Monday, August 9, 2010
Hong Kong Surprise
My recent trip to Hong Kong with my husband was a bit last minute, yet I still crammed in my research. You must understand – I am a planner.
I booked tours for the best sights, and secured our spot on a boat cruise. Within a week I had vigorously researched our hotels, the public transportation, and restaurants. I had also highlighted and underlined important points in my guidebook! I was armed with information.
Yet, despite all my planning, I cannot take credit for one of our most memorable days. We started out with loose plans – we would hop on a ferry to an outlying island and relax at the beach. It was the ferry ride and some silly faces that sealed our fate. Seated just in front of us was a family from Hong Kong. One of the little girls seemed fascinated – she kept looking back to examine us. So, of course my husband decided to make goofy faces to get her giggling. After all, silly faces are a universal language!
We had made a connection. Although Cantonese was their first language, the family spoke English. Suddenly, the children were practicing their English with us and we were enjoying a pleasant conversation with their parents. I though it would just be a fleeting connection – when they invited us to spend the day with them.
Alan, Chris, Alex, Gloria, and Esther; those are their English names – this family that was so warm and welcoming to us. First, they led us to a local seaside restaurant with no menus for an authentic Chinese lunch. It was delicious and they insisted on treating us. We went to their beach bungalow and took photos together. Then, we were in our swimsuits and off to the beach.
As I continue to discover – children are the same everywhere. They are sweet and playful and curious. Just as we would in America – we batted around a beach ball in the water and made castles in the sand. The day ended too soon. We had a boat to catch and our new friends were staying for the weekend.
This day was full of simple pleasures and I will never forget it. The opportunity to engage in a relationship with people from another culture is wonderful. The mother, Chris, kept thanking us – saying this was a wonderful experience for her children. It was the first time any of them had truly engaged with foreigners. Eight-year-old Gloria told me she was happy we were with them. All I can say is….me too, me too.
Here, 12-year-old Alex and 8-year-old Gloria play in the South China Sea. We spent the day at Tung Wan Beach on Cheung Chau Island.
4-year-old Esther got distracted right before I snapped this photo -- but I still caught her posing with a peace sign!