Sunday, February 27, 2011

FLASHBACK #1: Pre-School Activities

First off, I would like to apologize for not updating my blog for nearly 3 week. I have been going many places, meeting many people, and seeing many things :)

Bottom line: I am alive and well.

Lets take a time machine back to 3 weeks ago...
Before school began, exchange students usually get to know Hong Kong a little better. Lesson learned from these experiences?
... I need to charge my camera more often!
SIDE NOTE: A special shout out to Caroline, Miguel, Nancy, and Jason for letting me steal some of their photos for this entry.

MONDAY: Kowloon Park and Central

From Left: Lieke (Netherlands), Honza (Czech Republic), and Miguel (Mexico)

Flamingos at Kowloon Park

Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island

View from Ferry

GREEN PEACE FOLLOWED US TO HONG KONG! Noooo...

View of Hong Kong from the International Commerce Centre

Posing with Miguel and Caroline and our 10HKD

Miguel Taking a Stroll in the Currency Museum in the International Commerce Centre

TUESDAY: Ocean Park
Besides Disneyland, Hong Kong has another theme park known as Ocean Park. It's basically a "Sea World" type of park that has plenty of roller coasters, panda exhibits, and aquariums to keep you busy throughout the day.

Check it out:

Entrance

Cable Car vs. Train

Rens (Netherlands) Posing in our Cable Car
View from our Cable Car

Hey Honza!

Group Picture

From Left: Brian (Michigan), John Dang (Minnesota), Caroline (Michigan), Rens (Netherlands)

Group Photo
From Left Top: Brian (Michigan), John Dang (Minnesota), Jens (Sweden), Jason (Australia), Rens (Netherlands),
Honza (Czech Republic), Jeremy (Michigan State), Audrie (Canada), Me, Caroline (Michigan)

Honza and Jason Standing in Line for our First Roller Coaster of the Day

Jason Getting a Little Nervous
I suppose we shouldn't have given Jason a hard time about the roller coaster we were about to ride... watch how Caroline and I reacted to the drops, twists and turns of the Wild West Mine Train here:

HAHAHA... Enough Said.

After riding a few more rides, we decided to see the nature and animals that Ocean Park had to offer.

Ocean Park

Jellyfish at the Aquarium

Audrie, Jonathan, Honza, Caroline, and Jason Posing With Some Stylish Hats

Dolphin Show

Seal

Sneakin' a Pic

Group Picture II

Panda Exhibit

Panda!

"They're so FLUFFYYYYYY!"
Brian and I

AWWWWW...

Waiting Around

Heading to Another Aquarium

Starfish

Spider Crab

Night Water/Fire Show

Night Water/Fire Show

WEDNESDAY: Chinese New Years Eve at the Flower Market

ADDITIONAL NOTE: In Chinese culture, the new year doesn't begin on January 1st like it does for most of us. Instead, the new year depends on the luni-solar calender (dates on this calender indicate both the moon phase and the time of the solar year). Basically the new year's date changes every year depending on what animal it is the year of (dog, horse, dragon... etc). Therefore, Chinese New Year will always fall sometime between January 21 and February 20.

This year is the year of the RABBIT and New Year's day fell on February 3rd.

So many things go on in Hong Kong in preparation for the new year. I mean, the entire city goes into a frenzy! Wednesday (February 2nd) was New Year's Eve and it is tradition for Chinese families to go to the Flower Market in the city. It is customary for people to buy flowers and red lanterns to decorate their homes to bring in the new year.

It was awesome to get a chance to see the market during this busy season... Take a look:

Rita (Ireland), Lieke, Jens
Waiting for the Rest of The Group at the MTR Station
BYOB.

Flower Market
Decorations


Flowers

More Flowers

Calligraphist

From Left: Miguel, Me, Calligraphist, Caroline
Posing with the Fortunes he Wrote for Us

"Look... the Japanese girls want to be in the picture" - Jens

Clever use of the Rabbit for Shirt Designs
 After looking around the market, we all made our way down the road to find a place to eat. We stopped at a local Chinese restaurant. Caroline and I decided to split a dish of skewers... unfortunately, the waitress misunderstood our order and only brought us one single skewer of delicious pork.

Fighting for the Last Bite
THURSDAY: Lantau Island and New Years Parade

"KUNG HEI FAT CHOI!"

The exchange students got a treat from HKUST by going on a day trip to Lantau Island!

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Hong Kong is actually made of 3 islands. Kowloon/New Territories (where HKUST is), Hong Kong Island (Downtown), and Lantau Island.

It was a fun-filled day... Caroline and Miguel took most of these pics, since my camera was charging at home :)

Eddie The Tour Guide

En Route

From Left: Jason, Honza, Me, Jonathan
Riding the Cable Car to see Buddah 

View from the Cable Car

From the Distance...

From Left: Jeremy, Mariel, Caroline, Eddie the Tour Guide, Honza, and Lieke

Walkin' Through the City
Lighting Incense for the New Year

Group Photo :)

From Left: Jonathan, Caroline, Honza, Me, and Rita
Enjoying a Vegetarian Lunch in the Monk Temple

From Left: Jason, Mike (Canada), Jens, Miguel, Igor (Massachusetts)
Waiting for the Food

Vegetarian Meal

From Left: Caroline, Me, and Jonathan
Enjoying the View from the Temple

Caroline and I Stretching Before Walking up the 200+ Stairs the Buddah

We made it!

