How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


North to Alaska: Chit-chatting Passengers

Soon lazy navy water replaced buildings and civilization in exchange for distant snow-capped mountains and tiny islands. Did I mention deep water?

 In the excitement and knuckle-biting of the day, I had forgotten about food, but it was 5:30 p.m.  I had worked up an appetite. Mary insisted we return to our room to change for dinner. Mouth-watering aromas of food drifted around us. I drooled as we passed a buffet (manned with servers) down to our stateroom. We needed our credit cards out of the safe, anyway, for a celebratory toast to the beginning of our new adventure.

I chose the prime rib for dinner (yum—so-o tender), adding twice-baked potatoes and chopped bok choy, just enough to satisfy my hunger, vowing not to overeat on this cruise. We shall see. Dessert is never on my radar, so no added calories there.

After dinner, we sashayed to a bar passed earlier for a glass of wine. The line of customers seemed endless. When my turn came, I ordered only one glass because the Cabernet on offer was expensive and only four stingy ounces. This was day one after all. The nimble-fingered bartender mixed and poured drinks and wine and served beer without breaking a sweat. He was from the Philippines and worked every day, ten months of the year. The remaining two months, he spent back in his country. I forget how long he had worked on cruise ships. Years, of that I am certain. Though he had an accent, his English was excellent.

We grabbed a bistro-type table with four empty chairs overlooking the water. A woman with a distinct accent asked for one of the extras. Soon we struck up a conversation with her and her husband. She said the Alaska cruise had been on her wish list for a long time and was a popular destination for Australians. I had a private giggle as half her country people were already on our ship. Glenda was about my age with a cap of silver hair, a sparkle in her blue eyes, and an unlined face. She was as chirpy as her appearance was youthful. And she loved to talk. Her husband, Max, reminded me of Lyndon B. Johnson—remember that president? Max was her opposite, quiet and pensive but engaging when the subject interested him.

Within minutes, another couple they had just met on the ship joined us. They treated each other like long lost friends who had known each other forever. Our talk included Canadian Healthcare versus the U.S. system. We learned Australian healthcare is similar to ours (Canadian). We also talked about unions, work, and workers. Mary and I talked up the men, but Glenda and the other man’s wife took a step back, talked between themselves, and did not engage in our conversation. I’ve had previous discussions with a group of husbands and wives where the women faded into the background. Why is that? I cannot recall if I acted the same during my long-ago married life.

Tummys happy and close to 8:00 p.m., Mary and I decided to take it easy for the rest of the evening. Nothing much on TV, we read and managed to stay up late (11:40 p.m.). Relaxed as a nodding kitten, I’m sure I snored before my head hit the pillow. The ship gets no kudos for rocking me to sleep. The credit is all mine—I think.

~* ~

Next on March 30th – North to Alaska:  First Day onboard

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles



North to Alaska: All Aboard

My heart dancing the Watusi, I took in nothing of my surrounding as we boarded the cruise ship, MS Volendam. We were already in the system as it was mandatory to complete an online registration no less than a week prior and up to 50 days before departure. Doing so also opened an onboard account to which all extras (drinks, purchases, internet etc.) excluded from the cruise price were billed to our (registered) credit card.

From the time we arrived at the port, continued through processing, and arrived in our stateroom, an hour and a half had passed. I’ve no recollection how we found our cabin. Our ocean-view room troubled us due to noisy people passing by and conversing on the deck outside the window. Mary closed the drapes as we thought they could look inside but as it turned out, they could not. Feeling exposed, we kept them closed throughout the cruise.

Mary’s bag arrived at 1:47 about 17 minutes after arriving in our room. I asked our stateroom attendant, Dan, “Where the heck is mine?”

“Maybe tomorrow,” Dan said, “if not today.” He was a reedy Pilipino in a signature Volendam jacket, mischief in his eyes, crooked teeth center stage. He had a bit of an accent but his English was excellent as was his partner’s, James.

We cut expenses where we could

We decided to explore and ended up on the lido deck for a snack. Upon our return, my luggage still had not arrived. We asked the young attendant outside our door what might be taking so long.

