Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Our Trip

The other thing we have been spending a lot of time doing recently is planning our Europe/UK trip for September/October. What a time consuming task!!!

On 13 September we fly to London to start our 3 week holiday. The plan is:

London - 3 nights
Paris - 4 nights
Venice - 3 nights
Tuscany/Florence - 4 nights
Rome - 4 nights
England - 6 nights (Oxford, Cotswolds, Bath, Bristol, Devan, Brighton).

We are going on our trip primarily to attend two of our dearest friends wedding in Devan (4 Oct) - Tom & Lucy. We can't wait to share in their special day, and to spend some time with them before the wedding!!

We also can't wait to tour round France & Italy... it will be such a nice break. We haven't had a holiday this long since our honeymoon in 2004 !!

Any travel tips - most welcome:)

Shannon & Tim

We are VERY VERY excited as two of our bestest friends are coming to visit us next weekend!! We can't wait to see them (albeit they will only be here for 2 days).

10 sleeps to go...

Bye Bye Andrea!!

On Friday night we had dinner at Wagyu to farewell Andrea, who is returning to Bris Vegas to get married!!

Andrea and I worked in the Brissy office of Minters before heading to Hong Kong (at the same time) to work for Minters in HK. We have both since left Minters for pastured greener, but have kept in close contact ever since.

It will be sad not having her around, especially for the Dinner Party circuit. We will leave a seat for you at the table, and of course, will have a drink for you too!! Best of luck :)

Will's B'day !!!

On 9 June we celebrated Will's birthday. Being such a popular bloke, the HK Government declared it a public holiday - so we got to spend the day together with friends!! (if you want to know the real reason for the public holiday see previous post on Dragon Boat Festival).

We had a fairly lazy morning around the house, whilst Will received millions of Happy Birthday phone calls from all his friends and family, then we headed out for a lovely lunch at Cococabana at Deep Water Bay.

Thanks for the parcels and cards !!

After lunch we headed back to our house for cake (and a few drinks)!! We finished about 10pm, and all-in-all I think Will had a pretty good birthday:)

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as Tuen Ng Festival, commemorates the death of a popular Chinese national hero, Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Mi Lo River over 2,000 years ago to protest against the corrupt rulers. Legend says that as townspeople attempted to rescue him, they beat drums to scare fish away and threw dumplings into the sea to keep the fish from eating Qu Yuan's body.

The real highlight of the festival is the fierce dragon boats racing in a lively, vibrant spectacle. Teams race the elaborately decorated dragon boats to the beat of heavy drums. The special boats, which measure more than 10 metres, have ornately carved and painted "dragon" heads and tails, and each carries a crew of 20-22 paddlers.

Participants train in earnest for the competition. Sitting two abreast, with a steersman at the back and a drummer at the front, the paddlers race to reach the finishing line, urged on by the pounding drums and the roar of the crowds.

Today, festival activities recall this legendary event. People eat rice-and-meat dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves; and many look forward to swimming or even simply dipping their hands in the water.

We also get a public holiday for the festival!!

On 8 June we headed to Stanley on the PM junk to watch the Stanley Dragon Boat Race. There are numerous Dragon Boat races throughout this time of year, but the biggest one, so far as spectators are concerned, is the Stanley race.

T 8 in HK

One of the greatest things about living in Hong Kong is that throughout the summer months, we tend to receive our fair share of typhoon's and monsoonal rain storms. Take today for example, at around 6am this morning the HK Observatory issued a T 8 signal. This means that winds with mean speeds of 63 kilometres per hour or more are expected from the southwest quarter. It also means, more importantly, that we don't have to go to work!!!

Today, its timing was perfect, as they thoughtfully raised it before we got out of bed which meant that Will hadn't already left and he too got to enjoy the lie in. This is the second day off we have had this season. A few weeks ago, the Black rainstorm warning was issued (albeit on a Saturday) and Will didn't have to go to work (I know - outrageous, he normally has to work on Saturdays)!! That was an extra bonus!!

The last T 8 we had, which was about this time last year, it was declared at 3pm. As we were at work, we all headed down to the pub for what ended up being the longest drinking session I have ever had the misfortune of participating in. The thing is, most pubs offer free drinks whilst the T 8 signal is hoisted, which is of course very dangerous. Us expats certainly do not need any further encouragement to drink!! As it is 9am, I think we will hold off heading down to the pub just yet... although I am sure the text messages will start soon enough with plans for more frivolity.

You might be asking yourself whether we should actually be concerned about the weather (as you would be in Oz if a Cyclone hit). Well, to be honest, most of the time it is completely fine and nothing major happens. Other times, like a few weeks ago when the black rainstorm hit - there was tremendous damage, landslides and some fatalities. As long as you play it safe though, you should be ok. Hence the reason who we aren't required to travel anywhere during one of these signals.

So, I thought to myself, what better time to update the blog (which yes, is a little out of date I confess) than NOW!! Provided the T 8 signal stays hoisted for a while...