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iPhoneography Travel Uncategorized

Day 2: Beaumont, Port Arthur, Baton Rouge

"Is he here?"
“Is he here?”

Thursday,  September 5, 2013

 

We went by the Edison Museum on the way out of Beaumont.  It’s behind the Edison Plaza building.  We were told that it was the brainchild of a group of employees from the local electricity company.  They had a passion to promote the wonderful inventions that Thomas Alva Edison created to make the world a better place.

Would you name your child "Dot" or "Dash"?

 

 

There are many interactive displays and equipment, along with Edison’s thoughts and quotes.  (Would you name your child “Dot” or “Dash”?)  It’s a pocket museum that is well worth driving back into town to visit – and it’s free!

Sculpture of Janis Joplin
Sculpture of Janis Joplin

We drove to Port Arthur to see the Museum of the Gulf Coast. Brittney,the manager at Floyd’s restaurant, is from the area and said we really should “see Janis Joplin.” Well, there are absolutely no restaurants near the museum, so we drove back into the middle of downtown to get lunch. Wound up at Tony’s BBQ. It looked familiar to my husband, then he realized he’s eaten at the Tony’s in Houston.  That’s another franchise we’ve mistaken for a local eatery.

A canon was used as a novel safety tool!
A canon was used as a novel safety tool!

 

We did enjoy going through the museum.

Janis has her own little corner of memorabilia. There are several areas to explore.  I liked the story about the canon that was used in the early years to put a hole in a burning oil tank to relieve the pressure so it wouldn’t explode. It was an interesting idea. When it was finally used, the canonball went through the first tank and through a second tank that was fine, before lodging in a neighboring field!

Heading into Baton Rouge.
Heading into Baton Rouge.

 

 

 

As we headed toward Baton Rouge, the last of the sun’s rays bathed the sky in warmth.  The lovely combination of a beautiful sky and sparkling water is one of my favorite views.

Zea Rotisserie & Grill's specialty dishes are s-o-o-o good!
Zea Rotisserie & Grill’s specialty dishes are s-o-o-o good!

 

 

 

Zea Rotisserie & Grill was wonderful! It IS a chain, but it’s a small chain. Reviewers gave it high marks. My Shrimp and Corn Maque Choux was flavorful.  It was late and we didn’t want to go to bed on a heavy meal, so we split the Twice Cooked Crispy Duck with Snap Peas and Roasted Corn Grits.  

Holiday Inn Baton Rouge has nice rooms!
Holiday Inn Baton Rouge has nice rooms!

 

Looking forward to a good night’s sleep.  Hubby bid on another good deal.  Holiday Inn Airport is a 2 ½ star for $50.  He told the front desk that we both hit a milestone birthday this year (which is true) and we were taking a long road trip.   She congratulated him and upgraded us to a room in the main building – much nicer!    

Categories
iPhoneography Travel

Day 1: Winnie, Beaumont

Wedneday,  September 4, 2013

We didn’t venture very far the first day.  There are things to see in Texas too!

Stuckey's was the precursor to the Texas-sized gas stop, Buccee's.
Stuckey’s was the precursor to the Texas-sized gas stop, Buccee’s.

We stopped by Stuckey’s for old times’ sake. It’s a gas stop/convenience store that was very popular decades ago that was the precursor to Buccee’s. Nowadays, when driving through Texas, many residents know to stop at Buccee’s for gas, food supplies, baked goods, deli food, gift items and CLEAN, CLEAN restrooms!

We had lunch in Winnie at Al T’s Seafood & Steakhouse, a tripadvisor.com pick.  

Overheard from one customer to another: “I’m sure they have healthy choices, but I’m not here for my health!” My husband enjoyed his chicken fried steak.  My gumbo was different from what I’m used to.  There was no okra.  😦   I will say that 30 shrimp are a LOT to put in one bowl!

A veteran fireman with his grandson,  possibly a future firefighter?!!?
A veteran fireman with his grandson,
possibly a future firefighter?!!?

