February 1, 2018 Dapeng Fortress

Today we went to the Dapeng Fortress  outside of Shenzen China. It is a fortress built in 1394 to protect the area from pirates . Once the pirates were no longer a threat and the British had Hong Kong, the fortress was no longer necessary. Today it is an historical village filled with cute alleys, courtyards and streets. There are many unique shops, coffee houses, and cafes. We went through a museum that was run by a local man. It is not an official government museum and the items were just collections of “things” collected over the years. They depicted life of the normal Chinese life . Some of the ladies on the trip joined in on the fun of drinking with the locals.   We learned the history of the village , ate lunch and then stopped in a kitchen to make traditional rice cookies. They showed us how they browned the rice, ground it into flour, added syrup to make the batter, mixed to the right consistency, pressed into molds, pounded them, then baked on the fire. We were able to take part in all the steps.  Unfortunately in my opinion the cookies were hard and dry. After that we went to an artist’s show/studio where we had a quick lesson in ink calligraphy art.  We painted plum blossoms on silk fans.  OK they were  not the best but it was fun.  It was a cold day and long rides on the bus but I really enjoyed it all. The other AWA ladies were so nice and fun. It is always a great way to make new friends while learning something new.


January 2018 ( Really Sept 2017 – January 2018)





I hate when I sit down to update the blog and realize how long it has been since I have written anything.  I know it is already almost the end of January in 2018 (!) but I guess I will backtrack and fill in what all we have done since September.

The best way to remember is to scan through the pictures on my phone.

September 26 – Walking tour of Wan Chai


I went on  a walking tour of Wan Chai by Jason Wordie. He does great historical walks in many parts of HK.  I really like Wan Chai , as it is one area that I know reasonably well since that is where we first stayed.  We walked through alleys, in temples, down streets full of history, and saw quaint sites along the way.

October 2 – Helped with hosting of the sailors

When US ships come to port the AWA hosts activities for them and act and guides/goodwill ambassadors.  This day I just helped with directions and maps for the sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan.

October 9 – Historical Walking tour of Wan Chai Gap


Hiking is  a great past time in HK. Not only are they usually filled with beautiful views but also many historically significant landmarks.  This hike was led by Martin emphasizing the invasion of the Japanese Dec 8, 1941.  You see pill boxes, ammunition shelters, and many other details of the battle.  It was very interesting to hear all the history which I did not know. Be sure to check out the website above.

October 14 – Visit Sarah in NOLA, Whitney Plantation, Walking tour, City Park Sculpture garden.

I had the great opportunity to head to New Orleans for a few days to visit with Sarah. We went to the Whitney Plantation ( http://whitneyplantation.com/). It does not focus on the Southern Plantation life as much as the history of the slave trade and life.  It was a deep look at the lives of the southern slave.  The statues representing the slave children were mesmerizing. I wanted to take a picture of each and every one. The research that has gone into the display was so thorough.  Our docent was so into everything about these slaves. You felt her passion.

It was around Halloween so the streets were decorated. One house in particular was filled with punny skeletons and displays.

I took a walking tour one day when Sarah was in class. We walked around the French Quarter. New Orleans will be celebrating its 300th anniversary this year. Look out New Orleans!

Then we went to City Park. It has a great sculpture garden. I love that type of thing! I had plenty of good food and needed to walk that off.



Lyndon to Alabama and Atlanta

Lyndon was back in the US as well. He met up with Michael in Alabama and went to a game. They stayed with Marlene and Jack so got some great Indian food in the process.

October 19 – New York to visit Catherine, Come From Away

After NOLA I went to NYC to see Catherine.  We were able to go see the AWESOME musical Come From Away. I highly recommend it. I walked around the area on a clear blue sky autumn day.  I was able to check out the Union Square Farmers Market  and the new WTC .

To CT for a few days

Dragon Boating

So I have tried Dragon Boating but was not successful. I get sea sick so easily and even though I used Dramamine and the wrist bracelets I still got nauseous every time I went out. It also is a lot harder than you would imagine. It is not a natural row. The group of ladies are fantastic and I wish I could have done it.  I did hang in long enough to enjoy a day when we could have spouses try it too.  It was great fun had by all!

Nov 7 – Shopping in Zhuhai

We had a day trip to Zhuhai China for some great shopping. These are a few of my finds.

November 11 – Auto Show

I am not a big car person but Lyndon had tickets to the HK Auto Show so I went with him.  There were some very old cars and some newer cutting edge types.

November 13 – Walled Villages of New Territories


OK so another great walk with Jason Wordie. We explored the walled villages of the New Territories and Clan villages. SO much information. It’s best to just check out the site.

November 21 – Art GalleryWalk


We were not able to go back to the US for Thanksgiving but the kids all gathered in NOLA.  We usually do the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving day so they found a Turkey Trot to run together in New Orleans. I love that they enjoy each others company.  We hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in HK on Saturday with some of our friends. Two were British and had never had a Thanksgiving dinner.

