Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Day with Dogs and Christmassy Malls

Today, I went to spend some time with a friend at the dog park next to the Macau Ferry in Sheung Wan.  I am more of a dog person than a cat person…and I even look forward to getting a little puppy in my future, but being around other people's dogs sort of makes me feel uncomfortable.

Even so, my afternoon at the dog park was pretty nice.  The weather was lovely, there were so many dogs that were just craving to socialize with the dogs at the park.  The owners were also quite nice and sociable.  It was a nice little place to meet people and make friends (for dogs and owners).

The great thing about this dog park was the fact that it was pretty frequented.  The bad thing about it was that you could smell the exhaust or fumes from the ferries when they passed by…but the view out to the Harbour was lovely!

This was my first time at a dog park.  I think it totally opened my eyes up to another aspect of Hong Kong.  I mean, people keep some pretty gigantic dogs in their small apartments.  Most of the dogs at this park were huge!  Also, there were winter dogs, like that husky, that made me wonder how they survived the Hong Kong summer. 

It was nice to see how friendly most dogs were.  I mean, they just went up to everyone, sniffed around, and waited for a little pat on the head.  How sweet!

Afterwards, I journeyed over a few minutes by sky bridge to the IFC Mall to check out the Christmas decorations…and to get in some exercise.  Who doesn't love walking the mall?

Normally, I'm not much of a mall going person.  I usually dislike the crowds.  But, I actually don't mind the crowds or the craziness around the holiday season.  I think it is because it reminds me of home…it's like when I visit a Starbucks when I get homesick.  It is just something a bit therapeutic??

I haven't been down into Central for awhile.  So, I was excited to see what the Christmas decorations would be like.  When I think of the IFC, I think that things will probably be classier and more sophisticated than some of the other malls…which have a cutesy more character-driven display (like Yuen Long!!!).

The theme for this season was "Grow and Glow."  The main display is at the middle of the IFC Mall, but when I walked in, I was greeted with a display of a cut-out Christmas Card.

I wasn't so impressed, but then I continued on with some window-shopping until I came to the main Christmas display area.  The main display area was so lovely!  It was like I was approaching a really awesome magical forest.  I don't mean to hype things up, but it was really a welcoming surprise from the cut-out Christmas card display I had seen earlier.

There were hanging Christmas trees that moved up and down when the holiday music played.  The trees were gorgeously colored and beautifully delicate.  They were truly up to par with my idea of the chic and sophisticated IFC-esque decor.

One of the center trees was actually an interactive photo booth of sorts.  Basically, people stood in the middle of the tree base, they looked up, and their photo would be taken.

Simple and elegant…

On my way down to catch the trains, I also caught a glimpse at another Christmas decoration, which seemed so randomly put!  It was basically I-F-C written out in golden bells.

My next stop of the day was to head into Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) for dinner and Cantonese lessons.

I decided to take a walk over to the 1881 Heritage Building to see what their decorations were like…since I was in the neighborhood.  I thought a little compare and contrast to the IFC's decor would be nice.

Again, I was pleasantly surprised!  It's actually quite romantic to visit the TST shopping malls in the evenings…when the lights are all up, people are dressed for winter…and the holiday music is streaming out of the speakers.  It creates such a lovely environment.

***Images of the 1881 Heritage Building Christmas Display***

The theme of the display was quite Royal.  There were some sleighs and a gazebo where people could take photos in/under.  There were also loads of ice skaters and palace guards whom you could take photos next to.  It was quite fitting of what I would expect from the 1881 Heritage Building…though a bit gaudy!

TO TOP OFF all the festive viewing of my day, I was lucky enough to catch a mini performance at the K11 Mall.  I really dug the live music.  Everyone was in such a great mood and dancing to the music.  It was quite a fun experience.

I think I Christmased myself out today!

Overall, while coming home and thinking about the day…it was nice to take a mini trip into Central to spend some time with a friend, drink some warm Starbucks drinks, and then take a walk through the IFC Mall.  It felt like a proper December day for some reason.  And I can't even express what a proper December day is.  It just felt like home.

It amazes me how Hong Kong is feeling more and more like home, especially when I'm spending the holidays so far away from my family.

But, ending the evening walking around TST was lovely as well, but I felt more like a tourist.  I guess that's one of the differences between Central and TST…I can feel more like a tourist in TST because it caters so much to tourism.  It's a nice feeling!