Saturday, October 31, 2009

How many more sleeps until the cricket?

Keegan has been counting down the days until he and Craig attend the cricket tournament known as the Hong Kong Sixes.

From the website:

Six-a-side cricket is the quickest, most fun-filled version of the glorious old game – a feast of world class players, thrilling matches, huge hits and spectacular catches. The Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is the longest-running, best-established and most high-profile sixes tournament in the world. It offers two days of fast and furious action in a festival atmosphere – 8 international teams, 45-minute clashes, global TV coverage and thousands of dollars in prize money up for grabs. First played in 1992, the tournament is fully sanctioned by the International Cricket Council and backed by the boards of the test-playing nations. Stars who have taken part include Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Steve and Mark Waugh, Viv Richards, Andrew Flintoff, Adam Gilchrist and Wasim Akram. Adding to the excitement is the exotic venue: Kowloon Cricket Club, situated in the heart of Hong Kong with the teeming city’s skyscrapers providing a breathtaking backdrop. England, Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka, India and South Africa – all have triumphed at the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes. But the real winners are the fans, who enjoy two days of pulsating action. And it is all for a worthy cause – profits from the tournament are ploughed directly back into cricket development in Hong Kong through the Hong Kong Cricket Association. The Hong Kong Cricket Sixes: the first, the biggest, the best. Nobody does it better.

Keegan's drawing of himself playing for Australia.

At last the day arrived! Craig and Keegan left early for the Kowloon Cricket Club, realised they had left the all important tickets at home, made a quick detour, and finally got to the cricket match about an hour late. At least they didn't miss seeing the Aussies play!

Unfortunately the Australian team lost this match.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

And the Aussies lost this one too. Sigh...

So some of the kids decided to play their own game of sixes. And with Keegan as a representative for Australia, the Aussies at least had a good chance of winning!

Keegan takes a quick single

And then it's his turn to bowl

Back home Keegan fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. .."all snug in his bed while visions of cricket bats danced in his head..."

What's on TV tonight?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre

Today was a special excursion for all the students from NIS in K3, Grade 1 and Grade 2. Tirzah and I accompanied the classes to the location at Sai Kung. The campsite is surrounded by picturesque scenery and provides numerous recreational and sports facilities, including a swimming pool, basketball courts, a roller-skating rink, a BBQ site, dancing room, archery range, assembly hall, rope course, soccer field, karaoke room, tennis court, children's play room, cycling paths, art & craft room, climbing wall, pool room, badminton court, canteen, squash court and children's playgrounds. Whew, that's quite a list!

Hopping off the bus

Time for a group hug! The boys were very excited to be on an excursion together.

Waiting for instructions

Listening to PE teacher Mr Blaine explain the order of events for the day

Some sort of chasing game

Lunch time

Tirzah had a long play on the playground equipment

Duck, duck, goose

I'm not really sure what Jemilla and these kids were doing but it involved some serious pounding with rocks

You can see Tirzah is trying to join in with the big kids

Another game involving teamwork

Jemilla's team had to create an octopus together

NIS classes from K-3 to Grade Two

Keegan and his friend Ivan being silly at the back of the bus

What's Craig been up to lately? (Toilets, boxing and Rolls Royces mostly)

Here's my wonderful family before leaving for church. (Photo taken by Lauren Fisher on our rooftop.)

Did you know that every apartment here in Hong Kong offers free clothes dryers? Yep, just open your window and hang your wet washing outside for the world to see. Just make sure not to drop your undies while you're pegging them out because it's a long way down to retrieve them.

The other night while in Stanley I had to leave the kids with Renee and bolt to find a bathroom in a hurry. At the entrance to the public facilities, I passed a toilet attendant so I was confident that the place would be clean and as pleasant as possible. This was what I found in the first cubicle. And the second. And the third. And the fourth. I had no choice but to give my thigh muscles a work out while I squatted. I recommend you install one of these in your own bathroom at home if you find certain family members are taking way too long while on the throne.

McDonalds in Hong Kong offer 24-hour delivery for free for any order over $60. We have yet to try it.

This photo was taken in a cool electrical shop like Dick Smith with plenty of lights and gadgets.

Can you tell what this shop is selling?
They're polished wooden coffins. Business had obviously died down for the day as the shop owner was falling asleep. I think this store was the dead centre of town, though. I was dying to go in and have a closer look, but I was scared to death of missing my next appointment, so I gave it a miss. (Sorry if my jokes are killing you!)

Two doors up the street was this store selling all sorts of boxing equipment. I also saw two opponents sparring in a ring right behind the merchandise. I wasn't brave enough to take a photo of them for fear I would end up in one of those coffins I mentioned previously.

While inspecting a vacant school property I noticed a familiar logo which I hadn't seen in two months. I didn't know the ABC had branched out into security alarms!

Hong Kong has a population of over seven million people but only 380,000 private vehicles. You can see why we catch public transport everywhere. Despite this statistic, Hong Kong has more Rolls Royces per person than any other city in the world.

We've noticed 7-Eleven stores everywhere here. (Two in one train station even!) When we looked it up we weren’t surprised to find Hong Kong has the highest density of 7-Elevens in the world, with a density of one per 1.38 square miles, as of 2007.

