Thursday, December 31, 2015

Honeymoon - Day 0: Macau Day Trip

Waking up early this morning, we head to the ferry terminal to take a turbo boat to Macau.  We didn't go to any casinos (we got a quick intro tour of all the casinos), and spent most of the time sightseeing and walking around the city.

For lunch, we ate noodles at a local place, then we headed to the Ruins of St. Paul and the Monte Fort.  The Ruins of St. Paul was pretty cool - given that all that's left is the face of the church.  Going up to the top of Monte Fort was pretty neat too - seeing all the canons still around.  Also walked around the street where all the souvenir purchasing are at.

The best part was the street food! The 牛什 and 雞蛋仔  were simply amazing.  With the 牛什, it was pick your own skewers of beef, then they make it for you on the spot.  With the 雞蛋仔 , it was made with charcoal.  We also went and had some Portuguese egg tarts (since we are in Macau, we must try it!)

After dinner, we went back to where we were spending the night.  Hung out, and then watched the fireworks from a small window from the bedroom (since we did not want to go outside as it was cold and roommate wasn't really feeling well).  Surprisingly romantic because it was just the two of us!

Happy new year 2017!!!

Food Tally:
Breakfast: McDonalds (41 HKD)
Lunch: Noodle (??)
Snack: 牛什 (??), 雞蛋仔  (??)
Dinner: Portugese Food (??)
Total Spent on Food for the Day??? (didn't keep track today)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pre-Honeymoon - Day 7: Bum around Central (中環), Star Wars, and Michelin Star Restaurant Visit!

Met up with some high school friends for a lunch, then had some time to kill before meeting up for dinner.  So what to do... Answer: Star Wars!!!

So with my 3D glasses that I borrowed in hand (apparently in Hong Kong you had to buy and bring your own 3D glasses), went to the cinema in IFC.  For 150 HKD (~$19 USD), the movie was pretty expensive given the theater quality.  The theater itself was pretty small (there were maybe 14 rows with 10 seats each) - reminds me more of a lecture hall than a theater.  I guess though with Hong Kong having such a high population density, space does cost a premium.

Note to self: when guests from HK come, will put Cinerama as a tourist attraction.  With the chocolate popcorn and the opera style seating and many times bigger screen, it should be mind blasting!

For dinner, Aunt and Uncle 6 took us to "Sing Kee" Seafood restaurant.  Turns out in 2014 they were awarded one Michelin star!!!  This is the first time I've been to a restaurant that ever had any stars. The best dish of the night is the flash fried fresh abalone with salt and pepper.  These were just simply heavenly (I had the luck to eat 3 of them... wuhahaha).  The outside was crispy, but the inside was moist and tender.  The fish and scallop were also done really well.

After dinner, we headed to a Honeymoon Dessert location and ate some more.  The mango pancakes were great, and all the desserts for that matter.

The full menu:

With that, this marks the last day in Hong Kong.  Tomorrow Macau we go!

Food Tally:
Lunch Ho Nam Chicken Rice (230 HKD)
Snack: Popcorn for Movie (120 HKD)
Snack #2: Mango Pancake (80 HKD)
Dinner: 10 course meal (~600 HKD)
Dessert @ Honeymoon Dessert: 西米露 with 涼粉, mango and durian pancake (120 HKD)

Total Spent on Food for the Day230 + 120 + 80 + 600 +120 = 1,150 HKD = ~$148 USD

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pre-Honeymoon - Day 6: Ocean Park

Today we would take the kiddos to Ocean Park (or rather, have the kiddos take us to Ocean Park).

First stop - brunch at Tai Hing (yes - again).  What was special today though was that I had the opportunity to drink some 肺湯 - something I have not had for 20+ years!!!  On a side note, our server was really happy, and impressed with us because we ate quite a bit.  

