Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's Back...

Last night we heard screams from the nursery. After several months of sleeping through the night the boys wanted to eat at 2am.

Lets hope this was a one and done thing. Crossing our fingers for tonight!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hong Kong with Babies

We've thoroughly enjoyed our time in Hong Kong. Right now the boys are asleep, so I'm taking this time to write about what we've done so far in so that we'll remember it. But, I also want to give a little advise for anyone who is thinking about coming here with small children.

Day One: Arrival in Hong Kong, getting organized at the hotel and catching up on sleep:
We left Delhi at about midnight on Friday evening and flew direct to Hong Kong. The flight went very smoothly. The kind attendants of Jet Airways were very friendly and offered to help us in any way they could. They even moved us into a bulkhead row and gave us a bassinet, which Ezra thoroughly enjoyed. Ezra slept peacefully throughout the entire flight while Cedric was way too excited by everything going on to get much sleep.

When we arrived in Hong Kong we arranged with the hotel to have someone meet us with a car with two car seats. The service was a bit pricey (about US$100), but well worth it given how fast everyone drives (car seats are not mandatory). It takes about 45 minutes to get from the airport to down town Hong Kong. We are staying at the Crown Plaza at Causeway Bay. The hotel has taken extra-special care of us, starting with a free upgrade to a bigger room and two pack-'n-plays delivered to our room within minutes of us arriving. And it's a good thing that they delivered them quick, because we all crashed from a long night journey and everyone took a two hour nap.

When we got up, we went out and explored the neighborhood. What an incredibly clean city! I am seriously amazed. We wandered through a few markets, including a live fish and meat market, and it didn't even smell bad! We talked to the hotel about a restaurant recommendation, and when we asked how pricey the food would be, she asked us where we were from.
"We're from the USA," I said.
"Oh, then very cheap."
"But we live in Delhi."
"Oh, then very expensive."

OK. So, we also had our first restaurant experience and the food was great. And Ezra made quick friends with the owner.

Back at the hotel, we got a great package deal on internet/happy hour/breakfast; so, Chad went to the bar for a little adult alone time and I stayed and relaxed with the babies while they had another nap. Then, we switched roles and I had my turn with some lovely red wine. A very relaxing first evening in Hong Kong!

Day Two: Ngong Ping and the Big Buddha
What we thought would be a morning trip to see the "Big Buddha" turned into an 8-hour day-trip. No worries, though, as Ezra and Cedric are possibly the world's best little travel buddies. I had noticed the day before that Hong Kong is not the most stroller-friendly city (it's by no means, however, as bad as Delhi). Most parents are out and about with their children strapped on front in Baby Bjorn carriers. Since Chad has, what I consider, an unreasonable phobia of damage during travel to our City Select, we opted to purchase two umbrella strollers from Chicco and we have been able to navigate the streets reasonably well.

So, we made our way to the nearest metro station and took the underground for about 45 minutes to the cable car station, waited in line for an hour, took a 20 minute cable car ride, walked around a lovely little tourist village, saw the big buddha, ate some fried food goodies and then repeated the travel process in reverse to get home. Luckily I had enough food and bottles packed to last us! There were tons of families out strolling with children at Ngong Ping, and besides having no secure place to leave strollers when climbing the many, many flights of stairs to get up to Big Buddha (we risked it and just left our strollers near some official looking ticket takers, and our strollers were waiting for us right where we left them after we descended from the statue). It was worth the lines and travel to be out and about and to see the look on our kids' faces when the cable car went up, up, up!
We had had such a lovely time of taking turns at happy hour, that we repeated our routine from the evening before and then we went out for a stroll and found a lantern festival in the park. There were so many people out and about; it was insanity! Yet, even though the crowds rival anything I've dealt with in Delhi, I never felt like anyone was invading my personal space (very UN-delhi-like!).

Back at the hotel, Ezra was beat and crashed pretty quickly. Cedric, on the other hand, thought that Hong Kong hotels were way too much fun and wanted to stay up late and party. His dads put the kibosh on that and everyone had a long night's rest.

Day Three: Shopping and a Lazy Hotel Day
We needed some retail therapy, so we went to the nearby mall, called Times Square. It's a huge mall with nine floors of shops. I got a chance to go into a proper music store and browse the scores, and we had some Ben and Jerry's (there goes my pale diet!!). We had a lovely late lunch at a restaurant called S/M/L which allows you to choose the size of your portions. Yummy steak for dads. Cheerios for the boys.

In the evening we went out to dinner, enjoyed a little happy hour and got massages at a nearby salon.

Day Four: Packing, the Harbor and Flying
I love almost everything about traveling with our twins. But perhaps the thing I don't really love all that much is how long it takes me to pack. Gone are the days of 30-minute throw-it-in-the-suitcase-and-go packing rituals. Now, it takes me about three hours to get everything organized, check the lists, clean everything that needs cleaned and put stuff away.

After we packed, we went on a major walk in the park and found a great Thai restaurant. Then we walked down to the harbor and took some pictures on the Hong Kong skyline before moseying back to our hotel, grabbing our bags and heading for the airport.

We got to the airport with tons of time to spare, which was a good thing because the Hong Kong airport is huge and it seemed like we had to walk for miles to make it to our gate. Going through security, however, was a breeze. There was NO ONE in the whole security area and all of the security works were mesmerized by our boys so they really just waved us through. Nice!

All in all, I feel like we could have gone out and done more touristy things in HK, but part of the reason we were getting out of Delhi was to relax, and as far as that task is concerned, mission accomplished!