I’ll start with my apologies for the late posting. Just chalk it up to being a full-time graduate student with very limited time on her hands, and in the free time I do have the last thing I want to be doing is writing or staring at my laptop.

I said things would slow down around here, and they have, but I did still manage to have a little fun in the past few months :)

Here’s what I got up to:

Lunar New Year

My favorite time of year – the Lunar New Year holiday – was upon us once again. You can find a full write-up of this year’s festivities here. I wouldn’t want to bore you with rehashing it all again here, but the highlights are:

  • CNY is better in Taiwan than in Hong Kong (my personal opinion)
  • Pingxi Lantern Festival is still amazing and I’m so happy I went back for a second year (photos alone are worth checking out that last post)
  • New Years Parade and Fireworks in Hong Kong are a little overhyped

Hiking

The featured photo for this post was taken when my friend, Judy, and I hiked up Lion’s Rock in Hong Kong over the New Year’s Holiday. Somehow it wound up being one of the foggiest (or polluted depending on your viewpoint) days in Hong Kong, and a lot of the views were wasted on us as a result. I was extremely irritated to be looking down at my phone telling me that the weather was sunny while looking around at this:

that’s supposed to be the city in the background there

Nevertheless, Lion’s Rock is a solid Hong Kong hike and we did still really enjoy ourselves and get some cool photos.

 

Return to Taiwan

Once again the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taiwan was incredible, but besides that my weekend in Taiwan held more meaning than just the festival. It was my first time back in Taiwan since living there last year, and it was hard not to reflect on that period in my life not too long ago.

Even though it’s been less than a year, it felt like a lifetime ago that I was living in Taipei. My mindset was entirely different. Furthermore, I didn’t realize how used I’d gotten to the westernized way of things in Hong Kong and it was a bit of a reminder to how much more “Chinese” things are in Taiwan with far fewer translated signs and English-speakers. In a way I’m glad I lived there first before Hong Kong.

Also, Taipei was colder than I remember! Luckily I was able to get to Yongkang Street to visit my favorite noodle shop to warm up and buy some Taiwanese socks to bring back to Hong Kong.

It was really nice to see former fellow blogger Waegook Tom and we had a wonderful Sunday Funday the day after the Pingxi Lantern Festival. We got brunch at a new Tapas place in Taipei, walked around the National Taiwan University and Gongguan area where I got a super cheap external battery for my phone for $10USD. We had dinner at Sababa Pita Par (a perennial favorite) and ended the night in probably my favorite neighborhood, the very exciting Ximen where we got to see the Taipei version of the lantern festival.

Tom had the chance to visit me in Hong Kong about a month later where we pretty much continued to eat, visit cafes and judge people on the street.

Air Pollution

Of course areas in mainland China like Beijing are well-known for their pollution, and it hadn’t even occurred to me that there would be any issue in Hong Kong. But I’ve since learned firsthand that in the winter the tradewinds switch directions and bring the beautiful smog from the factories just over the border on the mainland straight to us here in Hong Kong.

As with many things in China, it’s not well publicized or written about, so at first it was a mystery to me. But after getting a really bad cough that wouldn’t go away, and noticing that lots of other people around me were having the same symptoms, it was finally revealed to me why.

I think I’ll save more specifics for a separate post, but it was really the pits and I really wish someone had told me about this sooner so I could’ve at least been more prepared.

Macau

A short escape from the city was desperately needed and a little overnight adventure to Macau was just what the doctor ordered. I think Macau also deserves it’s own post, so I’ll save this for another day.

What’s next for quarter 2 of 2017 (April – June)?

How about more posts about the things I’ve started telling you about above?!

I’m traveling to the Philippines at the beginning of May and I CAN NOT WAIT! I forget what the sun looks like. It will be my first time there and nothing thrills me like a new country!

I should have a bit more time in May as well so I’m hoping to do a few more of the touristy things in Hong Kong that I’m embarrassed I still haven’t gotten a chance to do.

I’ll be at the Hong Kong Global Hospitality and Tourism Conference in June and then it’s back to the States for me. Until next time, travel well everyone!