Monday, August 12, 2013

Twice Up the Barrel Asian Tour

As the time in Palau winds down more and more, I'm finding that things are just sort of falling into place. There's still much to do. Every time I remember that I somehow need to find a place to live in Salt Lake City so I can immediately move upon arriving in the United States of America, I can hear the sounds of a ticking clock in the back of my head. But all in all, things seem to be going relatively smoothly on the move-to-the-other-side-of-the-world front.

I wonder if it hasn't seemed that bad because compared to last year when I was trying to move to Palau it just hasn't been that complicated. Moving to Palau was a perturbable nightmare. You know that feeling you get when you are rushed out of the house because you're late and for the rest of the day you have this nagging sense that you forgot to turn something off?

THAT.

I had that feeling for about three months, but amplified. In about one-quarter of the time I actually needed, I had moved everything I owned into boxes, storage units, people's houses, etc.

I was literally taping up a box in the car on the way to the airport for someone to ship to Palau for me. And when I started filling out the customs form for the box, I realized that I could not name one single item that I had just put into it. I had so frantically started throwing loose items into boxes that didn't make it to the storage unit that I was no longer paying attention to what was going where. So I took my best guess and then hopped onto a plane. That box arrived in Palau a few weeks after I did. In it: seven partially used rolls of tinfoil, loose silverware, and a bunch of unopened credit card offers that had come in the mail.

That kind of disorganization doesn't seem to be happening so far. I've been slowly but meticulously making organized to do lists and including things in them like "make an organized to do list" so I can already have something to check off. And with four weeks to go and a substantial amount of planning to do, I'm not actually feeling all that overwhelmed.

But the real reason I'm writing today, besides the fact that I get angry emails if ever I don't post (see, April 2013), is to get some advice from you about my homeward-bound journeys.

I've decided to take the scenic route home. The responsible thing to do would be to get back as quickly as possible and attempt to get my affairs in order before I start working again. But then I began looking at flights and seeing all of the cool places I could stop by on the way home for basically the same price. So, Asia, here I come!

I don't have a lot of time but I'll spend a full day in Seoul Korea and then about two and a half days in Hong Kong. I've never been to either of these places.

When I told Bob and Cathie I would be traveling alone, they immediately started forwarding me articles about human sex-trafficking.

And I was all, BOB AND CATHIE! I ALREADY HAVE A JOB!

So, I'm wondering whether any of you are familiar with either of these two cities and whether you have any advice for traveling to them (what to see, what to avoid, what to eat, where does the Queen of Colors hang out, etc.).

If you don't have anything to say on this topic, maybe just leave an unjustifiably angry comment about your most hated fashion faux pas.

~It Just Gets Stranger

79 comments:

  1. Did you ever find a use for all that tinfoil?

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    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, I should have guessed that....

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    2. Most of it will be passed on to those we'll leave behind. And hats.

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  2. Replies
    1. Agree. Have a co-worker who has one of these almost daily. I have literally gagged seeing her.

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  3. WHY DO PEOPLE THINK IT'S OKAY TO NOT ONLY WEAR CROCS, BUT CROCS WITH SANDALS?!

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    1. How on earth does someone wear both crocs and sandals at the same time? that would definitely be a faux pas if I even understood the concept. One foot croc and the other a sandal???? We need pictures!!

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    2. How does one wear Crocs and sandals?

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    3. Why would anyone even wear crocs? In all circumstances, those are the biggest fashion faux pas ever invented!

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    4. One would wear ugly crocs in the circumstances that you need comfortable shoes that can be rinsed off, like if you work in a restaurant (yuck)or a hospital (double yuck). Splashy jobs were you are on your feet all day.

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    5. Perhaps Becca meant "crocs with socks," which rhymes, so maybe she didn't want us to think she was Dr. Seuss or Shakespeare, or maybe she was confused because sandals with socks can also be considered a fashion faux pas (except not in Minnesota in the Spring)? In any case, I'm not in favor of crocs with socks except that at least I can't see little glimpses of toes (shudder).

