April 28, 2015

Cranky Fitness Goes to Hong Kong

By Crabby McSlacker

So yep, we're back from our adventures in Hong Kong and Bali! And, as I promised threatened earlier, here's a quick recap--at least of the first part of our trip.

And okay, we've been back a week already. But, in my defense: it's been hella busy in Crabland.

Still bleary from the long-ass flight and 15 hour time difference (which is actually only a 9 hour difference if you just write off a day, but 15 sounds more impressive doesn't it?) we dived right into a crapload of chores. We unpacked, cleared out our San Diego condo and got it ready for rental, repacked, and jumped in our car and drove to Texas.  (Plus we got chased by a few tornadoes the last day, which made it quite exciting for us coastal-dwelling gals. We may yawn during earthquakes or hurricane warnings but are a little leery of the whole twister thing, what with the prospect of flying cows and wicked witches and softball-sized hail and all).

The storms were moving northeast.
That scared-looking little blue dot? That's us.

But anyway, we made it safe and sound to our Frisco Texas stopover and will fly to Provincetown this weekend.  Meantime, now that we are not moving for a few days, here's a bit about our recent travels.

Bright Lights Big, City

Hong Kong was our first stop. Neither of us had been to Asia before, so we weren't sure what to expect.

First off:  Hong Kong is BIG. You know how most cities have a few areas with massive skyscrapers and gargantuan sprawling blocks of apartment buildings that cram bazillions of people into the smallest space possible?

Well, Hong Kong is like that everywhere. To the hundredth power.

This was just one tiny slice, taken from one of several windows in our hotel room.

I suppose we should have predicted this, but Hong Kong seemed very modern and commercial and Western. Except for the surgical-mask-wearing propensity of its population, it did not feel particularly exotic.

Which was maybe a little disappointing? But also good in that it was not at all challenging to navigate: the subway system was easey-peasey; English was widely spoken and included in most commercial signage, and we never had to step out of our comfort zone.

Well okay, there were occasional reminders that we were in a foreign country; this particular film was not airing at our local San Diego multiplex last time I checked.

Over the 3 days we were there, we did some of the usual touristy stuff and mostly enjoyed ourselves. We took a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the island and wandered around in Stanley and did some of the night markets and went up the giant Mid-level escalators and poked around SoHo and Sheung Wan. The weather was crappy so we didn't take many pictures, and we skipped the Victoria Peak tram ride that was supposed to be a crowded pain in the ass but provide stupendous views in nice weather, but there was plenty to keep us busy.

Overall, it seemed more like a pragmatic sensible sort of city that would be very comfortable to live in, rather than a razzle-dazzle OMG tourist destination.

But then we didn't have any convenient relatives or friends living there to to take us to all the cool stuff barely-informed tourists like us always miss when they go places.  So consider this your official Clueless Tourist Take on Hong Kong.

However, day two was definitely the highlight:

Cheung Chau Island Adventure

We took a ferry to a nearby island; again, public transportation was cheap and simple to figure out.

We had a grand ol' time hiking the hills and roads and enjoying the views.

We stopped by a few temples and shrines,

and prepared ourselves to beat the crap out of any unexpected wildfires,

We strolled the harbor,

sensibly letting sleeping dogs lie,

and we moseyed through narrow streets where stalls full of food we didn't eat was for sale.

The Obligatory Health and Fitness Part:

So yeah, this is a health blog, and so I'll dutifully mention that we tried to steer our usual middle course between enjoying once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities and totally blowing our generally sensible diets and healthy lifestyle habits.

So we had some dim sum, which was fun, but otherwise pretty much tried to favor vegetables and fruit and lean protein over nutritionally bankrupt refined carbs and gratuitous battered and deep-fried offerings.

But actually, this was harder than I had figured!

While public transportation was cheap, food generally wasn't unless it was refined carb and fat-based. (The misleading squid salad I put up before in the guess-where-I-am post was hard to find, and not inexpensive). 

I had somehow imagined there would be tons of stir-fries on offer everywhere, heavy on the vegetables, because I grew up with the stereotype that eating Chinese meant being hungry again half an hour later.  Silly me!

As to exercise, our hotel had a fitness center which we used.  But mainly, we walked our butts off.

So, thanks for bearing with the travelogue. Coming as soon as I get my act together: Part Two, Bali, Indonesia! And then, just for a change of pace, Cranky Fitness may actually resume its sporadic attempts to be a fitness blog.

Have you been to any Asian countries?  Would you want to visit someday?


  1. I have never been to Asia, and, I admit, it's not anywhere near the top of my wish list. I don't know why though. Someday I'd like to see a few well known historic things, but I have many other places I want to see NOW. (None of which are on my soon-to-see list anyway. Too much work travel makes fun travel impossible.) In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through you and my other friends who make international travel a priority.

  2. It does seem odd that the area didn't have lots of veggies available, but then again, those are harder to transport and keep fresh. Ground up white flour, sugar, and cheap, processed oils are easier to transport and don't spoil so fast as the fresh foods would, making them cheaper.

