weekend

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Cantonese, Travel, Weekend Trips

HONG KONG

Those living in Zhuhai have the great advantage of being within easy reach of two of great weekend-break spots on the Pearl River Delta: Macau and Hong Kong. A few weeks ago we had a guest post about our neighbour Macau and now the lovely Pearl of the Orient, is due for a bit of a polish.

HOW TO GET THERE

Everyone knows you can take the ferries from Jiu Zhou Port in Zhuhai to either the airport port (provided you have a airticket) or the Hong Kong China Ferry Terminal at the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station, Kowloon.

For those low-ballers amongst us, try the Sky Shuttle helicopter option which takes a smooth 15min to Macau at a even cooler $2,900. For those of you sticking around until or returning in 2016 you’ll be able to use the long awaited Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge (hopefully by 2016 the name will be shorter than the bridge itself).

GETTING AROUND

Take your pick of the labyrinth MTR (subway), double decker trams and buses, pricey taxi’s and when the weather’s not mimicking a sauna, talk a walk. Public transport is made very convenient to use with the Octopus card (see below.)

InternChina – Hong Kong Tram
InternChina – Hong Kong Taxi

InternChina – MTR Map

ACCEPTED EVERYWHERE

While VISA is accepted everywhere, in Hong Kong at least, the Octopus card (八達通, Bat Dat Toong in Cantonese) is genuinely testing this notion!

InternChina – Don’t leave your hostel without it

This handy card stores credit for not only all public transport on the island, but extends to paying for goods (McMeals, clothes, books) and services (racecourse bets, car park spaces, movie theaters, photocopies) at various stores and even acts as a school attendance checker and an access control mechanism at some commercial buildings. This ID-less credit token makes life in Hong Kong infinitely easier – especially since some wet markets even accept it!

THE HONG KONG MENU

While the Brits have “tea time”, the Cantonese have “yum cha” (飲茶) which means “drink tea” which ACTUALLY means you’ll be going out to eat “dim sum”.

Possibly the most famous of Hong Kong specialities “dim sum” refers to a style of Cantonese food. It’s traditionally prepared as small bite-sized portions served in small steamer baskets or on small plates.

 

Dai pai dong refers to the once very popular open air street-food stalls. It literally means “restaurant with a big license plate”, referring to its size of license which is bigger than other licensed street vendors and presently there are all but 28 left in Hong Kong.

InternChina – Similar to outdoor BBQ stalls around the mainland

Cha chaan teng are found in Hong Kong and some parts of Guangdong. Typicall warm, weak tea is offered upon being seated and sometimes the utensils are washed/rinsed with the tea too. They offer a range of budget meals ranging from western versions of cafe snacks (like the overly sweet version of french toast) to very traditional staples like wonton soup. Both fast food and a la cart menus are available.

InternChina – Typical fare of Milk Tea and French Toast

RECOMMENDED SOURCES FOR YOUR TRIP

  • Not feeling the pull of Honkers yet? Take a look at these very persuasive photos.
  • If you couldn’t be bothered to set up an itinerary – try these sample ones
  • Ferry times to and from Zhuhai and Macau
  • For those going specifically to get a visa extension try our recommended agency
  • The MTR website will help you calculate your route and journey time
  • Tips on how to shop in Hong Kong like a seasoned pro.
  • Must-try foods when you’re in Hong Kong and where to go!
  • Survival Cantonese phrases – print them out and take them with!
Things To Do in Zhuhai, Zhuhai Blogs, Zhuhai InternChina Events