“Maybe they found liquor inside.”

What? The cruise line allowed one bottle of wine per passenger (only wine) with a warning of confiscation if more. Just my luck. I prepared for such a drama.

An announcement over the PA system suggested attendance to a Safety Meeting. A couple we met on the lido deck said we sign in with our room key. If our information isn’t registered at the meeting, they come to get you. Some suggestion. We moseyed to Station 8 Muster Station for the presentation shy of 4:00 p.m. Large groups gathered at various stations we could see all along the length of the ship. I worried about so many people on one side at once. The day was dull and dry but it was chilly and I wanted the meeting to finish.

People in large groups act like children. They act as if rules do not apply to them. Some kept talking during the demonstration and we couldn’t hear the woman speaker. “Be quiet!” The talkers were warned, not once but twice, before they zipped their lips.

We returned to our room afterward and I could not believe my bag had finally arrived. The lock had not been broken; I checked inside. Both bottles hid in the folds of clothes in their bubble wrap cocoons, dry and in one piece.

Around 5:00 o’clock, a gentle murmur underfoot—a light vibration no more than a whisper—signaled we were underway. Mary and I watched from inside the eighth-floor deck as the ship skimmed over the shimmering, glass-smooth water, soundless as a ghost ship. We eased toward the underside of the Lions Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean, barely disturbing the surface.

We sliced through the water barely disturbing the surface, shown bottom left of photo

~ * ~

Next on March 23rd – North to Alaska: Chit-chatting Passengers

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


North to Alaska: Bye-bye Vancouver

I took one last look around before we left the Lookout Tower. So much to see here. Magnificent Mount Seymour hovers over the city, regal and imposing.

On a clear day, Mount Baker exchanges salutations with Seymour though miles and miles away.

Vancouver is widely known for Chinatown, its history, food, and people.

I love Granville Island Public Market open seven days a week.  The food markets and smells, the custom crafts, artsy shops, and live music make it a fun destination on shopping day, or any day, I haven’t been there for years but it’s a definite must-visit destination while in Vancouver.

Time to kill before Jean picked us up at the Lookout, Mary and I took our time and browsed some of the shops. Even she wasn’t tempted to shop seriously. We did have the upcoming cruise and who knew what temptations might overpower our good intentions.

Spotting a jewelry store, Mary beelined toward it. I picked up my pace to catch up. She had questions about precious stones. Our timing couldn’t have been better. No customers clambering for his attention, she had the jeweler’s full attention. The impression we were a welcome distraction on this slow business morning was unmistakable. We were impressed with his in-depth and animated answers, but he soon began name-dropping: whom he skied with, sold to and with whom he’d rubbed elbows. Mary had her information and the jeweler had been entertained out of his stupor, it was time to skedaddle. Now we were bored. Time had slipped away; it was time to leave to meet Jean.

She had gone around the huge block a couple of times and had to park almost a block away. We waited on the appointed corner. She saw us and honked but we did not see her. Finally, she ran up the street to get us and we headed to the harbor, luggage already in the car trunk. Traffic slow and congested, time for boarding loomed.

No sooner had we arrived at the Port of Vancouver, our bags were tagged and carted. Port personnel indicated our way toward the building for processing. I could not believe the mindboggling long lines. One line for this ship, another for that one. Though we were nervous about getting into the wrong line, agents were plentiful and pleasant, the process was clear and well manned. Finally, inside the building, an employee directed us toward the next available seat in order of entry. The first people seated got up and approached the bank of clerks with passports and boarding information in hand. The lines moved quickly. Green cards were given to Canadian and U.S. visitors. The majority of visitors did not have them so we worried what they were for. Did they have anything to do with the two bottles of wine I had in my luggage? Allowed only one each, I had two stashed in my bag since Mary had no room for even a Kleenex in hers.

Asking a directing agent what they were, she said, “You are pre-approved.” No other explanation. We moseyed along as directed.

“Approved for what?” Mary and I eyeballed each other, following a smattering of visitors. Where had the processed masses gone? We had no time to wonder as we exited the building and gaped at the huge floating hotel we were about to board.