Buddah

From Left: Sheng (UT), Jonathan, Honza (Czech), Me, Michael (UT)
Honza Posing with a few Longhorns. Hook em!
Group Photo II

Investment Piece: Traditional Rice Hat

Tai-O Fishing Village 

Eddie The Tour Guide Sending us Off
See ya, Eddie!

Floating in our Boat Around the Village

Looking for Pink Dolphins... FAIL.

Strolling Around the Town

End of the Road
Group Picture III

Ting Kau Bridge
NOTE: World's first major 4-span cable-stayed bridge

Group Picture IV in Front of Tsing Ma Bridge
NOTE:  World's seventh-longest span suspension bridge connecting Lantau Island with Kowloon/New Territories
Following all of the school activities, Eddie The Tour Guide dropped us off in the charter bus in Choi Hung so we could catch the MTR to Central to see the New Year's parade in downtown.
 HE IS SO AWESOME! LOVE YOU, EDDIE! IF YOU READ THIS, ADD ME ON FACEBOOK!

We got to the parade site by 6:30pm... the place was already overflowing with people! Jonathan, Caroline, Mariel, and I were troopers and stood there for 2 hours waiting for the parade to begin! YIKES.
Quite the experience...

Front Row

Crowded!

Year of the Rabbit. Heyyy!

Float

Famous Talk-show Host

Favorite Act: Hong Kong Jump Rope Academy!

Disneyland Float

Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants

From Left: Jonathan, Me, Caroline

FRIDAY: New Years Fireworks Show & Lan Kwai Fong

HKUST decided to continue taking the exchange students around the city, so they sent us on a tour of Hong Kong "hotspots"... too bad most of us had seen many of these places (Mong Kok, Central, Ladies Market, Temple Street, etc). Yeah Yeah, been there... done that.

However, the local student tour guides took us to the harbor in the afternoon so we could get a good spot for the annual New Year's Fireworks show... Our entire group got separated, so I tried to find a good spot with Jens, Nancy, and Jeremy. We were waiting for close to 2 hours...

Our Spot

Chattin' with Jens
Fireworks!

"WOWWWWWWWW!"

"AWWWWWW!"

"AHHHHH!"

I know photos don't do these fireworks justice... so I took a video for you guys. Enjoy (just like the entire audience in the background)!

video

Following the fireworks, we all regrouped and decided to hit up Lan Kwai Fong that evening! First time I had been there in the semester, so all the other exchange students were giving me crap... :)
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Also know as "LKF" among the locals, Lan Kwai Fong is the "6th Street" of HK. Lots of techno and dance music... It was a lot of fun to go with some friends and dance the night away.
No pictures, sorry :/

SATURDAY: Fortune Seeking [Temple] Tour & Karaoke

Day 3 of HKUST activities included a fortune seeking trip AKA "lets take you guys to a bunch of temples". I had overslept completely and missed the first half of the tour! Thanks, LKF.
No pics of the famous Wishing Tree... but here is what the tour was up to when I caught up with them later in the day...

Temple 1

Buying Incense Outside the Temple

Celebration

Nunnery Garden

Temple 2

Lucian (Canada)  Protecting Himself from Germs

Hangin' out


Following the tour, our group decided to meet up later for sushi and Karaoke in the city.
IT WAS [HANDS DOWN] ONE OF THE BEST NIGHTS I HAVE HAD IN HK!

Sushi Restaurant in Mong Kok = A-

Oh, hey Sushi.

The Group


 Afterwards, we took the MTR to Jordan and went to a shady Karaoke club called "My Favor Bar." Haha... I think it was supposed to be My FAVORITE bar... but I won't judge.

Take a look and listen to the fun time we had...

Private Room, suckaa.

Hey Ya'll!


From Left: Jin (Korea), Mariel, Honza, Caroline

From Left: Rita, Magdalena (Austria), Doris (Austria), Vincent (Germany)

video
video

From Left: Audrie (Canada), Dan (Canada), Lieke (Netherlands), Dennis (Germany)

Gaga
video

video

Igor and Miguel

Rita and Doris

Chillin'

Dennis and John Dang Picking the Next Tune


Caroline and Vacek (Honza's buddy from Prague)

Wait... Jonathan?! Singing?!
SUCCESS!

SUNDAY: Macau

Macau is basically the "Las Vegas" of HK. It used to be a Portuguese colony, but was recently given back to China and is doin' its own thing. Many casinos and places to see.

Unfortunately, my camera died in the morning, so no pictures were taken.
A special thanks to Jason and Miguel for supplying the following pics:

Ferry/Airplane-lookin'/Boat Ride to Macau

I'm in Macau, Trickkk!

This Casino Looked Promising...
It was empty.

Workin' Out at the Park with Jonathan

Audrie Attempting to Recover

Oh hey, Wynn!

I left earlier than the other business students because Audrie became ill... and I was still recovering from the evening before (I won't lie). We left around 2pm and got back at HKUST at around 5pm. I hope to go back before the end of the semester...
Possible birthday location.
Don't tell mom.

Keep you all posted!
feeling accomplished for FINALLY finishing this entry,
Lina

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