Hong Kong: A little box of surprises!

After Shenzhen we traveled to Hong Kong. The boarder crossing is quite interesting! It is just from one of Shenzhen´s metro stations to a Hong Kong´s station! You need to cross a huge bridge between the two stations in which you read a big billboard saying NO TURNING BACK :P

We were super excited to go to Hong Kong as we heard so much about it! Amazing food, shopping and full of business savvy people! All our expectations were met and even exceeded! 

The HK metro is amazing! covers a lot of ground! you can even reach Disneyland! 

In our first trip in the HK metro we made two friends :) 

They spoke perfect English and were super interested in why we were visiting Hong Kong :)
At this moment we thought: Toto we are not in China anymore! 

Hong Kong´s dynamic movement and people are sooo different from any major city in China! We felt HK as a completely different country... and it is as we had to show our passports and fill immigration papers. 

You still feel that British vibe in the air!

We stayed in Kowloon Island and took the very cheap star boat to visit the Hong Kong island,

Hong Kong island is dominated by impressive sky-raises,

In the ferry station there was this cute poster that explained the different types of people that visit HK:

From left to right: PlayPlay, BlingBling, YumYum and TechTech :D I think we were in between the YumYum and TechTech :)

I have to share as well this really cool publicity for a super yummy Soya Milk called VitaSoy!!!

I loved it so much that I had it everyday while in HK :P I´m missing it so muchhhh!!

In HK at night there is no way to get bored! there are so many night markets :) here the plus was that bargaining was not an aggressive activity as in China, where the vendors follow you and keep trying to get you to buy stuff. Here you can bargain, they give you their lowest price and if you want it, great! if not they will not come after you that much! so you can relax and browse. 

You can find an infinity of cutesy stuff (even more than in Tokyo!!!)

and a lot of Angry birds stuff!!!

HK is well known for being the Meca to buy branded items! We could not believe our eyes.. people queuing to buy these extremely expensive items :P or as we heard some people saying... it was just the mainlanders (Chinese) buying the original ones in order to start the fake production :P 

And the mother of them all! LV! :P

Another amazing view of the HK island is from the Peak!

Next Hong Kong fooodddddddd :)))))))))) The Pumpkin Duck has some competition!

Reflections, after 5 months traveling

It's difficult to believe, but 5 months have already passed since we started our adventure! It is being an amazing experience going beyond anything we had imagined before hand! 

The most rewarding part of this trip is, without any doubt, meeting new people! Seeing new places is always nice but the people really give context to everything you see and give you a local overview of each country´s habits and traditions! 

We are really blessed we met so many wonderful people!! Our Cisco colleagues and Vlerick Alumnis have received us with open arms! We met wonderful fellow travelers such as Shanna and Richard, who we got together with in Yangshuo (China) and after in Hanoi and Saigon! 

By now our passports are pretty full with exciting experiences, new friends and memories that will endure forever! 

These five months have been mainly in Asia! and we have to say we are so impressed! The cultures are so rich and complex! the food is incredible! These countries are growing so fast and there are so many oportunities to be explored. 

On the logistic side of this trip, a great help without any doubt is wikitravel. It gives us an overview of the countries as well as possible scams and things to watch out for! We strongly recommend using it if you are planning an upcoming trip. 

Another big part of logistics is our backpacks! If we had to pack again for this trip what would we do differently ?

Things we wouldn't buy again:

-Mosquito Net: Not really needed, get a good anti mosquito and you are good to go! Plus many places have already a mosquito net. 

-Take even Less clothes: We started the trip with two pairs of pants and 5 t-shirts. We could have just brought even less! Because everything is sooo cheap in Asia compared with Europe. Plus you can find really good sports clothes in China, Vietnam, Thailand! 

-Less Medicines: You can find paracetamol and stomach pills everywhere.. no need to pack a lot! 

-Mosquito products: The ones sold in the country you are visiting are normally better and cheaper!

-Travel guides: just print out wikitravel when you arrive to a new country/city. 

Things we are glad we packed:

-A lot of underwear, since here in Asia they are quite tiny :P 

-Rain covers for the backpacks, it really protects them on the bus rides.

-Duffel bag for when we check in the luggage. It's useful, in order to be able to lock the backpacks. 