Beaumont is a nice town.  We went to several museums.  My favorite is the Fire Museum of Texas.  There are descriptions with the displays but I was able to persuade the museum’s manager, Ami Kamara, to give us a tour and let me videotape some of it.  She took a little heat (pun intended) from the firefighters about being on YouTube, but she handled it well.  As we walked past a rack of pint-sized yellow firefighter jackets and boots, I wished I had a little one along to enjoy activities geared for the younger set.  Ami was a good tour guide. Watch her spiel about the origin of “tapped out” and how they received a 25′ fire hydrant from Walt Disney Studios!  The tale of superbly trained fire station horses is my favorite:

A note of encouragement to young women aspiring to excel in their chosen field – Ann Huff was a rookie firefighter in the 1980’s when she helped design and build the Beaumont Fire Department’s Fire Safety House.  As their current Fire Chief, Ms. Huff is setting a wonderful example of perseverance and following your dream!

Texas Energy Museum Executive Director, D. Ryan Smith, chats with my husband.
Texas Energy Museum Executive Director, D. Ryan Smith, chats with my husband.

The Texas Energy Museum had some nice interactive programs.  One, at the end of the exhibit, gives you a quiz on what you remembered about the historic discovery of oil at Spindletop.  My husband missed just 2 out of 20 – an “Excellent” score!

We went by Ana’s Mexican Bakery to get a couple of pastries to hold us ’til dinner. The Texas Energy Museum’s Executive Director recommended it for a quick snack with an interesting twist.

Does this sculpture speak to you?
Does this sculpture speak to you?

The Art Museum of Southeast Texas has works from local and national artists.  It may be a small museum but it is nationally accredited.  We were the only visitors and the security guard actually followed us around.  Finally, I turned to him and said, “If you’re going to be following us, you might as well tell us something about the art.”  Surprisingly, he did!  He also brought over the Curator of Education/Outreach, Andy Gardner, to speak to us:

“We had a delicious dinner at Floyd’s Restaurant.  Brittney, the manager, talked with us about the owners of the multi-store company.  They are two Floyds, plus one: Floyd Landry, Bret Floyd and Gary Pearce.  Floyd Landry is a member of the family that formed the very successful Landry’s, Inc., which is among the nation’s largest and fastest-growing restaurant corporations. Floyd probably wanted to do things his way and broke off to go on his own.  He oversees his Sugar Land restaurant and can occasionally be seen hitting golf balls in the parking lot.

We stayed the night at the Holiday Inn for $50, booked through Priceline.com. It has a 3 star rating.  They turn the gushing, tiered fountain off at 11pm nightly so visitors can get a good night’s sleep.  The beds were well-padded and everything was in order.  

Good effort to be Texas proud, but the Lone Star is off kilter.  :(
Good effort to be Texas proud, but the Lone Star is off kilter. 😦

The only real complaint I have is with the huge Texas flag hanging in the multi-story atrium. As you walk in, it grabs your attention, being six stories tall. It’s a lovely effort to honor our proud state, but it obviously wasn’t installed by a Texan. It’s backwards. Oh, well, it’s time to think about other, more pressing matters, like getting some shut eye. Nite-nite!

 

Categories
iPhoneography Travel

A Welcome Break!

Lobby of the Houston Marriott Westchase
Lobby of the Houston Marriott Westchase

What happens when you’re pushed to your limits and beyond? You break! You can break, as in crash and burn, or you can step back and take a break.

In our case, my husband and I took a breather for a little cosseting before starting our trip. After the mad rush to pack up the house so we can “Get out of Dodge”, staying at the lovely Houston Marriott Westchase was a welcome break. Several friends and relatives offered to put us up before we left, but we didn’t want to inconvenience anyone and chose to find a hotel through @priceline. My savvy husband usually starts off at $40, changing prices and locations to get the best deal. We have found out that booking a room the day of our stay brings the best price. (Maybe that’s when hotels release rooms that were previously reserved.) He went for a 3 star hotel and nothing popped up. Then, a message said they could offer an upgraded room at $46 (plus taxes) in the same area. Hubby agreed and found out that it was a suite at a 3 1/2 star property. “Yippee!”