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  4. According to the local news, sex trafficking in the Pacific Northwest is far more prevalent. You're probably safer in Korea than Seattle, if that's where your concerns lie. :)

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  5. Guys wearing skinny jeans...
    No... just...
    ...no...

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    1. HA! I'm with you on that! It's the male equivalent to women wearing leggings as pants. It's so much WORSE though when they sag their skinny jeans though and unfortunatelymany of them do :-( It makes me question the universe and where we're headed!

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  6. Shirts or pants that closely resemble the color of skin tone of the person wearing them so at a glance they look undressed. eww

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  7. white socks and dress shoes/clothes, uggs and mini skirts, and leggings as pants

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  8. I'm with Alyssa, leggings are not pants. Don't care if the leggings are cute, the wearer is cute, or both.... Still not pants!!

    Bridg

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    1. http://amenalready.tumblr.com/post/44835007800/when-i-teach-the-yw-about-modesty

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  9. Going to visit foreign cities that are more modernized will help ease the transition back to the US for you. They'll have internet access, high traffic, and sensory overload, but won't be "home". I think the trip will lessen your culture shock and be a great experience just to tour other cultures for a bit.

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  10. I lived in Hong Kong for 2 years, and returned 11 months ago. HK is actually 2 places: Hong Kong island and the New TErritories - otherwise known as the mainland. The NT is probably cheaper to stay in ... things to see - the Star Ferry crosses the water from NT to HK island several times a day and is fun. From the STar Ferry on the NT side is Nathan road, which is where everyone goes to shop - lots and lots of side streets congested with all these knock off shops, etc. Theres a park, that has a nice bird display - this is all the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR stop. (MTR=subway) Back to HK island, you can take a fun tram to the peak.... you can take a bus to Stanley, an old fishing village with history etc., as well as take a bus to Aberdeen, another old fishing village. One amazing thing about HK is you can be in a building, take the elevator to the bottom where there's probably a mall, connected to the MTR; ride it to some other place where you get out into a mall and ride up into another tall building - in other words you don't really ever have to go outside! Another fun place is the mid levels - lots of cool restaurants and an escalator that takes you from the street level 1/2 way up a mountain.... hope this gives you some ideas!

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    1. Eli, make sure you take a guided tour with lots of tourists such as yourself and leave breadcrumbs from the airport so you can find your way back. :)

      Cathie xoxoxoxo
      P.S. Don't talk to strangers. Remember "Stranger Danger".

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    2. That was the most adorable comment evar.

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    3. Very helpful! Thank you! (Not referring to YOUR comment, Cathie).

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  11. With Alyssa and Anon...LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS!!

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    1. Yes, yes and yes. If leggings were supposed to be pants, they'd be called pants!

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  12. The KyongBok Palace is really cool - and also make sure to get some Cold Stone! haha! They're everywhere in So. Korea. The temple is pretty awesome there, too.

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  13. I will forever hate the following:

    Hipster glasses of all variety,
    When girls where leggings as pants,
    when girls where black leggings with brown boots,
    Pink shirts on men,
    Pants that sag so low that the wearer has to literally hold them up with one hand while walking,
    and Crocs.

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    Replies
    1. The men in my family wear pink the entire month of October in support of breast cancer awareness (Pinktober).

      Also, I will forever hate the fact that you don't know the difference between "wear" and "where".

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    2. Agreed. If you're going to hate something eternally, you might as want to learn how to spell it.

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  14. Hey! I live in South Korea and am also a big fan of your blog (I even put 'twice up the barrel, once down the side' on Urban Dictionary!). I'd be more than happy to advise you on what to do while in Seoul (or show you around if its a weekend). If you only have a day, what kinds of things are you interested in? Historical places? Shopping? Traditional events?

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    1. Megan, I'll be there on a Friday. I'm pretty open. I don't know much about Seoul yet so whatever you would recommend that would give me a half-decent view of the city in one day would be great. Shoot me an email if you have a minute. Thanks!

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    2. This email business always sounds fishy when Eli is involved.

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  15. Flesh colored stretch pants. I saw a pic on FB this morning that has scarred me for life.