~ * ~

Next on March 16th – North to Alaska: All Aboard!

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


North to Alaska: Vancouver Lookout

We repacked our bags in readiness to leave for the ship before noon and raced off to downtown Vancouver. Included in our Alaska trip were tickets to visit Harbour Center Lookout Tower. Jean double-parked and we hopped out lickety-split as the impatient traffic was horrendous. An attendant at an information desk gave directions to another elevator as the one across from her was down. Great. A good opportunity to get lost as we also needed to find a Ladies and the street floor teamed with busy, bustling humanity, everyone with an agenda. Mary surprised me by not stopping at the many stores we passed. “Maybe later,” she said, “if there is time.” Was I hearing her right?

The elevator had room for about three more people. We whisked up 28 floors in no time, though I had no idea how many floors there were upon our arrival. This skyscraper of a Lookout Tower opened in 1977 and is the sixth tallest building in Vancouver: 147 meters tall (160.761 yards or 482.283 feet). Good thing I’m not afraid of heights (liar) and only suffer claustrophobia in small spaces.

All I can say is wow! The whole top floor was made of glass from about chest-high. Had the glass been lower, I would have raced to the elevator and hugged the floor on the way down.

I photographed all the plagues below with accompanying pictures. They are not my own but are part of the exhibit at the Lookout. Credit goes to various people and organizations as shown on the plaques.

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Taken from the 28th floor, the harbor is still breathtaking. (Photos two and three below are my own.)

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Quick Facts:

  • British Columbia is larger than any U.S. state except Alaska
  • It is four times bigger than Britain
  • The size of France, Germany and the Netherlands combined
  • 637,699 square miles
  • 2014 Population 647,540
  • Average summer temperatures 72°F; in winter 43°F
  • Snow about 2.4″ per year
  • Ranked best city in the world to live
  • Ranked most expensive city to live
  • University of British Columbia largest in Western Canada (campus and students)
  • UBC created 1908; first lecture 1915
  • Relocated to Point Grey 1925
  • Well-known for medical and engineering programs
  • One of top 40 in the world
  • UBC home to 41,000 undergrads
  • UBC home to 10,000 graduates
  • Hosted Olympic games 2010
  • Last World’s Fair in North America in 1986
  • Della Falls highest in
  • 75% is mountains (3280 feet above sea level)
  • 60% is forested
  • 5% suitable for growing crops
  • The National Geographic tree is in Stanley Park
  • 98 feet in circumference, considered largest of its kind in the world
  • Sitka Spruce, (The Heaven tree) is 800 years old
  • Some cedars in the park considered over 1,000 years old

Included here are just a few of the zillion pictures I took.

~ * ~

Next on March 9th: North to Alaska: Bye-bye Vancouver

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


The People’s Path and more

The mention of food ratcheted up my craving for a fat, juicy burger and fries. Forget the calories—and a tall, cold beer. Our destination, St. James’s Well Irish pub, a favorite of the Vancouver hikers. I took little notice of the dark, polished wood surrounds and the long wall of large front windows. Gimme a menu. Please. I must have been more dazed than I imagined as I ordered a grilled sirloin sandwich instead. I never eat sandwiches. Beyond disappointed, I dug in anyway but finished only two-thirds. It was tasty and quieted my hankering for food. The beer, though, arrived tall and warm. Warm after a parched hike. The simple lunch cost $25.00 but the company and camaraderie were priceless. Sigh.

The pub fare scented the air although the breeze outside had dropped. We exchanged warm goodbyes with promises of future meetings. The sun smiled large and benevolent; we moseyed to the SUV and soon a nap—I hoped. Almost 7:00 p.m. Ontario time, I lumbered slow as a turtle in January due to a full tummy and a (warm) beer-buzzed brain.

A nap did not happen. We rested till evening, visiting and catching up on email. My three compadres chose to watch a movie. The day finally ended at an exhausting 2:00 a.m., Ontario time.

The next morning, after a late lumberjack’s breakfast, Jean and Michael suggested a visit to West Vancouver’s Centennial Seawalk for a stroll. The light jacket weather was perfect for the two-kilometer outing (x 2).

