Saturday, December 8, 2012

It’s a ( Not So) Small World!


SO….my friend Diane has a little bit of a weather disorder…and believe me…the last few weeks here have been DISMAL.  Seattle, take note…if ANYONE says how gloomy and rainy and drab Seattle is…point them to Hong Kong and tell them to SHUT UP.

WITH this in mind, Diane decided she needed a mood lifter.  After not too much thought, she came up with one answer

“I want to see it snow in Hong Kong”.

If this is your wish….there is only one place we could think of that could accommodate her:


Now, Diane is also a HUGE Toy Story fan, and since Toy Story land just opened here, well, she could get her fix for that.  (Woody is her fav, BTW)

Before we even got to this entrance…we got to ride on the happiest MTR train on earth!

We were pleasantly surprised when we got to the Sunny Bay MTR station and our “coach” awaited…

IMG_7052 First…the windows…yep…Mickey’s head.  The seats are curved, and cushioned and VERY comfy (for the 8 minute ride…but we appreciated that!)

Here’s Diane relaxing, waiting to exit the train

IMG_7054She coordinated with the seats!

Next…the “hangers” ???  You guessed it…

IMG_7049 Yep…there’s that shape again!

I was very cautious and held on with TWO hands!


IMG_7060 Diane got to see Woody before we even entered.  the whole walkway is lined with these flags of all of the different characters. 

IMG_7064 HUGE fountain before we even get to the turnstiles…and then….

IMG_7066 Look familiar? 

Now, I have never been to WDW, but I know Disneyland looks just like this!

It was all decorated for Christmas!


We had the entire day, and Disneyland HK is known to be very small and aimed at very little people.  With this in mind, we just wandered, found things to see, snapped pics and went on to the next thing.

The other thing about this being a mini-version of Disneyland…is that we could take time to do things we don’t normally do…parades, shows, etc.

Our first stop was Mickey’s PhilharMagic.  It’s a 3D movie of Donald Duck chasing Mickey’s hat from Fantasia through all the different Disney movies…VERY cute!  You even get spritzed and wind blown. 

Next was Toy Story land to find Woody…


But alas…NO Woody.  So we wandered away, took a peak at the new “mansion” being built

IMG_7083  Saw one of many Mickey’s posing for pictures:

IMG_7084 Then decided to go BACK through Toy Story land to make our way to the Lion King (in the round) show.



Diane’s dream  almost came true…but alas…the lady would not let us in line to get a picture with Woody… Sad smile  Woody was tired….(WHAT?) So we had to settle for pictures from afar.


To cheer ourselves up, we went over to Fantasy Land to see if we could get on the Winnie the Pooh ride.  NO JOY!  50 minute wait and Fast Pass time was 3 hours away…SO…we went on

It’s a Small World!  To prove a point that most of us know…we WALKED on this ride…which tells me that song is annoying IN EVERY COUNTRY…

IMG_7094IMG_7097IMG_7116IMG_7114IMG_7119 We managed to get on before the huge group of school children…THANK heaven!

Next it was off to the Lion King show where we only had to wait about 15 minutes before we could go in.  The show is in the Round…which is cool. 

To get in though…it was sort of a “trample the weak” situation…which I can not imagine happening at the other parks….but we got nice seats. The theater holds 2000 people…so I can’t even imagine how hard it is to run in during the busier months (and believe me…it was busy this day!)


After the show…it was PARADE TIME!  Like I said…because this was not all about “rides” we watched and did things I would normally pass on.  We actually watched THREE parades!

The first was characters on parade…



Then, Mickey’s Toyriffic Parade!

IMG_7238CLICK ON THIS…you can see the parade…THROUGH THIS DUDE’S IPAD! 

IMG_7281IMG_7270IMG_7260IMG_7246IMG_7239 There was snow during this parade…but snow is VERY hard to photograph… trust me…it happened!

there were many dressed up children…

IMG_7226 and having so much fun IS EXHAUSTING


These are the same everywhere:  and yes, they light up at night!


Soon it was time to light the tree

IMG_7300IMG_7296IMG_7343It’s not huge like the tree at Disneyland…but it is pretty!

