Week END?

Constantly building something, view of Admiralty
Constantly building something, view of Admiralty

My last weekend in Hong Kong couldn’t have been better, even if it had been sunny instead of raining! On Friday we had a delicious, (almost vegan) dinner in one of the best Thai restaurants in Hong Kong (Cafe Siam).
The following day, I ventured to more art and explored an area I hadn’t been before; the industrial, artsy Chai Wan hosted Chai Wan Mei, a satellite event to the megalomane Art Basel.

Master chef at home
Master chef at home

Part of Chai Wan Mei included Bread Elements, a new – you guessed it – bakery. This company’s bread is not the pillows and other “breads” you find in the supermarkets; it is real, rustic artisan bread, hand-made from premium ingredients. I was lucky to visit the open days of the old factory premises, and talk to the master chef and cookbook authorGregoire Michaud, who previously worked for for example The Four Seasons hotel for several years!

Gluten-free raisin loaf, made with rice -, and tapioca flour
Gluten-free raisin loaf, made with rice -, and tapioca flour

It was truly inspiring to exchange ideas and opinions about the essence and quality, or the lack of quality bread, and the methods of making bread. We discussed the current gluten free trend and the reasons for the increase of gluten sensitivities (low quality, processed wheat was the chef’s suggestion). What comes to bread – it’s my Achilles heel. I think that bread should always be highest-possible quality, made without any additives or enhancers. At Bread Elements, I got to see the Mother of the breads, the sourdough starter, which makes yeast unnecessary. And I got to say, that oh man these French know how to bake a baguette!

Now Bread Elements only supplies to high end hotel chains and restaurants, but maybe soon Hong Kongers get to enjoy real bread from normal stores, too! Oh, yeah, there was other stuff than food in Chai Wan, too. Like 3,000 red-covered diaries from the Revolution era.

The Governor?
The Almighty Governor?

Saturday was topped off with some more art, wine, tapas, cocktails and dancing the night away in some of the fanciest clubs in the city with some rather interesting new friends.

Chilling at the gym
Chilling at the gym. Notice the mosquito-eaten legs!

Sunday dawned too cloudy to go to a beach, so I opted for a gym and rooftop pool instead. The sun even peaked out to say hello!

I could do this more than once!
I could do this more than once!

Summa summarum: the weekend definitely left a positive feeling and good memories about Hong Kong. Who knows, maybe this won’t be the end for me.

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Visa Run

In order to get a much needed stamp to my passport, our FSF Hong Kong team went for a lovely day trip to Macau. I did not quite know what to expect from the biggest casino destination of the world (33 casinos, more revenues than in Las Vegas, and 50% of the economy comes from gambling!).

Welcome to China!
Welcome to China!

We were supposed to go to Macau already a week ago but because it was Easter, we had to postpone. In the morning in HK it was darker than at 7 pm, and when we were leaving it started to pour once again, like almost every day for the past few weeks now. In Macau, the weather was 24C with 96% humidity. Phew. In the casinos, the climate was more pleasant, though unpleasantly smokey. Each casino had their unique scent, mixed with the gamers’ cigarrettes.

Filming for trainee video
Filming for trainee video

The highlight of our voyage was the Macau tower lunch buffet, which had been the daydream since day 1. I was actually considering doing the world’s highest bungee jump from Macau tower, but after that lunch I could barely walk, let alone look down the elevator from the 230m high restaurant. It was pretty cool setting, though I missed most of the scenery since I was concentrating on the food.

Where the money's at
Where the money’s at

After the gluttony we went to have dessert to The Venetian, which is the 6th largest building in the world, and besides the casino and a hotel it also has for example a shopping center and a canal inside it. It was my first time to be in a casino (and I went to at least 5 different ones!), and it was not quite like I’ve seen in dozens of Hollywood films and tv shows. No cocktails, no lucky dice blowing or cheering – just a bunch of Chinese people, most of them smoking. The lights, the sounds, the amount of money – I can’t even imagine it all.

The Venetian
The Venetian

Macau seemed to be a playground for the filthy rich. Everything was shiny and clean, loads of ATM’s everywhere, always signs for the next hotel and casino. Free shuttle buses from casino to another. Free water bottles (yay!) It was definitely worth a visit, and what a visit it was – when the boys left back to Hong Kong, we stayed and wondered around, until we found a very decent wine tasting in Four Seasons hotel. On the ferry back home we got to a big thunderstorm, and it was raining like hell in Hong Kong.

Eat, play and sleep - no need to leave the hotel
Eat, play and sleep – no need to leave the hotel

Oh, I would have tried some game in the casino, but they didn’t accept coins!