At the start:

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The paved walkway filled with a brisk and surging crowd yet not congested. I avoided photographing strangers and loved this relaxed walk and scenery.

Along the way:

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The end of the line, on the way back to the car park. For a change, I have a zillion pictures, too many to post.

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Additional images of the Centennial Seawalk

Another full day, a late supper, and a delightful treat in someone’s front yard around the block from Jean and Michael’s. I want one of these on my lawn, I do. I do. Don’t you? The thought is tempting but I cannot be trusted to not spend all day at the window. When books were exchanged, I’d race out for first scrutiny soon as the bibliophile departed. I had better not entertain the idea. . .

Next on March 2nd: North to Alaska: Vancouver Lookout Tower

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


North to Alaska: A-Hiking We Will Go

To be fair, I should include what little I know about this Vancouver hiking group. Friends added friends and the group expanded due to similar interests and bonding.  All my family has met them on several occasions during our visits to see sister, Jean. Warmer and more generous people I have never met.

They invited me to what?

A hiking we will go © Jon Nightingale

Towering, impossibly straight trees framed our path and filtered penetrating May sunlight through new leaves and branches. The clean scent of fresh air, cedar, ferns, fir trees, and dry dirt in our path path greeted all comers. Now and again, birds twittered, but quiet reigned except for the odd low-keyed conversation. Other hikers passed in both directions. Heaven.


The path began more or less three-people wide on the level gravel-covered ground. At times, we stood aside for other passers-by. A small incline rose up and up till I was breathless and heaving. Was I out of shape or what?

The majority of the seasoned hikers slogged ahead at a brisk pace compared to sisters Jean and Mary, Liz, and me. Jean suggested we slow our pace as we needn’t keep up with the others. The going became rough: stair-like ascent over roots and stones for footholds. Where the trees grew thicker, the roots were wet and the hiking trail muddy and water-soaked. Treacherous doesn’t describe it. Unsteady, I kept my balance—just. Was I up for this?

I can. I can. I can. © Jon Nightingale

I worried how we’d get back to the parking lot though we hadn’t gone half-way, which happened at Jug Island Beach.

Jean and others pulled out snacks and water. Mary ripped off shoes and socks to cool off ankle-deep at water’s edge. The cool temperature discouraged swimmers—still too early in the season. Logs, rocks, and sand offered seating for all who chose to relax or catch their breath. We four arrived much later than the rest of the group.

Though I had a sneaking suspicion, I had to ask. “How do we get back?”

“Same way you came.”

Blast. Back over the wood stairs, rough stairs of dirt and stones, both minus handrails. Going down was easier than going up and I made it. Liz joined the rest of the group as we three sisters stayed together on our return. Whether altitude or lack of sleep, Jean asked permission to help when my legs refused to maneuver a tricky spot while on my hunches. Yes, she pushed me there.

At one point, Mary noticed we were in unfamiliar territory. We’d wandered off the trail. Funny about the timing. Jean and I gazed around, struck with the same thought. Seeing no other hikers for several minutes was daunting.

We shared our misadventure with a couple with an obedient Doberman, with whom we crossed paths. They confirmed we were back on track.

A man from our group passed by, who had made a last minute dash to the facilities following picture-taking. We were gone when he came out. Having no idea which trail we’d chosen first, he struck out on his own. Rotten luck. Alone, he made record time and now passed us on his second trail in.

A parking lot peeked through the trees, but which one was it? Passing hikers pointed to the curve in our path, which snaked to the road across from the lot we needed. Neither of us had a clear recollection of crossing the road at the start of the hike.

Decision made we’d ditch the second hike, we found Ralph had scored the last picnic table for return hikers. The sodden grass squished beneath our runners as we squelched our way toward him. At times, our shoes sank low past the soles. Canadian geese ambled about as if they owned the park, children laughed and hollered and ran. Tense parents kept an eye on them while unpacking picnic lunches.

