Posted by: minz | November 15, 2008

Our Hongkong Escapade

 Last weekend, we celebrated Sofia’s birthday in Hongkong. Santi and I looked forward to taking our little girl to the happiest place in earth. It was also our first time as a family to travel so, needless to say, we were psyched! I was bit anxious that Yaya wouldn’t be with us. At first, the prospect of being quite helpless in a new city intimidated us. But as soon as we boarded the airplane, we felt  that everything will be alright. Sofia flew like a pro. No throwing up, no feeling woozy. She ate airplane food with gusto. So did her Dad. I threw all my fears away after that. I realized I was traveling with a couple of troopers!

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We had our hotel transfer waiting as soon as we landed at Hongkong International Airport. I kept Donald’s, lovingly prepared itinerary (complete with MTR directions) in my pocket, in case something happens with the guided tour. I didn’t want to get lost with my three-year old in tow. To my unpleasant surprise, however, we were billeted at Royal View Hotel which was sat in the middle of nowhere. The travel agent told me that it was in Kowloon where everything was an MTR away. Instead we were in the New Territories where the nearest store is 10 minutes away! Not wanting to ruin our vacation on its first day, Santi and I decided to forego with exploring on our own and signed up with the available city tours in the hotel instead. We picked the one which included the Wax Museum and the Peak Tour for our first night. After taking a quick nap, we were ready to go!

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The weather was heavenly in Hongkong. Cool and windy. I had a blast dressing up Sofia in trench coats and hats that she could never wear in Manila. She was the cutest little thing in Hongkong that night.

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We rode the tram all the way up to the Peak, where one can take in the best view of the Hongkong skyline. It was simply breathtaking. All the lights were aglow and the buildings stood tall and proud. I looked at Santi and knew that he became a kid all over again. We had our picture taken professionally by one of the tourist photographers there and opted to buy it. I knew my trusty Canon will come up short this time. I wanted the perfect shot of the magnificent view.

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Our next stop was the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. I made sure the two got a chance to see their favorite wax figures. Santi hunted for Tiger Woods from the get-go. As for me, I had a date with Brad, who, by the way, had Angie right beside him. Ugh. On the other hand, Sofia started to cry. I should have expected that she might get a little scared of the wax figures that she didn’t know, especially the ones with grim poses like Hitler and Ali. Before it could lead to a full blown tantrum, we hurriedly finished the tour of the museum and went back to the bus.

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Our last stop was the Night Market at Temple Street. It was the place where tourists scoured for good buys and local souvenirs. It was where our hotel was supposed to be located, too! By this time, Sofia was already tired. It had been a long day and the transfers took a toll on her digestion. Halfway to dinner at a Chinese restaurant, she threw up. Thank heavens for a husband who knows how to change clothes and diapers! While he busied himself with cleaning her up, I went to the nearest clothes’ stall and did some instant shopping. I was in so much of a haze that I unknowingly left my camera in the nearby 7-11! I was almost in tears when I realized it was missing. As soon as we had Sofia changed, we went back to 7-11 and hoped it would still be there. And it was! If it happened in Baclaran, it would’ve been an entirely different story. Goodbye, memory card!

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Next day’s schedule was the highlight of the trip. We were slated to meet Mickey and the crew in Disneyland. Our first stop was Victoria Harbor where the Avenue of Stars was located. It was Hongkong’s local Hollywood Walk of Fame. Even if we only recognized Jacky Chan’s star, the view along the strip was spectacular. Santi had Sofia on his back the whole time and she loved every minute of it.

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Finally, we were off to the happiest place in the world. Sofia could no longer contain her excitement. As soon as she saw the “ears”, she screamed in glee. “There is Mickey!”. I realized how my daughter and I were so much alike. She’s truly and undeniably “showbiz” like me. She shunned all the rides, thank you very much. All she wanted was to have her picture taken with Goofy, Minnie, Tigger and the rest. The queues were not that long which was a relief. We had a leisurely time at the park. Unfortunately for us, our little Mickey fan saw a balloon with her idol’s face on it. For the record, that will be the last and only time that Santi and I would fork over 700 bucks for a balloon!

img_9423 with Tita Ninang Ria

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Our magical night ended with the fireworks at Cinderella’s castle. I will never forget the look on Sofia’s face as she watched the myriad of colors and sounds that lighted the sky.I promised myself that I will bring her to the bigger Disneyland in Anaheim when she’s a bit older.

The memories we have of Hongkong with our little girl are priceless. It got us thinking of plans for our next trip. Singapore sounds enticing! In the meantime, I have loads of pictures to print, better start now!

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