Comfortable bedroom!
Comfortable bedroom!

We are so enjoying the stay. It’s an older hotel that brought back fond memories. I remember when this hotel was named “Adam’s Mark.” Many years ago, it was special to come to wedding receptions here. There was a gracious air about it then that I can still feel as we walk down the corridor. The bellhop said they still have nice events here. For instance, a Nigerian couple recently renewed their vows and a Vietnamese wedding reception had 500 guests.

Sitting room in our suite
Sitting room in our suite

Wish we weren’t so tired that we couldn’t invite people over for a little get together. 😦  We could all reminisce. Those were the days of younger ideals and attitudes.

Normally we would leave the hotel to eat. We were beat, so decided to try out their restaurant. It was good to wind down with a nice meal. We skimmed complimentary issues of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today while waiting for dinner. My Waldorf salad was a bit overdressed, but my husband’s schnitzel was tender and crispy. 

Eating in-hotel
Eating in-hotel

The raspberry/peach/blueberry cobbler was fine. Now, it’s time for bed. Let’s see what awaits us just ahead!

Categories
Marketing People Social Media Travel

Simple Marketing

Bucko & Mac wait for trick-or-treaters
Bucko & Mac wait for trick-or-treaters

Years ago, I fostered two adorable puppies for the Houston SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The energetic, furry bundles of joy each had to weigh five pounds before they could be available for adoption. I, along with our children, took care of brothers, “Bucko” and “Mac” (so named by my son), for six weeks. When I brought them in to be weighed and they hit the magic number, the shelter took them. My son cried when he came home from school and they weren’t there to jump for joy and lick his face. He said he didn’t even get to say goodbye. The next day, Saturday, we went by the SPCA around noon. They were gone … both of them. He was very sad. We were both teary eyed. There were plenty of puppies and kittens at the shelter. I think that my information about the pups helped find them new families. I had brought a photo of them obediently sitting by the doorway, wearing capes at Halloween, along with a brief description of their personalities. Both pieces were attached to their cage. (“Bucko is like the Energizer Bunny and his brother, Mac, is a little lazy.”) Unfortunately for my son, sometimes a bit of marketing can bring about a speedier response.

When my husband and I owned a retail shop, I made a point of getting to know the neighbors along the strip shopping center. Small business owners are not known to have large advertising budgets. I went to all the merchants and asked if they would like to meet and see if we could all work together on combined promotions. We met before retail hours in one of the shops and brainstormed. A successful promotion was the sidewalk sale. Stores displayed merchandise outside the door, sale signs plastered the storefronts and cross promotion offers were handed out. If I remember correctly, the photo processing store (a rare sight nowadays) gave out a discount coupon with purchases, for picture framing at the frame shop next door. When we wanted support from the landlord for events or a shop owner had an issue, I was nominated to represent the merchants. When we moved the shop a decade later, I repeated the process. It’s a good way to get to know others who may come back into your life. Years later, when I was organizing Women in Action luncheons, I was able to get my old landlord to be one of the sponsors!

I also joined a couple of networking groups. One was of merchants in my shop’s area that focused on projects to help the community. We sponsored events for kids, volunteered with children’s activites at the community center, supported the police bike patrol and looked for ways to build up the area. The other was comprised of professionals that met in the Galleria, an upscale area of town.  There could only be one of each type of business and members (attorney, courier service, etc.) gave each other business. I learned that marketing in numbers is a good thing. Working with both groups, any projects that we promoted together was stronger. 

Ed Shaerf is the chef patron of One Blenheim Terrace in St. John’s Wood, Westminster, in the United Kingdom. He re-tweets followers’ photos/comments on his wonderfully creative dishes! One of the amazing things that social media allows is real time interaction. Chef Shaerf knows how to connect. He entices walk-ins with tweeted “tonight only” freebies:

    Ed Shaerf ‏@EdShaerf  6 Apr

    We have a few tables left at @oneblenheim tonight! Come and try our new menu and have a glass of champagne on me!

