I was born in Hong Kong in 1979, and migrated to Australia in 1986. I visited Hong Kong in 1990, and in December last year, I visited it again.
Needless to say, I am totally unfamiliar with my city of birth. The Australian lifestyle, environment, people, culture, everything, is entirely different. Since I was too young to remember much from the previous times I've been in Hong Kong, this trip has been very educational for me.
In general, each day was filled with visiting family and friends whom we haven't seen in many many years. We did a bit of shopping, sight-seeing, and plenty of eating! Our family spent a couple of days in Shenzhen, and a few days over Christmas in Guangzhou.
No one can deny that the food is Hong Kong is absolutely amazing. Not only is it delicious, it is available at all hours and in all places. Anytime, anywhere, whatever I wanted to eat, I could easily obtain it. This is an amazing luxury for me. Living in the suburbs of Sydney, I have to drive at least five minutes to buy a pack of chips, and the shops aren't open at night.
I have to say the most wonderful thing is, while walking through the markets, I would buy a coconut, which the seller would open for me straight away, insert a straw, and I'd continue on my way, sipping fresh coconut milk.
This is a city in China, and it takes about an hour by train from Hong Kong to get there. Because things are relatively cheap in China, many Hong Kong residents travel to Shenzhen for a day of shopping quite regularly.
In Shenzhen, I learnt that people drive on the right hand side of the road in China, and that I have no idea how to read simplified Chinese (I have enough problems reading normal Chinese) or speak Mandarin.
We spent half a day in a Chinese cultural park place, where there are displays about the different cultures that make up China. I ate these noodles that were made by hand before my very eyes - delicious!!! There was also a show in the theatre at night, with music and dance and acrobatics. It was very enjoyable.
As I've mentioned, the shopping is very inexpensive. This is because labour is cheap in China, and royalties are not paid to trademark owners. So you can buy fake Timberland clothes, and Versace handbags, and anything else you can imagine, for a very low price. Some of the goods are obviously second rate, but others are of such high quality that many people cannot tell the difference.
My uncle took us to lunch at a restaurant, and there I ate the most wonderful "Century egg" I have ever tasted. The flavour was rich and full, the texture was perfect, and each mouthful just melted on my tongue. I will never forget that beautiful egg.
Have I mentioned food yet??? Even if the food in Hong Kong and Shenzhen is good, nothing compares to what I ate in Guangzhou. Anything which is edible can be eaten in Guangzhou. I ate dog for the first time (it's a bit like lamb), snails, goose and turtle.
Now turtle... that is the most amazing thing to eat. It looks like pork, and the texture is like pork, but the flavour is comparable to nothing else on earth. It has this golden quality which fills your mouth and nose and stimulates every taste bud.
On our last day in China, we visited the Pan-Yu zoo, where we watched a white tiger show, rode a bus through the wild animals enclosure, and saw pandas sleeping. The pandas are ultra cute! They sleep with their paws covering their eyes.