After brunch, we headed towards Ocean Park.  We watched a dolphin show, then went on the Ferris wheel - just in time for the sun set.  I am very glad that I bought a Lumia 950 as my phone because with it, I have been able to take some pretty good pictures without having to pull out my DLSR.  This sunset picture is taken with the Lumia - not too bad right?

For dinner, our friends took us to their 'dining hall' where the food was delicious.  The highlight were the shrimps.  We actually had 3 (or 4?) plates of them between 5 adults and 2 children.  There were two flavors (below only shows the soy sauce version, the other one is golden in color - I think it was made with duck yolk batter).

Food Tally:
Brunch (太興): Noodles and 肺湯 Pig Lung Soup (210 HKD)
Snack in Ocean Park: Octopus, Coke, Black sesame McD Ice Cream Cone (209 HKD)
Dinner: Shrimp galore and yummy food (600 HKD)

Total Spent on Food for the Day: 210 + 209 + 600 = 1,019 HKD = ~$132 USD

Monday, December 28, 2015

Pre-Honeymoon - Day 5: Day in Lantau (大嶼山) and Tai O (大澳)

Today one of our friend's acted as tour guide took us to Lantau and Tai O to sight see.

What I didn't realize until I heard the Chinese name of this place was apparently when I was small, this was a place we go to for vacation.  In the past, this place was not accessible by MTR, but now it is.

The first stop was the Tian Tan Big Buddha (天壇大佛) .  It was pretty cool seeing this in person.  The steps was not as scary as people make it.  The view at the top was pretty nice, and there is a relic inside the temple.

We also went to the Ten Thousand Buddha temple.  Lots of gold and lots of Budhas.  We weren't able to go inside though, but did snap a few pictures of the inside.

After spending a few hours here, we then headed into Tai O.  Our tour guide was actually a local here - so we were able to actually walk into a ship yard store, which was really cool.  For dinner, we went to a place she knew the owners of, and they served us some really amazing and fresh seafood.  It was a long walk (I think we walked for an hour) and after dinner, we had to rush to catch the last bus back out of Tai O.  The shrimp that we ate was like no other.  Spectacular - wished I took a picture of it.

Food Tally: 
Dim Sum in Lantau: (180 HKD)
Dinner in Tai O: - Huge Shrimp, 8 Treasure Duck, Vegetables (300 HKD)
Total Spent on Food for the Day: 180 + 300 = 480 HKD = ~$62 USD 
*Dinner was cheap because we got the VIP rate :)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pre-Honeymoon - Day 4: Returning to 太古城 (Tai Koo Shing)

After 20+ years, one of the highlights of the trip for me was going back to where it all started.  With what little that I remember of my childhood, there were pieces of it that I remembered, and this was one of them.

Starting from the plaza which looked significantly different than what I remembered.  My roommate and I headed towards finding my building.  It took a bit of wandering around, but eventually, after a KFC snack, we found it!  The place that I first called home!

Left: Peekaboo view of the swimming pool that I first learned how to swim in (there were gates so the best I could do was put my hands through the gate to snap a photo).  This was the pool that I remembered I was never allowed to go to the deep end, and had to practice my whip kick against the wall.  My aspiration to learn how to swim started here!

Right: The outdoor deck above a parking lot where we used to play.  Here there used to be tons of BB gun pellets to pick up, and also where during mid autumn festival, where everyone comes out with empty moon cake boxes to 'boil wax'.  (I have no clue why I remember this...)

Left: KFC with gloves.  Fancy.

Right: Map of 太古城.  The pool is where the red dot is - I swear when I was small going to the pool was a very very long walk... .. .

At 北京樓, watching the duck cutting up close and personal.  These duck cutting people are machines.  By the time we sat down to the time she started handling our duck, the lady had prepared 6 already.

Ahhh... to revisit the place of my childhood.  Nostalgic!

