I am sitting down in front of the computer and I don't really know what to write about our stay in Hong Kong. We really didn't do much sightseeing.
So what did we do there for 4 days? We window shopped! Yes, we are looking for a new camera; to be more specific a Nikon D90 Kit with the 18-105mm lens. I think we visited every single store looking for the best price. As we found out from doing some research is that buying a camera in Hong Kong is not a simple task. There are lots of scammers out there that you have to be careful.
So did we buy the camera? Nope. We didn't make up our minds yet. One of the first places that we went is called "Happy Rich Audio and Video" and it had the lowest price from all of them. The problem is that their price was about CAD$300 cheaper! Now, if I was in Canada, I would not think twice about buying the camera. But we just heard too many stories about cameras either being refurbished or getting some of the parts changed for fakes.
We decided to wait a bit. As we are going back to Hong Kong on our return from China, we have time to think about it. I still think that if we go to another store that was more expensive it is still cheaper than buying it back in Canada. I still don't trust that store with the lower price.
To change subjects, we did do some sightseeing. We went to Victoria's Peak. To get there you can either walk (not recommended) take a vehicle or as we did take the Tram. It is a nice experience going up as you get to see the whole city. It is also pretty incredible when the tram gets to a pretty steep angle.
One of the neat things about Hong Kong is that the Government offers some free activities. And we love FREE activities. So we signed up for a morning class of Tai Chi. It was great. I have seen it before but never tried it. I might pick it up once I get back to Winnipeg. Other classes include: Tea Appreciation, Feng shui and a Chinese Cake Making class. On topic of FREE things, six museums are free on Wednesdays. We checked out the Hong Kong History Museum which was nice to get our facts about this territory.
One of the most touristic things that we did is take a Harbor tour on the last remaining Junk in Hong Kong. You read that right, it is called Junk and it is a type of boat. You get great views of the coast line but pray that it doesn't start pouring rain like it did to us.
On our last day we took a 30 minute ferry ride to the island of Lamma. There were nice fisher villages but not exactly what we expected. We thought it would be a little less urbanized. The beach is nice and the water was warm but the view is ruined by the huge coal power plant on the side. Oh well, it was a nice break from the big city. Rebecca will remember her time in this island for a while. We were hiking down a path when she started screaming. Apparently a hand-size spider was in front of her face. She did not appreciated that. A local later told us that does spiders are and I quote "not good". I am assuming that they are poisonous.
Mmm, I thought I didn't have anything to say but at the end I think I wrote down a lot. Until next time.
We managed to get our well deserved rest. This is what we call a vacation from our vacations. Believe it or not, backpacking is hard work. You have to wake up early, walk a lot, party hard, it is just exhausting some times. So here in the comfort of our Modi'in home, we are enjoying the luxuries that we can get while it lasts.
We took the opportunity to get some of our paperwork together. I had to get my Israeli passport extended and Rebecca had to get a Russian visa for her Canadian passport.
Apparently, if you are married (male or female) you have to send the certificate to the Israel Consulate. This I failed to do back in Canada. The Consulate decided to return my passport with a little note saying that they have only renewed my passport for one year (instead of 10 years) until I send them the Marriage Certificate. Unfortunately, our time in Canada was running out before the trip and the cost to send "important" papers via mail is quite expensive. So we decided to do the paperwork here in Israel.
Well, the passport officer here did not like my Marriage Certificate because there is no official stamps (nobody told me that I needed to get it stamped!). Anyways, we decided to go the Canadian Consulate to asked them to get it stamped. When we arrived the officer told us that he won't be able to do that for us because he can only stamp Federal documents and a Marriage Certificate is a Provincial one. What the f***. What do we do now? My Israeli passport will expire before the end of our One Year Trip. To wrap things up, the nice passport officer at the Israel's Ministry of Interior gave me a one year extension free of charge so I can get back to Canada and send my forms to the Toronto Consulate.