    Call 0207 3721722 to book!

I have to add this as I just viewed the fun video: Talented songbird,  Jeanie Barton, will be performing at the restaurant’s jazz brunch. And because this restaurant has posted offers on Groupon and received 4.5/5 stars from TripAdvisor, I must remember to join Groupon when over there and to check out other great travel offers for hotels, events, etc.!

Lynne Smelser, @LynneSmelser, was a literary aide at a Michigan elementary school when she made up imaginative stories of an inquisitive young sheepdog and his friend. She hoped to spark a love of reading through the adventures of “Noodles & Goo.” She began with copies of word documents and worked up to self-published copies. Now, she is on Kickstarter, seeking a relatively small amount to take her stories to the next level. That includes a more polished version of the series utilizing industry professionals and marketing to a wider audience. I am considering donating $25 so that I can get an autographed copy of the book when it comes out in a few months. It will help an educator encourage young readers and make a wonderful gift for a  little one!

These are just a few simple, affordable ways to market your business or projects. I hope these ideas get your creative juices flowing to find ways to easily promote anything!

Categories
Events iPhoneography People Social Media Travel

iPhoneography is Growing Up!

Recently, a professional photographer was scolded for mis-titling his article. Maybe “CONNECT”, the photography site he guest blogged on punched it up a bit, not taking into consideration that it might seem misleading. After that, commenters found fault with his using an iPhone instead of his wonderful DSLR to capture wedding shots at a secluded island’s mass wedding. As the islanders had possibly never seen a professional photographer with big-lensed cameras and blinding light accessories, Kevin Kuster used his iPhone so as to not intimidate them. (His DSLR was used in a smaller capacity.) He also showed two images he had taken at another time of a reenactment soldier. I personally preferred the one taken close up. The other, taken with an iPhone, didn’t have the sharp, polished look of the first, but it seemed to me that he captured more personality. Judging by the blistering comments, you would have thought Mr. Kuster had committed a sacrilege by not using his big camera for the wedding couples! Now, before the DSLR League starts getting riled up, I L-O-V-E the wonderfully crisp, detailed shots from DSLRs. I REALLY do!!! I greatly admire those who take the time and effort to share just gorgeous, phenomenal images with the world. I defer to their dedication to the craft and step aside to go another direction. I can’t afford hundreds of dollars in lenses and I’m too lazy to do more than compose the image, check the lighting, hold steady and click. Anything more is done through my blessed apps, Camera+, Snapseed, etc. ( App designers, has anyone told you lately how wonderful you are?!!? )

Many of the scathing comments to Mr. Kuster were quite mean spirited. Never mind that he was not charging the non-profit group that organized the event and went at his own expense. Or that the couples were quite happy with owning their first ever photographs, holding precious images that would last longer than their lifetimes. An old adage came to mind: “No good deed goes unpunished.” I will say that Mr. Kuster replied with good humor and took the high road. There’s another saying: “Virtue is its own reward.”

I can understand Kuster’s reasoning. I have also photographed people for interviews, albeit for a much, much smaller circulation. They would face my modest Canon PowerShot SX and start fidgeting, becoming a portrait of restless discomfort. Maybe they were just plain shy. Maybe they realized that friends and neighbors numbering into the thousands would see them in a publication that also has an online presence. Having a decent sized camera aimed at you, and only you, can be unsettling.

Well-known sports photographer, Nick Laham, recently used his iPhone to get the perfect shot of the New York Yankees’ third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, http://mashable.com/2013/04/02/instagram-vine-news-industry/. That appeared on the New York Times’ front page … yes, the NEW YORK TIMES.

VII Photo Agency Mentor, Peter DiCampo, has stated that his smartphone allows him “to return to photography’s original and vital purposes: self-exploration and remembrance.”