Food Tally:
Brunch (Shanghai Lao Lao - 上海姥姥): 小籠包  + other typical Shanghai-nese food (600 HKD)
Snack: 雞蛋仔  (28 HKD)
Snack (KFC): Hot wings (25 HKD)
Dinner (北京樓): 砂窩津白, whole Peking duck (660 HKD)

Total Spent on Food for the Day: 600 + 28 + 25 + 660 = 1,313 HKD = ~$170 USD
*600 HKD was really split between 5 adults and 1 child.
*660 HKD was really split between 3 adults and 1 child (though I ate most of the duck :) )

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pre-Honeymoon - Day 3: Brief 旺角 (Mong Kok) excursion

With roommate feeling a little bit better, today we went out to town.

First stop was eating the classic HK lite breakfast - instant noodle with egg and spam!.. Delicious!

Then we headed into the city for some dim sum.  After dim sum, we went to 旺角 to walk around. There was lots of food around, but didn't eat much (any in fact).  The place smelled like sewage everywhere, so didn't really have an appetite as a result.  In general, it was a bit too crowded for my taste, just seemed like street after street of flea market goods, but unlike Taiwanese night market, there wasn't enough food stalls in between - mostly they were selling phone cases, or bags, or shoes.. etc etc... guess I am not a true HK lite afterall :(.  However, there was a mall (The One) and in it a dessert place - that was super yummy.

Crashed a friend's place for a boxing day dinner.  Played a bunch of random games like keeping balloons up, popping balloons, beer pong... It was fun!

Tomorrow I return to where I came from!

Food Tally:
Breakfast @ 太興(185 HKD) - Instant Noodle with Egg and Spam ... Classic hk lite breakfast
Lunch: More dim sum @ a resturant next to a Cub Scout HQ
Snack: Dessert (63 HKD) - 楊支甘露 and 芝麻糊配豆腐花
Dinner: (480 HKD) - First attempt at eating some fatty crab!  Had two crab heads... Yummy!

Total Spent on Food for the Day185 + 63 + 480 = 728 HKD = ~$94 USD

Friday, December 25, 2015

Pre-Honeymoon - Day 2: Scouting around 馬鞍山 (Ma On Shan)

With the AC having been turned on, my roommate seemed to have gotten sick.  So today after going to Peking restaurant for dim sum, we went back to Ma On Shan and stayed around there.

While roommate was passed out, I went to the supermarket downstairs and loaded up on chips and lemon tea.  Bought soooo much lemon tea for so little money - especially since they were like 50% off.

At night, went on a secret mission and brought over a cake to Uncle 6 to celebrate his bday!

Food Tally:
Dim Sum (北京樓):  Various Dim Sum (?? HKD)
Snack: Lemon Tea and Chips (55 HKD)
Dinner (太興): Noodle and Take Out ($140 HKD)
Dessert: Mango Cake (108 HKD)

Total Spent on Food for the Day: 55 + 108 + 140 = 303 HKD = ~$40 USD

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pre-Honeymoon - Day 1: First Day in HK

Landed and cleared immigration - with less than 1 hour of sleep in 24 hr+, you'd think I'd be sleepy.  But not really.  First thing's first... EAT!

First meal (at the airport!) and snack in HK 

After a quick breakfast, we headed to Ma On Shan (where I would be staying for a week).  Took a quick power nap, then off for more food!

En route to dim sum, saw a stand selling curry fish balls.  So of course I had to buy it and eat it.
Oh - and also got a MTR card and filled it up with 150 HKD.  Now I feel like a true HK-lite!!

First Lunch (Dim Sum)
This was a fancy dim sum place, and there were a few stand out dim sum.  One was the buns below served in a 'qi' stone bowl, and the other (our favorite), was the pork in the second picture.  These little cubes of goodness was just delicious, forcing us to order a couple plates of it.

Couple's Foot Massage!
Up next after lunch, a foot massage.  Both of use did it side by side :).  Below is a picture of my feet soaking in some hot water that is suppose to relax and warm up my feet.

After the foot massage, we would also get some 'old fire' soup.  Mmmmmm....

