last day in hong kong: a breakfast meeting, the ladies market & return to nanning

Monday, April 6:  This morning, I’ve arranged to meet Peter, my best friend Jayne’s husband who recently moved to Hong Kong.  We’re meeting for breakfast before I venture out for sightseeing my last day in Hong Kong.  Jayne suggested before I left Nanning that I give Peter a call while in Hong Kong, since we’re both now living in this part of the world.  I do as she asked, and the meeting is arranged.

Peter wants to take me to a Chinese restaurant, but I tell him this is my chance to have a Western breakfast, as I have Chinese food all the time in Nanning. So we settle in at a Chinese-run sort-of Western restaurant, where I’m able to get some eggs, bacon, toast and coffee.  Peter proceeds to tell me I should stay in China because there are many opportunities.   I tell him that for now I just want to return home to Virginia, to be with the family through the fall and over the holidays.  I also tell him China isn’t really my cup of tea;  I’m more drawn to the Arab cultures and as a matter of fact I just applied for jobs in Morocco and Egypt, knowing I wouldn’t get them, but thinking that if it were meant to be, it would be.  He tells me I seem to always be drawn to those cultures and asks me if I’ve ever looked into past lives.  “Maybe you were an Arab in one of your past lives,” he says. “You should read books by Brian Weiss about past lives.”

We talk for a long time about this subject.  He says he’s met people who have told him they feel connected to him because of some connection they had in a past life. I tell him of someone I know who regularly calls a Japanese woman who helps her with her problems in light of her past lives.

Later, I look up this author and find books titled: Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, his Young Patient, and the Past Life Therapy that Changed Both Their Lives and Miracles Happen: The Transformational Healing Power of Past Life Memories, among others.  Hmm.  Interesting.

I don’t know about past lives but I do know a person sometimes feels an undeniable pull toward a particular culture or a particular place for reasons that can’t be explained.

Peter tells me he’s trying to get several ventures started and that he enjoys being able to spend time with his parents, who live in Hong Kong.

I tell Peter I must get a picture of him for Jayne, and he takes a selfie of us on the street after breakfast.

Peter & me after breakfast

Peter & me after breakfast

Peter originally hails from Hong Kong, but he and Jayne, who is British, met in Saudi Arabia, got married, had a long marriage and two sons, and are now separated but not divorced.  I met Peter and Jayne in Oakton, where my home in Virginia is, about 10 years ago, but shortly after we met, she and Peter moved to Atlanta and then to California.  Jayne now lives in Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey off the coast of Normandy;  their sons live in California and Nevada, and Peter lives here in Hong Kong.

After breakfast, Peter walks with me to the Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street, but I’m disappointed to find they are early in the process of setting up.  If I had read my Lonely Planet China book a little more thoroughly, I would have seen the market runs daily from noon to 10:30 p.m.

We leave the market as there’s nothing to see at this hour.  I keep wanting to stop in at little shops along the way and I know Peter has somewhere to be, so I tell him he should feel free to leave me on my own to wander.  We give hugs, and he takes off.

Heading to the Ladies Market

Heading to the Ladies Market

Streets of Kowloon

Streets of Kowloon

Streets of Kowloon

Streets of Kowloon

Since I have to kill time before the Ladies Market opens, I wander around aimlessly until I see a fancy shopping mall with a Gap in it. I go inside and try on a few clothes, buying a shirt and a skirt.  Soon though, I feel my stomach starting to rumble.

This is when the stomach troubles start.  Suddenly, I need to find a bathroom and fast.  And then again.  And again.  My stomach is cramping and doing somersaults and generally causing me a great deal of discomfort.  Though I’ve already checked out of my hotel, they are holding my suitcase so I figure I can just go sit in the lobby for a while.  I stop at a pharmacy and get something like Imodium, and then I go back to the hotel and sit.

Shopping mall

Shopping mall

For a long while, I sit in the hotel, but though I don’t have any more urgent runs to the bathroom, my stomach is now totally cramped up and miserable.  I don’t know what it was I ate, but I have to say I’m suspicious about the vegetables soaked in oil I ate for lunch yesterday at the monastery.  I may never know what is causing all the stomach problems I have in China, but I do know I am wary now of eating anywhere.

I’m so upset to be stuck in the hotel. I would go out but I’m afraid to go out on the streets with my unpredictable stomach.  I had so many more places I wanted to go today: the Mid-Level Escalators and Man Mo Temple in Central, for example.  I wanted to wander around in Central and see if I could identify all the famous buildings and possibly take the Big Bus around Kowloon.  A one hour boat cruise in the harbor was also included on my Big Bus ticket.  Instead, I now have to be stuck in my hotel, sitting in the lobby where I can’t even lie down.  I have to wait all day until I can take another bus to Shenzhen, stand in long lines to cross the border, and then take a bus back to airport.

