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All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us

 I have been really hesitant to write this blog post because it makes me miss a time when things were open, and being totally honest, I am a little down about it. When we arrived in Hong Kong in May, there had been several weeks of zero cases of Covid-19, Disney/ everything else was open, and things were pretty normal with the exception of everyone wearing masks. There was a small breach in the system around mid July, and in order to get the jump on it, everything closed again. There were a couple weeks of 100 daily cases, however, over time, with new stay at home orders, we are now down to about 20 daily cases. Although things are looking up, the park is still not open yet with no word on when that could change. Along with that comes the cancellation of Halloween and some other fun events, which is totally heartbreaking. Currently, most entertainment venues including pools are closed here in HK and we are limited to 2 people out at a time. Masks are mandatory indoors and outdoors and all restaurants are take away only after 6pm, basically shutting the city down.  

Before the shut down, we were able to do a few fun activities worth mentioning. One of my bucket list items was watching the sunset at Ha Pak Nai, a wetland park with a view of the China skyline. 

It wasn't the prettiest sunset, but we had a great time watching the little crabs dart in and out of sand and looking like giants next to the Mangrove Fauana. 

Another adventure was visiting the monkeys while hiking Monkey Hill in Lion Rock Country Park. Usually, this place is absolutely teeming with monkeys and tourists. It was strange to visit it without anyone else around. The monkeys were found in the trees more than on the ground, acting like, well, monkeys in the wild! It was really cool to experience it this way, and honestly I preferred it cause the monkeys sort of terrify me. 

We also came across 2 baby wild pigs being super cute, cooling down in the mud. 

It is around 93 degrees on average in Hong Kong with a humidity of 80% or higher everyday, so hiking in this weather is not exactly my ideal, however, we were not wanting to do a lot of activities indoors around a lot of other people, and not much is open anyways, so hiking it was! Another item on our to do list was visiting what is known in HK as Lovers Rock. This rock is said to have the power of granting happy marriages, so of course we wanted to visit. What we did not know was the hike there was all up a very steep hill and a lot of stairs.

The view at the top was absolutely worth it though.

Lovers Rock!
Lovers Rock!

Double happiness symbol often used for well wishing in marriages

One day we rented bikes from a place nearby and took a 12 mile bike trip through out our home and Yuen Long over to Nam Sang Wai
With it's beautiful view of the China skyline...
and rolling green hills, it's got the best of both worlds. 

In order to bike back home, we had to take a small local "ferry" with our bikes to cross the small river way. 

We got stuck in the rain on the way home, but it made for an absolutely perfect day. 

One other small, close to home outdoor adventure was our visit to a walking trail nearby called the Ping Shan Heritage Trail. There is so much history to explore there, and it kept us entertained for a few hours.

Yet ANOTHER hike we went on was venturing around Park Island where we saw an incredible view of my favorite bridge in HK. 

It was still 6,935 degrees outside and the sun was blaring down on us....
but we came across a surprise little private beach and we were so happy to finally cool down a bit. 

Park Island is famous for it's Noah's Ark theme park, which is closed of course because the virus, but there were elements of it still open to the public for viewing. 

One of my favorite days in Hong Kong on this contract so far was taking the ferry to go hiking on Sharp Island to a beautiful private beach and ending the day swimming in the middle of the ocean on a private speed boat. Enjoying the cool water after the incredibly hot hike was so refreshing. 

This day was so much fun and I have often thought about it whilst sitting at home all day every day, not even knowing it would be the last day of ultimate freedom for a while. 

As you know, I absolutely love food, and with the virus, one of the big advisories is not eating out, and this I think is one of the things I miss the most. 

I absolutely miss Bubble Waffles form Mammy Pancake, especially when they are Earl Grey tea flavored. 

I definitely miss Ichiran Japanese Ramen-  
I miss new food adventures like experiencing a caramel ice cream bao from Little Bao Diner-
or short rib pan fried dumplings (although the real winner was the fried chicken bao!). 

and blue vanilla ice cream from Scaredy Cat-

and Japanese Curry from Coco Ichibanya 
I miss getting bubble tea around every corner but especially from E.Tea and Cha Long Tea-

I miss trying to find American foods like donuts from places like J. Co -

And French Onion Soup from Gontran Cherrier -

(side bar; when we went to get this dish, there was a Mickey Mouse Snowflake display at this mall which made us smile)
the Golden Mickey!

Snowflake Mickey

Stainglass Mickey

I normally do not enjoy cooking, however, we have tried incredibly hard to eat at home during this month, and have exchanged all my usual favorites above to trying out some new recipes at home. 
Some favorites were homemade scallion pancakes, beef and pork lettuce wraps, Mickey shaped peanut butter pie pops-
chicken gyros on homemade flat bread with homemade fries, 
chicken enchiladas, breakfast casserole, white chicken chili, corn casserole, cornbread and egg, and cake pops. 
If we do get food from the outside world, we bring it home to eat. We even had our own home version of high tea with scones with clotted cream and jam, and raspberry/passion fruit croissants (deeeelicious!). 

It may not be as good as eating out, but we are certainly trying. 

I miss normal. I miss going into the city. I miss eating out. I miss life. I'm sorry if this sounds ultra depressing, and I swear I am not overly depressed, but I think it's important to know you are not alone in grieving life as we knew it. I miss Hong Kong and I really hope one day soon we get to start exploring again.

In the meantime, I will be staying home watching Lord of the Rings.

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