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We Want to Know Wednesday

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1. Are you an amusement/theme park kind of person?
Not really… I like carnivals/fairs but I don’t care for roller coasters so I don’t want to waste a bunch of money at an expensive amusement park.

2. If yes, where have you gone? If no, what makes you dislike those kinds of places?
I have been to Disney World twice as a little kid, Carowinds and Dollywood many times, Six Flags once, and Lotte World in Seoul once. I have also been to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor and Dollywood’s Splash Country.

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3. Do you like to go on roller coasters?
No.

4. Does your answer to #3 directly correlate to how you are about life experiences?
Not at all… I think I’m pretty damn adventurous.

5. What was the last scary and/or risky thing you did?
Traveling around Asia by myself last summer was probably the last BIG thing… I had to take a lot of selfies! 😉

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Travel Tuesday

Helene in Between

Today I’m going to write about my favorite Asian city: Hong Kong! I’ve also visited Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Taipei, Shanghai, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur… So I think I have a pretty good frame of reference!

Why is Hong Kong my favorite? Two things come to mind: how easy it is to travel/get around there (Shanghai didn’t even have an English menu in the touristy McDonald’s!) and how easy it is to get out of the city and enjoy nature: a must do for me on any trip.

My favorite part of the trip was visiting Big Buddha on Lantau Island. Definitely check it out if you ever find yourself in Hong Kong!

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Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. What is one movie you are terrified to watch?
None… Movies don’t scare me to the point of not watching them. That’s silly.

2. What is one TV show you have always wanted to get into but haven’t yet?
I watch so much TV it’s ridiculous. Just started watching House of Cards this weekend but can’t decide whether or not I like it yet.

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3. What is one daring activity on your bucket list?
I got most of the daring stuff done in my younger years (skydiving, ziplining, parasailing) but I would still like to go hang gliding.

4. Would you ever travel alone?
I have a lot and I love it! When I lived in Korea my boyfriend and I didn’t have the same vacation time so I had to learn to travel on my own if I wanted to go anywhere! I visited Japan, Thailand, Bali, Singapore, Laos, and Hong Kong solo.

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Hong Kong

5. What activities do you like to do alone?
Go shopping and to the movies.

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Sunday Stealing

1: Would you swear in front of your parents?
My mom yes, dad no.

2: Which continents have you been on?
North America, Europe, and Asia.

3: Do you get motion sickness? Any horror stories?
Not usually but I did get seasick on a boat from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi in Thailand. I didn’t puke but I came close. It was awful!

see those choppy waves?

see those choppy waves?

4: Why did you name your blog whatever you named your blog?
If was after this song, which I listened to when I was homesick while living in Korea.

5: Would you wear a rainbow jacket? A neon yellow sweater? Checkered pants?
I’d probably wear the yellow sweater.

6: What was your favorite cartoon growing up? Post a picture if you can.

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7: In a past life I must have been a…
Cat. I like to sleep, eat, and be grumpy.

8: If you had to look at one city skyline for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Out of all the cities I’ve been to, I think I liked Hong Kong the best. It would be a cool place to live.

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9: Longest plane ride you’ve ever been on?
14 hours from Washington DC to Seoul.

10: The longest you’ve ever slept?
I dunno… All day when I’m hungover.

11: Would you buy a sweater covered in kitten pictures? Would you wear it if someone gave it you for free?
I might buy it at a thrift store and wear it just because it’s funny and tacky.

12: Do you pluck your eyebrows?
Yes.

13: Favorite kind of bean? Kidney? Black? Pinto?
Black beans.

14: How far can you throw a baseball?
Not far at all…

15: If you had to move to another country, where would you move?
Indonesia, Bali specifically. Most amazing place I’ve ever visited, and cheap!

I was not a fan of the monkeys however

I was not a fan of the monkeys however

16: Have you ever eaten Ethiopian food? Vietnamese? Korean? Nepalese? How was it?
Not Ethiopian but I have had the other three. Nepalese is similar to Indian, so it’s delicious! Vietnamese is OK (although the pho they sell on the streets of Hanoi is amazing) and Korean is my least favorite (except for bulgogi).

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2012 Review Extravaganza: Second Quarter Recap

April:

I went to the Hello Kitty Cafe.

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I went to the Jindo Sea Parting Festival.

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I went to the Lady Gaga concert in Seoul.

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May:

I visited Gyeongju.

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I went to Changdeokgung Palace.

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I had an awesome time with friends camping on Muui Island.

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I watched the Lotus Lantern Parade in Seoul.

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I said goodbye to all the amazing friends I had made during my two years living in Korea. 😦

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I headed out on my five week epic Asian backpacking trip… In May, I visited Hong Kong and Vientiane, Laos.

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June:

Continued/finished the five week epic Asian backpacking trip which included the Trans-Mongolian Railway! I visited…

Luang Prabang, Laos

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Hanoi, Vietnam

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Halong Bay, Vietnam

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Beijing, China

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The Great Wall of China

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Mongolia

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Siberia

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Moscow, Russia

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St. Petersburg, Russia

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Hong Kong Day 2: Peak Tram & Parks

Unfortunately on my last day in Hong Kong it was rainy. But I had to go to the Peak before I left! I bought the Skypass which includes round-trip tram tickets and the Sky Terrace 428 for HK$65. Well, going to the Sky Terrace 428 was pointless. This is what I saw:

So I’m bummed I didn’t get to see any amazing views. The Peak Tram was still awesome though!! Really steep!

Oh yeah, on the way to the Peak I got scammed by a fake Buddhist monk. He gave me presents and had me sign in a little book that asked for donations. I gave him HK$100 but he wanted HK$200 (US$26)!! Greedy con artist. By that point I was figuring out I had been duped. I said no and walked away.

After the Peak, I went to the Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens, since they were nearby and free. Saw lots of cool animals! My new favorite bird is the scarlet ibis.

Then I went to Hong Kong Park, as it was also nearby and free. Not too exciting but there was a cool walk-in aviary.

Last I visited the Central–Mid-Levels escalators, the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. What a disappointment. It’s not an escalator, but a series of moving sidewalks! Oh well.

As predicted, I have so many Hong Kong dollars left! I spent less than HK$50 on transportation that day and around HK$200 on food. I also bought an umbrella (HK$30) and People magazine (HK$36, almost the same price as America!).

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Check Inn Hong Kong

I stayed at this hostel for my two nights in Hong Kong. I usually don’t like to stay in hostels by myself (I’m not very social) but hotels were too expensive.

I don’t have any complaints about Check Inn. It was rather tiny but apparently that’s the norm in Hong Kong. Everything was relatively clean. I stayed in the six-bed dorm and there was a (very small) bathroom inside the room which was nice. They provide small lockers where you can keep your valuables and an electronic key card to access the building, hostel, and your room. Towel rental costs HK$20 but it’s a nice big towel! There are computers and sofas in the common area (no kitchen). Also the free wifi was fast! The location is great, near a subway station but it’s best to take the tram if you’re just going around Hong Kong Island (as it’s so cheap at HK$2.30 a ride!). The staff was very helpful. They waited up for me until I arrived at 2am and then they let me keep my locker and bags in the dorm room until I left at 6pm on my check out day.

Check out Check Inn if you’re ever in Hong Kong!