After a long while of sitting with numerous no-result bathroom runs, I decide, out of pure boredom and frustration, that I’ll go ahead and walk back to the Ladies Market to see if they’re set up.

Streets of Kowloon

Streets of Kowloon

It suddenly has become very busy, but I don’t see anything I’m interested in buying.

The Ladies Market, still being set up

The Ladies Market, still being set up

chili peppers at the Ladies Market

chili peppers at the Ladies Market

After a while, I return to the hotel, grab my suitcase and hail a taxi to the bus station to Shenzhen.

Streets of Kowloon

Streets of Kowloon

There, I take the bus back to the mainland, seeing these odd raft-like pallets dotting the harbor.

Crossing into mainland China

Crossing into mainland China

I have to wait in line at the border for about 45 minutes, then I take the bus to the airport.  Shenzhen Airport is a futuristic looking airport with an iridescent butterfly-like sculpture and honeycomb ceilings.

Schenzen Airport

Shenzhen Airport

I make it back home late at night and I have to be ready to go back to work on Tuesday.  My stomach still feels miserable, but this is it, my life in China.

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Categories: Asia, China, Hong Kong, Kowloon, Ladies Market, Travel | 22 Comments

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22 thoughts on “last day in hong kong: a breakfast meeting, the ladies market & return to nanning

  1. Such a shame. Maybe the eggs or bacon were off or not cooked properly that you ate for breakfast? If it had been the veggies from the day before I would have imagined them to take effect much quicker. I had a rotten day like that in India, all set to hire a driver and visit more of the interesting buildings in Delhi, but ended up sitting next to the pool, reading and in close proximity to a loo! Worse thing was that we were taken out for an amazing meal that night ( I ate only boiled rice) and we had a trip to Taj Mahal the next day! I made it, but it wasn’t the most comfortable day 😦

    You can easily go back to HK though can’t you? Before you leave China altogether. And thank goodness for Imodium 😀

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  2. Thank goodness your tummy upset happened at the end of your time in Hong Kong rather than in the beginning! You were so lucky to see so much in this interesting part of the world before the s#@# hit the fan, so to speak. ;.) (Ooohhh,, Morocco? We took a ferry to Tangier from Tarifa, Spain a couple of years ago, I have photos in one of my Grammie Travels posts. This is another very interesting part of the world; but not so easy for women…) And past lives could definitely be a possibility IMHO. So much we don’t know… All I do know is travel is in my blood.

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  3. Those chili peppers were incredible! So what makes the ladies market a ladies market? Is it all clothing and accessories for women? Hopefully your stomach improves – how rotten to have it happen while you’re traveling around.

    Nancy

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    • The market was mostly clothing and accessories for women, Nancy. A lot of knock-off purses, shoes, etc. Nothing I saw struck my fancy. My stomach is fine now, but who knows how long it will be that way. 🙂 It seems I always have this problem while traveling in China. I would worry it’s something serious except I didn’t get sick in Myanmar. That leads me to believe it’s China. 🙂

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  4. I totally believe in the past life stuff, but my dear Cathy, forgo the vegetables you do not prepare yourself at home!! Stick to plain rice for a while, seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. You have to accept you cannot absorb or process the oil they use in a healthy manner, so stick to steamed and boiled or just eat bread.

    Two years living on the road and living rough in Africa and six months in Nepal and not so much as tummy ache. I stuck to potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, rice and beans and I never once got sick, ever. Never even got a single mosquito bite either!

    Accept the inevitable, this is not a foodie’s paradise as far as you are concerned. I always had my own giant jar of peanut butter, dried soup mix from Knorr, nuts and raisins, and would trust the local bread when I could.

    Shame you missed some of the fun ladies shopping in Hong Kong. I bought a ton of those sueded silk shirts years and years ago when they were so popular.

    xxxx you will be home soon, investigate those books if you feel drawn to them. There is a reason Peter shared that with you. xxxx

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    • Thanks for the advice about food, Mona Lisa, but when I’m traveling, I don’t always have good choices as to what to eat. Generally when I cook at home, I’m fine. But when I’m traveling, that’s when I encounter problems.

      The bread in China is really unpalatable. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s like wheat bread with some kind of sweetener in it. It’s really gross.