The sun bright and weather spring-like, a chill breeze ruffled our hair. Grateful for a place to sit, I dropped to the bench. Jean suggested Mary and I snooze in the SUV till the second round of hikers returned. Though tired, closing my gritty and burning eyes was enough. I could not sleep.

I came alive when talk of lunch at a pub surfaced through the half-open SUV window. I’d lost all track of time but my tummy had not.

~ * ~

Next on February 23rd – North to Alaska: The Peoples’ Path and more

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


North to Alaska: Where’s the Easy Button?

A garbled voice announced boarding a half-hour later. Flying time expected: four hours and 28 minutes at 40,000 feet with a few bumps along the way. We had three flight attendants for our 113-seat Boeing 737.

Had I glanced back, I’d have been dumbfounded how few passengers followed. Heads bent forward and shoulders raised, Mary and I scuttled across the tarmac. The weather was cold, the sky overcast, and the air damp. The two-level approach to the plane was longer than the distance from the building to the bottom of the walkway.

                                                  Transporting a two-level boarding bridge on the left

Airlines overbook, don’t they? We noted many empty seats, only 37 occupied, which meant seventy-six stood empty. How often does this happen? “If there are only two people on board, we will still fly,” the flight attendant said to Mary’s inquiry. This airline must be making good money ‘cause they’re still in business. This brings to mind a news story of the opposite happening and a man was removed from a flight to accommodate a crewmember. This is not allowed in Canada.

We enjoyed complimentary satellite TV, movies, and drinks, but the water for tea hadn’t been boiled. Yuck. Is it ever? I know the difference and couldn’t finish it. We ordered no bland, over-priced airplane food as I packed fruit and sandwiches from home. Tired, I managed to kill a couple hours dozing but felt I hadn’t closed my eyes at all: they burned, I felt light-headed and punch-drunk. Promising myself I wouldn’t, when nature called I gave in to visiting the loo though I avoid airplane bathrooms with a passion. People have nasty habits. Why do they leave a mess like children in public facilities?

Always a relief to arrive safe, our touch down on Mother Earth was quiet and uneventful, likely due to the absence of passengers. We deplaned fine but baggage claim proved nerve-wracking. No flight and carousel numbers posted for long minutes. After a couple walkarounds to all three carousels, the first one showed our flight. Last one on, first one out. The luggage soon pounced through the chute lickety-split. Let the adventure begin.

 As females will, we found the Ladies and rushed through Arrivals with our bags. Sunglasses-and-light-jackets weather, a cool breeze greeted us outside the airport. A clear view due to few cars parked at the curb, Mary said, “I wonder where Jean is.” Pacing after the cramped sit, Jean and Michael arrived about ten minutes later. Tight hugs and hurried catch-ups, Jean’s hubby loaded the luggage into the van.

As previously arranged, we had other plans and did not head for their house. By prior arrangement, Belcarra Regional Park beckoned instead. The clock read approximately 8:45 a.m. Vancouver time—three hours behind Ontario.

Had we left from Jean and Michael’s house, our destination would have taken less time. If a road or bridge traversed the water, we’d have made it in minutes, but Michael had to arc a long way around from the airport. As he drove, Jean, prepared as ever, surprised us with mouth-watering Greek mini pocketless pita sandwiches. Mary and I grinned. I can’t recall the delectable fillings snuggled between the slices, but I devoured the treats like a little-used Hoover put to work. Michael suggested a coffee stop but we passed. Good thing, too, because we arrived late for the appointed time as had a number of others joining us.

The park covers a vast area with a number of trails and parking areas. It took a couple of misses before we found the right carpark and picnic area. Turned out we weren’t the last to arrive. Someone pronounced everyone present and Jon arranged a digital remembrance of the moment.

                                                                  Belcarra selfie ©Jon Nightingale

One trail, considered moderate, stretched (was not circular) 5.5 kilometer forward and back and another one, an additional 5.2 km. A democratic group. You could do one or both. Hadn’t Mary and I just flown four and a half hours from Ontario? The hike sounded fun a month ago when we planned it. Was joining this group a bizarre idea?