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  16. -crew-neck Gs with v-neck Ts
    -running shoes when you're not running
    -wrinkled clothes
    -unibrows
    -ugly ties
    -too long of ties
    -snuggies
    -the incorrect use of the word *than/then
    -boots during the summer
    -Uggs during any season

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    Replies
    1. Just leave. Snuggies are always welcomed.

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  17. How fun to go exploring! Have a blast on your Asian tour!

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  18. I've been really wanting to go to Seoul, I'm so jealous!

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  19. I think it's a great idea! Have fun! And don't worry, you are older than the preferred sex-trafficking age - you're all washed up in that business! Sorry!

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    Replies
    1. How dare you! I'll have you know that people want to force me into the sex trade all the time!

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    2. How are there no replies to Eli saying that. COME ON PEOPLE, THIS IS GOLD.

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  20. Hi. A fan. I teach on base in Daegu South Korea. Seoul is amazing. I recommend itaewon market and then go to the Hamilton Hotel and just wander. There is a yummy Brazilian restaurant behind in the alley. Eat a ton of Korean food . . . So good.

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  21. I have never been to Hong Kong, but I have been to Taiwan and China. Taiwan is a really great place to visit, so if it's an option I think you should definitely go there. The people in Taiwan are really nice. They love foreigners, and the food is fantastic! I would recommend going to Taipei and seeing Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum, the night market, and the Jiang Kaishek memorial. If you're going to Hong Kong, then I highly recommend going to the night market if they have one. They have a great variety of food. While you're there, you should try baozi 包子, which are the steamed buns. They're soft steamed bread with a variety of fillings. Some common fillings include meat, vegetables, red bean, green bean, and bamboo. My favorite are the red bean and the bamboo stuffed baozi. Also try the traditional dumplings. They're better than any kind of pot stickers Americanized Chinese restaurants serve. Also, you must try the boba drinks. They're a type of smoothie/slushy drinks with tapioca pearls, also known as "precious pearls." In Chinese these are called zhen zhu 珍珠. The milk bubble tea is pretty much the same, only it's milk tea, called zhenzhu naicha 珍珠奶茶, which is also really nice. Here's a video of tasty Taiwanese snacks and drink from the YouTube channel, Learn Chinese Now. I'm pretty sure you will find these same things in Hong Kong.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmVOLE7kHXM&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLWmgcpoXdEMCX9Iy1uw7h4Z1g7g6Iveb5

    From my experience from China and Taiwan, if you ask the price of something, the shop keeper will triple the amount of what it's really worth, so make sure to bargain for a fair price. You can probably bargain in Hong Kong, except for in department stores where there is a set price for each item. I wish I could help you out on the language, but I don't speak Cantonese, I only speak Mandarin. If you are thinking of going to Taiwan or China, then let me know if you have any questions of what to see and how to say certain things in Mandarin.

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  22. Shorty-shorts! Nasty! The end!

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  23. While I'm thinking about it, you'll probably go to a dim sum restaurant if you go to Hong Kong. Here's a video from the YouTube channel called Off the Great Wall about how to order dim sum.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exnshNBjVkQ&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLN59L4gGXAA8ap4nOhdukIdTr7JysaRF5

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  24. I love hearing about Bob and Cathie because my parents are also a Bob and Cathy. Though it sounds like your set terrorized all you children even more, haha!

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  25. I had to apply for 17 visas to China in the spring (I work for a college and the students took a trip.). I don't know about Korea or Hong Kong, but you might check if they need visas. It's one thing to pass through their airport, but quite another to stay and then fly to U.S. Maybe you know all this and have already checked in to it, but if not, check.
    Also, skirts that are so short you're scared the person is going to show you something you don't want to see and pantaloons (actually saw a woman wearing pantaloons and a jacket dress...non ironically the other day).

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    1. No you dont need a visa for hk..well I guess they give you one upon arival, but with an american passport you dont have to do anything but show up :) Not sure about S. Korea though

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  26. I didn't read the comments this time so I hope I'm not bringing up this unfortunate display of manhood again, but! Guy tanktops. Or whatever they're called. Wifebeaters. Tight or loose just should not be on public display...if he is a twig anyways. If the dude has nice muscles then it's alright but in my mind I'm still all, "manwhore ladies." Just saying.