      I did go back to the Ladies Shopping after I gave my Imodium time to work, but everything seemed so tacky and not my style at all. It was fun to go check it out though. I will definitely check into those books but I don’t know if I can get them until I get home. Internet as you know is spotty here, and many websites are blocked.

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  5. You didn’t want to buy anything? You must have felt rotten, Cathy! 🙂 🙂

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  6. Afterthought! Morocco and Egypt- potentially dangerous territory, Cathy? You and your quest for adventure! (after the Fall 🙂 ) ‘American Romantic’ (in your Goodreads) looks good, and the links back to another life stuff is interesting.
    I’ll never get to Myanmar at this rate 🙂 🙂

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    • Jo, I know Egypt and Morocco are potentially dangerous territory, but as you know, I’ve spent time in the Middle East and I’m becoming more fearless with age. As I told Jude, when it’s my time to go, it will be my time. I can’t live in fear or I’m playing right into terrorist hands.

      I loved American Romantic, but it isn’t for everyone. Mike for instance liked it but wasn’t especially enamored with it. I’ll definitely have to read about the past lives. 🙂 I hope you will get to Myanmar; it was fabulous. xxx

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      • I do know, sweetheart- and there’s nowhere in this world that anyone is totally safe. I’ll be following you, Cathy, and if it’s Morocco I might chance a visit 🙂

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  7. I struggle with food in Morocco but hen KI don’t eat meat – my friend who does didn’t rate that either, hope your tummy troubles clear up now.

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    • I haven’t been to Morroco, Gilly, but I never got sick in Egypt, Jordan or even India, if you can believe it. I don’t know why I’m constantly sick in China. I feel okay at this moment, but I never know when another attack will come. 🙂

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  8. Forgot to comment on your remark about applying for jobs in Morocco and Egypt, until I read Jo’s. Are you mad? Really? North Africa is one region you need to stay well away from. Seriously. Not a good place for women at any time and with all the troubles in that area with ISIS you do not want to be anywhere close.

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    • Well Jude, maybe you can call me mad, but I lived in Oman for two years and also stayed in Egypt for a month and went back again. I would go to Morocco in a heartbeat. People told me I was crazy to go to Egypt and the same to Oman after 9/11; it’s always a volatile region. But I have never regretted going to either of those places. They were some of the highlights of my life. Maybe in my older age I just have little fear. I am now to the point in life where I think if it’s my time to go, then it’s my time to go. But thanks so much for your concern! It’s sweet of you to care and to look out for me. 🙂

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      • Yes, but it is even more volatile right now. There must be other interesting places to work in surely, that aren’t so dangerous. Out of the two Morocco is safer. I just don;t like North Africa because of their attitude towards women. The FCO advises against travel to Egypt except the tourist areas where you are still asked to be vigilant. As you rightly say, it is your life and you must do what you believe in. But do think about your family too. You wouldn’t want them to worry about you.

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  9. Hope you are feeling better by now Cathy. It could’ve been the bacon, maybe you will get back to see those last few places you missed. But I don’t think you missed very much you seem to have seen so much

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    • I was in Hong Kong in early April, Pauline, so yes, as of this moment, I’m feeling okay. It all comes and goes though, depending on what I eat. I rarely eat meat though, so I doubt it was that. I really believe the recycled oil is the culprit. I wish I could have seen more of Hong Kong; I at least packed a lot in for two days. Maybe I’ll get a chance to go back, but I doubt it. I have too many other places I’d like to go. 🙂

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      • So much world so little time Cathy and you are certainly making the most of your time…

