Hong Kong, Our Home – January 2015

We lived in Hong Kong from 1995 to 2001 so the kids grew up knowing Hong Kong as their home. We took some photos of things they might be missing.

Before discovering Sephora in New York, Liz had Sasa in Hong Kong.

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Countless lip glosses were purchased here.

Pat’s favorite drink was this ultra-sweet yogurt, Yakult. He was so happy to find it in an Asian foods store in Charlotte a while back.

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Maybe Yakult helped Pat grow to 6’4″.

Pat’s other favorite drink. I don’t think he actually drank it. He just liked the name.

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Sweat. Sounds appealing as a drink, doesn’t it?

Each year before trips to Tahoe for skiing, we replenished our winter clothing gear in Stanley Market. Surprisingly they had clothing big enough for Westerners.

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At other Hong Kong shopping spots we were lucky to find anything over size 0 (ladies).

We still have some of the “Manila Samsonite” we discovered in Hong Kong. It was very popular with the Philippine amahs. These handy bags are all over our storage areas in Charlotte and New York.

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So convenient for the “lanes” purveyors who close up shop every night.

 

We visited our old office at “Kodak House 1,” 321 Java Road, North Point. (We still have photo business cards with this address.) When we moved to Hong Kong in 1995, Kodak had the first several floors and the air rights above the building to have a big red KODAK sign visible as you flew into Kai Tak Airport.

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No evidence that this was once Kodak. The dragon at the entry didn’t preserve our good fortune.

Over the last 20 years, the air rights were sold, the sign disappeared, and the office closed. The back of the building is still called Kodak House II. Our office on the third floor has been converted into a dance studio and trampoline park.

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This is where our tea lady once had her cart.

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If we had stayed in Hong Kong, Liz might have had classes here in our old offices.

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After Kodak ended its ups and downs in Kodak House, others are having ups and downs on trampolines. Unbelievable.

We just had to revisit the place where we lived in Hong Kong for six years, Hong Kong Parkview (Tower 13). We all knew it as Yong Ming Shen Zhong, Sap Sam Zhou, from directing taxi drivers how to get there.

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After 12 years back in a big house with a yard in the US, it’s hard to believe we lived in an apartment here for six years.

A French colleague of ours called Parkview a “concentration camp for expats.” It had 18 towers, about 3,500 people, most of them non-Chinese when we were there. There are also six restaurants, including Chris’s favorite, George’s. He was about 9 and wore his Fletcher Jones suit to have steak with his parents. (Liz and Pat weren’t big steak eaters.)

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The multi-story fountain at the entrance to Parkview. All this flowing water is good “feng shui.”

Liz had dance classes at Parkview for several years before she branched out to classes literally all over Hong Kong Island. She was “best dancer” at one of the programs and performed in Cinderella’s Slipper with the Hong Kong Ballet.

Pat even went to preschool for a year at Parkview’s PIPS program.

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Pat was 4. Not sure he even remembers this.

Surprisingly on this visit we were still able to get into the gated complex easily (saying Yong Ming Shen Zhong, Sap Sam Zhou) and we just waited for someone to walk out of the locked door of our old tower and let us in.

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This was our apartment in Tower 13. Kids, recognize the door?

The highlight of Parkview was “podium level.” Note the trees. When we first arrived in 1995, it was the middle of a level 9 typhoon with 96 landslips around the area. We were too jet-lagged to notice anything unusual until we arrived at the apartment complex. Most of the trees at Parkview were toppled from the wind. The next morning, workers scurried around propping the trees back up, everything back to normal.

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No typhoon in a while apparently.

Many nights, the kids played Manhunt all over the resort-style landscaping. They particularly liked this tunnel under another water feature.

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What kid could resist this? Our kids figured out these were fake rocks pretty quickly.

The kids climbed on the “big animals” on podium level. Why are these statues here? Who knows?

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Liz had her 10th birthday party on podium level, with a flower theme. The girls wore flowered clothes, went to podium to sketch flowers, made felt flowers for their moms (close to Mother’s Day), and ate flowers in dirt cups.

