Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Dogs

One of the things that cracks me up about our new home is the love affair that the people have with their dogs.  Hong Kongers, especially those in Sai Kung, the area in which we live, LOVE their canine friends.  Seriously.  They treat them like they are children. 

I confess that, being a cat person myself, I am at best indifferent, at worst, repulsed by the presence of dogs.  I find their bad breath and odor a bit disgusting and I detest the way they like to lick and sniff private parts as a friendly greeting, not to mention the jumping, loud barking and growling.   Relative to cats, I have always thought of dogs as, well, oafish and unrefined and I merely tolerate their presence.  So, this total love affair with hounds is baffling to me….but also utterly amusing.


The pooches around here are pampered to the max.  They are usually washed and groomed by domestic helpers several times a week or sometimes daily.  And they are truly the best behaved dogs I ever encountered.  They do not bark, growl, jump up, beg or whine.  Some walk through the streets without leashes dutifully following their owners.  Some don’t even have to bother walking as they are carted around in their own strollers. 



It is not at all uncommon to see pooches politely sitting in chairs at restaurants with their own plates in front of them. 


They don’t jump on the tables, whine, bark or beg.  They sit there like people!!  I have no idea how they get these creatures to behave so properly.

And of course, they must always be dressed to the nines. 

mickey dog


Complete with matching shoes.


I’m telling you I CANNOT make these things up!


Since we have arrived, we’ve taken the opportunity to explore the city and see some sights.  Here are pictures of some of the places we’ve visited.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery was founded in the 1950’s.  We got our exercise as the walk up to the monastery consists of more than 430 steps and a steep concrete path uphill. 

buddha dad kids

All along the path, there are dozens of life-sized golden painted Buddha statues, in various poses.  The kids had fun mimicking some of them. 

buddha web cell phone buddha dad chin

buddha aaron surprise

There are not literally 10,000 buddhas there.  Actually, I believe the count is about 12,000.  The term “10,000” is a figure of speech in Chinese to mean “a gazillion” or “a heck-of-a-lot of [fill in the blank].”

buddha webley hands


buddha kids mom big statue buddha mom aaron queen

There’s a temple at the very top.  We saw fruits and even take-out boxes of food laid out as offerings.  It made me wonder what happens to all of that food? It must go bad after awhile.  Who gets to make the call that it’s time to throw it out?  There were signs all around warning visitors of the aggressive monkeys in the area.  We didn’t see any while we were there, but maybe the monkeys get to enjoy the food.

The Peak

A popular tourist destination is called “The Peak.”  It’s on the tallest mountain in Hong Kong.  Although the pictures don’t do it justice, the view is stunning. 

peak mom and kids peak family peak dad kids

Benjy read an article about the most expensive house in the world which is located near the top of The Peak.  We didn’t get a picture of it, but it didn’t look all that impressive to me to be called “the most expensive house in the world.”  I suppose you’re paying for the location.

Webley just had to get shots of the heart in front of the shopping center on The Peak.

peak web aaron presents peak web heart

Museum of History

We visited the Hong Kong Museum of History.  It was filled with a lot of interesting information about Hong Kong.  Be advised that Benjy found it so edifying that he now thinks that it should be a required stop for any visitor who comes to stay with us in Hong Kong. 

Interestingly, Hong Kong was attacked by the Japanese on December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  Within 3 weeks, the Japanese had successfully taken Hong Kong and occupied it for approximately 2 years. 

I won’t bore you with more history information, but here are a couple pictures of the kids at two of the exhibits. 

museum web boat museum kids giants

Star Ferry

Supposedly, riding the Star Ferry is on some top-10 list of things to do before you die.  I’m not quite sure why.  Benjy says it has some historical significance behind it.  I suppose I should look it up.  It’s a fun trip, but it’s short and not particularly memorable.  I suppose now we can all mark it off our bucket lists.   Here’s a picture of Webley on the Star Ferry. 

webley star ferry

Christmas and New Year in the Kong

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted.  It has been a whirlwind for us between Christmas, New Year, cleaning up our new apartment, moving out of the hotel, moving into our apartment and getting unpacked.  I AM E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D.

Christmas this year was, of course, nothing like the past.  But against all odds and the kids’ great anxiety that he would not be able to find us on the 20th floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sha Tin, Hong Kong, Santa came through!  It was a humble celebration, with only a few gifts, but at least the fat guy showed! 

 Christmas Hotel

 The people of Hong Kong love any excuse to decorate and celebrate. Christmas is no exception.  Here are a few pictures we took of some of the decorations they had up in the city. 

harbor city night skyline harbor city mom kids tree harbor city kids mom disney tree harbor city kids disney tree harbor city family skyline harbor city family night skyline harbor city dad kids stair harbor city dad kids bannister harbor city christmas trees harbor city aaron train

It is all very beautiful and a tad bit excessive, but, to me, felt a little hollow.  It’s like a huge celebration without really knowing what everyone is getting all excited about.  No manger scenes, wise men or even the obligatory bumper sticker imploring us to “Remember the Reason for the Season.”  To me, there was just something missing that could not be adequately concealed with all that glitz and dazzle. <sigh>

Benjy had to work Christmas Eve, but the kids and I spent a delightful evening with some new friends.  They also happen to be our neighbors upstairs and have been so kind, generous and helpful.  They have truly been a blessing to us!

You may be disappointed to know that our first New Year in Hong Kong was spent with all of our heads comfortably on our pillows by 11:00 p.m.  We simply were too exhausted from moving into our apartment to even consider fighting the crowds to watch the fireworks over the harbor.  We were told the fireworks show at New Years was 8 minutes long, but the fireworks show for Chinese New Year will be 35 minutes long.  Now that’s a lot of fireworks!  So, we opted to brave the crowds for that show instead.  I may live to regret that decision later.

When I look back at our 2013, I am astounded by all of the life-altering changes we have undergone: homeschooling, job transfer, packing up our house, moving across the globe, living in a hotel and adjusting to living in a foreign country, just to name a few.  It’s enough to make my head spin.  If I were the person I was 10 years ago, you probably would have found me long ago under my bed, in a fetal position with my fingers plugging my ears and drool streaming out of the side of my mouth as I incessantly hum the theme song from “Love Boat.”  I surprise even myself how we’ve taken it all in stride.  And that brings to mind one of my favorite verses, Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”   

Benjy, Webley, Aaron and I wish all of you in 2014 the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.