A lovely day for a waddle

We made it! LOL it really wasn’t a huge distance we walked, but the drop of 400 feet meant that we took a really winding route which took about 1.5 hours from Peak to Lan Kwai Fong.  This was the route we took.

We started at the Peak Galleria, where around 2000 walkers and their pooches were gathered for the start, including DH and Deuce.

And finally the start! We all queued to get down the stairs for the first section down Barker Road.

These cheerful signs pointed us in the right direction, plus loads of HKDR and Disney volunteers who made sure we followed the right route down.

Me & Cookie & Deuce.  The weather was perfect – not too hot with clear blue skies.

The views were amazing – as were some of the houses we passed. This mansion perched on the side of the mountain had a manicured lawn next to their expansive terrace and the most incredible views.

Deuce got to make friends along the way. I think he thoroughly enjoyed himself!

Ahh the halfway sign. Although the distance wasn’t much (I think around 5 km) the downhill was more tiring than I expected.

Another shot of the skyline. Look at the mountains in the distance! It’s almost never clear enough to see them.

More new friends for Deuce.

There were quite a few doggy strollers too – and these three pooches looked like they were having a great (and thoroughly relaxing) day out.

We finally made it to Lan Kwai Fong – where the street fair was in full swing. It was so crowded we couldn’t find a place to sit for lunch so we headed to nearby Wyndham Street just above LKF.

We found a table, and put our feet up. Oooh it was so nice to sit! We got some much needed watering and feeding (and for me bathroom breaks!).  Happy!

Thank you again to everyone who sponsored my waddle down the Peak.  If you’d like to see more photos of the day, check out HKDR’s Facebook album here and here.

The day did have a black mark on it – our friend M was supposed to join us with her two little ones, but disaster struck and her wallet was stolen at the start.  It must be a very low type of person who would target a mom with a baby, stealing her wallet as she tended to her child and then go off and spend 50,000 HKD shopping at at the IFC mall (including apparently 28K at the Apple Store).  If there is such a thing as karma I really hope the thief gets what’s coming to them.  The police were called and M ended up spending the rest of the day sorting things out with the police and credit card companies.

Meimei is now a full head taller than she was (standing on her hind legs) and is really the cutest little thing, though she has the most incredible talent of finding things she shouldn’t and gnawing on them.  Her legs have literally grown longer overnight. She’s still too scared to go out on the balcony, but day by day she grows bolder so I think it won’t be long now.

Mom and Cookie & John have all left now, so the house is quiet again, well quieter.  Meimei really likes to talk, especially when she’s hungry and when she wants Deuce to play with her.

Pac Man Christmas and NY Canadian Fries

After an errand filled 2 weeks, my mom has headed back to Canada. I’m sad to see her go, and already looking forward to her trip back in a couple months time for little Blueberry. Though Blueberry doesn’t yet have an english name, she now has a Chinese one: 余趙海如. In pinyin it’s yu zhao hai ru, or phonetically “yu zow hi roo”. The english one is going to take a little more time (read: negotiating) since DH and I have rather different ideas on names.

I had a really lovely time with my mom here – and I think she’s feeling better about my move to HK now having seen where we’re living and HK life in general. It’s alot safer than she expected, and now that we’ve found two great supermarkets she’s reassured that I won’t starve. 🙂 The Park’n’Shop nearest to us has a great fish counter – with two large tanks full of live fish, plus a bunch of fresh fish on ice.

The produce is pretty good, and the ginger is amazing – so fresh!

Since the Hallowe’en stuff came down on the 1 November, it’s been replaced with Christmas, with a vengeance. The supermarket is selling Christmas stuff already, and just about everywhere is playing piped Christmas carols.

Christmas lights are also out all over Central. It’s quite interesting heading into town at night and seeing all the buildings decked out in Christmas lights/ads.

Last time we were at the PnS I was picking up some flour and just popped it into the cart near me, then whizzed off picking up more stuff and throwing it into the cart. Until I looked at the contents of the cart, and apart from the baking stuff and spices I’d picked up, nothing at all was familiar. I’d stolen some poor shopper’s cart!! I was so embarrassed and felt so badly for the person who was probably running around the store looking for their cart. I’ll have to pay more attention next time lest some angry little lady come running after me swinging a large mooli at my head for running off with her produce and goods.

On Thursday we took Meimei for her first vaccinations, so in another month and a bit she will be able to head outside for a romp in the park. I can’t wait – I think she’ll really love it.