December 5 – Heritage Festival Naming Ceremony

The heritage festivals in HK are quite elaborate.  The Jiao Festival and Naming List Posting Ritual in Tai Po is not an exception.  They host an elaborate Chinese Opera which is held in a theater which they build specifically for this festival.  It is huge!  The people come from all over to pay their respects to their gods.  They have a posting of all the people born into the clan. It is rolled out on a long wall. I really can’t do justice on the explanation so I will try to find a website with its explanation.

December 11 – Walk around Kennedy Town and exploring with Avril

My friend Avril, who I met through AWA, lives in Kennedy Town and has a great sense of adventure.  I told her I never had ridden the trams so she said she would take me along to explore.  We went in to Kennedy Town and Sheung Wan.The dry foods markets are always full of interesting foods.  We found dried lizards and starfish along with many others unmentionables.  The Queens Street Rest Garden/ Chinese Medicine Garden was set in a tiny square near Central.  It has many herbs and vegetables and their uses in Chinese medicines.  Some were very hilarious in what they help (reduces wind, bloating, etc) . If you have  time walk through and read the displays.  Next we went to the Rabbit Café for lunch. Yes a rabbit café. The rabbits are free to roam the café. You can pet and feed them as you have you tea, coffee, or meal.

December 14 – Go Back to US

We went back to the US for our Christmas and New Year break. Man was it cold!! It was below freezing almost every day we were there. There was a day or two that were above but not many. We also had a lot of snow.  We had a White Christmas ( about 6 inches) and of Jan 4 about a foot ( along with high winds)

Christmas was fun , having everyone together, but Sarah and I both got strep.   For New Year’s we decided to have a party. So often when we come home people have gatherings so that we can see everyone. We thought it was our time to host.  It was great fun having our friends gather to celebrate the new year.


Christmas, New Year’s, Atlanta, Dayton

Even though there was a big storm in Jan 4, Sarah was able to get out Jan 3 to head back to school, and Lyndon, Michael and I got out Jan 5 to head to Atlanta.  Emily and Catherine were able to join us in Atlanta with no travel delays either. We decided to get to Atlanta for a quick trip while we were in the US and it was a bonus that the College Football National Championship was being held there that weekend. On Friday night we got together at Kevin and Kathleen’s house for dinner. It was so nice to see some of our CST friends that we have not seen in SO long. Another bonus was that ALABAMA was playing Georgia in the finals.  Janice was volunteering downtown and there were many events, concerts, etc going on .Lyndon and Michael went to the FanFest at the convention centerWe went down to Centennial park on Saturday to see Charlie Puth and Jason Derulo. It was freezing out but we still had a good time.   On Sunday , Catherine, Emily , Lyndon and Michael went back down to the fanfest for more fun.  That night I cooked for the family ( Meaning 25 people!)  It was great that everyone  ( mostly) was able to come . Monday was the big game.  It was cold and rainy but Lyndon, Michael and I went down again to centennial park . Lyndon kept trying to get tickets but they were so expensive.  We watched the start of the game at Centennial Park . Michael wanted to see Kendrick Lamar at Halftime so we stayed. After that we decided since ALABAMA was losing and the GA fans dominated, we thought we should head home during the third quarter and be able to watch the 4th from home.  Good call. It was an incredible game and came down to the wire but they won in amazing fashion , a last second overtime win. ROLLTIDE!

After we went back to CT , Michael and I had a little bit of time before he had to head back to school. I drove with him back to UD, just in time for the basketball game. I flew back to CT the next day to ready myself for the next part of my journey.

January 16 – Hong Kong

January 20 – Hike cape d’aguilar

Lyndon and I went on a hike to Cape D’aguilar. It is near Shek O. It is  a long walk along a road that leads to the cape.  There you are rewarded with beautiful views.  Between the lighthouse, cave, rocks, and whale bones there were so many things to see that  the walk was well worth it.  I would recommend packing  a light lunch when you do this hike and sit on the rocks to enjoy your meal with views.


So my New Year’s resolution is to post every month.  We will see…….

Tantalizing Tibet Sept 14 – 20

I was very blessed to be able to travel to Tibet with  an incredible group of women from the American Women’s Association in Hong Kong.  There were 11 of us from a variety of countries,  Annie ( our leader from Avon CT..small world), Andrea (Germany), Gabriella (Moldova), Elizabeth ( Norway), Amal(Egypt), Diana (Canada), Glenys ( England), Marika ( Belgium), Jillian ( New Zealand), Joni ( Philippines) and myself. Eddie was our leader from Country Travels here in HK. We left very early on Thursday  morning to fly to Chongqing China.  From there we were supposed to fly to Lhasa Tibet. We did eventually get there but we had a couple hours of delay. They were doing military training at the airport in Lhasa so flights were delayed and you really did not know how long the delay would be.  We were off walking laps in the airport when we all of the sudden saw “Boarding” for our flight.  We rushed back and boarded the plane for Lhasa.  The elevation in Lhasa is 3656 meters (almost 12,000 feet). Most people can take altitude sickness medicine to help ease the symptoms of high elevation but I can not. It is common to get headaches, shortness of breath and nausea. Immediately upon landing you could feel the thin air.  Deep breaths were difficult. As we left the airport we were each handed a Hada ( a white scarf used in ceremonies and welcoming. Our delay made us get in later than expected and the hotel ( The Shangri La) had to keep the restaurant open long enough for us to get food. This was our room on the 2nd floor.IMG_9100 We had dinner then went to bed.  Usually you would have had an afternoon to adjust to the altitude but we did not get that luxury. All night long I had a terrible headache. Thank goodness our room had been upgraded to a suite and I was able to go out to the sitting area and not keep Gabriella awake all night.  The hotel also had an oxygen room where the air was pumped in with extra oxygen. I went down there in the early morning and sat there for about an hour. It really did help.

