Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hong Kong, here we come...

We're currently in the air somewhere over the Pacific Ocean flying from Seoul to Hong Kong.  We've only got a few days to see what this great city has to offer so we're hoping to pack a lot in to very little time.  We've read about a few things we'd love to see and a few people have made some recommendations about things we can't miss.  We're hoping to catch the sunset from atop Victoria Peak, ride the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour, catch the Jordan Night Market and much, much more!

While we've seen mixed reviews of Hong Kong Disneyland and know that this would certainly be something that Rachel and Abby would enjoy, we've already gently broken the news to them that it exists but that we won't be going there.  A classic case of too much to do and see and not enough time...

But we're not feeling bad about missing out on an attraction that's primarily for the kids.  Many of the things we're doing and seeing on our Asian Adventure are all about our kids.  Yesterday we spent the majority of the day at the Seoul Zoo so that Rachel and Abby could see many animals that they've never seen before.  Well, okay, I'll admit that hanging out at the Seoul Zoo was kinda on my bucket list as well ;-)

Getting to Seoul Zoo involved taking four separate subways to Seoul Grand Park.  This is a huge green space on a mountainside that appeared to offer multiple attractions.  We purchased tickets for a chairlift up the mountain and into the heart of the zoo as this seemed like the best way to make an entrance.  The aerial view over multiple exhibits was remarkable and gave us some insight into the nature of the enclosures we'd see within the zoo. We paid about $28 CDN for the chairlift ride and only about $8 CDN for the entire family to enter the zoo!  

Unfortunately, we got caught in the hardest rainfall we've seen in Asia very shortly after arriving.  We had umbrellas (three of them for the four of us) but that did little to keep us dry.  The rain was coming down so hard that there were small rivers racing down the paths around our feet in no time.  As quickly as the rain came, it stopped, leaving us in a steamy, humid oasis surrounded by animals we've really only dreamed of until now.

The odd indoor exhibit had air conditioning so we tried to spend more time in places like that but they were few and far between.  More than any other day on our trip so far, the heat and humidity got to us and took away from our enjoyment of the sights and sounds we're taking in.  But, we survived and even captured a few decent pics to show for it.

The highlight of our trip to Seoul Zoo was seeing the girl's eyes light up when we went in to visit the Animal Nursery.  Baby otters, chimpanzees, tigers and a variety of other baby animals receive extra special attention from some of the zoo staff in a small daycare-like setting.  Too cute for words.

After many hours at the zoo, we hopped back on the subway and made our way to Itaewon, an area in Seoul with many foreigners and bustling activity, due to its proximity to a very large US military base.  While there are some trendy shops at street level, a number of tucked away alleys drop you down behind the scenes where there are many more tiny little shops and boutiques.  

Our first impression was that Itaewon had a bit of an edge to it but, after meeting up with Jonathan for dinner at Mr. Kebob, one of his frequent haunts, he reassured us that the area has been going through a transformation over the last decade and is much safer and hipper than it used to be.  Over a bite to eat, we learned more about Itaewon from Jonathan and then he took us to one of his favourite book stores 'What the Book?' to find he and the kids something to read on the plane today.  Thanks again, Uncle Jonathan :-)

With that, you're all caught up on where we've been and what we've seen.  By the time you get a chance to read this, we will have landed in Hong Kong, found an open wifi network and we'll be exploring the golden mile!

We'll keep you posted...

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