She was a trooper – didn’t cry at the vaccination at all, and was enjoying herself as she gnawed on the HKDR carrier bag, checking out all the other doglets at the vet.

Cookie and her hubby arrived for a brief visit on Wednesday – so we all headed out to Din Tai Fong for some xiaolongbao after Meimei was done at the vet. Yummy as always. I totally didn’t notice the bathroom decorations the last time I was there (seriously where is my brain these days?), and thought it was just hilarious when Cookie pointed them out. The bathrooms are marked out by Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man and Disabled Pac-Man.

And the doors have the ghosties on them with the eyes changing colour when the lock is turned from the inside! I’m not sure why the bathrooms are themed this way – the building is pretty non-descript. But I do enjoy these little ‘surprises’.

After Din Tai Fong we went up to the Peak to check out the view. I hadn’t been to the Peak since 2002 – so it was nice to head up there and check things out. The galleria was pretty new and sort of empty last time I was there, and I was pretty excited to find that there was an outpost of New York Fries!

I totally love New York Fries, so we went there for a mid afternoon snack. The whole shtick is that New York Fries are ‘authentic New York Fries’ and use only the best US potatoes…. but of course there are no branches at all in the US and the whole outfit is Canadian! Still we very much enjoyed our helping of crispy fries with gravy. 🙂

And while at the Peak I couldn’t resist snapping yet another ‘Do Not’ sign.

I’m not sure how one prevent oneself from tripping (first do not), so that one puzzles me. I’m pretty sure the third do not is don’t throw garbage over the railings, but at first I wondered if it was someone throwing dice and they had a gambling problem on the observatory level.

We often see the Hong Kong Dog Rescue van around our neighbourhood. The government kennels are just down the road from us, which is where HKDR rescued Meimei’s litter. On Sunday David, Cookie, Deuce, and me (Meimei is still too small) will be heading back to the Peak for the HKDR Peak to Fong Sponsored Walk. I’ll be waddling down from the Peak to Lan Kwai Fong- about a 1.5 hour walk. Not sure how long it will take to waddle! Thank you for everyone who has sponsored. We’re still a little short of our goal, so if you’d like to sponsor my waddle, we have a team page at http://simplygiving.com/meimei. I’ll try to get a video and some photos of the day. Should be a nice day out, especially as it has gotten alot cooler this week.

Flashmobbing & Round the Island Race

Have had a busy but fun filled weekend. Saturday my mom, hubby and I joined a flash mob in Lan Kwai Fong – learning a set of dance moves to go with “Who Let the Dogs Out” as a promotional event for next weekend’s Hong Kong Dog Rescue big fundraising day Peak to Fong.

We arrived at the amphitheatre tucked away behind Lan Kwai Fong and set to practising the moves – which were rather complicated! It was quite alot of fun though – a whole group of people basically doing aerobics in the Hong Kong heat. I totally didn’t think that perhaps being almost 7 months pregnant maybe I should have brought some water to drink? LOL like I said, I often forget I’m pregnant. Thankfully Lisa one of the organisers noticed my bump and brought a bottle of water for me. So sweet!

We practiced for 2 hours, which was itself quite alot of laughs. DH found himself facing the whole group when he should be facing the other way quite alot, and of course all the fast moves were totally lost on me! I just could not move that fast! At the end we were split into groups – very coordinated to less coordinated. We opted for the less coordinated group, which was also the last group to enter the mob and the group which had the fewest moves to remember. Suited us just fine.

We had to wear jackets or tops to cover up the promo t-shirts we were given to wear… and the only things we had were our fleece jackets for me and David (navy and black) and a beige trenchcoat for my mom! Boy were we hot. We had 20 minutes to kill after practice (and had to wear our jackets the whole time) so we went to Haagen Daaz and had some ice cream to cool down. We found ourselves a table on the pavement outside Stormies, which was just opposite all the action, and settled in for our cue – a DJ move and then a dog howl – when we joined the mob and promptly forgot all our moves so basically just jumped around and enjoyed the vibe.

Here’s the video – can you spot me?

Today DH rowed the Zoke Round the Island Race in a four man scull. The quad switched rowers half way round so DH rowed the second half. My mom and I went to meet them at the Middle Island club house. We walked along the seafront promenade and there is a pick up point where you stand, and the club house ferry comes along to pick you up. Very James Bond! You can see the pick up point on the left of the photo (where the handrails go into the water) and the club house on the other side, sort of looks like part of a cruise ship embedded in the rockface.

