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Archive for July, 2010

A great hidden treasure to do with kids is to head to the Aberdeen/Wong Chuk Hang public pool – official name Pao Yue Kong Swimming Pool. It’s located on Shum Wan road (this is the same road as the back entrance to Ocean Park, Aberdeen Marina and Boat clubs, and the Singapore International School).

A friend brought us for the first time 2 years ago and we keep going back. Why is it so great? It has a separate children’s section with 2 small pools each with slides, water spouts, ride on toys – all in shallow water so even the littlest tyke is relatively safe (with adult supervision of course). For $19HKD for adults and $9HKD for children (under-3 is free and you can pay with coin or octupus card) it is a great, cheap, fun activity that the kids LOVE. My kids call it the “water park” and say it’s their favorite (which is saying alot as they’ve swam at a lot of fancy pools at clubs and hotels).

I recommend going in the morning, especially on the weekend, as it can get hot and crowded.  When we’ve gone during the week we’ve often had the pools to ourselves from 10-12 and even on the weekends it’s not so bad. (NOTE: The pool closes from 12-1 everyday for cleaning. ) And if you want to make a day of it, and include a little adult fun, why not hit the pool on a weekend morning and then walk down the street and catch the ferry to the Jumbo for brunch.

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We’ve heard from several of our friends that staying at the Westin Resort in Macau is a very good weekend spent away from Hong Kong. So with my parents here we booked adjoining rooms at the resort, and headed there on a sunny, clear, Saturday morning. I was a bit hesitant to get on a ferry to Macau and I tried to not let it show to my parents. The truth is, I hate boats. Hate being on them. I was also aware that my Dad wasn’t crazy about boats, but not from the fear of sinking, which is my issue. His is a sea-sickness thing.

But I have to say that the hydro-foils, which we took, are pretty awesome. Even on a semi-rough day, the base of the boat actually sits slightly above the waves. It’s a cool sight to see. A slick, sporty looking red ferry boat, with three massive blades (one on the front, two at the back) sticking through the water, cruising above the surface. We were there in under an hour.

The Westin is an excellent place to visit. Very, very family friendly. The resort is built onto the side of a large hill/mini mountain, and the structure is layered so that it descends into the shore (if that makes sense). The point is that most of the rooms look out across the ocean, which both of ours did, and they all have these massive balcony’s. It’s spectacular.

Because it was still basically winter when we went, and the kids really wanted to swim, we stuck to the indoor pool. It also got overcast a bit. The indoor pool there is excellent, and it also has a hot tub.

We swam and hung out in the afternoon, relaxed, and scoped out the place. Around 6 we took a taxi to Fernandos, the famous Portuguese beachside restaurant. We hung by the outside bar while we waited a bit to sit. While we waited they served us their trademark Double Bock Portuguese beer in their can cozies and diced up, grilled chorizo.

After dinner, E took the kids back to the Westin, and Mom and Dad and I went to the Venetian to check out the gambling scene there and play a few hands. Mom and Dad were fascinated by all the people flowing in and out of the place. Dad and I played a hand of Black Jack. He won a hand, lost the next, and we called it a night. On the way out Mom played a few rounds of Roulette, and it wasn’t until it was too late that we figured out the best strategy (Odds, Evens, Blacks, Whites as opposed to specific numbers).

After returning, we hung out on my parent’s balcony. We could hear the waves breaking. With the middle door open, we could travel in between rooms and check on the kids. Dad and I drank the mini bottle of wine that came with the room, and Mom ordered a glass of white from room service.

The next morning, F was determined to bring T into the Kids playroom, where some young staffers baby sit the kids and play games and hang out. We basically had an hour without them. F was determined to make this happen, and we weren’t about to stop it. So E and my mom got massages and Dad and I hit the driving range.

Before we got on the ferry, we decided to squeeze in a trip to the St. Paul’s Cathedral ruins. With time running out, we walked across the Largo do Senado plaza and up the hill to the ruins. F was determined to throw a coin at the window slot that she and Grammy hit the last time — where the coin skipped across the window and almost landed on a Chinese tourists head 3 stories down. So I told Pop to give his trademark whistle right before F was going to throw the coin so I could clear out anyone below, or at least be on the look out for a flying coin. F landed the coin perfectly on the sill. We hopped in a cab that sped to the ferry terminal, with only about 10 minutes to spare.

My mom limped up to the line that says “Deficients, and elderly and pretended that she needed special treatment. So we skipped the customs lines, got our passports stamped at the “Deficients” counter and made the ferry.

The ferry ride back was smooth and easy, just like the ride there. We could see after that weekend in Macau how people view it as a mini-vacation. You really do feel like you’re a thousand miles away from Hong Kong, and you’re waited on hand and foot by the staff.

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