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    Replies
    1. They are currently refered to as "bro-tanks"...

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  27. Come on! Asia tour and no Sri LAnka? Ok, true we aren't hot on the traveller list but... Drop by in Colombo, Sri Lanka Eli! Please do.

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  28. You should stage a picture of either a mob chasing you or you being robbed for your parents! I am trying to find and exsample. :)

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    1. Here: http://www.flipmeme.com/image/dS1gW

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  29. You need more than a day in Seoul! You will see the most by doing one of those jump on/off bus tours of Seoul. Insadong has the best traditional souvenirs, Namdaemun is a great outdoor market- the best stuff is set up at midnight and you can haggle. Don't go to restaurants in Itaewon because they raise the prices for all the tourists.

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  30. Seriously, what is UP with girls wearing leggings as pants?? No, NO, a thousand times NOOOO.

    Also, taking the scenic route is an awesome idea. I'm planning my trip to Honduras for this Christmas and I've found that I could make some pretty cool stops along the way if I work it right. Grand Cayman, here I come!

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  31. I just watched Taken 2 and of course had watched Taken and i can assure you based on my total knowledge now on the sex trade. It happens in London and Istanbul. Not the places you are going. So enjoy yourself! Just dont go to strange parties and dont share cabs. You are welcome. Have fun! :)


    Heather

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  32. I can't believe no one put this. Pants hanging low-low-low so boxers (or briefs!) are visible. I saw one recently that MUST have been pinned to his boxers, the pants were so low-- at his knees. Ridiculous. Utterly.

    Though, I agree with the short-shorts and leggings, too. Ugh.

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  33. Look up SHINee, mimic them in everything and you will fit right into the Seoul Scene:)

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  34. Oooh, Hong Kong and Korea. Jealous! I don't know as much about Korea, except the best foods my Korean roommate recommended were bulgolgi (Korean BBQ) and bimbimbap (kind of like Teriyaki Stix but really awesome).

    As for Hong Kong: there's tons to do! Depends on what you want to fit in though. Go to Lantau Island to check out one of the biggest statues of Buddha you've ever seen. Plus the monastery itself is pretty awesome. Go to the jade market in Kowloon if you want to get really good prices on jade souvenirs—I mean very, very good prices. There's also the Temple Street night market where you can buy ANYTHING for anyone. I did early Christmas shopping there. I'd say try dim sum (usually before 10 or 11 am), see if you can find some tsa chiu bau (kind of sounds like chaw-sue-bow, as in take a bow). Kowloon is the cheaper side to stay on, Hong Kong island itself is typically more ritzy. Oh, and there's this street that's an entire fruit market. Almost any fruit you can imagine. Oh, and while you're wandering around Kowloon, look for the Super Mango-Mania drink, supposedly the specialty of Hui Lau Shan, but most places post pics and this will look like a 3-level orange and white drink. I dream about this drink. It's mango, coconut, and rice balls, but don't be scared of the rice balls.

    Other than that, be ready to haggle with EVERYONE. And hide your passport. And keep your wallet close. If you're paranoid about it, nothing will happen. Oh, and if you ever wanted to ride Harry Potter's night bus, take the double deckers. ;) One more safety tip. Everyone at the airport will be really, really friendly and want to give you a ride. Make sure you get in a real taxi (red on Hong Kong, blue on Lantau). Not a big problem, but if you're aware you should be fine. And last tip on tipping. Service is already tacked onto bills generally, but it's considered good grace to leave your change for the bill, like if something is $38.75 HKD, just leave $40.

    Have fun. Drink an extra Mango-Mania for me!

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  35. You know what really grinds my gears? Black and brown together.

    On a side note, you should buy pearls in Hong Kong.

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  36. Striped shirt with plaid shorts. Or the other way around. AVOID AT ALL COSTS. In other news, Eli, your hair is looking quite fabulous today! Did you happen to get a non-nude haircut recently?

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  37. Just go into a Korean fish market and be scarred for life.

