All Over the Place

I’ve had a pleasant weekend. Lots of firsts for me, and many fun adventures as well. Where should I start?

On Friday night, Hillsong United was in town to hold their Zion Concert. Hong Kong is actually the first stop of their tour, so that’s pretty cool. I grew up loving Hillsong music, but this is the first time I’ve ever been to anything of theirs live. It was an amazing experience! They call it a concert, but really it’s a two-hour worship session with around 2000 other people, and you could really feel the presence of  God there.

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Saturday, my head was still bombarded with worship songs. My head was ringing throughout the day. Nevertheless, I set out for my adventure! I went out at noon, hopped on the tram, and got off about 40 minutes later at Quarry Bay. The tram is literally the slowest thing you could ever take in Hong Kong, but if you’re not in a hurry, I think it’s a really nice way to pass time. Every time I take it, I always take a look at the stores lined up along the street – what’s new, what’s gone. You also get a much better understanding of Hong Kong Island. Taking a walk for yourself is a billion times better than staring at a map!

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I set out to Quarry Bay with a purpose. Someone had told me that there’s a cafe in that area that serves Tim Hortons coffee, and also has these amazing bagel sandwiches. Me being the Canadian that I am, I decided I had to go check it out. Remember back in October, I was relocated to Quarry Bay for two weeks, so I actually know the area pretty well. Quarry Bay is home to Taikoo Place, a large complex of business space, and so there are tons of food choices around to cater for that working class. The one downside is that they get enough business on weekdays, so there’s never any need to open on the weekends. Only a few places, such as the cafe I was looking for, are open on Saturdays, and usually only for half the day.

After a bit of searching, I finally found my cafe, called Yo Bago. You walk in and the first thing you see is a Canadian flag hanging from the ceiling. On top of the cupboards is a stash of Tim Hortons coffee mix. There are bagels on the menu. The people speak Canadian English (eh!). Immediately I felt that sense of belonging.

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The coffee tasted familiar – after all, it is from Tim Hortons. They have a afternoon tea menu at 2:30, but I was there at 2, so I just got a bagel sandwich combo with a salad and a coffee. $60 isn’t exactly cheap, but I have to admit, the bagel sandwich did taste pretty good. It was well worth it! There isn’t a lot of space for seating, but surprisingly there weren’t a lot of people there at 2 PM on a Saturday. I guess not many people would go to a business district for a Saturday adventure, especially when these businesses are closed on the weekends. I was able to find a seat to just chill for an hour or so, but it’s not exactly the ideal place for me to spend hours pondering and writing. So while I love the food and all, I wouldn’t consider it particularly successfully as a cafe. Of course, as a Canadian living in Hong Kong, I can see myself making a special visit just to find a taste of home.

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(Which reminds me of a funny story – the other day, somebody asked where my 鄉下 is, and I said Canada).

After my late lunch, I decided to take a walk around the Taikoo/Quarry Bay area. From the office area, I walked along King’s Road (ie. the road that the tram takes), all the way to Taikoo Shing – the commerical mall area. I didn’t spend any time shopping though; I literally walked right through the mall and out the other side. From there, I headed west, back towards the direction I came from, but this time I walked through the residential area. That’s one of the things I love about Taikoo. It’s a great example for urbanization case studies, where you have a residential, retail, and commercial/business zone all in the same place. If you happen to live and work in that place, there is literally no reason for you to ever have to leave Taikoo. Your living needs are supplied by all the supermarkets nearby. You can go shopping in a mall that houses the same brands as every other mall in Hong Kong, and that mall is by no means small, either. There’s even a skating rink and a theatre! For a breath of fresh air, there’s the Quarry Bay Park (which is where I went to play soccer after my nice walk). As I just said earlier, there is an endless list of delicious restaurants located nearby. Yes, this walk has obviously made me fall in love with this neighbourhood.

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Sunday is always a typical church day spent in Mong Kok, and this Sunday was no different. The one highlight of my day was that I got to try this local froyo store (called Panda House Frozen Yogurt) that I’ve been meaning to check out since like, November of last year. It’s hard to go wrong with selling froyo – after all, you just buy it in bulk and supply toppings. But yeah, this place was good.

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My adventures are all over the place. What’s to come next?

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