First Dinner in HK (Taiwanese Cafe - TeaWood)
In additional to the dish below, had a fruit tea as well as some noodles (not shown).  It was pretty good.  Very nice place.

First Post Dinner in HK
After the dinner, we dropped by a friend's place, where there were some Taylor shellfish oysters, and a fancy massage chair, AND Vitasoy lemon tea.   I was hesitant to eat the oysters though (since it was my first day) - so I only ate about half a dozen.  But I took full use of the massage chair - what a nice piece of furniture to have at home...

With a double massage day, and having slept ~2 hours in the last 48 hours, we went back home, took a shower, turned on the AC.. 

Soldier Mson - passing out.

Food Tally:
Breakfast - Lemon barley tea and little dragon dumplings (121 HKD)
Snack: Curry fishball on a stick (15 HKD)
Lunch: Dim sum (990 HKD - for 4.5 adults, 1 child)
Dinner: Taiwan Tea Wood (292 HKD) 

Post Dinner: Oysters and Lemon Tea

Total Spent on Food for the Day: 121 + 15 + 990 + 292 = 1418 HKD = ~$183 USD
*990 HKD was really split between 5 people.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pre-Honeymoon - Day 0: The Asia Trip begins!

Flying out at 1:00 am, I was headed towards the future!

The plane ride was long, and even though it was 1 am when the flight took off, I did not really get much sleep.  As much as I tried to sleep, my band said that I had less than 1 hour of restful sleep.  The movies weren't that great, but luckily, chatted with a doctor next to me who had some good stories, keeping both of us entertained for a few hours, thereby saving me from staring at the back of the seat in front of me when I was not tossing and turning in my seat.

The airplane meals were pretty bad.  Didn't really eat much of it.  But they kept serving us food - heck, they even served breakfast at 2am!!!

I would arrive in the future (aka Taiwan) 30 minutes late.  The folks were nice though as they waited for the bunch of us connecting before taking off.  Eva Air - what good service!

And with that I have arrived - first time back in 23 years!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Contributed to Team.. Success!

Officially shipped my first feature to production on the new team.

Good way to wrap up to get ready for the holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Injury in soccer.... again :(

Had my rib elbowed again... But we did win by 2.. We won because of the two goals I scored I would like to think.. Wuhahaha

Friday, December 11, 2015

Uni Galore in Vancouver

Uni galore in Vancouver!!!  Mmmmmm….

Feel like my cholesterol probably just shot off the roof :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Return of Salad Day?

Been a while since I've had a salad...
-Healthy Mson

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Whistler Thanksgiving

We stayed at the Whistler Cascade Lodge.  Not too clean, but it was close to the slopes and pretty well priced.

It was a great day for skiing.  Not too cold, nice visibility.  Not all the runs were open, but I had lots of fun.  Didn't really burn till the end of each run - guess all that exercising is paying off!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Recaulking kitchen backsplash

Handyman Mson strikes again!.. This time learning how to caulk a kitchen backsplash.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Visit to Hand Doctor

Visited hand doctor today to check out my hand.  Jyst of conversation:
Me: Can I play?
Doc: What are you playing?
Me: Soccer
Doc: Sureee…

Doc and me had the same opinion.  You shouldn't need your hands to play soccer if you are not goalie.  
Healthy days, resume!

PS. Apparently I probably torked some ligaments - hence the swelling and pain.. but no broken bones!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Injured finger playing indoor :(

19 days after ban on soccer lifted… yikes!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Wedding Part II: Reception in Vancouver

We arrive at the restaurant and spend literally the next hour trying to get the slideshow and video working.  For some reason it just wouldn't play.  After mucking with it for awhile, lil boy genius swoops in and saves the day.  Turns out the system is a bit old, and couldn't run HD - so we had to down sample the video so that the video wouldn't crash.

As it turns out, it was another good friend who helped us here.  Good ol' Raj was behind the miraculous save, having written this feature for the product when he was still in!

