To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Hong Kong

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Middleburgh - Bliss

"Blissful" is how my 5 year old son might have described yesterday. The previous evening we reviewed options for the weekend and concluded that pizza would be a mandatory component. I suggested we spent the morning in Stanley and had lunch at Pizza Express in Main Street. Thus negotiated, the day actually went as follows.

Breakfast with a Giraffe

We bussed to Aberdeen for breakfast. Jamie had refused to believe me when I had told him that earlier in the week I had lunch with a giraffe. (on one hand I am hurt that he doesn't believe his father , on the other, proud that he doesn't accept things he is told blindly) So we go to the ThaiOne Restaurant for a Thai breakfast. True, .... it's not a real giraffe ,... it's not even a whole giraffe ,only a neck and head ....and its plastic, but lets face it .you don't often see bits of a giraffe in a restaurant, not even on the menu, let alone in a Thai Restaurant (after all giraffes come from Africa and the last time I looked Thailand was in Asia)

For those who are interested in what a Thai breakfast looks like, it just like standard Hong Kong Western Style breakfast (Toast,Ham, egg, baked beans plus choice of Fish, steak or chicken fillet or bowl of noodles) ..with a beef satay stick

The Minibus

Breakfast under our belts (wishful thinking in my case) we went in search of the bus to Stanley. 2 "big"buses sailed past threatening a 30 minute wait in the blistering sun. Fortuitously a minibus appeared and we were the first to board . Did it worry us that the driver and dispatcher were anxiously poking at one of the tires (no ..we simply put it down to routine maintenance).. It's always an exciting journey to Stanley. The route is very scenic passing the beaches at Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay, Middle Bay, and the luxury condos (above my pay grade) so favored by other expats. On "big" buses it's thrilling to sit up front on top deck with your rosary . Here you can savior the swaying from side to side which brings you perilously close to the rocks and the sea The overhanging branches thrash the sides as you listen for bangs which might indicate a collision with passing minibus

In a minibus the experience is totally different.. The swaying is a function of the drivers control over his vehicle or lack thereof and the speed at which he enters and exists bend emulating racing driver. Any bangs or strange noises are normally due to things dropping off minibus .. rarely collisions with "big" buses, It's like being in one of rides at Ocean Park .... really enjoyable if you are five years old


Now the thing about Deep Water and Repulse bays apart from the beach are the luxury yachts .. give the place a very Mediterranean feel. This week however we were fortunate to spy the Adastra which was built locally for Anto and Elaine Marden by John Shuttleworth. This spectacular super trimaran looks like something out of the 23 century and is nothing like anything I have seen before. It is just the sort of thing to wow rich kids (and 5 year olds - in fact anyone with a sense of imagination !!) : When we got home we had some serious role playing with an inverted toy jet figher upside down and sliding around and the floor (aka the sea) - it really did look more like the trimaran!!

Stanley Plaza

They hadn't finshed refurbishing this the last time we were here (2 years ago)- It's really cool . It even has a specialist US grocery shop to cater for locals (a civilian PX??) - We took the escalator down and Jamie promptly discovered and explored the kiddies play area (well lets face it .. he made it his own .. even if he had to share it with some other kids) It was all too hot for me so I went to visit the local temple and admire the tiger skin which belonged to the last tiger in HK (until shot by an Indian Policeman outside Stanley police station). We then sauntered down the prom to Pan beach where Jamie played in the sand and dodged the surf for a short while.Last time we were here there were Dragon Boat races to watch and Korean girls desirous of having their photograph taken with him. No such luck this time ... but his time will come again I am sure.

The Market

Heavy rain blew in from the sea just as we left the beach, so we ducked in the back entrance to Stanley market. (normally we leave market for tourists) On this occasion Jamie was privileged to get a new silk traditional Chinese outfit for Autumn Festival (apparently he has grown out of his current one and it was a lot cheaper than waiting to buy one later in town) He also got a traditional chinese fan suitable for poking peoples eyes out (are we indulgent parents or what !!) By the time we escaped the market the rain had stopped


We actually skipped Pizza Express going instead to our old favorite "Classified" for pizza (I had checked the visitor rating for Pizza Express in Tripadvisor before we left home !! ) We had an English Pizza ...well why not!!.... half of which we brought back in a doggie box (which I had for breakfast this morning) We therefore met our primary mission objective although I have to say Jamie wasn't that enthusiastic about pizza preferring thick crust over thin..... .still ......pizza is pizza.... and Classified has an extensive selection of cheeses which we inspected.(Named by Time magazine as one of the Top 5 Restaurants for Cheese Lovers)

FYI: The night before we had read "the treasure of Captain Claw "which features an environmentally conscious couple addicted to Triple-fudge sundaes who bury some stinky cheese on an island with te intention of returning to retrieve it in order to properly dispose of it rather than litter the environment. Admirable!! A wonderful learning lesson which can be expanded to cover the biology and chemistry of cheese making, food spoilage etc (not to mention discussions of socioeconomic and cultural implications of cheese and dairy products to Western Civilization and implications for NSA monitoring of American eating habits.

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