~ * ~

Next on February 16: North to Alaska: A-Hiking We Will Go

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

Packing Up and Homeward Bound

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

Breakfast was a disappointment. Again:  dry buns, squashed croissants, and small stale Danish. I loaded up on cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapple, a piece of toast, and coffee. I decided not to gorge on our last day.

After breakfast, Ernesto and his wife entered an elevator with two Chinese businessmen. It stopped part way to their destination and wouldn’t budge. One of the businessmen began to sweat, his face beet-red. Ernesto’s wife hit the red button and someone answered at once with instructions but nothing worked. After a moment or two—that’s all it took—the elevator stirred to everyone’s relief, especially the Chinese man.

~ * ~

Time to leave for the airport, Sue and I towed our luggage to the elevator at 8:25 a.m. Though it appeared too full, the occupants insisted we get on. We stopped on almost every floor and with much shifting, more people squeezed on. I laughed inwardly because this felt like the Volkswagen commercial where endless lines of people pile in. Nobody thought the elevator was too full to get on and no one considered waiting for the next one. By the time we’d reached the first floor, we had enough Chinese people to start our own small village with a population of a million or two.

~ * ~

After we’d settled at our boarding gate at the airport, Sue and I went in search of bottled water to take on the plane. Before boarding, we passed through another security check, opened our bags and carry-ons, and lost the untouched water. Other passengers had also purchased water but were robbed of their bottles as well. A female passenger argued with the stewardess.

“There should be a sign if we’re not allowed to bring water on board.”

“Madam, we are not allowed to do that in Hong Kong.”

“Well, how was I supposed to know my new water bottle will be confiscated?”

“You will know for next time.”


I tried wifi at the airport without success. The plane before us had been delayed; the passengers moved to another gate after much dithering. Our flight wasn’t announced. Tick. Tock. The clock snuck past our boarding time with no updates offered. Finally, another gate became available. We were 35 minutes late boarding. Thank goodness we didn’t have to run to the other end of the airport, but I worried about the prearranged limo we’d paid for to pick us up in Toronto.

The aircraft was puny: two seats on either side of a narrow aisle, not unlike the one we had taken from Toronto to Chicago at the beginning of our trip. The door closed and—nothing. We waited. The passengers shifted in their seats and looked at each other across the aisle. Coughs and sneezes echoed throughout the cabin. Drat. Disease incubator!

1st announcement:

“We need to fuel up so we have enough gas to get you to To-ron-to.”

2nd announcement after a long spell of twitchy waiting:

“We’re trying to locate the guy who’s supposed to fill us up.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

(Is that enough fuel? Are you kidding?)  Credit: Wikimedia Commons

3rd announcement:

“He went to the wrong…”


My heart danced the Nitty Gritty. So close to home—yet would we even make it?  The air in the cabin grew stale and stifling. Susan’s stomach had been queasy while we were still in the airport. I now had a scratchy throat and stuffed sinuses.

Credit:  SOUL of the North : tolpuddleman’s channel

~ * ~

Finally soaring, the flight proceeded without further incidents. My eyes didn’t itch nor burn from lack of sleep though it was the middle of the night. By 1:00 a.m. breakfast arrived, but I wasn’t hungry. I had half the omelet, a taste of the anemic pork sausage and two toonie-sized hash brown coins. The drinks cart came around once. I would have loved more coffee. Finally, a second offer was made.

I watched a lot of movies, and read a complete book I’d borrowed from an avid reader in our group. Touchdown in Chicago didn’t require five or six hours to proceed on a flight home.

We arrived in Toronto ahead of schedule and in one piece but had to trudge forever across the tarmac to the airport. I felt like a rag doll. The airport is huge; it isn’t easy nor forgiving. There are no walkalators nor airport treadmills. Not a washroom in sight for miles and miles.

I noticed something interesting at the baggage carousel. A female police officer and a sniffer dog checked the incoming luggage. I’d have expected a German shepherd, instead, a beagle named Lucy sniffed and wagged.

Credit: Google Images

Credit: Google Images

We waited about five minutes for the limo driver. The deal was if the plane didn’t arrive on time, the driver would only wait for an hour. Phew! Almost home.