Having a wallet is so old fashioned. Nowadays, all you need for a fun-filled day in Hong Kong is a rechargeable Octopus card. You can pay for eight different kinds of public transport, KFC or McDonalds meals, vending machine Cokes, Starbucks coffee, 7-Eleven impulse buys, grocery items, gym entry, and even ice skating rentals. The card makes a "doot" sound every time you use it, showing the remaining balance on the card. The Octopus even comes in tiny, SIM card-sized chips that can be dangled on bracelets like charms or inserted into watches. You can see this parking meter accepts payment only by Octopus.

And by the way, isn't my lovely wife doing a fantastic job on the blog?!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Word for the day: WIG WAG

When I hear the word wig wag, I think of the Playschool song about the dog named Rags.

I’ve got a dog and his name is Rags
He eats so much that his tummy sags
His ears flip, flop
& his tail wig wags
And when he walks, he goes zig zag.

He goes flip flop, wig wag, zig zag.
He goes flip flop, wig wag, zig zag.
He goes flip flop, wig wag, zig zag.
I love Rags, and he loves me.

However, last week I saw a sign mentioning a wig wag, and while I had no idea what it meant, I was fairly confident it had nothing to do with either dogs or Playschool.

Maybe my Uncle Ralph is familiar with the word; after all he's a huge train buff.

I, however, had to look it up online to discover the meaning.

So if you are curious, I'll impart my new knowledge. A wig wag is a type of railroad level crossing signal.

So there you have it.

Fascinating post, Renee.

Counting in Chinese

Hi. My name is Renee, and I'm an op-shopaholic.

Those who know me well, know that my favourite past time is to shop for bargains in second-hand stores, whether they be toys, books or clothes.

Since moving to Hong Kong I have suffered severe withdrawal symptoms due to the lack of op-shops here.

Despite the wealth of this country (or maybe because of that same wealth) the people here dislike purchasing something that has been used, even cars. One's appearance is a good indication of one's income, and often the flashier the better. Another reason there is little demand for second hand items is for fear that they might be from a deceased estate. Hong Kongese are very superstitious about death and its association with bad luck.

Therefore, I have had to unsatisfactorily feed my op-shop habit through online sources like eBay, Oztion, and Gumtree.

One night while shopping with Lauren I chanced upon this Salvation Army store which was closed, like a mirage in a desert teases the thirsty traveller.

Yesterday it would have been nine weeks and two days since my last visit to an op-shop.

However, yesterday we went to Stanley.

And Stanley has an op-shop.

My understanding husband took our three children for a slow walk around the block and told me to take my time.

Which I did.

And it was wonderful.

I glanced through the clothes. I perused the kitchen utensils. I inspected the toys. I scrutinised the shoes. And I examined the books.

I didn't spend much money.

But, oh, I enjoyed the looking!

And hopefully that fix will last me for a few more weeks until I can find another elusive Hong Kong op-shop.


Our family was invited to join some other school families yesterday afternoon on a drive to Stanley, a town on the south-eastern part of Hong Kong Island. We didn't really know what to expect but were happy to go along for the ride. Stanley is a very popular tourist destination, we found, due to its real estate, beaches, market, and restaurants. Craig took this photo of the great view on the way to Stanley.

This newly-married couple were having wedding photos by the water's edge in Stanley.

I loved the quick look that I was allowed through Stanley Market. It holds an interesting array of little shops selling silk and traditional clothes, children's wear, sportswear, arts and crafts, jewellery, toys, and souvenirs.

We ate tea together at a very nice restaurant called Bayside.

(Not to be confused with our friends' church in Sydney.)

The specials board in the restaurant was certainly a surprise.

The children devoured their nachos and pizza...

...while the adults enjoyed some great conversation.

In the car on the way home, the children were able to watch a DVD. Tirzah has never seen a TV screen in a car and was glued to the programme all the way home, despite the late hour.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Homage to fromage

Something I am really missing from Australia are all the delicious dairy products we used to take for granted ... ice cream, milk, yoghurt, and especially cheese. I have yet to see a cow or goat here in Hong Kong, so I imagine most dairy products are imported from overseas. In any case, they are terribly expensive. I regularly buy processed cheese slices for the kids' lunch boxes, but can't justify buying any other sorts of cheeses, even cheddar, at the supermarket prices.

For instance, this homebrand cheddar cheese costs $165.9 a kilo ( $24 AUD)

This Kraft processed cheddar cheese block is $163.60 a kilo ($23 AUD)

And this yummy taste of home is $174.00 a kilo ($25 AUD)

So imagine how ecstatic I was to discover a place that sells cheddar cheese for $62.00 a kilo ($8.80 AUD)! It's a German company that sells online Not only is the cheese cheap, but the meat is too! I found that the only catch was that I needed to spend over $1000 to qualify for free home delivery. No problem. I simply combined an order with the other mums from playgroup, and today I picked up my cheese. Just look at it! A plain plastic bag with no fancy logos or wrappings, but oh what a delicious treasure it holds! Craig will be lucky if there's any left by the time he gets home tonight...

Now I'm imagining all the dishes I can once again prepare with cheese... So what's your family 's favourite cheesy meal?