Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hong Kong and Hwasun!

Hong Kong - As told by Tyler

After our wonderful experience in Beijing, we set off for our 8 hour layover in Hong Kong. The flight with Dragon Air was great. We were provided with a dinner meal, and even though we had pizza before the flight, I still enjoyed every bit of it (including the ice cream!) We all got to watch a movie on the personal screens, I re-watched the Maze Runner and Val watched a Korean film with English subtitles that someone from her school recommended. She said it was interesting. We were supposed to take a nap, but we got wrapped up in our movies, so that didn’t end up happening.

We arrived in Hong Kong some time after 10 pm. and went through the airport procedures before being ready to go explore and meet up with my uncle, Greg, who was already in Hong Kong for business. Mike and Annaleah stayed at a hotel at the airport since Annaleah was a  little sick from all the traveling and needed rest. Val and I found the taxi area and went to meet Greg at his hotel. The taxis in Hong Kong are all red Toyota Comforts and look very unique! And because Hong Kong was previously a British colony, they drive on the right side of the road! We were able to call Greg using the taxi driver’s phone when we arrived at his hotel since the driver couldn’t find the correct entrance to the hotel. It was great to see another familiar face!

Cute taxis!

Driving on the right side of the road!
Hong Kong was a much warmer ~68 degrees compared to the ~28 degrees in Beijing. After a quick change in the hotel, we were feeling good and ready to head out...except when packing, I only brought my hiking boots, which was great for our adventures in Seoul and Beijing, but I felt a little awkward wearing them to go to a fancy bar.

We met up with Pauline and her Husband Tim, who live in Hong Kong. (Pauline is related to Greg, and use to live in Oregon to attend High School when I was about 7 years old.) It was fun to see Pauline again and meet her husband for the first time. All of us squeezed into a cab and headed to the OZone bar, the highest bar in the world, which is part of the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

This is not my photo...but shows a nice picture of what the building looked like!

Notice there are no jackets or sweaters involved! So nice! 

The bar was very chic and modern. When coming out of the elevator, you walk through a blue lit hallway into the bar and lounge, which has an indoor section and an outdoor section. We found a spot in the outdoor area by the big windows and ordered drinks. Since it was late, (after midnight by now), most buildings had their lights shut off, but what we could see was pretty cool. The drinks were good and the company was awesome!

Our view!

Delicious sliders!

When were finished at the bar, we said goodbye to Pauline and Tim who had to head home. Then Greg took Val and I to find a place to get foot massages. Now about 2 am, it took a little looking around, but we found a place that was still open for another hour. After doing a lot of walking around this vacation, but the foot massage felt great and it was nice to just sit and relax.

What does everyone need after a nice foot massage? Food of course! This also took some looking around, seeing that most places aren’t open at 3 am, but we did find a 24 hour Chinese food restaurant. We didn’t think we were that hungry, but once we saw the food, we were changed our minds. The food wasn’t amazing by any means, but better than I’d expect from a 24 hour restaurant during odd hours.

Walking the streets of Hong Kong with Greg at 2am!

Once we were content, we all walked back to Greg’s hotel room. Greg was super nice and let us use his bedroom and bathroom, while he got some sleep in the living room area. His room was very nice and even had a TV in the bathroom mirror! 

TV in the mirror! Crazy! But a great idea! haha! 

We essentially got cleaned up and ready for the our morning flight, relaxed for about 15 minutes in the very comfortable bed, and then had to say goodbye and head back to the airport. We are so thankful to Greg for hosting us for our condensed excursion of Hong Kong, we had a really great time!

Hwasun-As told by Val ;)

After our 6 days of traveling all over we all were happy to be back in Hwasun to relax a little. Though there wasn’t too much relaxing between all the things we wanted to show my mom and dad! We showed them almost everything that was important to us or that we really like!

We bussed out to Neungju Elementary School to give them a grand tour of a Korean school! We also gave them a quick cooking “class” on how to make Gimbap (traditional Korean “sushi” roll-but without the raw fish!).

We explored downtown Gwangju and of course the huge E-Mart store! My co-teacher Jin was kind enough to meet us for dinner in Hwasun at our favorite pasta place and even gifted my parents with Korean Starbucks coffee cups!

The police officer and his group wanted a photo with us. ;)  
On the bus to Gwangju! 

One of my favorite photos! :)
We took a walk up to the reservoir and went out for Korean BBQ with our friend Brad and Maranda! That was a new experience for them! Sitting on the floor, cooking your own meat, and trying new Korean side dishes was fun for them and we all had a great time!

Our favorite Korean BBQ place of all time! :)

Overall, our time in Hwasun felt so short as it got even closer for them to go back home. It was a bittersweet goodbye but we were so thankful for the time we had together and all the amazing memories we made! Thank you Mom and Dad for coming on a adventure with us! We love you!

We did it! We finished posting about our wonderful January vacation! Still working on the videos (because we took a lot!) but we're glad we finally caught up! Thanks for reading! :)

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