Shooting in the sports center of Zhuhai

Hey guys,Here is what the three of us, Leo, David and I, did last saturday. We went to the sport center “Ti Yu Zhong Xin” in Zhuhai to try something new we never tried before – shooting! The sports center is a big complex where you can do different kinds of sports. There you can find the sports hall for shooting. You can see it on the picture above! My very first impression was: “Is this really the right place for this activity?” But it was the right place and it was amazing. 🙂
After we entered the hall, a co-worker accompanied us to the room for the “beginners”. We went through other halls with different kinds of targets; I think some of them were also moving targets. Our “targets” were empty bottles which were located on three long, iron racks. First of all we tried the small gun. (See pictures! :)) A magazine of 8 bullets was 22 Yuan. It was the same price for the rifle which we tried afterwards. Both guns were nice, but all of us had more problems with the small gun because you have to target at the bottles more accurately and calculate some centimeters lower or higher. With the rifle it was much easier to hit the bottles but therefore less interesting. After few magazines were empty, we took some pictures and asked the two guys, who helped us with the guns, whether there are also other guns. Suddenly they opened a big, old closet with different other guns. Unfortunately our knowledge of guns is poor so I cannot say which guns those were. 🙁
But we recognized the big shotgun and we immediately asked the co-workers whether we can try it and what the price for one bullet is. One bullet was 12 Yuan. Not that cheap.
But we just wanted to try the shotgun, at least 2 bullets. It really was worth it because the feeling was incredible. It is like you experience a kickback after you shoot and it is so f…g loud. 🙂
To all guys who want to try it I can just recommend it to you. For us it was the first time and I can honestly say that we really enjoined it although it was just some minutes of fun! 🙂

Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao InternChina Events, Things To Do in Qingdao, Travel, Weekend Trips

Lao Shan Trip

We organised a trip to the Laoshan mountain region this weekend; its a really picturesque nature reserve about 40 minutes taxi drive from Qingdao. There were eleven of us with as much Tsingtao as we could carry, a cheap “Doss” stereo from Carrefour and 200 cups for the beer pong…we were ready.
We booked a house for two nights, which worked out at Y130 each, or only £13! The house was perfectly nice with the usual amenities and the Chinese owner even cooked some food for us on the first night; with local river fish, chicken feet and other traditional dishes. I don’t think she was particularly pleased with us for arriving nearly two and half hours late and having a loud argument with the taxi driver for trying to rip us off, but hopefully she just wrote it off as typical “Laowai” behaviour. The first night it was pouring with rain, so we just ate and then had a few drinks…then a few more drinks…then played beer pong…then played a lot more beer pong; perfect. 😀
On Saturday we did some walking/hiking in the mountains. There was an old temple which was pretty cool to look around, and just a short distance away we saw a monk meditating on an overhanging rock which was both awesome and brilliantly stereotypical! The scenery really was beautiful; after reaching the end of the official path we all climbed over some of the large boulders so we could get a better view, and then just chilled for an hour or so. In contrast to the fog you so often get in Qingdao it was a day of perfect sunshine and clear blue skies, so we were all pretty content to just relax for a while.
When we made it back to the house we simply set up “ring of fire” and got drunk again; perfect. It was really, really funny, and Sophie was particularly pathetic at it, which I think deserves a mention. 😉 Sven definitely made it his personal mission to forget the stresses of the day (soaking up the sun it one of China’s most beautiful regions) and he definitely achieved it!
Brilliant weekend, hopefully many more to come! 🙂
Ben & Philipp

 

Travel, Weekend Trips

CHENGDU – 成都

Ciao i miei tesorini!
So this weekend, despite the fact that I did not go to Bangkok, I managed to have a ball in Chengdu!

Getting there was a bit rough, my flight was supposed to leave Guangzhou at 20.30 on Friday so I left work a bit early but by the time I had gone through security and waited a bit, the status of the flight was changed to delayed. Jamie had forewarned me about domestic Chinese flights being infamous for delays so I couldn’t say that I was too surprised. A delay of about 5 hours, however, was not expected. The mixture of frustration along with the propensity to complain by Chinese people was something to see – the poor airline employee was surrounded by an angry mob of flyers yelling at him. Don’t kill the messenger, guys! But never fear! McDonalds and bottled water quickly arrived and placated most of the crowd, although a few of the angrier ones went over to the Air China counter and demanded that we fly out on time, only to no avail. For me, it was a good 5 hours actually, I made the acquaintance of three Hong Kongers who were going to Tibet via Chengdu and we changed contact info and I plan to meet up with them in August when I am in HK!

