Back home in Hong Kong

Trip Start Dec 18, 2006
Trip End May 04, 2007

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

We are home, at least in our second home. It felt very strange sitting on the bus from the airport to Wanchai. We had sat on the same bus 4 1/2 months ago ... we were wondering if this was the beginning or the end of our incredible trip. It felt a bit like a deja vu with lots of mixed feelings.

Since the flight with CX was pleasant and the time difference was only 2 hours, we felt tired but not jet-lagged. Tanja met us at the flat in Wanchai. Her pregnancy is in the last stages and it was yet another "indicator" that 4 1/2 months were gone (last time we met was in December where she "just got pregnant"). After changing into a less "traveller's like" attire, we went to Wanchai for dinner. Noble joined us later as she needed to sort out our HK mobile (a "fight" with PCCW lasting well into the very next day).

We had great Indian at the "Curry Pot" with Michael Krueger and Christoph Gatty and then stopped by "Mes Amis" for a couple of drinks. It was great as James, Angella Henry and Ron showed up for drinks as well. It is so easy to get into the "Hong Kong mode" again!

Saturday, we spent doing our banking stuff, meeting Michael for coffee, shopping in Causeway Bay, ordering a suit and shirts and meeting friends (the "usual" ... ;) ...). We had dinner with Mrs and Mr Rauti at the Happy Valley wet market. It was great seeing them again - last we met, they exchanged vows in Phuket. We spent a great evening in Happy Valley catching up. They had been to a great safari as their honeymoon (to Kenia)! Meeting Crystal and Daniel is always fun and we hope to catch up again very soon - maybe in Europe for a change ... ;) ...

On Sunday morning, I surprised Noble with her birthday gift - Sunday brunch at Nichollini's (although her birthday was only Monday ... oh well, it's never to early to celebrate). We were the first to be seated at a great table (I did ask for a table at the window) and obviously the first to get sparkling wine. We spent more than three hours indulging in incredible food sipping sparkling wine and enjoying the luxury of such a brunch. As a special treat and surprise, Noble received a cake, a teddy bear and an instant photo to commemorate the brilliant morning!

Happily and a bit tipsy, we met up with Michael and Christoph at the AMG showroom in Repulse Bay before heading to Fanling to spend the night at Noble's sister's place! It was fun seeing the kids again. We spent a (rather uncomfortable) night in Fanling, had a proper Chinese breakfast and then headed to Tai Mei Tuk for BBQ with Noble's parents. BBQ is an important event in HK and for the HK Chinese so we spent quite a while BBQing all sorts of things ... some delicious, some not for Western taste buds!

As it was Noble's birthday (hence the b'day BBQ), we went to Mong Kok for KTV with her friends. Michael and Christoph joined us as well before the small room got really crowded with the same guys and girls we celebrated Xmas at the same KTV (plus a couple of "new ones"). It was yet another deja vu - and again, lots of singing, playing games, drinking, talking (of course, I had to sing Robby Williams again to commemorate the great time with Chris A. in various Chinese KTVs ... ;) ...). Unlike the Xmas KTV, we got home by 3.30am (instead of 5am) and not as drunk as before ... things do change!

Luckily for our friends, it was Labour Day so they could enjoy a day off (funny feeling as we had enjoyed tons of days off during the past few months). I called Stan, my HK soccer team's manager and they had a friendly match for the afternoon. What a fantastic opportunity to play soccer in Happy Valley and meet my old soccer pals. This was one thing I didn't want to miss.  In the evening, we were in for yet another treat: meeting Harald, his "mystery woman", Michael and Christoph for dinner at the Peak. It was yet another night to remember: dinner was only ok at the Peak Lookout but we made up for it with lots of laughter, old stories and getting to know Vicky.  Since Harald just returned from Germany, he was not very tired and we were all in such good mood that we ended up at his place for a couple of more bottles of wine and even more fun (including a memorable phone call to Lutz - just like last time we visited Harald for the turkey dinner at Xmas). It was a kind of closure: we had dinner and drinks with and at Harald's at the beginning of the trip and at the end!!

The next morning, the mobile phone was ringing and I was so sure that it was Michael that I couldn't believe who was on the other side: Sven Oelmann, Lufthansa pilot, currently in Hong Kong before flying the Jumbo back to Frankfurt. We hadn't seen each other for such a long time that the call took me completely by surprise. We decided to meet up for coffee in the afternoon. Noble and I still had a lot of things to do (banking, etc.) so we spent the whole day "running around HK" getting things done!

Meeting Sven was fun as we hadn't seen each other for ages. He later confessed that he even had to do a "google" on me and he came across Daniel Abawi's website featuring our wedding pictures (from 2002!!). We eased into evening and asked Sven to join us for dinner with Noble's friends. We had "spicy crab under the bridge" (which is rather self-explanatory). The food was excellent and the evening a blast which we wrapped up with our favorite mango dessert.

Our second last day was yet again busy with getting things done (banking, shopping, eating - the usual Hong Kong activities). We met Kay for lunch (brilliant DIM SUM!!) which is an event in itself (she always got great stories to tell). Later in the afternoon, we met Lai Fun and Rosanna. We met Lai Fun's sister (Joyce) in Phnom Phen where she showed us around (some of ou may remember that Joyce lives and works in Cambodia). The evening had yet another highlight: we met Brenda and Henry for an Indian dinner.  Since we couldn't join their wedding in Vancouver last year, we wanted to "make up for it" by taking them out for dinner. They are great friends and we enjoyed dinner very much (the food and company).

Last but not least, we met John and Haslam for drinks. Haslam has been my Action Asia Challenge team mate (it is an adventure race series in Asia with events in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan). Meeting him is always great - until he dubbed me the "German Taleban" ... obviously, my beard and hair did grow a wee bit! What a laugh!!

Sadly, our last day in Hong Kong and incidentally also our trip had arrived. We spent the morning with packing, laundry and cleaning up the place. After lunch and coffee, we decided to go to the Airport Express Station in Central. As it just started to rain (the sky is crying), we had to wait for ages for a taxi (seems like someone higher up wanted to send us a message "Don't go"). The check in was easy and we made our way to SoHo where we got our hair cut. Noble's turned out great but mine was a complete desaster. Instead of just trimming the edges to keep my hair long, that stupid woman messed it up that I looked like a complete dork - and short hair (6 months of natural growth devastated by a mad woman's inability to just trim). Oh well, not much to be done!

As our farewell loomed like Damoklas' sword, we needed a stiff drink and headed to Staunton's. We started out with just the two of us but later Tanja, Ron, John, Shelly, Catherine, Zoe and Crystal joined us - even Angella made a cameo appearance before heading off to the C-class launch (due to our departure, we had to "disappoint" Harald as he had invited us).

Feeling happily tipsy, the whole group accompanied us to the airport express to see us off (it is quite possible that they just wanted to make sure we are leaving). As a surprise guest, Gloria showed up to bid farewell as well. It was a highly emotional farewell but not forever as Hong Kong and our friends there will draw us back again and again and again! 
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