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  38. Eli - consider a ride on the Duk Ling (if you're there on Thurs or Sat). When I visited back in 2007, it was free...now its HK100 (about USD12). I did the reservations upon arrival at the HK Airport. Here are some links, hope you find them useful.

    http://www.discoverhongkong.com/in/see-do/tours-walks/self-guided-walks/cultural-kaleidoscope-programme/duk-ling-ride.jsp

    http://www.discoverhongkong.com/in/plan-your-trip/practicalities/visitor-services-centre.jsp

    S



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  39. I highly suggest that you eat kimchi while in Korea. It's really frickin' awesome. Or really gross. Depending on your tastes.

    Also, I think that you should also ease back into the U.S. by going to Hawaii. It's like the mainland U.S., but different enough that it will feel like a stepping stone back into America.

    When traveling, I always make sure: 1. I have traveler's checks, just in case. 2. I know how to ask for the bathroom. 3. I flip around my backpack while on public transportation or in crowded areas. 4. I always travel with a towel.

    That is all. Safe travels. -V the G

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  40. We just visited Seoul last spring, and it was awesome! I recommend the Kyungbok Gung (old palace) and shopping in the Dongdaemun market. Hiking on Dobong Mountain was beautiful. Eat some samgyupsar (fried pork belly -- looks like bacon, but tastes ahh-maaaay-zing [opera voice] and nothing like bacon [which is amazing too, but it's not in Korea]). If you feel so inclined, there is an Outback Steakhouse and a Dunkin Donuts on every. single. street corner. I do not recommend arriving on a Friday evening during rush hour, and trying ride the subways to your hotel with 3 strollers, 5 backpackers, 2 cribs, and 7 suitcases. That's just a recipe for disaster, I will tell you from firsthand experience.

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  41. I hate overalls. Why are they coming back?

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    1. Because they are amazing.

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. Hong Kong is actually my favorite place in the world. Wish I was there right now to show you around, but I wont be back until after Christmas :(

    You should check out the light show over the harbor. They do it every evening at 8 (I think). Also, If Palau is anything like the city that I live in in mainland china you are missing fresh delicious food. Try Manna (http://mana.hk). Most amazing salads ever, at least when you are salad deprived.

    When I go to HK I am generally trying to avoid real asian food so I am not much help in that department, but you should try dim sum that other posters have talked about.

    Speaking of food, Dont overindulge when you get to HK. At least coming to "civilization" for me met heeps and heeps of American food deliciousness. If you are not use to that type of food it WILL cause all sorts of interesting problems in your intestines.

    Enough about food, new topic:
    I find that the best way of transport is actually the tube (mtr) instead of taxis. it is cheaper and gets you around the city much faster than taxis usually do. And take the airport express to central station or kowloon and then transfer to the mtr that you need there. it is much cheaper than taking a cab to and from the city.

    its really hot there, but i guess you are use to that :)

    Oh they have Disney world. I dont know how it compares to Disney in America since I was deprived as a child and never got to go, but it is pretty nice.

    Im not 100% sure, as I have never personally seen her, but its possible that the Q of C hangs out at "The Peak". Even if I'm wrong its the best view of the city and worth the taxi ride up :)

    Have a great trip!

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  44. here is a link to 2 quick See Hong Kong posts.

    http://www.bonjourquilts.com/2013/05/hong-kong-big-buddha-tai-o-po-lin.html

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  45. Pinky rings. They're so scary.

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  46. when guys walk around without their shirts on and they're not at the beach or swimming. WORST

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  47. Better late than never - in Seoul, you must try Silkworm Larvae. Boiled. They are... indescribably... Okay, I couldn't lie. They smell like gym socks boiled in sweat. My ex-wife ate one (I'd smelled them - that was enough for me) and if I'm not happy with her in dealings with the kids, I can still see the picture of her face contorted in disgust as she chews up a silkworm larvae.
    Did I sell it?

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  48. While in Seoul, you should go to a jimjilbang (Korean bath house) so you can have another (horrifying) experience like you had in Russia, Turkey, or where ever it was.

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