I arrived in Chengdu and got to my hostel at about 5.00, much later than I was expecting! I slept for about 4 hours and then woke up and headed over to the “People’s Garden” which is a massive park in Chengdu with many tea houses where you can just sip on some longjing tea and read/chat/play mah-jong for hours. I opted for reading and thoroughly enjoyed Italo Calvino’s Eremita a Parigi.

The rest of the first day I wandered quite a bit – saw some nice temples, a science museum, the main shopping area/pedestrian street where I people-watched for quite a bit but actually found that people were often so interested in me that they’d ask for some photos and make small talk, often limited by a combination of my bad Putonghua and their limited command of English.

A note about the food: AMAZING. SPICES AND PEPPERS GALORE. I can truly only hope to hire my own personal chef from Sichuan when I am older 😉

Saturday night was a bit crazy and I met up with some people in the Couch Surfing community – thanks for the suggestion, Jamie! Went to a chill Jamaican-esque bar called “Hemp House” and played the illustrious dice-game and then went to the most ridiculous club I have ever been in my life! The only option was table service with either brandy or cognac – luckily one of my new acquaintances knew people and we didn’t have to pay! 😉 – The night went into morning and I didn’t get to sleep until 5.30, which normally isn’t a problem, but I had to wake up at 7 to go see the famous PANDAS. I managed and although I was suffering – the visit to the panda centre was well worth it. The pandas are so lively and playful – even watching them munch on bamboo is interesting!!

The rest of Sunday is a mix of eating, napping, wandering and reading.

Had to wake up at 5 this morning to catch my flight back to Guangzhou and then a bus back to Zhuhai and here I am.

I ADORED Chengdu and plan to go back there ASAP – the dichotomy of the “most relaxed city” in China along with the energy of the people leads to such a chill yet happening place.

This upcoming weekend, white water river rafting with my host mother and her colleagues is on the agenda so expect another good blog post then!!

Bacioni

Michæl

 

Things To Do in Zhuhai, Travel, Weekend Trips

桂山岛 – TURTLE ISLAND

倪么好!
So, despite my “Crocodile Park” blog post saying that I was heading off to Macao this past weekend, I ended up going to 桂山岛 – Guishan Island, or “Turtle Island” with some friends. The island is home to (I am guessing here…) 500 or so people. It definitely has a small island/fishing village vibe to it. The beach was OK – it was no Sanya but it was definitely better than what’s here in Zhuhai! The beach on Saturday was bumping but Sunday we were the only ones there! A thunderstorm was rolling in late afternoon on Saturday but luckily the local police gave us a ride back to our hotel from the beach right before the storm hit! Now that’s rendering service to the public!! ☺
Saturday night was filled with delicious, fresh seafood – the best shrimp that I’ve ever had the pleasure to sink my teeth into along with some mildly inebriated karaoke. Although a Japanese import, Chinese girls have an insatiable hunger for karaoke that leaves you drunk and with ringing ears come last call.
Sunday we woke up, had breakfast, bought some random foodstuffs at the local general store and headed over to the beach. I lost my goggles. ‘Twas beyond heartbreaking.
At about 16.30 we had to depart from the illustrious Turtle Island and head back to Zhuhai.
Looking for cheap flights to go somewhere next weekend so expect something good come next Monday!
我爱你们!

Michæl

Things To Do in Zhuhai

CROCO PARK

Ello ello everyone,
I went to a certain “Crocodile park” with my host family on Saturday. It was definitely interesting, although the novelty admittedly wore off after about an hour. There were monkeys, pigs and crocodiles. Quite the combination.

Afterwards, they took me to the periphery of Zhuhai and we visited a traditional Guangdong village along with a war memorial commemorating the British defeat at Zhuhai. Mind you, the Brits did end up with the Pearl of the Orient, i.e. Hong Kong.

Overall it was a very nice Saturday. The mountain was so peaceful and had wonderful fresh air. It is actually a nature reserve so any development is not allowed in the area. It was a nice departure from the hustle and bustle of the city! And peculiarly enough, on top of this mountain, I had Hong Kong cell phone service…rather strange!

Can’t wait to fill you all in on my MACAO adventures next weekend! 🙂

bisous

Michæl