at about 2) and they wanted us to meet again...Neither of us, of course, remembered a thing. He came willingly and happily despite only just recently having had his second baby. We tried for a while to take a photo of the "grandchildren". One was shy and the other couldn't stop running around. I'll give you one guess as to which one was mine...

My father and his friend played the usual game of fighting to pay for the bill, and then had another "argument" about how my father's friend shouldn't drive us to our next destination. It was unfortunately raining and so my father relented. We were dropped off at the Star Ferry Terminal and said our goodbyes. My father made his friend promise to take his family to Australia so that he could repay the favour. He promised. As an interesting side point, they have a rather unusual family business. They supply military uniforms, mostly to the Middle Eastern and African countries! I guess doing "textiles" doesn't necessarily have to be boring after all. It was fascinating listening to their stories of how business was done with the Arabs.

Julian, and Jonah with Elliot and Lara at the back

The children were very excited to go on the Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui despite the grey and rainy weather. We explored Ocean Terminal with all the fancy boutiques for children's clothing. Armani Junior, D&G Junior, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Dior, just to name a few. It was fun looking, but I just couldn't bear to part with that much money...

The Star Ferry

Central Pier

A very grey and wet Hong Kong

Jonah loved the ride!

The clock tower on the other side

Taking a photo for the travel journal

We had a typically chinese afternoon tea of nai cha and noodles. My father decided to call it quits and return to the hotel. We managed to convince him to take the older two with him. My attempts for him to take Jonah instead did not even come vaguely close to being successful. Oh well, one could only try! The plan was to shop, but the weather was dismal. It made it quite difficult in fact. I had already given up on the photography earlier in the day and sent the heavy camera gear back with Dad. With the stroller, a backpack, and the camera gear, I felt like a pack mule and my shoulders were becoming sore.

My mother and I found ourselves some northern Chinese cuisine for dinner and tried to shop along Jardine Crescent. It didn't take us long to give up on that too. We returned to the hotel and took a shower instead. As I type, I have just now finished the last of our supply of beef jerkey. I hope that Malcolm does not develop the midnight munchies to find his beloved stash gone...I better go to sleep now!

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