Just got back to Taipei and phone dying. More later.
It is now Thursday. Yesterday, our last day in Hong Kong, was fun and interesting. It started with Cousin Anna at our door again at 8 taking us on the bus for a gorgeous 20 minute ride to yet another beach community-Stanley. It seems to be a somewhat high end community with still a strong British influence. (Note the Pickled Pelican Pub-say THAT fast 3 times in Mandarin Chinese-and the fish and chips on the menu). Anna takes us to a tiny local place for breakfast of "famous" sandwiches which are basically our egg sandwiches on toasted white bread with the crusts cut off!
Ok, I just wrote for 1 1/2 hours on this when I got disconnected and lost the content!!! Aaaggggghhhh! And it was so good!!! Short version now.
After breakfast we shopped In cute little shops. (I finally got something for Noah though Hannah says he doesn't read this and may not know I'm not home). Exchange rate 7.8 HK $ to 1 US $. I'm awful with the math and constantly bug patient Michael.
After Stanley, we met Chia and Chuni's friend Lucy (Fan-Jiang) and her husband Guan at a banquet place for delicious dim sum in Kowloon. Other college friends, Peng Wei and Sister Foo (who I call Sr. Poo for most of the meal until she corrects me). Sr. Foo will be conducting a 4 day seminar at Fr. Paul's (aka Fr. Kao-pronounced
COW) monastery on "personal discovery". Even monks are looking for enlightenment. I would've thought they had that nailed!! I think it's funny that the main industry in Fr.Kao's monastery is dairy farming. Also that his real first name is Hao, so HOW COW and dairy farming. I even got
Chuni to laugh when I pointed that out.
Our plan for a leisurely one hour bus ride to the airport was foiled when the bus got trapped in heavy traffic due to an accident. We had to leap off with all if our stuff (still accompanied by our self-appointed Guardian Angel, Anna, who has stuck by our side through everything). She speaks Cantonese, so her language skills are extremely helpful since Chuni speaks Mandarin and I just smile. We run for the subway , lose Michael for awhile, and have 2to transfer 3 times before we get to the airport as the plane should be boarding. We literally do a "Chinese Fire Drill-I suppose that is racist- with all if us running randomly to different areas of the airport to try to find the right ticket counter. We first followed Chuni until we realized (forgot your advice, Chia) she had no idea where she was rapidly going. I thought Anna would have a stroke trying to round us up like a mother hen. All the while Michael is saying how mad Daddy would be that we didn't allow enough time- and this from Push It to the Limit Michael!!! I'm ripping my backpack apart with dirty underwear flying trying to get all the liquids in one bag, though they didn't check for this when we left Taiwan. New rule in HK. We were quite the scene. An international incident to be sure. Check for it on CNN.
We finally made it to the gate at about the time the doors should be shutting BUT, the plane is delayed by an hour do we make it!!! I'm not sure if we've learned our lesson or not.. Strong thanks to Anna for her guidance in HK and to her beautiful daughter, Mary, who brought us parting gifts from her shop!!
Since we were so late, Vicky and her family had already left for Amsterdam and we did not get to say goodbye. We did see their housekeeper, Anita, who had scored some delicious lychee
fruit for us to have for the perfectr light supper.
Saint GooGoo and her husband picked us and our tons of luggage up from Vicki's and brought us in their car to their apartment for our last two nights. Their dog Gooling welcomed us back by snuggling with us on our little mats in our little room. I think GooGoo is one of the nicest people I have ever met. She is so sweet and considerate. She reminds me exactly of my late Auntie Betty.
Brother Simon has answered my email and has sent a picture of the monks making the butter cookies! I will add that to the pictures along with a picture of Gooling on our mats. I am excited to have an ex-international lawyer turned monk as a pen pal and I can't wait to hear more of his story. I am also anxious to connect him with Kristine, Po-Ching's daughter who is studying law at Georgetown. She has already friended me on Facebook. She wants to be an international lawyer, too. I know nothing about that, but brother Simon does. :-) I love to connect people.
You would think that with all the brothers, sisters, priests, monks, and missionaries that I have met and prayed with through Chuni's wonderful web of spiritual friends and family, that I would be eligible for some kind of ordination by this point. I am afraid that SUBordination is probably still my strong suit, as I remain drawn to the betelnut neon signs and Pickled Pelican pubs!!! I am not sure if all if these very special people represent the average Taiwanese people, but I will treasure these faraway connections for the rest of my life (and with this crowd, far into the beyond)!
Michael and Chuni are out having steamed buns with Margaret as I write this. They will come back at noon and we will go on the gondola for a beautiful panoramic view of this fantastic city. It is our last full day and God knows we need to organize our suitcases. I have a small carry on and a little backpack, but we have been loaded with gifts of food and other treasures. By the time Chuni rearranges everything, my underwear could still be lost. I'd trade mochi for underwear anyway!
I will try to write my final Taiwan blog entry at the airport before we leave tomorrow morning. I have a feeling we will be there 12 hours early (what would Chia do?).
I look forward to seeing Leigh and Baby Julia Tsang next week when they visit Grandma Kay and Grandpa Earl in Monmouth Beach. I look forward to seeing my friends and family, whom I've missed.
Off to the last full day of adventure here!!! Thanks for sharing this special time with me!!
Ps. Check Michael out in his hot new Taiwan outfit for his last day!! Is that gel in the hair, too? He says he doesn't always wear t-shirts. Chuni in her cute new skirt.