There weren’t very many rowing boats (I think only 4) but there were something like 19 outriggers – sort of like canoes but with a stabilising arm thing attached to the boat. You can click to embiggen the photo to see some of the teeny outrigger boats and sculls.

Then there were the sail boats which all congregated in one place for a while, I think while waiting for the wind to pick up. Sadly it was hazy this morning so the photos aren’t super clear (this one is from my mom’s camera). Still, you can definitely see all the sail boats and dinghies.

My two berries are doing well – Blueberry is growing crazily (my belly button hasn’t yet popped but in another month I am sure it will) and I think I am close to the waddling stage, if not there already.  Meimei has grown to twice the size she was when I first brought her home and has started to run here and there finding things to play with and chew on.  I love watching her run – she looks a little like a rabbit since she sort of hops more than runs.  Today she had a bit of a scare when she tried to play with Deuce as he was eating dinner.  I don’t think she’ll be doing that again any time soon – he was quite fierce when he told her off and she ran out of the kitchen whining and crying.  It took a little while to calm her down. Of course, as soon as Deuce came out into the living room she was back to her old antics and trying to lure him into playing with her, nipping at his balls (which are the perfect height for her to bite, poor Deuce) and trying to nip his ears. Deuce, ever the cool cucumber, sort of puts up with her and just let her get on with it.   Another check up tomorrow for Blueberry – at which I hope there will be no more blood tests!

Try Try Again

Have managed to catch a cold, which was miserable the first day. Getting a bit better now, but once I’m well am off to get a flu shot. Totally sucks being ill and not being able to take anything effective for relief (ahh Nurofen Plus how I miss you! The things we give up for a Blueberry).

Mei Mei is getting stronger by the day – yesterday she began to stand on her hind legs when she wants to get up on the sofa. Still a little wobbly, but oh the determination you can see in her face!

Took Mei Mei to the vet this morning – and Dr Tony was really pleased with how she is doing. I was worried I was overfeeding her – but he said that puppies have miraculously elastic bellies that enable them to eat alot without harm…. which is good because Mei Mei has turned out to really like her food. And it shows in a massive belly! She now weighs 1.5 kgs, almost twice what she did when I got her three weeks ago! She tries so hard to play with Deuce still – and though she’s learned that Deuce will tell her off if she bites his tail, she still thinks it’s the best thing. Poor Deuce – he makes it seem like he’s got such a cross to bear! And she’s gotten creative with how she tries to entice him to play. Watch and see!

Wrapped with Love

Knit Love Club 2012 sign ups are still open! Treat yourself (or a loved one) for Christmas to a whole year of knitting love!

Last time I saw my dear maman was when we headed home for Christmas, so it’s been nearly a year! As you can imagine, I was super excited to see her! She arrived on Thursday armed with a ginormous box of jiaozi, shaobing, winter gourd tea (sounds gross but is delicious – kind of like a cooling ice tea without the bitter afterbite of tea) and other goodies from Taiwan and Canada.

It’s fun taking my mom around – she used to come to HK alot on business but mostly spent time in Central and TST.  She’d never been to the mid-levels so of course I took her down to the escalator.

We went to Lane Crawford – where they were giving away free knitting kits!  You get a cool little project bag, a cone of yarn, and a pair of bamboo knitting needles.  The kits are a charity initiative called “Wrapped with Love” sponsored by Club Monaco and Lane Crawford for Crossroads, calling on the community to knit 8″x8″ squares to be sewn into blankets and then distributed to those in need.

I have to say I’m super impressed – Lane Crawford is kind of like Liberty’s / Harvey Nics in London – very high end.  14 years in London and never have I seen such top end department stores participating in such a grassroots, hands on, community project.  Hubby saw this ad for the initiative in the South China Morning Post and kept it for me (click to embiggen). Alot of the items are crochet covered, but the sentiment is sound. 🙂

We passed by the Apple Store in IFC on Friday when the iphone 4S was released for sale – and it was insane. Some had been camping since Monday night! People were limited to 5 units each – and there were LOADS of people there with big old suitcases filled with apple products. I’ve never seen anything like it.  Apparently people were reselling the iphone right then and there outside the Apple shop!