Photojournalist Ben Lowy covered the Libyan riots last summer, using his iPhone. An iPhone was used instead of a DSLR to allow easier access to the real people. Regarding the Libya assignment, this is what Ben Lowy put on his site: “I was also tasked with using social media platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook to immediately post images of Libya, bypassing traditional print venues and perhaps paving the way for a new type of interactive and immediate visual storytelling.”

That last thought perfectly echoes my sentiments!

Categories
Travel

7 Things I Love About Hong Kong

Liu - China Trip 2012 748

Last March, our family spent Spring Break reveling in the international allure of Hong Kong. These images are just some from the hundreds of shots I took. There is excitement in being a part of the passing flash of color in the ever changing sea of people crowding the streets. It’s a delicious melding of office workers, locals out for the day and tourists with necks craning to take it all in.  Exotic smells of spices and sizzling meat waft out of cafe doorways. A repairman climbs up lashed bamboo scaffolding. Off a busy side street, an older man lounges around in his pajamas (I swear!). It was the perfect experience.

Armed with the list my brilliant husband compiled, off we go!

Navigating the busy waters to reach the dock.
1.  We ride the Star Ferry out to Victoria Peak. It has been cloudy and a little rainy all week, so a big burst of radiant sunshine on happy faces gives us a much needed shot of vitamin D as the ferry steadily churns water across Victoria Harbor. Views of the coastline are amazing, especially from the top deck. Victoria Peak is best seen on a clear day. Many prefer a romantic view of twinkling city lights, but we don’t want to worry that clouds will drift in at dusk and obscure the glittering night scene below. People in the long line that snake around the tram depot tell us they have been waiting 45 minutes, and they are not even near the front of the line. There are just two Victoria Peak trams on one looping track. We decide to grab a cab up. Cabs are reasonable and afterward it will be much easier to catch a tram for that steep ride down. On the way to the observation deck, we browse through several small floors of colorful shops with various price ranges of good and “meh” types of souvenirs. At the top, a stunning 360° view greets us, as far as the eye can see! Gentle breezes under the sunny sky nudge us. Hong Kong is beautifully laid out – a miniature city by the sea, nestled between lush green mountainsides dotted with the residences of those blessed be able to take a daily drink of fabulous views.

The cable car to Lantau Island isn’t working. That ride is the cool factor. We cross it off the list. No one cares to go to the racetrack, another cross through.

The unjust Opium Wars.

2. The Hong Kong Museum of History takes us on a journey that chronicles the wonders and tragedies of China. There were tales of majestic dynasties, ancient relics, beautiful works of art and thousands of things to see and learn. The most eye-opening exhibit to this American born Chinese was the turbulent periods of China’s Opium Wars with the British Empire and the resulting “Unequal Treaties” with other nations. Reading about it is one thing. Viewing old pictures and paintings and poring over detailed accounts during that time really touched me. That epoch is considered to be the start of China’s “Century of Humiliation”…

Restaurants put chairs and tables on the street to serve customers.

3. We check out some of the nicer shopping malls, but they’re the same everywhere. More intriguing are names like “Night Market”, “Ladies Market” and “Sneaker Street”. There are many markets. We walk through several of them. After a while, they all run together with rows and rows of stalls going up and across several streets. People jostle by stalls packed top to bottom with all sorts of merchandise. Our kids go from booth to booth, comparing prices, trying to bluff the seasoned vendors. At night, there is an exciting vibe as strings of lights guide bustling visitors and locals through the maze. On the outskirts, people sit at tables and chairs by the lights as dishes of savory delicacies are brought out. A wonderful aroma lingers in the air as we walk by.

Liu - China Trip 2012 218 - Copy

4. Dim Sum at Super Star Seafood Restaurant in Times Square, Causeway Bay was lovely. A friend insisted we join him for dim sum. The dishes he ordered were excellent! So many tasty dishes that we had never had before! 

