A Star Nosed Mole

A Star Nosed Mole one of the stranger creatures on our beautiful planet


January 2013 marked 11 years since my family moved to Hong Kong for the second time. And although it’s just my mum who lives here now, and I’ve lived in Sydney, Australia for four of those years and Toronto, Canada for two, Hong Kong feels the most like home. Perhaps that is why, I always feel like I’m re-finding myself when I am here. This is the city of my first true love, my first night out, some of my oldest and closest friends. I can be away for a year and a half, and still navigate myself around like I never left. I think I walk these streets in my dreams, and years melt away when I see those familiar faces. Expat brats are one of a kind people.

It’s probably unsurprising then, that I value the advice I get when I’m here. There are a lot of older and wiser people than me, who’ve led very interesting lives that live here. And I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by love and by people who want to see me succeed, and only want the best for me.

This evening I went for a few cheap cocktails with Miss J. I met Miss J exactly ten years ago when we were both in High School and when we both signed up to do the Hong Kong Youth Arts Festival production of ‘Footloose’. What an experience. Forty five of the most frustrated Drama/Musical Theatre geeks from all the different High Schools in Hong Kong, thrown together into one huge all singing all dancing production.

We spent hours together at rehearsal, and hours hiding in the bowels of the Shouson Theatre in Wan Chai. We were just kids, chasing our passion and singing our hearts out. Bonds were formed that have continued to this day.

So back to the cocktails. Miss J has her head screwed on pretty straight and to me, it seems like not much fazes her. I could say “J, i’ve decided to sign up for the Mars cruiser expedition. I’m leaving in 8 years and I’m not coming back” and this girl would take a breath, think about it and then say “Ok. great.”

She rocks.

So tonight when we went for a few drinks and I was telling her (for the 100th time) that I don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life, and-I’m-24-and-OMG-who-am-I?-And-I-Like-Toronto-But-what-about-London?-Or-New-York?-Or…

And after listening to me rant for a little bit, sipping on her Lychee Bellini, she put her hand on my arm and said “Paris…do what you always do…just Improvise.”


I felt like this girl had just transfigured into Buddha at the Bar and an ethereal light was beaming out of the top of her head and bouncing around the room.



Life is a series of Improvisations. Things happen, you go with them, you make decisions and you get on with your life.

I never realized that was what I was doing. I kind of thought things were just happening in my life that were a random series of events. Which is kind of what happens in Improvisation, an offer is made and then you run with it. There is no saying no in Improv, you can take what is offered and transform it into something else, but you never just stop.

That isn’t how life works.

Okay maybe it was the three (very strong) cocktails, but something suddenly clicked in my brain.

I’ve decided to go with the flow and continue to accept the offers that open to me and not put too much pressure on the way the story pans out.

After all it’s all just a bit of fun.


If you had 24 hours in Hong Kong

Having done some research into things to do in Toronto and coming up with a suggestion like the SHOE MUSEUM (come on Canadians) I’ve decided to do my perspective on what you would do if you only had 24 hours in Hong Kong.

I get lots of friends coming through for a few days on their way to other places and have perfected the art of squeezing as many activities as possible into short amounts of time.

Tourist stuff can be fun, but in a town like Hong Kong you really shouldn’t be afraid to wander around and go off the beaten track. The MTR (the train system) is fantastic. Lots of people speak English and there are loads of westerners wandering around so ask them for directions too (I get stopped about 3 times a week to point people in the right direction). Buses and the Tram are also an amazing way to travel (the tram runs along Hong Kong island and is 2HKD no matter how far you go.

24 hours in Hong Kong

Yum Cha or Dim Sum is the most delicious food in the world (in my opinion). It’s chinese breakfast/brunch.

Dim Sum/Yum Cha

They do amazing Yum Cha at City Hall (down near the harbour in Central beside the land reclamation site next to the IFC). It is a bit expensive but it’s gorgeous. Also, you often have to wait around for aaaaaages as it is so popular. But they do do the old school trolley thing where you pick off what you want fom the ladies.

Recently I went to Yum Cha with friends at Dragon-i which has an all you can eat deal. Again, it was nice, but there are cheap local places everywhere, you just have to be adventurous.

My personal favourit Yum Cha is in Sheung Wan, 60 seconds from where I live. It is by no means that traditional or local or authentic, they don’t do the trolleys but they are friendly and the food is a third of the price and yummy. Be adventurous!

My fave dishes:
BBQ Pork Buns (try saying Cha Sui Bau)
Shrimp Dumplings (try saying Har Gow)
Pork Spare ribs (try saying Pai gwat)
Custard Buns (try saying Lai wong Bau)

After you have been fed delicious oily food you want to head to the star ferry to see the city from the harbour. It’s cheap and gorgeous on the water. The star ferry is old and creaky and fun and cheap. My advice would be to go on the upper deck, it’s like 2HKD more expensive, but you are higher up and it is a better view. You can take it from Tsim Sha Tsui to Wan Chai or Central and vice versa.

If you end up on the TST side, I’d reccomend walking along the Avenue of Stars to see the city to see the Hong Kong Island side. At night you can also see the light show from there where the city ERUPTS into a choreographed light show with lasers shooting off buildings and light flaring up the side of them. It starts at 8pm but get there at 7.30 to get a good spot.

The light Show

The Light show

If you take the Star Ferry back over to central you can wander up to the top of the IFC Mall and have a sit down on the chairs in the open (do not be turned off by the fact that they are near the bars, the seats are for public use so you can go to 711 and get cheap drinks). You’ll spot the IFC -it’s the tallest building on Hong Kong Island in Central.

Another great way to see Hong Kong (depending on visibility when you are here) is taking the Peak Tram up to the Peak (the big mountain you can see on Hong Kong island). The Peak Tram is kindof expensive and they have buses that go up and down there, but you should experience it. It goes up vertically and it’s pretty cool. Up at the Peak you get a great view the other way, over to Kowloon side. You have to pay to go up to the sky view deck (lame) but it is a good viewing spot. There is a path to wander around the peak and see various aspects of Hong Kong.

The Peak

Hong Kong is a shopping Paradise. If you want to go to the Markets, head to Mong Kok MTR stop for the Ladies markets (HAGGLE!) exit E2 and Fa Yuen Street Mong Kok MTR station D2. Also around there is the Flower Market, Jade Market and Bird Market. It’s hard to explain how to get there but ask people. If you want to just go straight there head to Prince Edward MTR exit B2.

If you’d rather go to a night market, i’d recommend going to the Temple street Market, (try saying Mui Gai if you are in a taxi) but you can MTR it Jordan Exit A. Walk right when you exit the station. You’ll see it if you walk along Jordan Road.

Hong Kong has a fantastic array of places to drink and Party. For the experience, I would head to the ICC Ozone bar which is on the 118th floor and has amazing views. The drinksare not cheap but then drinks out in pubs and clubs generally aren’t in Hong Kong.

Ozone Cocktails

You can drink in the streets here, so if money is tight, head to Lan Kwai Fong in Central and drink in the streets and soak up the atmosphere. There are loads of pubs and bars and it’s just up to you to find the kindof vibe you are after. There are lots of places in Lan Kwai, or you can head up to Soho for a more relaxed experience.

Wan Chai is the redlight district and has other types of entertainment. It also has bars and clubs. If you are a lady, you can get free drinks in Wan Chai in most bars. There are also open bar deals available. The only thing about Wan Chai is that it attracts loads of…underagers/jailbait. So…yeah. It also has a rep for being a bit sleazy.

So yeah, that is a taste of what I would do if I only had 24 hours in Hong Kong.