Soon we sped towards home-sweet-home, the great adventure over. I couldn’t wait for a hot shower without watching the clock and to snuggle in my own bed again.

The End

Next on February 2nd: North to Alaska

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I plan to drop in for a visit and a short update Monday.

Hong Kong, What a Throng, Part 4

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

In Aberdeen, the ferry driver burned more stinky gas turning the boat (40 – 49 capacity) out of the parking slot at Tai Pak Marina than the amount it took to get to the floating Cantonese restaurant. I expected the restaurant to rock due to the rolling waves due to boat traffic, but it was rock solid firm. The huge open space hummed like a beehive and didn’t feel like a ship. The male servers wore microphones with coiled phone wire tucked behind their ear like secret servicemen in the movies. We’d heard Cantonese people like to eat out and this being Easter weekend proved it. Every table was filled. I counted 36 tables and each appeared to be set up for 10 guests. We were served on the third floor.


  • Sweet and sour sauce
  • Chili pepper sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Steamed shrimp in rice paper (rubbery)
  • Shrimp wontons
  • Steamed fish balls
  • Pork balls with cabbage (?) (tasty)
  • Steamed sweet dough wrapped pork (?)
  • Noodles with curry shrimp, green peppers, and egg
  • Fried rice with shrimp peas, corn and green onions on noodles with ginger
  • Jasmine tea
  • Coconut Jello (but not clear like Jello

This was a long affair from 12:55 to 2:10 p.m. When we arrived, we waited longer than usual for the food to arrive. Again, everyone in the restaurant had the same food. I thought I was smart when one of the ladies wanted more tea, but couldn’t catch the server’s attention. I lifted the teapot lid and replaced it at an angle, not snug into the opening. Another of our group waved the waiter down to ask for more tea and he showed her the same thing I had ‘invented’. Am I brilliant or what?! I have no clue how I came by this idea.

After lunch—what a treat—a surprise visit to Dynasty Jewelry Manufacturers in a-last-stab-effort to our lined tourist pockets. We English 8, too few to bother with, the presentation transpired in French only. Right. Though the jewelry was magnificent, who walks around with the kind of money for such purchases without forethought?  Bored and poor, though I’m attracted to sparkly things, I wandered around shadowed by a clerk who didn’t even pretend he wasn’t stalking me. After all that, I’m not sure anyone in the French Group purchased anything.

© Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8. All Rights Reserved.

  © Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8. All Rights Reserved.


© Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8. All Rights Reserved.

                       © Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8. All Rights Reserved.

Next, we climbed a steep, serpentine road to Victoria Peak. I held my breath as another bus passed us traveling in the opposite direction, grateful we were in the inside lane. We passed breathless views for perfect picture-taking, but photo opportunities came and went. There wasn’t room to pull over and we’d likely be killed crossing the busy two-lane road. If we beat traffic, someone might fall over the edge. From the bus, the city gave the impression of a toy city.

Our destination: The Peak for picture taking and The Peak Galleria (the mall for shopping). We had to go inside and up escalators to the third floor, then outside to the extensive viewing platform for spectacular views of the city and Victoria Harbour. Because of the distance, my photos were small. With more time to kill, I checked out the mall. Actors dressed in rabbit costumes put on a show for shoppers’ children, this being Easter Saturday. I wandered into a drugstore and bought nail polish for our last dress-up dinner before heading home. Two tiny bottles (about half the size we usually see at home) cost a grand total of $2.00 total.

Quick Facts

  • 1,800 square foot = luxury apartment
  • Condos at Repulse Bay under $20,000 USD per month
  • Visiting Businessmen are put up in these type condos
  • Usual apartment rent around $1,300 USD
  • If cannot pay, government subsidises at $300 USD per month
  • Long wait to get subsidized apartment: 4 to 5 years
  • A car traveling to Hong Kong has two license plates: one for Hong Kong and one for China
  • No casino allowed in Hong Kong
  • If one travels to Macau, must return home 5:00 p.m. like from work
  • Hong Kong 93% Chinese + Pakistani Indian
  • Has 272 islands
  • West Hong Kong is new
  • Have many temples, mostly Taoist
  • 150,000 immigrants arrive every day

© 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved

Dinner choices made by members of English Eight at an Italian restaurant (paid out of pocket):

  • Risotto
  • Pizza
  • Lamb
  • Fettucine Bolognese
  • Linguine with Clams
  • Octopus Ink sauce (for pasta)
  • Octopus Ink dinner rolls
  • W.i.n.e.