Memorable mention... I finally got my shark's fin soup (3 of them in fact - love being the man of the hour).  It's been quite a few weddings I've attended now since I got a taste of it.  Mmmmm... delicious!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Seattle Works - Winterizing organic garden!

Emeritus is out and about again.  This time winterizing an organic garden.

Second time this year - haven't done this in a looong time!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Back to Work...

With the last few guests having left, it was now time to get back to work.

Will be going to work to wrap up and hand off work, as I will be starting on a new team in 1.5 weeks.  First time choosing to move out of my own volition, hope it goes well!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Weddding Day - 10.10.2015 - Wishing for 十全十美 for Eternity

Today I become a husband!!!

Door Opening 
First task of the day.  Go and break down the door and get lil friend aka roommate...  Greeted by family in the morning, and a morning shot with the boys, we headed down the elevators, only to be sent back up because the ladies were still getting ready.  A little bit later, they were ready and so the games began!

Some honorable mentions...
- I look good in whatever I was given to dress in :)
- Got kicked in the balls by BJ in the ping pong tork game
- Out of the 5 questions I was asked, I got one right... lol

The 'sweet, sour, bitter, spicy' eating game...
The spicy portion was delicious.  Was not spicy at all.  Thank you chef!
- The bitter one tasted like cigarette butts in tea... don't know if that was really what's in it...

Picture Taking and Torrential Rain
If we showed just the pictures below, no one would have thought that today was actually a (very) rainy day.  As a matter of fact, there were a couple hours in the morning and in the afternoon where one could describe the weather as torrential rain.

As luck would have it, there was a good hour where we could go outdoors - so we wasted no time going to Pike's Place and the gum wall for some photos.  As we walked down cobblestone street, people stopped and looked and congratulated us.  We were like movie stars!

We then went to the Seattle sculpture park and ended up finding a white walled room completely empty.  So even though the rain had picked up, we were able to spend another hour taking pictures.  With the red umbrella (not shown) and a white wall as the background, it felt like we were in a private studio!

Tea Ceremony
Had a quick hiccup where we initially couldn't find the tea set.  But our bridesmaid and groomsmen swooped in and saved the day.  They went all the way back to our place, 

After the tea ceremony, it was time stand at the end of the aisle to wait for the bride.  I have to say, right before I walked in, I was taken aback when I saw all the people sitting there waiting for us.  

Cocktail Hour
During cocktail hour, we arranged it so that we would take pictures with our guests in front of the exhibits.  This was pretty challenging for the photographer because of the low and weird light situation - but Rick (our photographer) pulled it off.  With his trusty sidekick holding a light saber, the pictures turned out great!

Towards the end of the cocktail hour, the wedding party took some quick photos before heading towards the main area for the reception.

Wedding Reception

We ate, we speeched, we danced, we slideshowed, we did the rounds.  
This part of the night seemed to fly by.  Before we know it, it was already midnight!

After party
We walked down the street (some took the shuttle or uber'ed).
Karaoke, cake, booze with friends and family - the night continues on!

After after party… 
No pictures here to share.  But pretty sure we were a ruckus - I vaguely recall going to multiple rooms, eating instant noodles, and then running around and playing games.  Luckily half the hotel was 'our people', which is why I guess there were no complaints about the noise.  That or the hotel is really well built and insulated!

Our Outside Vendors... We had some really awesome vendors that made our day run smoothly.
Rick Takagi - Photography
Alexis Taylor (Green Attic Films) - Videographer
Craig (DJ Bugsie) - DJ and MC
Kent (Heavenly Ceremonies) - Officiant
Susan Haas - Harpist
Nichole Monjay (Florarama) - Flowers
Yummy House Bakery - Cake

Final notes...
Wedding highlight video: here (password is last name)
Thanks to all the friends and family who came all the way to join us on our special day.
And many thanks to all those who helped us before and on the day of.

Now, on to the next chapter of our lives!