Liu - China Trip 2012 454

5. Exploring eateries is so much fun! A friend took us to a well-known multi-story roast goose restaurant. Another local promised us that there is a better one in the New Territories outside HK. The taxi drops us off in front of a nondescript storefront. We have to wander a bit further to find the restaurant around the side of the first building. There is no fancy dining room. Judging by the families and busy wait staff, it is a local favorite. This restaurant had tissue packets with their logo on them, and the roast duck IS better!

Even in the serenity of the garden, one can't escape the HK skyline.6. Chi Lin Nunnery is a peaceful oasis of quiet reflection in Diamond Hill, on the Kowloon side. It isn’t on the top of the list, but it is wonderful to slow down and take in the calm pace. It, unfortunately, was rebuilt in 1990. Still, one can wander through the serene gardens with a backdrop of soaring skyscrapers. There is a little shop for refreshments and delicious chocolate covered truffles!

7. The places we visit and the sights we see are wonderful, but it is knowing that this is the first family vacation we have taken since our daughter married that makes it a truly magical time. We will never be at this point in our lives again. The memories are priceless!

BONUS! Accommodations and Other Sights:
Our daughter and son-in-law stay at a lovely high-rise, Hotel Panorama, with floor-to-ceiling views of the harbor. We and our son settle in at a charming little boutique hotel, The Minden, two blocks over. It was one of the top choices of The Lonely Planet. There are some great hotel deals in the U.S., but hotels overseas aren’t as accommodating, price wise.
On a misty wet night, we pop open the handy 7-Eleven umbrellas we picked up the first day and make our way to the Avenue of Stars promenade. From there, we can view the nightly show of the Symphony of Lights. As we wander along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, many more hardy souls begin to appear. Music plays and light bounces off buildings up and down both sides of the harbor. There were probably no fireworks due to the light rain. It is a nightly show, but it’s not something to see again.  I fear I have been spoiled by laser shows in Texas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PylKtOqqwK4 . After the show, we enjoy a walk down the Avenue of Stars. I am happiest when I can link an arm through one of my children’s as we stroll along. To explore Hong Kong with them is my heaven!

I only mention the Central-Mid-Levels escalators because my dear sweet husband cheerfully put me through that l-o-n-g, l-o-n-g, torturous ordeal. Guinness World Records lists it as the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system. It’s a series of escalators with some moving sidewalks thrown in.

Macau is primarily known for its casinos. A couple of old school friends of our daughter living in China meet us. I’m not a gambler and spend my time walking around the outer edges of the many casinos the group visits because the concentration of cigarette smoke is horrible! Would have much preferred to see the Ruins of St. Paul. A bright spot of the side trip is the interesting Portuguese food at a local cafe!

Nathan Road becomes our main base as we are there every day of the trip. Our son knows that a tailored suit would cost much, much more in the States so he goes searching for the perfect suit. After some negotiating, so begins several days of re-fittings. He is looking forward to flashing that camouflage lining!

Our daughter and son-in-law take a couple of days off on their own. They visit one of the temples. The lush vegetation and monkeys playing nearby are a novel experience.

The kids head home after the first week and my husband and I will continue on to Shanghai for a one week guided tour. (I may write about it in another entry.) Son and husband go off to find a local laundry. Someone sends them down a side street. Lo, and behold, that boy finds another tailor and negotiates an even better price! Oh, no – the daily fittings continue!

Things we wished we’d made time for:

*  Sit atop double decker #6 bus Central to Stanley or #15 bus Central to The Peak
*  Jordan Road at Temple Street Market at night to hear ear-splitting Chinese opera
*  Tram – goes Kennedy Town to ShanKeiWah (since 1904, nail-biter!)
*  Panoramic elevator view – get on from the 17th floor for a 40 story ride in the glass “bubble lift”
*  Early morning stroll through Causeway Bay’s Victoria Park to see tai chi and kung fu

Maybe on the next trip …

Categories
Travel

12 Tips for Hong Kong Travel + Top Sights!

What M saw.