The next morning, after a good breakfast and some caffeine for my headache, we started our touring.  The first stop was the Potala Palace. It is probably the most famous landmark in Tibet. It is an UNESCO world heritage site. It was the Winter residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to  India in 1959 after the Tibetan uprising. It was constructed in 1645.

After lunch we went to the Sera Monastery,  It is one of the best preserved monasteries in Tibet. Several hundred monks live and study here. Much of it was destroyed in 1959 . Many moved to Mysore India where they have a sister monastery. In the afternoon you can watch the monks debate but today they were testing so they were debating against their teachers.

That night we had a great meal of traditional Tibetan food.  They eat a lot of Yak – grilled, butter, yogurt, milk, etc.  Fortunately, Eddie, our guide from HK, started learning our tastes and we started having less food and more vegetables.

Saturday morning we woke up early to go to the Ganden Monastery.  It was about a  2hour drive  . At the end it was 9 km of switchback turns. Very twisty and turny. Yuck! It also is at a much higher altitude , 4500 meters ( 14763 feet)  We hiked around the monastery which gave us beautiful scenery.  It is one of the “great three” monasteries in Tibet, along with the Sera and Drepung.  It was built in 1409 . Much was destroyed in 1959 but was later rebuilt. . The hike was unbelievably beautiful, with prayer flags hanging all over and small monuments to different dieties all over.  At the main room we were lucky to be there when the monks were coming in to pray. It was quite the experience.  Unfortunately in many of the rooms of the monasteries you can not take pictures.


In the afternoon we visited the Jokhang Monastery (or Temple).  It is considered the most sacred and important temple in Tibet.  It is located in Barkhor Square.  The people are so devout in Tibet. They pray in the streets, in the squares, at the temples.   It is  a beautiful Temple with a diverse mix of architecture.  After we toured the temple we walked around the streets to do some shopping and people watching.  After much shopping ( the theme of the trip)  we went for dinner at a home.  It was called the Tibetan Family Kitchen. The family cooked for us and showed us how to make dumplings. Everything was fresh and delicious.


On Sunday we left Lhasa and headed to Gyantze. On our way we were treated to another day of beautiful scenery.  We had lakes, rivers, dams, glaciers, mountains, sheep, and local villages.   We stopped at a small village to walk and take some pictures. The homeowners were so sweet. They invited us in to their house. We took lots of pictures and some even tasted their homemade barley beer.  They showed us how to use their solar stove in the courtyard.

As we continued we stopped at the roadside where they had a collection of Tibetan Mastiffs. They  are massive dogs. We had our pictures taken with them.

The Yamdrok Yumtso Lake  is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet.  It is about 638 sq km (246 sq miles) in area.  It sits at 4441 km (  14,570 feet)  above sea level. The blues were so vibrant.   We had a couple of passes that were very high. I  think the highest was 5039 meters (16532 feet) .  It was a challenge just to walk a few feet.  Everyone was struggling for air even though we really were not doing much walking. Our lunch was set up on the lake in a tent.  They even had a portable toilet tent ( really just a hole dug but surrounded by  a tent). The food was delicious and the view spectacular.


We were going to head straight to the Pelkor Chode Monastery but as our tour guide Thundrup was so flexible, we went to the Old Town area before dinner instead. It has on old west feel to it.  There are cows and horses on the main street.  Many of the houses are planned to be torn down and the residents moved to a more updated area. There are mixed reviews from the residents here.  We came a cross a group of men playing a traditional Tibetan dice /drinking game. They were having so much fun. After dinner a few of us tried to stay and watch the Fortress be lit up .  We waited a long time and only parts were being lit. By the time we got home all the lights were on. It was hard to get a good picture but it was very impressive.

Monday morning we went to the Pelkor Chode Monastery. On our way out some of us ran through the market to catch a glimpse of the locals.  We saw yak being butchered, metal wares being sold and a variety of fruits and vegetables.  The monastery was built in 1418. Originally it housed 15 different monasteries made up of three different sects.  This was a rare showing of tolerance between the Buddhist groups in Tibet.  Today it is only made up of the Gelugpa Sect. Its most famous structure is the Kumbum.  It is a 32 meter high structure made up of 9 floors, 108 gates, and 76 shrines and chapels throughout the 9 tiers.  It has about 10000 images of  Buddha throughout.