© 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved

                                   © 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved

Additional information about Hong Kong:

Taken by Jacek Zarzycki

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Next on January 26th – Packing Up and Homeward Bound

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical but hope to visit here before the end of the month. Many, many thanks for your supportive reading, re-blogging, and tweeting. Your continued follows are immensely appreciated.  XX

Hong Kong View-a-Thon, Part 3

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

We’d seen all we could at Tin Hau Temple. Sue and I headed to the bus parked in front of a Seven-Eleven Variety Store. We decided, as did the rest of our group, to buy water. A cashier managed to keep up with the brisk business, while another worker (or owner) kept an eye on the crowd. The store appeared to stock anything you can imagine: groceries, wine, water, and clothes.

Soon, almost everyone took his or her seat but someone was still missing. Hurry up and wait. We did wait. And wait. And wait. No explanations were given, at least not to the English Group 8. Finally, the French crowd cheered and the last couple hopped on, to loud and boisterous guffaws. The story: the husband, goofing around—whether on purpose or by accident—sent his wife into the water and of course, she was soaked through. The bus couldn’t turn back to the hotel just for her. Would you believe she bought pants and a top at the Seven-Eleven? I have no idea where she changed.

Next stop: Stanley Market. I managed to go through the paces once we were dropped off into scorching temperatures and no trees. Jewelry kiosks were plentiful, but the earrings I found weren’t to my liking. Why did dollar stores in Canada carry such fabulous Made in China earrings, but after I’d traveled all this way found nothing to compare? I did buy one pair for a souvenir, but they cost too much—five times more than in Canada—and the chandelier type already out of fashion at home.

Stanley Market

© Used by permission of RJ, a member of English 8. All Rights Reserved.

Some tourists avoided shopping by visiting the Stanley Waterfront. I wish I had known about it as I expect it might have been cooler by the water. I’m not overly fond of shopping and anyway, the same products and trinkets came up time and again, especially T-shirts and shawls (Pashminas).

We trudged up an incline, squeezing into the shade of anything available until the tour guide appeared to take us to the bus.

Quick Facts:

  • Japanese occupied Hong Kong in the 1940s
  • A city with lots of convenient washrooms
  • Cross-Harbour Tunnel opened in 1972
  • Cranes and constructions everywhere
  • 12 days a year paid holidays
  • Financial district in a central area
  • Education free from age 6 to 18
  • Lots of private schools for ages 6 to 15, but expensive
  • Great public facilities for young people: swimming
  • Cinemas available but people prefer big TV screens at home
  • One child per couple not applicable in Hong Kong
  • Writing is the same in Cantonese and Chinese but sound different
  • Taoism not a religion but a way of life
  • Population 7.2 million
  • Total land area 1100 square km. (426 square miles)
  • Lots of tunnels
  • Hong Kong means Fragrant Harbour
  • It is the Pearl of the Orient
  • Visas available for visitors who come just to shop
  • No tax in Hong Kong

Only a small group signed up for a boat ride to Aberdeen, an old-fashioned fishing village, which still exists in the midst of modern high rises. Tired, thoughts of home hovered in the back of my mind and I looked forward to going home. I didn’t join in the boat ride but caught up with a group who walked around the town. At one point the ladies needed the Happy House and begged relief at a fancy hotel along our way. Later, we passed a grocery store where I bought a bottle of (Dynasty or maybe Great Wall) wine for 49 Hong Kong dollars (around $8.00 Cdn.).

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Next on January 19th – Hong Kong, What a Throng: Part 4

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical but hope to visit here before the end of the month. Many, many thanks for your supportive reading, re-blogging, and tweeting. Your continued follows are immensely appreciated.  XX