Hubby spent the weekend in Hanoi for a work jolly I mean perfectly serious business conference.  Mom and I went to Horizon Plaza (for bedside tables… part of the seemingly never ending list of stuff for the flat), which she found a little creepy…and I guess, objectively, it kind of is. Sort of warehouse-y and kind of dilapidated looking.  Of course, once she saw the shoe shops it was much more exciting for her! LOL.

Mei Mei currently has a makeshift sleeping/playing/potty area made of the moving boxes from London.  We came home on Saturday to find a free little black fluff ball coming to the door to greet us – she’d managed to find a space in her makeshift pen to wiggle through.  Since she isn’t quite housetrained, and I’m also wary of letting Deuce have unsupervised access to her (he is so much bigger than her and isn’t quite aware of his strength), when we were at Horizon Plaza we also picked up a proper plastic pen from Whiskers and Paws. While we were there I also thought it time to get her her own little bed.  We brought it home, and the first thing that Deuce did? Climbed inside and claimed it for his own. Despite the fact that it is really much too small for him!  Luckily Mei Mei seems to prefer the floor for snoozing during the day – I think she’ll find it cozy come winter.

Oh and I need to make a correction from my previous post about where I got my waffle recipe! I did try the Marion Cunningham one from Orangette, but the one we decided was our favourite is from Kate Habershon’s Pancakes and Waffles recipe book.  Which I am off to make right now!

Mind your doggy Ps and Qs

Three.  That’s the number of boxes we have left to unpack! And it’s mostly my yarn and crafty stuff, so we need to get some kind of storage cabinet to unload them into.  We’re definitely getting there.  We got lights, our bed was delivered yesterday and assembled.  Slept on it last night, and the mattress is quite firm. Jury is still out as I loved our memory foam one – it was the only bed I slept on that reduced/eliminated back pain, but our new one is really firm.  Too firm to my mind but hubby seems to think it is more comfortable. I am annoyed I listened to him about the softer version being less comfortable for his back particularly since he often has no clue about what is comfortable or not (buying shoes with him is another pita) and would happily sleep on the ground.

My mom is arriving today after a brief visit to family in Taipei. She’s bringing a ton of jiaozi (like japanese gyoza. Sadly the ones i’ve had so far in Hong Kong – even the ones recommended in the Michelin guide –  just aren’t that good.  Northern cuisine just isn’t their forte here) and shaobing both the sweet and savoury kind. Yum!

Deuce and Mei Mei continue their budding friendship/understanding.    Mei Mei loves to nibble on his paws and ears… Deuce is I think becoming more and more easy about it, though he did tell her off again yesterday. Poor Mei Mei ran under the sofa and didn’t want to come out.  Still, puppy exuberance refuses to be kept down.  Soon after she was up to her old antics again.  She’s totally eyeing up his ear to nibble…

But decides to just lie quiet for the time being.

She’s also taken to wandering off to the kitchen for a snooze. Her new favourite spot is in the corner behind the kitchen door, beside or behind Deuce’s bed.  She loves sleeping on her back with her little legs sticking straight out. Super cute.

This morning was the first time I have seen Deuce actually interact properly (not half asleep) with her.

He paws her head a first time, almost unnoticed by her, then more obviously later on. I was intrigued by this – the timing of Deuce’s yawns and her response to it all. Did a little googling and it seems the head-pawing is a sort of ‘hey cutie, I like you but remember who’s top dog!’. The yawn is a calming/stop sign. And Mei Mei lying down right after the head pawing, side facing to Deuce is an acknowledgement of Deuce being top dog. Of course, being a puppy, she then gets up and tries to play some more with Deuce. So pleased though that Deuce was appropriately gentle with her and seems to be trying to teach and communicate with her. Very important for puppy since she won’t have had anyone/dog to teach her doggy manners!

And then there was light….

Another clear day – cooler today at 23 degrees, but a whopping 97% humidity! Normally Lantau Island is difficult to see in the mist/smog – but today it’s clear as day. Pretty large island too (click to embiggen).

A simple thing, but wow it makes a big difference – the lights DH and I picked up last week were installed today.  Hallelulah!

SOOO nice to have a little more illumination in the flat. Another step closer to making this our home.

I mentioned before that the bump now looks like I swallowed a basketball. Here is photographic evidence!

I can now see Blueberry moving and pushing against my belly from the outside (on top of feeling her inside) and it is FREAKY.   I have to admit I’m a little squeamish about the whole being inside my belly thing – especially when she moves and makes it very obvious she is her own little being with her own mind.  LOL I think the best thing is just to take it all day by day, and try not to become a neurotic mess!