I think Disneyland is magical after dark!

We  walked around a little more…had dinner (croutons shaped like Mickey’s head…OF COURSE!) Rode Astroblasters, Space Mountain (Diane rode JUST that for me) Dumbo and finally made it on the Winnie the Pooh ride…

Soon the park would be closing, it was time to head out before the masses…so we made our way to the exit:


Back to the Disneyland train…back to Hong Kong

Back to reality.

What a fun fun fun day!  I am so glad we went!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

And our tour comes to a close

(yep, pictures….click on them)

SO…after our YAK hot pot lunch, it was time to head out for our last formal tour.

Now…the one thing I have learned from this trip (if I ever coordinate my own…and I am hoping for that)…is that when you have 22 people ….things just take longer.

Our afternoon was supposed to be a long, yet not stressful walk through villages with yaks, and sheep and nature.

Sadly, our timing just got too short…so while our afternoon was highly edited, it was pretty amazing…once again b/c of the generosity of local villagers.

We took a bus out towards the Ringha Monastery which was HIGH on a hill…but that comes in minute.

We traveled out away from Shangri-La and saw some pretty fun sights:

IMG_6931IMG_6930That is Sue…in the Yak field

IMG_6928IMG_6927 Me in the YAK field…and Yak alone…

Here are some sites from our walk into the village:



We made our way along to the village and quite honestly, many on the bus were just about ready to be done. 

This happens on a trip.  You get feel you have seen things already…do I HAVE to go to another Tibetan Village??  REALLY?  Stay tuned…

So we arrived at the village where we had to hike in b/c our bus was just too big.  Our guide handed out red envelopes to show our appreciation for admission.  I’m not sure how much was in each envelope…but even with that…some would not allow their pictures to be taken…which is fine, just interesting.

IMG_6938IMG_6937 The envelopes were handed out …I’m not sure how…or why…but they were.

So as we walked around…we came to the front door of a home and WOW…what a home and what a family

IMG_6939 Here is the front door…beautiful!


These are our hostesses!  Mom and daughter.  There was another generation…and maybe two more that lived in the home

The home was off the hook amazing. 

The villagers help each other build their homes and they are grand.  The cost of a home could be the savings of two or three generations. 

IMG_6949IMG_6947 The first picture is of the kitchen…there was a HUGE kettle and all of this amazing carving.  Next, look at the pillar in the next shot.  It is huge  and sturdy and shows craftsmanship that is off the hook.


IMG_6945Here is the front of the house. It has seven bedrooms and four generations live here.

IMG_6951 This is Yak butter in the pantry.  YUM ???

Owner upstairs:

IMG_6952 The stairs up to the 2nd floor were really steep and all generations go up and down them with no issue.  (practice?) 

The entire family was SO welcoming and yes, tea was served.  Some of us stayed with the family while the rest made our way to the Rignha Monastery…which is up on a hill and while a climb…was doable!

IMG_6958IMG_6957IMG_6956IMG_6955IMG_6954 The flags are EVERYWHERE on the hill as you make your way.  I am bummed I don’t ‘have more pictures…but once again the Monastery was under construction…so we got outside looks…which is ok…since I fell weird intruding.

I knew I could make my way up the hill to the Monastery since there were families of four generations handling the climb.  I shut up and just did it.

IMG_6960 Here is Tom with a goat that was just hanging around…very cute!

On the way down we encountered prayer wheels


Afterwards, as we made our way to the bus (and on the way, some had to step behind bushes b/c toilets were not available), one lady turned to me…who did NOT want to go to the village and said how she took it all back…the walk was beyond worth it…so … just try it…you might like it!

The villagers were so kind, and I find them amazingly beautiful. 

Our last evening we had dinner and made our way back to the hotel.  This was the first meal I managed to have something to eat of substance.

On our way to the rooms, once again the stars put on a show.  We looked up.  We admired.  We took a big clean breath …probably our last…

And packed for our trip to Hong Kong

Another amazing tour came to a close…one I am thrilled to have gone on. 

I am blessed