43 days of summer
In the previous post I went over my first few months of settling in Hong Kong. Today it’s time to talk about my first visitor and the amazing 43 days of summer we spent. Of course I’m talking about CJ!
Just like all people entering Hong Kong, except for Nicole Kidman, CJ had to do quarantine. The hotel was the same as the one I had stayed in during my voluntary confinement, so it was quite decent. But going over there to drop off some survival packages for him provided me with a complementary perspective: I got to see the hotel from the outside, knowing full well what went down behind that barrier that I couldn’t pass. It was weird to be so close yet so far, after almost a year.
On 1 August CJ got out of his 14-day quarantine, so I took a ferry to fetch him. Seeing him emerge from the check-out counter was really joyous for both of us: oof, we had made it. As his first post-quarantine meal he had decided on Shake Shack hamburgers (I had done so too), so we went to the IFC, one of the Two Towers of Hong Kong and feasted on food and views — Shake Shack is located on the rooftop of the IFC.
Next came the perilous journey to Lamma. As soon as we set sail (okay, okay, we didn’t do that much sailsetting but rather sat inside in the AC-controlled room, enjoying the polar temperatures that are so common for Hong Kong), it started POURING. In fact, it was raining so badly that we could see cats and dogs falling out of the sky, just short of a sharknado. As we got to Lamma, the weather app informed us that, indeed, locally on Lamma there was an extreme amount of raindrops that kept falling on our heads. Don’t believe, here’s a pic because it did happen. And this was when it had already subsided a bit. Eventually we made it up the mountain and we could just be at ease.
Over the next few days we slowly slid into a daily rhythm. I had to work and so did CJ so we did spend a lot of time together in my of office. While those daily moments were fun, that is probably not why you’re here, dear reader, so I won’t dilly-dally nor beat around any bushes, but just take you on a tour of the highlights.
Food and coffee
Since we basically had to cram a year of not seeing each other in 43 days, we had a lot of good food and coffee. Here are pictures (insert thousands of words).
Places we visited
Of course, we also went places.
Opulence, you own everything
First up is the Monopoly exhibition on the Peak. I had always suspected it was a tourist trap and my suspicions were confirmed. But I’m happy CJ was willing to indulge in my wish to go there. It was expensive, but they had a fun money grabbing game in the installation which kinda made it worth it. Also the history of the game by itself. If anybody ever wants to play Monopoly with me, I’m down~
We also went to Discovery Bay, which is probably best described as Club Med in Hong Kong or Center Parcs HK. It’s where CJ grew up and for kids that looks like a super safe and nice community. We visited his old primary school and also the house he lived in the longest there. I love doing house tours. Anyways, pictured here are the central plaza with the Pacific Coffee CJ used to get LAN internet from and the DB beach.
One day, we also went to the Big Buddha. It was not the firs time I had been there, but it would be the first time taking the cable car – last time we had taken a bus. The first picture is us in our cable car. In the second one you can spot him on the left.
But to our astonishment, the Buddha was under construction! Luckily it did not dampen our fun. We took pictures with the free-roaming cows and statues of the 12 arhats, and still climbed up to his bodhiness.
There was also the Po Lin monastery which was pretty beautiful (and I have seen many Chinese temples so I have a frame of reference). Adding to the athmosphere was the praying of the monks that could be heard from outside of their hall which we weren’t allowed to enter.
Chi Lin Nunnery
Chi Lin Nunnery and the adjacent Nanlian Garden, which I have visited a few times before (just look at previous blogs), also had the honour of being frequented by us. And we had the honour of witnessing the golden pavilion.
The nunnery itself is also nice; it’s a kind of fake old temple which is an acquired aesthetic.
I have friends
One of the shows we watched together was Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Well, I had watched seasons 1-3 and we watched season 4 together. One of the best things in that show is the crazy amount of fun songs the cast have given us. Here is I have friends.
Friends… songs… that brings us to the great karaoke moments we got to spend with CJ high school friends!
But of course we also hung out away from the microphone.
Yes, they have a Ponyta in their living room. It’s a thing.
Some final moments of our life on Lamma. First there was the ghost month. People will leave out offerings to the ghosts in exchange for luck. But, as my hair stylist warned me, it’s best not to touch the offerings or even sing while going up during ghost month. Very dangerous.
I remember in Taipei they also stayed away from bodies of water, lest the ghosts would snatch you in and turn you into a ghost. Ghastly.
We also saw our first snake on Lamma! A little copperhead race.
For an island that has a snake path, which I often tread on, I can’t help it but be disappointed that so far I’ve only seen this little copperhead racer.
WHERE ARE THE PYTHONS?
WHERE ARE THE COBRAS?
WHERE ARE THE BAMBOO PIT VIPERS?
Soothing moon-lit views of the island to calm you down Thomas.
Cute pictures of CJ with an oversized dog that should not be living a tropical clime to calm you down Thomas.
Tranquil sunset views to calm you down Thomas.
Summer and its subsequent separation
From my facebook message:
I’ve learnt in the past few years that after wonderful summers together, the next season is always heralded by separation September. It’s weird how it doesn’t really matter where but just being with you somehow always feels natural. 💕️
This was the caption for the picture that we took right before CJ went in for customs and to catch his flight. Once again, we were separated by barriers I couldn’t pass.
I can only reiterate that, in the words of Vance Joy, whose music you really need to be in the mood for because it’s basically all variations of the same song but that one song is so good, in this iteration, you’re the missing puzzle piece, and I can’t wait until we’re back together again.
Because when you’re in a room with me that missing piece is found. You know when you’re by my side darling nothing can bring us down.
CJ & Thomas out!