On with Rebecca's Russian visa. This was kind of a nightmare. We started by going to the Russian Consulate. This was a complete mess, full of people. We weren't even able to get into the consulate. The people at the door would not give us any information. We finally, sneaked into a side door and we got someone to talk to us. We just wanted information about a tourist visa. The very nice woman (sarcastic) said and I quote: "it is impossible", and I said "but how do we get into ..." cutting me off she said "it is impossible", she turned around and left, that was nice. This whole ordeal took about 3 hours just so we can hear that it was impossible to get the visa. By this point we were just thinking of paying the penalty and changing our flight so that we don't fly to Russia.
Anyways, we decided to go to a travel agency to obtain our visa. This is another method to obtain it if you don't have an invitation from a citizen of Russia. Yes, you need one if you don't go through an agency, crazy!
Our intention was to go to Moscow and then St. Petersburg continuing to Riga, Latvia and then back to Moscow. For that we need a multiple entry visa, which the Consulate denied it to us. They are really a pain on the ass! I really think that their country is still a little bit behind in time. So we probably will have to cancel our Latvia section of our trip.
So, we are staying in Israel until the 19 of May when we have our scheduled flight to Athens.
We will keep you posted.
Wow, the time is flying. Two months have passed since we left Canada on January 11th. This year will go by really fast indeed.
So, we have left Brasil a country that we enjoyed alot. We wanted to thank the whole Glogowski family for being such nice people. We wanted to thank Bernardo for taking us out, Marcia and Niels for taking us everywhere around the city, Suzana and Cicero for letting us into their daily lives and providing us with a place to sleep and Luci and Clelio for letting us share with them their union in matrimony. We will miss, of course, the beautiful beaches and they unreal amount of fruits, love the juices!
We are now in Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America as it called. Let me tell you that I haven't been back for 9 years. I left when I was 15 years old and from a bad experience (being robbed and scared after that). I know see the city with different sets of eyes. These eyes see a city with lots of life. It is indeed a beutiful city. So much to do and see. This time I came as a tourist. I have gone to places I have never been before even though I lived here for 12 years.
As a tourist we went to La Boca and San Telmo (which has grown from a only Plaza fair to a whole section of the neighbourhood). We also recommend that if you come you try the BA Free Tours (www.buenosairesfreetour.com). They have 2 tours daily that go over the major attractions of the city. It is unbelievable the amount of tourist that are coming to BA. I has told that this is nothing compared to a few years back, I guess when the Peso was lower.
The most important of this visit to Buenos Aires is meeting all my old friends and family. Pablo Sukmann (my best man) has been great as always. He let us use his own bed while he sleeps at the couch.
Well, it is getting late and we are taking a flight on LAN Argentina to El Calafate to see the Glaciar Perito Moreno and make our way north.
We will keep you posted.
This is my first blog entry and so I have a bit to contribute.
I truly believe that this trip was meant to be. In the past few weeks, everything somehow came together: I sold my junky car, found someone to take over my cell phone contract and even gave away my MCAT books on the very last day (thanks Melina!)
We are now in Lima, Peru and I´ve suddenly realized that this trip is for real! It took about 24 hours to get here: Calgary-Vancouver-Dallas-Miami and finally Lima. It was on the Dallas to Miami flight that we sat beside Mr. Van Murphy. This man is not only a pilot, he is a volunteer sheriff, writes a blog for the Panthers, paints, designs shoes and is an air marshal (I sat on a plane beside a guy with a gun!) After the flight, he took us into the cockpit where we could play with all the controls...
So far Lima has been lovely. The hostel is located in an upscale neighborhood called Miraflores. I managed to get my Brazilian passport in a fraction of the time and price of that in Canada. We strolled down the beach and spent the day recouperating.
So we finally got our flight tickets. We bought these via Oneworld. We found them to be the best option if you are planning to go to South America.
We also found out different loops when buying the tickets that we were unaware. If you are Canadian, you should try to start your trip in Canada. At the beginning, we were planning to start in Los Angeles but Oneworld wanted to charge us $5100 in US Dollars. if instead you start in a Canadian city, they charge you $5100 CAD Dollars which at this moment the CAD Dollars is lower than the US Dollar by about 20%.
This means one thing less to do for our trip!