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.
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.
Pat’s other favorite drink. I don’t think he actually drank it. He just liked the name.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Many nights, the kids played Manhunt all over the resort-style landscaping. They particularly liked this tunnel under another water feature.
The kids climbed on the “big animals” on podium level. Why are these statues here? Who knows?
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.
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.
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.
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.
After more cliffside hiking, the path meanders to a spot above Hong Kong International School, where all three of our kids attended primary school.
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!)
An alternative hike down from Parkview leads past numerous reservoirs to Tai Tam.
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.
For Liz and Chris: The campus has expanded to add a primary school section by building upward.
The lucky kids in this building have some of the best views of Hong Kong.
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.)
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.
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.
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.