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Hong Kong with Family

On the long escalator in Hong Kong
On the long escalator in Hong Kong

The opportunity to go to Hong Kong in December to celebrate the wedding party of my daughter-in-law’s brother was too good to turn down. It was a special occasion attended by their Hong Kong relatives and friends. The family gathered around to welcome the new bride with food and drinks, karaoke, conversation and a traditional tea ceremony.  That was really special for me, making me feel part of an extended family.

Happy Father of the Groom
Happy Father of the Groom

I loved spending time with  all the aunties and uncles. Interestingly in a dictionary of  Hong Kong English I learned that Auntie and Uncle is used to refer to any good friend who is older as well as relatives. So, I could call some of these lovely ladies Auntie even though we weren’t related. And actually some of them could call me Auntie.

Hong Kong Aunties
Hong Kong Aunties
Uncles
Uncles

We attended several dinners organized by the various uncles and aunties It was fun to see how they all took responsibility to make it all special in restaurants frequented only by Chinese in this big international city. We gathered in spaces, up escalators and stairs and down down hallways, feeling hidden away to me. Like, how did you know these restaurants  were there? It was interesting to me to see that the massive dining rooms rooms were filled with large round tables like our banquet rooms.  Apparently no one went out to dinner in groups of 2 or 4, at least not to these restaurants. I only saw large groups like ours—never less than 12.

One of my favorite dinners included huge crabs. We ate wearing plastic gloves after sniping apart the shells  with scissors. After devouring this delicious feast, we enjoyed hot pot, a kind of fondue where meat and greens  like bok choy was cooked in pots on the table. The Uncles made reservations, arranged seating, supervised the wine service while the Aunties made sure everything got cooked in the pots, swirled around the Lazy Susan to make sure we got to taste every thing and sometimes gave a bit of advice on how to handle the chop sticks.

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How welcomed and comfortable I felt.

Another fun family activity was shopping.  I loved the day that one of the Aunties, Aunt Peggy, took us to her own personal favorites.

She took us jewelry shopping in a neighborhood not frequented  by tourists. The shopping in Hong Kong lives up to its reputation as some of the best in the world. Shopping centers, markets and people popping out at us on the sidewalks hawking watches overwhelmed my senses. The shopping centers were particularly intriguing. Often we’d venture through a tiny walkway into the center of  downtrodden  buildings to discover an airplane terminal sized structure with hundreds of  elegant shops.

We saw shops from Japan and Europe and charming personal little Chinese shops dedicated to toys or perfumes or something very specific. The specialization continued in the outdoor markets and colorfully decorated shops in the neighborhoods.

Shopping in Hong Kong
Shopping in Hong Kong
Shopping in Hong Kong
Shopping in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping
Hong Kong Shopping

I really loved the Goldfish Market—a block loaded with small stores selling  plastic bags of colorful fish tacked to the walls inside and out.

Hong Kong Gold Fish Mark
Hong Kong Goldfish Market
Hong Kong Goldfish Market
Hong Kong Goldfish Market

The folks in Hong Kong like goldfish for several reasons. They make good pets because they take very little space which works in a city where apartments are small. They don’t make noise in a city where people live in close proximity. Best of all, they are supposed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.

I’m thinking I’m going to get one now that I am home. The year 2016 was filled with some difficult challenges. Maybe adopting a goldfish as a pet will bring better luck in 2017.  It’s worth a try.

Hong Kong Goldfish
Hong Kong Goldfish
Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

Comments

5 Comments
  1. posted by
    JULIE AND GEOFF HAWKSWORTH
    Jan 11, 2017 Reply

    How interesting to have Asian family – a great insight that few of us have!!
    Our relatives LIVE in Asia, but to have them be local seems like it would
    add a lot of extra insight – great blog, thanks Susan, fun and interesting…

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Jan 12, 2017 Reply

      I do feel blessed, Julie, that our son and Clara our daughter-in-law, decided to marry four years ago.
      Born, raised and educated in the U.S. Clara embraces her Hong Kong family and all the traditions. I so appreciate that when she was growing up, visiting her Grandparents and extended family meant going to Hong Kong and that she shares her Hong Kong family with us. I love and appreciate that they welcome us so warmly and graciously.

  2. posted by
    winink60
    Jan 12, 2017 Reply

    I think I’m going to get a goldfish, too. Maybe several. In addition to the very dispiriting political climate, the new year has already brought a stolen bike, a totalled car (both in Memphis, although happily no one was hurt), two lame horses, and some very sick friends…not that I’m counting….

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Jan 12, 2017 Reply

      Sounds like Meijers will need to stock up on goldfish. So sorry to hear about all your challenges.

  3. posted by
    Mary Kathryn Boland
    Jan 12, 2017 Reply

    Hi Susan,
    Wonderful story, great photos, was in Hong kong for too short a time seveal years ago and
    loved seeing all the things that make Hong Kong famous.. Thanks so much for sharing
    this family adventure and congratulations to the newlyweds. Kati Boland

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