Wednesday, 19-11-2014. Day 91.
Fresh Fish, Hungry Cats, Boys and Girls.
Sam was still feeling down, so for the first part of the day, we didn't wander much beyond the neighborhood around the hotel.
The girls were getting hungry, so we went foraging for food. We walked over to a little waffle shop we'd spotted the day before. It was just a hole in the wall where a couple of guys made waffles with condensed milk, peanut butter, and honey for 18 Hong Kong dollars (HKD).
After drinks and waffles, our bill was 56 HKD (about $7 US), but all I had was a 1,000 HKD note, which was sort of like carrying paying for a pack of gum with a $100 bill, but thee wasn't much I could do—that was what came out of the ATM.
However, the guys at the waffle joint couldn't break a 1,000 note, so they told us where to find an ATM (inside the Tin Hau train station) and let us leave to find it with the food we hadn't yet paid for, which was pretty swell of them. At the ATM, we took out some smaller ($200) notes so we could actually pay for our waffles (and other things at shops that wouldn't be able to break 1,000 HKD notes).
After all that, Jackie wasn't too fond of the waffles (Frankie and I thought they were pretty delicious), so now we had to find food for Jackie. We meandered down a street near the Causeway Bay Market and found some sponge cake things Jackie liked at the Violet Cake Shop.
The big problem of the morning was that the waffle place had been out of coffee, so we tried the coffee at the Pacific Coffee (a Starbucks-like place) branch down the street from the hotel. The employees were exceptionally nice; the coffee was okay. In addition to coffee, though, they served babychococcinos, which are like chocolate lattes without the coffee, so we ordered up a few of those as well.
We spent a little time walking around the Causeway Bay Market and the surrounding streets, taking in the sights, like fresh fish, fresh vegetables, and fresh meats. And one really lean, hungry cat.
We'd been invited by our friend Sarah to come visit with her and her family in Sai Kung where Frankie could take part in their weekly soccer practice session.
So with about an hour to go before soccer practice started, we jumped into taxi at the nearby taxi stand and our friendly driver punched up Sai Kung into Google Maps and we were off. Hong Kong is pretty big and has two "sides"—an island side and a mainland side. We were staying on the island side while Sai Kung is a good distance into the mainland side. The taxi ride took about 45 minutes and cost s 180 HKD. All I had to pay with, though, was my last 1,000 HKD note, and when I pulled that out of my wallet the taxi driver's eyes nearly popped right out of his head. But he did manage to (barely) find 820 HKD in change.
We got to Sai Kung just in time for the beginning of soccer practice. Frankie and Sarah's daughter were the only two girls on the team; the rest were 9-12 year old boys. Frankie eagerly took the field, and the first thing she did was score a goal during a drill. The keeper wasn't too happy about that and cried out, with his face still in the artificial turf, "You cheated!"
Once the sun went down and the kids were sufficiently warmed up, the practice moved to a nearby cement soccer court (better lighting down there) and Frankie played a scrimmage game with the other kids for an hour while Jackie played with Sarah's two younger sons.
After soccer, we walked over to Sai Kung Town, which is along the waterfront and known for its many seafood restaurants. A few of the larger restaurants keep the fish and other sea creatures they turn into meals in large tanks that are stacked up outside.
The tanks hold a lot of weird critters, but the weirdest critter we saw was the mantis shrimp (regionally known as the pissing shrimp), which looks and moves more like an alien embryo than a shrimp. It's supposed to be delicious, but it was freaky looking. There was even one restaurant that had a pair of giant horseshoe crabs just sitting along the walkway. It was pretty surreal.
Sarah and her family treated us to a traditional Chinese dinner, which was very nice. We had a nice time hanging out with them, but the kids had school the next day and we were getting tired, so about 9:00 p.m. we decided it was time to part company. They escorted us to the nearby taxi stand where we got into a taxi and headed back to our hotel.
Our driver got lost a few times (this one did not have Google Maps), which was a bit worrisome, but he told us that he was a Kowloon taxi driver and this part of Hong Kong was very confusing. I agreed that it was, and I didn't want to keep paying him for his wrong turns down dead-end alleys and long detours around one-way streets, so I had him drop us a few blocks from the hotel. I paid him 200 HKD (and was glad it stopped there; it kept going up every time he missed a turn) and we walked the rest of the way—but not before stopping off at the Circle K to get some snacks for the morning.
- Taxis taken: 2
- Lost taxi drivers: 1
- Horseshoe crabs seen: 2
- Mantis shrimp seen: countless
- Cats seen: 1