Spring Break is almost here! Do you have travel plans? Maybe to Asia? Last March, our family spent Spring Break reveling in the international excitement of Hong Kong. With preparation, it was the perfect experience!

The internet is your friend. Here are some tips picked up from web searches and from our trip:

1.  An Octopus card (to get around by trains, trams and buses) may be purchased at the airport express counter. If it’s a relatively small group, you might want to forego the card and use taxis for convenience. It pained my frugal mindset that we left money on the card. Be warned, any money left on the card will be forfeited if not used within a certain time frame.

2.  Tourism brochures can be had from visitor centers at Hong Kong International Airport, Causeway Bay MTR Station, Kowloon, Star Ferry and The Peak.

3.  It’s best to drink bottled water. We used the coffeemaker in the room to boil water daily for drinking and brushing teeth. (We also asked for and received TWO adaptors to charge our phones and cameras!)

4.  ALWAYS, ALWAYS carry tissues. A travel size sanitizer wouldn’t hurt either. Hard to believe, but many of the eateries don’t supply napkins and many of the toilets won’t have tissue.

Put on your bargain face!

M with his bargaining face.

5.  Research items you are planning on purchasing
Know what you’re up against. If you are looking at an expensive item such as a camera or jewelry, check it out online first. HK deals for such items aren’t as great as in years past. If it’s a little less than what you’d pay at home, don’t buy it. Purchase it at home for an easier return or exchange.

6. Offer less
Our HK born friend, Henry, said to start at 50% less. Inexpensive souvenirs might not apply for that discount, but it doesn’t hurt to bargain for some sort of discount.

7. Use local currency
We knew what we were negotiating with in HK dollars. Those little calculators merchants use to convert U.S. dollars will usually give you a worse exchange rate than when you first converted over. If you do use U.S. dollars, I suggest you pull your cell phone out and calculate along to be sure they do it correctly.

8. Buddy system
Don’t get pulled in by the exciting locale and enticing deals. Have someone be the voice of reason if the bargaining bug bites and you lose sight of the whole picture.

9. Dress Simply
The U.S. thinking is to dress nicer when shopping as you will get better service. When traveling,   over dressing can make you a target. Vendors may try to overcharge you or not go down in price as much, especially because you look like you can afford it!

10. Don’t be fooled by the merchant’s spiel
Many items can be knockoffs. (Shanghai has a below ground shopping system that is Knockoff City!) Unless you really know about the item you want to purchase, buy at your own peril.

11. Let it go

If you’re not satisfied with the negotiated price, be prepared to let it go. If the merchant calls you back, good for you. If not, don’t look back.


12. If possible, experience Hong Kong with loved ones.
The freedom to share hugs or reach for the hand of a child or spouse whenever I wanted was pure heaven! Our children don’t live nearby and it’s always a joy to spend time with them.

I am blessed with a wonderful husband. He collates information for a living and googled “Top Things to do in Hong Kong.” He then compiled the contents from 15 websites to get a list of 132 things to do. Of that, there were 69 unique listings. Below are the sites that had at least 2 recommendations. I don’t think much has changed in Hong Kong in the past year, so the list below should be fairly current.

Activity Grand Total
Victoria Peak / Tram / Harbour 16
Lantau Island & Cable Car 10
Star Ferry 8
Happy Valley Racecourse 5
Temple Street Night Market 5
Stanley Market 4
Aberdeen Harbour Sampan Ride 3
Lan Kwai Fong 3
Mid-Levels Escalators at Rush Hour 3
Ocean Park 3
Symphony of Lights from Avenue of Stars, Kowloon Promenade, 8pm. 3
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade 3
Dim Sum 2
Hong Kong Museum of History 2
Hong Kong park 2
Hong Kong Wetland Park 2
Macau 2
Mong Kok Tung Choi Markets 2
Repulse Bay 2
Street Car tram ride 2
Tian Tan Buddha 2

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Next, I may write about my favorite things to do in Hong Kong!