    1. I just got back from the UK, and the lack of FRESH vegetables was something that probably shouldn't have surprised me. I guess I'm spoiled living in California, but a lot of the vegetables were things like sun-dried tomatoes and pickled/preserved stuff.

  3. Neat photos! My only Asian experience so far was Tokyo, and it was fairly easy to navigate. All but one of the subway stations had signage in English, and although street signs were impossible to decipher, the peoples' friendliness (and fairly widespread English speaking ability) more than made up for it.

  4. Ah, this was lovely. I have never been to Asian countries but would love to. I remember going to Berlin in the early 90s and realizing Seattle is not actually a very big city, and Hong Kong clearly out does Berlin. Kind of sad on the lack of affordable healthy food. Looking SO forward to Bali next. So many places to see in the world. By the way, the wildfire beater is hilarious. Sam

  5. Most exciting, Crabby. Never been to Asia and have no comment beyond lamenting the lack of fresh veggies.

  6. Thank you all so much for stopping by and putting up with a kinda half assed account, but what the heck, I plead a lingering case of jet lag.

    I should probably clarify that there seemed to be plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in the markets, so I think the natives are well-supplied... it just didn't seem to make its way onto the menus of the restaurants we happened to patronize unless prices were really high. But had we been more sophisticated and informed about the local food scene, I'm sure we could have done a lot better.

    As it happened, those bags of kale chips I packed from Trader Joes? (I mean seriously, who even does ridiculous shit like that?) They came in very handy!!

  7. My friend who is from Hong Kong tells me I wouldn't like it and I think she is right. I am really not a city person and I hate crowds. When I go to the big city on vacation I am the tourist enjoying the biggest city park I can find.
    When this friend goes over she comes back with huge piles of clothes for me that she gets at the market. I gather huge amounts of clothing intended for North America is either made their or travels through Hong Kong and since nobody is my size she can get outfits for about a dollar each for me.

  8. Can't wait to read Part II!! I admit that Asian countries aren't on my immediate list, but I'm loving reading reading about your adventures.
    As for the food difficulties while traveling, I always remember: Travel is now; fitness is forever. But I am surprised about the veggie conundrum since they were in the markets.

  9. I've never been to any Asian country - I think it would be fun and hope to one day!!!

  10. NEVER have I been to BALI but HK... OH YES! For my 18th birthday and it was THE BOMB!!!!! SLIGHT PISSED I was NOT invited. HA HA!

  11. I have not been to Hong Kong and have no interest…but your pictures are lovely! Bali on the other hand looks like somewhere I would love to go. It is just so darned far…and flying is not on my favourites list.

    I finally decided on a vacation of my own. I am going to a yoga ashram in the Bahamas…four hours of yoga, two hours of chanting and meditation and two vegetarian meals per day. I pre-booked two massages, and will be sure to make time for the ocean and the palm trees.

    What was the hotel like in Hong Kong? I hear accommodations can be small, but am not sure if that is just a rumour.

    I look forward to your post on Bali!!! Wheeeeeeeeeee!!!

    1. It will be. Wheeeeeeeeee!!!

    2. Pack me! Pack me! Your Bahama ashram retreat sounds fantastic!

      And our hotel was great and not hideously expensive--only downside is it was not right downtown, but was just a couple blocks from a subway station so we could get around very easily.

      Can't wait to hear all about your yogacation!

    3. Did I mention I am staying in a TENT? I think I could roll you right up in my yoga mat and take you as carry on. Hope the overhead bins are comfy!

      I am looking forward to going and actually went and bought new yoga wear…as a minimalist I find buying a bunch of things at once frightening…but I persevered.

      Glad to hear your hotel was great and close to transit. My transit to the ashram is a boat! LOL! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!!

  12. Dear Crabby,
    Thanks for the travelogue! I'm supposedly Asian, but have not been there. I'm biased towards Europe and places where they speak languages that I know, like Cleveland.

    Hong Kong does sound very intriguing, though, especially the food. I eat Asian but can't speak it. Britain being the "owner" for so long that we have an "in" there linguistically. Thanks for the nice sampler. Love the English names for stuff - it reminds me of the hilarious Japanese Engrish website which is nothing but hilarious malaprops on signs!

    Have fun in Provincetown, that sounds great!

    Best, Dave/Tabby

    and await more tales after youve rested.

  14. Like Cindy, I do not think I would like HK--too big, too crowded, too much--but Bali sounds like it has rural spots. For a long time I have wanted to go to Japan. I am in love--in pictures--with Japanese gardens. But now, unless I can go by boat, I won't get there.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  15. What an amazing & exciting trip!!!! I have only gone to Hawaii so.. but I am fine with that! :)

    Such a wonderful opportunity!

  16. So far, I've been to Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and a tiny bit of China. I enjoyed some great 10K races in Vietnam and Korea, along with lots of walking myself into the ground. I've always been curious about Hong Kong just because it's such a travel and commerce nexus. Your post kind of confirms what I expected!

  17. Traveling is one of the beautiful things to do, most especially when you are with your family! Glad to stumble upon here and looking forward to read more from you! Cheers!


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