Friday, April 16, 2010
Hongkong Weekender Day 1
I'm writing this, in the lobby of our official residence, Royal Plaza Hotel, which claims to be a five-star, Michelin-rated "Most Comfortable" hotel, located right smack in the heart of the crazy shopping district of Mongkok East.
Our amazing company, rewarded all 30 of us employees with a 3days/2nights all-expense paid-trip to Hongkong, as reward for our hardwork, resulting to an excellent growth last 2009. (Last 2009, our trip was in Bangkok, Thailand) for the fantastic result of 2008, as well.
We left manila 8am. As practice, staff don't travel together in one plane for security reasons. I was in the group that took Hongkong Air, which was unfortunate since the service of that airline was blah.
Hongkong Air's planes are rather old and smelly. The food served is pitiful...corned-beef pan de sal and bland coffee. Good thing, I had tapsilog at the airport. Otherwise, I could've pinch the flight attendant dispensing the foil-wrapped pan de sal, as if it's Holy Grail.
My friends got to be in PAL, which they brag as airbus 777, with two levels! The food was hot, and there was a choice of noodles or rice. Hmm.. Pero walang miles! OK! (sour graping!) Well, at least we arrived in Hkg at the same time!
Our agenda for the first day was Disneyland in Lantau Island.
Hmm. What can I say? Since I had the chance to visit the huge Disneyland in Anaheim, CA... Indulge me, If I would constantly make it as a yardstick.
I guess, everywhere you go, Disneyland is the almost cardboard-cut copy of one and the other. Hongkong Disneyland is a smaller cut-out of the Anaheim original. Same Main Street USA, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Fantasyland. Only, the streets are narrower, the structures are smaller in scale, the rides and the parades, and i guess, even the shows and the fireworks displays are shorter.
The unique and funny aspect, is that, the staffs, the mascots are all talking in Fluent Cantonese! I found it so funny to hear Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, the Princesses, even crustacean-singer Sebastian fluently speaking in Cantonese. Really Hilarious!
Disneyland is really for kids. Several times, I wish I can borrow some little girls loitering around in Disney Princess costumes. "Can I borrow your child for a day?!"
I didn't bring my little boys with me, since this is a company event. Mahirap, when travelling with kids, at hindi mo hawak ang oras. Besides, I want to spend time with my friends/ officemates without the hassle of lugging around my brood. Anway, I've scheduled another trip with them to Hongkong, next month.
My friend and roomie was Aissa, who like me, is scared of rides. Instead, we used the time to indulge our narcissitic tendencies, by taking all the photos we want of ourselves, in all the nice little places in Disneyland.
Don't you just hate it, when all the shows you want to watch are scheduled simultaneously? According to Connie, a friendly Disney staff, we befriended, we can miss all the shows, except The Golden Mickey's. It's the only unique show here in Hongkong, that is not found in any other Disneyland.
Indeed, The Golden Mickey's show was lovely and entertaining. Hosted by a local Chinese celebrity who speaks great Mandarin and excellent English. The show's theme is like an Oscar Show. They were looking to award the Mickey's (or Oscars) to the Best Disney Characters in variour roles.
All the famous Disney characters were there, and they sang their signature songs and dance numbers. I fell in love again, with the Hunchback of Notre Dame, who looks horrendous but his singing voice is sooo divine! The Disney heroes were there ---
The Incredibles, Tarzan, Mulan and the hunky Huns. I was teary-eyed and went hopelessly in-love with the song number of The Beauty and the Beast.
The costumes were beautiful and colorful, the choreography was impeccable and the familiar songs made the show really magical. We loved it. It's the best thing to see in Hongkong Disneyland! Oh, by the way, most of the actors, dancers are Filipinos, who were formerly from Repertory Philippies. That explains the talent!
Do we look similar? Of course, the foreheads are dead-giveways.
My friends and I, didn't stay for the fireworks. I invited them for dinner with my brother Edward. He's Civil Engineer, who's already more of a Chinese national than a Pinoy. He's been in China, for like 2 years right after college. He shuttles between Hongkong and China, like it's Makati-Ortigas. With all the construction boom in the mainland, my brother never lacks for jobs with foreign companies. He speaks fluent Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, not to mention English. He's so Chinese, he married a Chinese lady who speaks Zero english. :)
I digress, a bit on that one! I think, I missed my brother too much.
Kuya Ed took me and 11 of my friends to a favorite hotspot among expats, the American Peking restaurant along Hennessy Road. Apparently, the restaurant has been in existence for more than 50 years. It is always fully-booked, he was lucky to have gotten a table that night. Judging from the crowd, who were mostly caucasians, we knew we were in for a treat. Yummy!
We had a fabulous lauriat banquet of authentic, mouth-watering Cantonese dishes that hongkong is famous for -- melts-in-your-mouth Salt and Pepper Cuttlefish, fresh fat Scallops in a bed of dark green Broccoli, sweet and salty Beef strips that you have to stuff in warm sesame-bread before stuffing them in your mouth. My friend Aissa whose braces normally stops her from indulging in red meat, had a filled-evening munching on the Tender Beef Tenderloin (it's a redundance, i know, i just need to emphasize).
There were some unfamiliar vegetables which looked liked long beansprouts, sauted with dark shitake mushrooms and abalone. We had pigeons, too. We just didn't get the chance to dessimate them ourselves. They were already minced, ready to be wrapped on cold crispy lettuce. Bite into the crispiness! The piece de resistance, of course, was the Peking Duck. After showing-off the whole roasted bird to us, the waiter brought it back to the kitchen to be stripped of its golden brown-perfectly roasted and caramelized skin.
In between bites of the yummy fare, and gulps of cold Tsing Tao beer, we toasted and cheered to Good Health, Good Sales Revenues, Excellent Siblings, and promises of coming back..
Hongkong Weekender 2, next!