It was an average Monday at the office when I received the ‘What’s app’ message on the ‘Fam Gen’ group.
Aidan China: “Right guys, getting married next month. Who wants to come out to my wedding”
The every day duties subside and I immediately confirm that of course I want to attend the wedding. Did I mention it is in Hong Kong?! The rest of my day is consumed by flight and hotel searching, unfortunately what I am working on gets pushed to the wayside.
Remember when I said, “I don’t like to go to the same place twice, but there are some destinations you visit and just know you will return to”…. well Hong Kong is one of these destinations. Mr.C and I visited 3 years ago and loved it, but naturally crammed everything in just in case we never returned. So this trip I only have one must do, Hong Kong Disney!!
We fly out on the 18.25 from Heathrow, naturally on BA. The flight is 11 and half hours and to be honest I didn’t love it. Mr.C had chosen our seats, (a word to the wise, never sit by the toilets), the noises send me over the edge, constant hocking up sounds and snoring. I am not the best with noises so am super grateful to land. Hong Kong airport is vast, we never flew directly to here last time so I am shocked by the length of time everything takes. A total of two hours from landing and we are finally out, ready to explore. We take the airport express train to Hong Kong Island. It was $170 and took 20 minutes to get us to the CTR station where we take the free bus to the Rosedale Hotel.
The streets are busy with the noise of people filling the air, beeping horns gradually growing louder as we wind up the highway on route to Causeway Bay. The entrance to the Rosedale is non-descript. It isn’t ostentatious or elaborate but seems functional, the lifts are slow and check in seems to take hours and I am left feeling like I have just paid double, or have been scammed but not sure how or why. Our room is nice, for Hong Kong it is rather spacious but compared to the likes of America it is small. The view looks out to the long busy street with the building opposite an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colours, it’s very soothing to watch the world go by from the 26th floor. Quick change and we set off, walking around the neighbourhood we stumble upon, Din Thai Fung, a Michelin starred dim sum restaurant so we pop in for a ‘snack’. This actually turns into a rather large meal of the most incredible dim sum; the sweet and sour chicken was amazing, we loved the instructions on how to eat the xiao long bao – (eat one plain, one you pierce and let sit in vinegar, ginger and soy, and the last you just dip in the sauce), but don’t waste your money on the steamed cake there are much better producers of this in the city.
Mr.C and I are cooing about the delicious dim sum all the way to Kowloon where we head to meet my brother and his fiancé. We go to the ‘Garage Bar’ inside the Cordis hotel. It is a cool grey colour, red accents highlight the laid-back vibe of this roof terrace. We catch up and get the low-down on the pending wedding. After a few hours and a trip to a German bar for the biggest pint ever, we decide we must find an Irish bar. It is St. Patrick’s day after all. Mr.C researches and find Delaney’s.
Irish bars are much the same the world over, this single red door entrance leads down into the ever familiar parade of Guinness signs and wave of people in green, hats and fake green glasses adorn many faces. Notably there are few Chinese people in here. This bar is full of ex-pat’s, the table service is poor but the music is good and the atmosphere is pumping. Let the loud terrible singing of ‘Whiskey in a Jar’ begin. Everyone is dancing and laughing and it is great, I attempt to show some of my long forgotten Irish dancing skills to my future sister-in law. She politely claps when I finish and my inner voice congratulates itself for not being completely abhorrent. So if you are an ex-pat in Hong Kong looking to make friends, have a jolly time and drink a lot, I think Delaney’s is the place to head. When we leave at 2 am the streets are deserted but the bar was still banging, a testament in itself!
The following day Mr.C sleeps well into the afternoon, I had to eat breakfast alone, which wasn’t terrible as I got to enjoy freshly made omelettes and watch the pancake making process.
Across from our hotel is Victoria Park, this years host to the Flower Show, for a cheap $14 we check it out. It is heaving and everyone seems to be loving the selfies with these displays. It isn’t the best flower show in the world but some exhibits are beautiful, my favourite being the sea of tulips. – (There is sometime quite mesmerising about a tulip; beautiful when shy, closed and holding back, it shares a smile when it starts to open up, then in full bloom it becomes something new entirely. I see tulips as an effigy to life; they go full circle and tell a story whilst looking so wonderfully serene, calm and stunning).
I wouldn’t put the flower show on the must see list, but was nice to experience a less industrial vibe in the city that is constantly on the move. We head to Wan Chai from here, take a look at the pier that is currently the scene of construction and not all that pleasant. With the sun beginning to set and fog descending we make our way to Woomooloomoo, the location of dinner. It has a small open roof top bar, the views are not as incredible as they could be due to the weather but is a nice way to start the evening. Dinner is with the family, my nephew included and is full of steak. We take a stroll to a nearby hotel bar for an expensive night cap after dinner, joke and jibe at my big brother the night before his big day. Leaving the family at the early hours we end the night watching the Watford game. This particular strip on Lockhart road is full of sports bars and late night lady bars. It is less desirable than some parts of the city (so if you are a prude or easily offended avoid), but this area is also a bit cheaper, which is a win as alcohol is pricey here.
Sunday is here and it is wedding day. It feels very humid and is raining, two elements that are not conducive for my temperament. We end up taking the tram to Cotton Tree Drive registry office. These trams are thin, they have a similar look to that of the knight bus from Harry Potter and only $2.30, basically 23p!!! Crazy cheap and super cute. We are the first to arrive at the venue, this park is beautiful; waterfalls, lakes and even terrapins call this home. The ceremony is short and functional but also exactly what my brother and his new wife wanted. The parents are in photograph heaven, most of my pictures being ruined by flash exposure from all angles. The wedding reception isn’t for a few hours so we take the star ferry to the other side of Hong Kong, grab drinks and enjoy the Namco arcade inside the Langham Hotel. This is super fun, we play air hockey, the ring toss game and a Japanese photo booth that took a lot of working out. The afternoon is incredibly relaxed and I deeply admire the pair of them for doing this wedding exactly how they wanted it, it is their day after all.
The wedding meal is an auspicious affair with each dish having meaning and significance to newlyweds. It consists of thirteen course!!! Crazy amounts of food and all of it is sooo lush. My favourite has to be the fish, goose and suckling pig!
How do they get the skin of the pig to be so perfectly crispy?
What is this fish marinated in to make it taste so incredible?
Who knew goose had so many bones?
Just a few of the questions circling my mind throughout the duration. My brother is plying Mr.C with two drinks at a time, I personally do not agree with double parking as the drinks tend to warm, but luckily one is red wine. The meal is amazing and I seriously don’t think anyone is left with any room anywhere for more food. That’s it I now have a sister-in law, my brothers married (so strange), but the purpose of the trip is complete!
We wake the following morning tired and still full, Mr.C makes it to breakfast finally and there is just one last thing to do in Hong Kong….. Disneyland!!!