Moon Festival

Here we are at the final destination and the last instalment of September ad-French-ure. I must admit, as much fun as it has been sharing this trip with you, putting together these posts – selecting and preparing the photos – has been hard work and I’m looking forward to going back to writing with more words than pictures!

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We had one last hurrah in France before leaving Europe. Our departure flight was an early morning one out of Paris, so we imposed on Jenny’s parents one last time to take us out in the mobiroom. We drove most of the way from Belgium to Paris, stopping overnight just outside of the city at Senlis, so that we could wake up in the morning and make the short trip to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Au revoir cobblestone streets!

Au revoir rustic French buildings!

Au revoir Notre Dame, even though you're just one of many Notre Dames dotted all over France and not the famous one in Paris!

Au revoir Monsieur et Madame!

Au revoir Rapido, our home away from home away from home!

Au revoir French sunset!

Hello Hong Kong! Hello full moon!

Our stay in Hong Kong co-incided with the Mid-Autumn Festival, but not by design. I had no idea when we planned the trip, but it worked out awesome, ‘coz it meant we got to celebrate with my relatives. More on that later.

We touched down at Hong Kong International Airport at just after 7am in the morning. Our plan was to drop off our bags at the hotel and then walk around all morning until our room was ready for check-in. I barely slept a wink on the flight over, so the prospect of being on our feet wasn’t looking very appealing.

I’ll tell you now: there’s something to be said for the benefits of luxury. On arrival at Langham Place, they let us check in immediately (although it may have had something to do with us agreeing to upsize to a nicer room on a higher floor). It was an immense relief to be able to take a shower and a nap before hitting the town.

Here are some pictures of the room that we stayed in (taken later on in the trip):

Langham Place has a reputation as "The art gallery masquerading as a hotel". This is part of a "Chinese art" exhibition.

The view from our room on the 31st floor.

The king-size bed - double the size of the one we had in the budget place where we stayed last time.

Well appointed: flatscreen TV and office facilities (including free wireless internet).

The usual minibar and wotnot.

The bathroom was all marble and glass.

Raowr.

"The water! It falls from the sky!" You probably won't believe me when I say I'm wearing undies behind that towel.

Mucking around in the elevator. Trying unsuccessfully to hide my huge belly!

Breakfast at the OK Coral. Well, it was quick and cheap at any rate.

Refreshed, we ventured forth into the world of culinary delights to seek out breakfast… and ended up at Cafe de Coral (the McDonalds equivalent of Chinese food in Hong Kong) because without my parents as guides and translators, we were totally clueless.

Things rapidly improved as we went back to revisit old haunts that we remembered from our previous trip, like this place inside the Langham Plaza famous for wontons. However, we had been instructed by my aunt not to eat too much, because she was cooking up a storm for the Moon Festival family gathering that night. I knew better than to doubt her.

This bowl of wontons cost HK$25 - under AU$3.50 at the time, even less now.

The family. There are 2 Jennys in this picture, with a 3rd to arrive later, but we forgot to get a shot of "the 3 Jennys".

A close-up of the feast.

Justin doing magic tricks. Look at those quick hands!

Jenny and Charmaine.

Charmaine was enamoured with the camera; a photographer in the making.

With my cousins Ricky, Raymond and Paul.

The remainder of the trip was a poorly documented flurry of intense eating and shopping. The ever-improving Aussie Dollar continued to blow our minds and things kept looking cheaper by the day. Again, practicality was far from our minds as we bought ridiculous items such as a waste bin, a garlic press and other kitchen bric-a-brac, clothes, several pairs of shoes, and of course, Transformers. In the end, we ended up having to buy an extra luggage just to accommodate all of our purchases!

Japanese at a restaurant on the Hong Kong side.

Mmm... ramen.

David, an old flatmate whom I haven't seen in years. He showed me where all the good Transformers places were.

Sizzling seafood plate at the "Western style" restaurant that David took us to.

Protection from the sauce splatters.

High Tea at Langham. This one is the "Sinful".

Ladies Market at night.

On our last night in Hong Kong, we discovered the eating area around the back of Mongkok. D'oh! Our last dinner.

Cramming in one last supper, which I would pay for dearly afterwards in food poisoning. It's "lup cheong fan".

And that was that. Having engorged both our luggages and our stomachs, we were finally on our way home. Well, not quite… of course we had to have one last breakfast at the airport with our remaining cash on hand.

Congee for breakfast!

The dish on the right ("ja leung") was actually better than that of most yumcha places in Sydney!

There, now we’re done.

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Thank you so much for joining me on this little photo-blogging series – it took a while to get through, but we got there in the end.

I’ve enjoyed reading all of your comments here and on Facebook.† I hope my posts have entertained and inspired you, and that you continue to stick around!

Bye for now!

*Roll credits*