Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Out & About in October 2012

Sienna Park Pond

 October in Hong Kong remains incredibly hot and still very humid, no fall-like weather here! It was typically in the upper 80's to 90's everyday with humidity to match. Dehumidifiers are a must in this climate, and we run 3 of them around the clock in our 2100 sq. foot place. Despite the humidity, we were outside most of October enjoying the parks and beaches. This post is going to include several "events".

Although we live in a sub-tropical island, the usable green space is lacking a little. Discovery Bay offers much more grass and trees than Hong Kong Proper, but parks are still the best place to go and play out in the open. Lucky for us, we have a fantastic park 5 minutes away. Sienna Park is located right next to our recreational club, Club Sienna. This park hosts several ponds, open spaces for running, a jungle gym, playground, and "wildlife". If you look close, you can see gigantic fish that the kids love to feed. These fish are very well trained and will swim right on up to any person that stands remotely close to the edge of the pond waiting for their bread. There are also turtles that love bread as well. The kids get a kick out of "tricking the fish" by laying the bread on the stone-edge so the turtles can crawl up and eat it without the fish attacking. (Obviously, when bread is tossed into the water, the fish can out swim the turtles).

Also on our list to wear the kids out is beach time. We have a couple of beaches in Discovery Bay, however, the really nice ones are located about 15-30 minutes away, which involves ferry/taxi/or bus rides. Our beaches are quite fine for playing in the sand though. Typically, E and I play in the sand, while Mark and C have to play some type of sport. C is not happy unless a ball is being thrown or kicked and he can be covered in sweat and sand!

 Remember, it's 90 plus degrees here. That doesn't stop him from needing to dress in a full-on American football uniform! This is the beach that is by our ferry pier, which makes it not great for swimming because of all of the fuel that I assume is in the water. The kids don't care to swim though because the pools here are so nice, and they don't have to worry about sharks!  It is the larger of the beaches here, something like 400 meters long, so it's large enough to give us some space. It also hosts a playground, volleyball nets, and is alongside the bars/restaurants :)

It's not a snake, just a piece of seaweed.

Finally, October is the Mid-Autumn festival in China. This means the kids get 1 week off of school plus and additional 3 days for some other festival that no one seems to celebrate, so I don't know what it is. Mid-Autumn festival celebrates the new moon and is also known as The Paper Lantern Festival. The kids make red lanterns in school and eat "moon pies". (Unless, you are a Bills' kid, which then you are automatically allergic to the things because it's an egg in some type of pastry. I don't really think they are missing out).

Anyways, Discovery Bay celebrates by gathering on the beach in the evening for complete chaos. We had dinner first, by the beach, and bought our supplies for the night. (Glow sticks for the kids, beer for the adults). We then staked our claim on the beach, covered the kids with glow sticks, hung a paper lantern around their neck, and watched them run around like little lunatics with the other thousand kids here. The glow sticks were multi-purpose. You could keep track of your kids better in the dark, plus 30 came in 1 box, so you could make all sorts of designs to keep the kids busy. 

We were a little naive at this event. We thought the lanterns were going to be released into the sky in honor of the moon. Well, apparently that only happens in like one spot of China, and Discovery Bay was not it. So the kids were a little bummed. Luckily Kai Lan, the Nickelodeon show, does an excellent job of explaining this festival and they actually release lanterns, so the kids could watch that and be satisfied. In fact, I would refer you to that episode should you desire any more information on the Mid-Autumn Festival as she does a much better job than me at explaining :)
Start of the celebration
End of the celebration! She was done :)

He was drenched from the water, as he and his friends had to "check some stuff out down there".

Finally, we did celebrate Halloween here. It's actually a very big holiday and people love to trick-or-treat. I took the kids to a house party with some other Americans for the night because Carson still had soccer practice during our buildings trick-or-treating. We decorated with pumpkins and bought loads of candy since  we have tons of kids in our building. Sadly, no one came to our door because apparently you had to register on a list that I did not know about stating you would have candy. At least I'm in the know for next year...

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