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Lots of floral inspiration here.

They ended the night with swimming in one of the Parkview pools.

After school and on weekends, the kids and friends played Marco Polo in the orchid pool and drank fruit smoothies in the shade. This was our home, but it seemed like a resort.

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This was one of our backyard pools. Note the orchid on the bottom.

Just beyond the entrance to Parkview are trails heading out through Hong Kong National Park. The kids once had a “fort” in the woods and gathered discarded materials to make it homey. Later we realized that the jungle had cobras and other dangerous snakes. Oh well, they survived. On this trip, Michael and I followed a path that a running buddy had dubbed Rocky Road. It paralleled a water catchment system and wound around to the south side of the island.

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These hikes were particularly interesting just after a rain when the catchment systems were full.

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Rocky Road turns into a cliffside trail requiring handrails.

The most unusual building on the south side is the Repulse Bay, once a hotel, now apartments, famous for the hole in its center which allows the dragon that lives in the mountain to get down to the sea. The Bob Hope/Bing Crosby film The Road to Hong Kong from 1962 gives a good view of the hole.

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If we were dragons we could swoop down through this hole to the South China Sea.

After more cliffside hiking, the path meanders to a spot above Hong Kong International School, where all three of our kids attended primary school.

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HKIS (with the cross) is affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, but many of the teachers were of diverse religions when we were there.

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Rocky Road becomes a long, steep section of steps above Repulse Bay.

The final much more rocky section leads down to the community of Repulse Bay. This was a favorite run/hike for us on the weekend, ending with an iced lemon tea at McDonald’s. (With the new “better” McCafe, only sweet tea is available now!)

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Not exactly a walk in the park. My legs were shaking by this point.

An alternative hike down from Parkview leads past numerous reservoirs to Tai Tam.

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That’s Parkview in the background. Note that the city of Hong Kong is nowhere to be seen.

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All the reservoirs are low at the moment.

Here on the South China Sea is HKIS middle school and high school. The kids had many good years here. It’s effectively an American school, and a very good one. All three kids played soccer here at one point.

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The scoreboard is new. Go Dragons!

For Liz and Chris: The campus has expanded to add a primary school section by building upward.

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The new primary school.

The lucky kids in this building have some of the best views of Hong Kong.

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I’d love having this as my office view. The primary school kids probably don’t appreciate it.

After school shootings in the US and the 9/11 attacks, even HKIS on the other side of the world implemented security measures to keep kids on campus and keep terrorists off. (I claimed I was a parent and they let me in with a pass.)

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When we lived here, access was wide open.

We spent many happy and privileged days on this spot while the kids attended HKIS. It was good to be back.

On the opposite side of Hong Kong, at the country park in Tai Po, we revisited some old friends. We called this place Monkey Mountain. It’s a just a jungle, but as soon as people show up with food, or even plastic bags, monkeys come out of the woodwork.

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Someone (not us) brought food to attract these guys.

One time years ago Nancy was taking photos and felt Pat tugging at her pant leg. She looked down and realized it wasn’t Pat; it was a mother monkey, politely asking for food.

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Mother and baby observing the visitors looking at them.

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Nancy can empathize with this mom, after giving Pat piggyback rides across Hong Kong 20 years ago.

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They’re just so cute, you DO want to feed them.

After the monkey visit, we took a ferry to Lamma Island for fresh fish, so fresh you select it while it’s swimming in a small aquarium. Nice end of the day.

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We had a steamed garoupa with ginger and spring onions. And Tsing Tao beer, of course.

 

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3 Responses to Hong Kong, Our Home – January 2015

  1. Cindy Hamilton says:

    It’s wonderful to see all those familiar sights! Brings back so many memories! Parkview hasn’t changed a bit! Is the Park-n-Shop still there? Just loving your trip to Hong Kong.

    Like

  2. Linda says:

    Great trip down memory lane!!!

    Like

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