1) me posing with the giant W at W Hong Kong 7th floor
While in Hong Kong G and I took up residence in W Hong Kong. W Hong Kong is located in Kowloon and overlooks the busy harbour. It is also perfectly situated directly above Elements Mall (so dangerous!) and the Kowloon MTR station that includes check-in for Hong Kong airport (so convenient!).
4 & 5) our Fabulous Suite at W
10) the W team laid out gifts upon our arrival, including; 11) a W Teddy Bear and candle which now graces our bed here in Toronto – we called him “Wong”
I was actually in Hong Kong eight days before G arrived. I headed there to present two papers at an international conference on neuro-rehabilitation. I stayed at the conference hotel out in Tin Hau which – granted – had a tiny room but a fantastic view of Hong Kong and a great club lounge that was always empty. Gotta love that! The conference was very good with about 500 delegates from around the world and my two abstracts were both well attended and well received. Translation was done simultaneously in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, which is always fun especially when it comes to questions after the presentation.
One quick anecdote from this conference. Selina Tsang, the wife of Donald Tsang who is the Chairman of the Hong Kong SAR, joined us for dinner at the conference’s opening banquet. She supports the work we do and since this event was in the backyard of the city her husband runs, well … you get the picture.
Anyhow, the banquet quite quickly devolved thanks to the many mainland Chinese in attendance who were feeling no pain due to the prevalence of free-flowing beer and [dreadful] wine. By 8pm, not even halfway through our umpteen courses, things were rocking and raucous. At this moment Selina up and left the table, climbed the stage, directed the band and started singing. Singing loudly, and not too badly, I thought; only then to be joined onstage by several tipsy mainlanders. The poor conference organizers where aghast from what I could see but I thought: good on you Selina.
For a half moment I toyed with the idea of diplomatically intervening – or fleeing – but figured when in Rome.
Later, after the last Pabst Blue Ribbon beer can – and yes they served us Pabst in cans – was drained and my wits re-focused, I wondered if we’d ever see something similar in the West? If at a conference dinner with hundreds of international delegates Michelle Obama would suddenly saddle up to the stage, unhook the microphone from its stand and burst into a teary rendition of “Blue River”?
… I’ll let that thought hang.
24) the view at night; 25) a container ship that had sunk mid-harbour while there – by the time I moved over to W they had successfully salvaged it
During the conference we were wined and dined brilliantly by the organizing committee – thanks! – and they even coordinated a Victoria Harbour cruise/dinner to watch the Light Show.
Our Hong Kong travels:
31) coming back down from Lantau on the cable car; 32) wandering Stanley Market
33) the Stanley harbour; 34) the iconic Star Ferry
37) this chap cooked a celebratory $200 banquet dinner for G and I the day G arrived; 38) Christmas fun even at Hong Kong airport
39) a prize to anyone who can spot G in this picture
We had umpteen fabulous food adventures in Hong Kong (really, how can one not?!). These included coffee at Crema Coffee – the best coffee house in Hong Kong. And don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise; especially those trying to tell you Soho is where it’s at – that’s all crap!
We hunted for Hong Kong’s best egg tarts – a chain with conveniently a small outlet at TTS ferry dock.
We had banquet dinner food craziness.
We had (very) late night desserts and champagne – with Blee joining us – at AquaSpirit on Christmas night. This was fun but not a place I’d return to. Staff were not the swiftest of people and the bar is both too dark and too noisy. It is a perfect example of all glam no substance.
And of course we dim sum-ed our way to the 3-star Michelin Lung Keen Heen at the Four Seasons where uber-waiter Leo served us with efficiency and a reserved, almost shy, personae despite his fame after landing in Travel & Leisure magazine.
Below some pics of all this wonderful food with names of places lost to time and my poor memory but really you can’t go wrong eating anywhere in Hong Kong.
48 & 49) go try Crema
60) our view from AquaSpirit on Christmas night
61) G gets ready to go into Lung King Heen
62) I snapped this as it’s nice to see a Canadian flag – Four Seasons is, of course, a Canadian company and their international office is not five minutes from our condo here in Toronto on Leslie Street; 63) the food arrives – OMG good duck rolls
74) mussels at Rocksalt in Stanley ; 75) crab dumplings at King’s Noodles & Dumplings near the Peninsula Centre
76 & 77) G and I in the W Hong Kong elevator – adieu Hong Kong till next time