-Compression bags! essential for organizing clothes and saving space.

-Plastic zipper bags, in order to keep all the small items organized. 

-Our two universal power adapters!

-Money Belts, we cannot emphasize enough how important these are!!

-Our 40 litres backpacks. It's without any doubt the perfect size! You can easily take them as hand luggage in the plane and just check-in the liquid products. As well they keep you limited, meaning you will think twice if you want to buy something! What we are doing is recycling clothes. When they are already very beaten down we give them away and buy new ones. 
Currently we have already renovated almost all of our clothes! Laundry services are quite cheap in the majority of the Asian countries (ex, 1 dollar per kilo or even per washing machine!!)

On shopping for new clothes, sometimes it's better to give a little more and have a more lasting piece of clothes rater than the 1 euro t shirt that after one wash is good for throwing away! A great affordable Japonese brand that you can find in any major Asian city is Uniqlo

On being a tourist! In Asia there is no way to hide it, it's written in your face! :P 

As rule of thumb, if you are in a highly touristic area and someone approaches you trying to help you get accommodation or transport... Say No and keep on moving! Because if it is a good service it woudn't need someone on the street approaching tourists. It's almost always some kind of scam in which you end up paying a lot and having pour service! You will see this tip many times repeated in Wikitravel :)

It is now a good time to announce we made some changes to our itinerary!!! We will be visiting USA! specifically California! :) and flying back home from Washington DC!!!
We might as well pass by Brasil :) but we cannot confirm yet! 

Shenzhen: the fastest growing city in China

Shenzhen is one of the fastest growing cities in China, 30 year ago there was nothing there! 

It is in this city were all the majority of the factories are located. Foxconn the company that produces Apple´s iphones and ipads is located here. We had the chance to visit the Foxconn factory that is producing some of Cisco´s products. Unfortunately we couldn´t share the pictures we took there, confidentiality! 

The building rate in this city is incredible, every place you go there is a construction going on and people are working around the clock. 

In Shenzhen we stayed with Ekitzel and her wonderful family!! We had an awesome time!

This day we had a wonderful meal at a Chinese Muslim place,

Aubergine with some greens!

A simple but yummy salad,

Pita bread!! :)

Amazing baked potatoes with spices,

After was time for some dessert! We went to this Hong Kong chain called Honeymoon dessert! just want we needed eheheeheh

Desserts in Asia are quite different from what we are used in Europe... chocolate here is not very big :P the king is red bean and sesame seeds! 

This is a black sesame hot soup! is quite yummy. It looks like chocolate mousse, it has the same texture but the favour tells your brain that is not chocolate mousse :)

This one is difficult to explain... it´s like a rice paste with some peanut paste inside :)

Shenzhen is as well the closest city to Hong Kong. Many families that work in Hong Kong are living in Shenzhen as the housing costs are lower. As well you can see many cars with two places the a Chinese one and a Hong Kong one.

On the above picture you can see the bridge that connects Shenzhen to Hong Kong.

In this city everyone is connected with their mobile all the time! just check out this picture eheheheh

Shanghai Food

Shanghai´s most yummy dish are the Dim Sums! :) they are very different from the ones you get in Beijing. Since these ones have a little soup inside. You really need to master your chopsticks in order not to loose that yumminess!

Before eating it you deep it in a vinegar sauce,

You can also find in Shanghai the bigger version :)  

and the yummy soup!

It is really interesting to see that you have so much food diversity in China, each region has its own cuisine and special dishes! 

We never had before shrimps like these ones. You could eat them with the skin as they were so crunchy!

This dish was quite a surprise for us as it looks like Pudding, which we have as desert in Portugal :) But this one is not sweet as it has clams in it! It was quite nice!

Our lunches ended up being almost always in the same place :) this little noodle and Dim sum place next to the hostel. In which we could both eat for less than 5 euros!!  

Yummy lunch and Antonio´s most popular t-shirt in China :) 

Every time we arrive to a new city one of our mandatory stops is the super market :) 

Quite a selection of dry fish, 

Something you would never expect to see in a Carrefour, 

live frogs and river snakes :P ready for take away! ehehhe

We had to show as well what we took in our long train trips! Kung Fu Panda Tea, with some noodles, dim sums. As well the healthy snack! some cucumbers!