Harder Family

Harder Family

Friday, March 17, 2017

Guangzhou: Day 6, Travel to Hong Kong & Day 1 Hong Kong

Psalm 16:11 "You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

This morning we slept in a little after a late night of playing with our new friend Bao. We packed a little and then headed downstairs for our last breakfast at the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou. After breakfast, we took some pictures of the hotel gardens. Then we headed back upstairs to finish packing. Our guide picked us up to bring us to the train station. We are now at 5 suitcases, 4 backpacks, 1 duffel bag of toys, and a shopping bag with some special items that don't fit in our suitcase. I cannot wait to be done lugging all this stuff around!!

When our guide picked us up, she brought us the paperwork we need for the boys to enter the United States. It is bitter sweet leaving China in a few days. This has been the boy's home for the last 10 and 11 years. China will always play a part in their story. We have taken steps to ensure their heritage and story will be celebrated and studied. In fact, when we return home, the girl's lesson plans start a two week study on China! Isn't God so awesome with His timing?? 

IKEA in Guangzhou!! We did not go, I just thought it was neat to see IKEA in Chinese characters.

Countryside through China heading from Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Hanging out on the "bullet" train - our train to Jinan from Beijing was a real bullet train (around 200 miles per hour). This train was slower then the Metra in Chicago.

After lugging all of our luggage off of the train, we headed upstairs for the difficult task of finding someone to take us to our hotel. We were hounded and bombarded by people offering to take us in their special car that could hold us all. One guy told us that it would take 2 taxis at around $300 HKD (Hong Kong Dollars) to get to our hotel. His deal was only $480!! I know better then to take a car that isn't marked, so we kept telling him no. He followed us all the way until we found a taxi. This taxi must have been sent from God. He not only took all 4 of us, he used a bungee cord to tie all of our luggage into his trunk (remember 5 suitcases). God is so good. 

The first thing we noticed about Hong Kong is that they drive on the wrong side of the road!! This must be part of the British influence here on the island. It was quite wild and I still don't quite get how the round abouts work when you are on the other side of the road. 

For dinner we went to a small restaurant that was recommended to us from the concierge desk since we got in later then originally planned. The food was pretty good and I found some extra protein in my vegetables!! Yummy, yummy!! 

Another thing we have learned about Hong Kong: it is expensive!! In China, especially in each province, it is easy to find really inexpensive meals (around $6 for dinner for 2). In Guangzhou, it ended up being around $25-30 for 4 people (my boys eat like adults). In Hong Kong, it is around $40 a meal for 4.

Friday morning we got up early so that we could do our long day in Hong Kong. We are trying to squeeze in as much of Hong Kong as we can in 2 days. We caught a free shuttle from our hotel to the subway station. From there, we took the subway into Hong Kong. The first stop we made was to take the tram up Victoria Peak. It was supposed to be cloudy all day, so we decided to skip the long lines and hit it first. We were able to get on the tram right away (we noticed when we came back down that the line was about 3 times longer then when we got there an hour earlier). 

You are supposed to see an amazing backdrop of the skyline behind us in these pictures - all you see is clouds. The boys loved it because they felt like they were flying!! I even have a video of them running around acting like birds/planes. We ended up purchasing one picture of us photo shopped onto the skyline background.

From Victoria Peak, we managed to somehow find our way to Admirality Station to catch the 6x bus to Stanley Market. We wanted to find a way to see more of the island. What a great trip this was. We took the express bus (6X) to the market and the 6 bus back (it goes over the mountain instead of through the tunnel). The views were astounding! I can see why Hong Kong is an expensive place to live (I think it is rated the most expensive real estate in the world). We actually saw some real estate brochures. I saw a 4 bedroom house available for $140 MILLION!!! That is a lot of kids that could be adopted or helped around the world!!!!

Stanley Market was fun to walk through. We also walked to the beach and touched the China Sea. 

THIS is why they keep mom up so late. They take naps in the taxi and bus and then want to stay up all night. Mom doesn't nap, because she is taking pictures and enjoying the view around her...thus, mom is sleepy! Maybe part of it is that I stay up until almost midnight blogging so that I don't forget any part of our trip!

Once we got off the bus, we headed to the Star Ferry terminal to take a ferry across the bay to Kowloon. The ferry ride was very quick (less then 10 minutes). We then walked along the shoreline, passed stores I cannot even afford to buy a plastic bag from, and then hopped on the subway and went to ladies market. That was an experience! These people grab you and tell you that you need to buy their items. It is fun to barter with them. I bought a couple of little thank you gifts.  

We were tired and hungry when we came across Hing Fat restaurant. We decided just to eat there since we only had a few snacks for lunch. The restaurant did not offer any free drinks. Water was $19 HKD and hot tea was $48 HKD. We bought soup (which is food and a beverage), and then walked to 7-11 where we bought water for $9 HKD!! That was a much better price (a little over $1 US). 

After we left the restaurant and 7-11, we headed back to the ferry terminal to find a good spot for the Symphony of Lights. We had to wait 50 minutes and the boys started getting antsy. The show was interesting, but we were all disappointed it didn't end with fireworks like the pictures showed online. 

When the light show ended, we walked to the subway (with what felt like half of Hong Kong). There was an app game the girls had a few years ago where you would quickly load the subway with as many people as you could to earn points. That is exactly what it felt like tonight. We crammed in like sardines into the subway. It was quite the experience. It was a long day today (we caught the hotel's second shuttle out this morning and took the last one back), but I feel like we saw some of the most iconic parts of Hong Kong. Tomorrow we are going to explore Lantau Island (close to where we are staying). We were supposed to do this the first afternoon we arrived, but we got in after the park closed. 

Sunday we fly home! If anyone is bored, our flight arrives at 12:50 at O'Hare International terminal. Please keep praying for Shan Chen's ear. He cries every time I put the antibiotic drops in his ear. I called our pediatrician tonight to make sure I'm doing everything right. We will be taking him in on Monday to our doctor (another God move - the doctor for sick visits that day is Chinese and speaks Mandarin!!). Thank you so much for all of your prayers. They have carried us through this trip. Although it has been an amazing trip and experience, I am ready to be home and have all my family together - and sleep in a soft bed!!

1 comment:

  1. Rebecca I will be praying that his ear improves over next couple days with the antibiotics because here is what comes up on google when asking about flying with an ear infection:
    It is usually recommended that you don't fly if you have an ear infection. With an ear infection, the Eustachian tubes become clogged with fluid and the pressure inside of the plane's cabin can cause severe pain in your ears. In addition, along with the pain, the eardrums can be damaged during a flight
    I remember my mom being stuck in las Vegas for an extra week because she had a bad ear infection and the dr told her not to fly so I looked it up,