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  10. Hey Cathy, I just found your Chinese site while looking for information on the ME. You may, or may not, remember me, but this is Ernie. We worked together at Univ. of Nizwa about 4 years ago now and I had an old Jeep I worked on a lot to keep my (relative) sanity. I worked a couple more years at the Univ of A’Sharqiyah, teaching for the most part young Bedouin women, but I am back home in Alaska now working (actually just finishing) teaching part-time in an elementary school. I gotta tell you, after about 9 months back home teaching in a public school, I’m afraid I’m starting to get itchy feet…
    Sounds like China has had it’s ups-and-downs, but if you ask me after teaching in foreign countries for 5 years ,that’s just to be expected when teaching overseas. Just as an idea for a new adventure for you, although some will howl when I suggest it and say don’t do it but anyway…
    You might look into teaching in Saudi Arabia. I worked over there a little over a year and depending on your duty station, it can be pretty adventurous. Now I wouldn’t suggest Riyadh or one of the big cities to you (too hot, terrible air, nothing to do but shop) but there are universities in more remote areas that might surprise you with what you’ll discover. As an example, I was in Sakakka (Al Jouf District) which is in the northern part of the country; in fact, the border of iraq was less than 100 miles away. In places like that, you might find the type of adventures you would be interested in. Now, driving around by yourself for a woman is prohibited, so I don’t want to paint too rosy a picture for you, but you can make friends with saudi women and they can have their sons/relatives drive you anywhere you want to go, which is what several of the female teachers I worked with did, and they saw parts of the country I never did, and I had a 4-wheeler! Also, to show you it’s not all bad for women there, they had an Emir in Al Jouf, and we were the first westerners to live in the area, so we were quite a novelty to locals. The Emir’s wife about once a month would invite all the female teachers to overnight in the desert in a very nice tent (and not like our tents in the states either– I mean the Emir’s wife’s was as big as a house) and the girls would talk, dress up, dance for each other, drink coffee, smoke sheesa and do all sorts of girl stuff until the next afternoon. As a guy I couldn’t go of course, but the way they would describe the weekend on the bus ride to the Univ on the following Saturday, it was quite a good time for them. Anyway, if you want, I could give you the name/contact info of a recruiter who is always looking for women to teach in areas like that. And I honestly think (knowing your qualification) you could expect to earn about 1/3 to 1/2 more than we did at the Univ of Nizwa. Anyway, I’ll look for your response to see if you are interested.

    Ernie

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    • Hi there, Ernie! Of course I remember you. It’s nice to hear from you! I know what you mean about going home and then getting itchy feet. Somehow the jobs we can get back in America are not satisfying. In my case, the job is at a community college and the pay is crap and the hours are long, which makes me feel resentful and taken advantage of! I spent one year in Virginia after being in Oman for two years, and after one year I just had to come abroad again, thus my year in China. I’ll be going home again in July but I have no idea how long I’ll last. I think often of returning to Oman, but Saudi is on the back burner of my mind as well. Thanks for telling me some of the pros of working there. I know the money is good, that’s for sure.

      What you say about Saudi sounds very interesting, especially if an adventure is in store!! I’d definitely love the name of the recruiter. Are you considering returning there? Where do you think you’ll go next? I really do want to return home for the fall, to be home with the family for the holidays, but I’ll probably be interested in going abroad again in the spring. I have been thinking one semester with Westgate in Japan. I definitely only want to teach college-aged students or adults, no children. Where did you teach in Saudi? I’d love to know more information!! 🙂

      Take care, Ernie, and let me know what’s happening with you. I don’t want to put my email address in this comment, but you can go on my “About me” page and write me directly through there. Take care, and it’s so nice to hear from you. 🙂

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  11. Kathy:
    I’ve been a little busy so I didn’t respond quickly.
    I, Saudi I worked in the Al Jouf District, which borders Iraq. The town’s name was Sakakka and I worked teaching at Al Jouf University. It’s one of the universities they are literally building in the desert. As you sound like you have a little of the “Arab bug” (as do I but I would describe mine as more of a ‘love/hate’ thing– which is weird but there it is) KSA might just be a good fit.
    From what I saw, there was about a 10-15% attrition rate for both male and female teachers — some just hated it there.
    Personally, I found even a short plane ride to be a bit of an adventure, as many times you will be the only westerner on the plane.
    And on average, Saudis were quite friendly, hospitable and accommodating.
    Some could be a little demanding though.
    Yes, I am having a little trouble settling down back in the states.
    I actually have a job at a public school since I have a teacher’s certificate, which makes work possible, and the pay is actually OK, but the days all seem to sort of run together, but I do like living in Alaska and being with family.
    But after several years overseas, it’s just hard to settle down.
    I can’t quite describe it to be honest.
    Anyway, I will give the recruiter’s contact information below.
    I received some information from him in 2913, so I think he’s still with the company.
    If not, let me know and I’ll see if I can get in touch with someone else that works at Al Khaleej.
    And they are desperate for female instructors.
    As explanation, the work for a Saudi recruitment company named Skyline Technical Solutions, which recruits for KSA companies,
    I worked for Al khaleej, which had over 50,000 employees, and they placed teachers in government schools like Al Jouf University.
    Anyway, it’s an idea.
    Somehow, like you wrote in a post I read earlier, I too feel somehow “drawn” to the mid
    east.
    And you do not get anymore mid east than Saudi.

    Recruiter’s Name:Ahmed Bakran (As I recall, there are two brothers; I forgot one of their names but Ahmed is who recruited me)
    Company: Skyline Global Technical Solutions
    Email: abakran@skylinetechsolutions.com

    If you want, you may use me as a reference.
    Ahmed should still remember me.

    Ernie

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