Category Archives: Hong Kong Life

Amazing shot of HK by Sam Gellman.

Sam is the man!

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Marleen Molenaar raincoats and pjs.

There’s not much in life cuter than mini Morton salt girls… am I right?

I think the perfect gift is always something you wouldn’t get for yourself, but that you will actually use.

That’s why I was so happy to have found these yellow rain coats and hats by local Hong Kong pajama and outerwear designer Marleen Molenaar.

Marleen has a studio / office by appointment only in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong. You can make an appointment to go through all of her lovely, whimsical clothes or you can also shop online: she ships all over the world. Marleen has worked in the clothing industry for decades, including for Esprit. She has really crafted a nice niche for herself… it’s so nice to buy something that you know isn’t ubiquitous, but it still the highest quality design and craftsmanship.

I really like her simple blue and white branding. It’s very light-hearted and elegant, just like Marleen herself. Marleen hails from Amsterdam, but has been in HK for years.

In addition to the raincoats I bought for all my favorite little ones this holiday season, she also has a wonderful collection of classic pajamas.

How adorable is my godson in his cozy robe?

I couldn’t resist getting these fish PJs for the HK bundle… he’s still way too small to fit into it, but I’m looking forward to the day when he’ll be big enough to be my little fisherman!

MARLEEN MOLENAAR:
Room 502, Tak Woo House
1-3 Wo On Lane/17-19 D’Aguilar Street
Central, Hong Kong

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Amigo Mansion: A Hong Kong institution.

Restaurants in Hong Kong are here one day, gone the next. Hong Kongers love anything new and shiny.

Amigo is very shiny, but not at all new. This Happy Valley institution has been open for over 40 years. It was started and is still run by  Yeung Wing Chung, the man behind iconic children’s toys, like Cabbage Patch Kids!

Amigo is a fantastic mix of childlike fantasy and extreme pretense. Even though it’s named Amigo (Spanish for friend and Chung’s wife’s idea: easy to pronounce and remember), it’s a French restaurant. Here the silver is solid, waiters wear white gloves and each lady is presented with a rose at the end of the meal. Butter is also served in a rose mold and each guest gets an elegant sticky note pad favor embossed with your name and a nod to Chung’s toy business… Some how my name ended up ‘Matashi’ The misspelling is also proof that the restaurant doesn’t cater to ex-pats, but rather the big tycoons and their friends. You’ll see lots of big whigs here with their i-Pad toting off-spring–again not surprising that a toy tycoon’s pet restaurant is exceptionally child- friendly.

The food is very traditional; prime rib, lobster bisque, escargot, filet mignon with a sorbet inter-mezzo, of course. For how up-market and good the food is, it’s surprisingly reasonably priced.

While visiting over the holidays, we tried their grand marnier and almond soufflés. Both were out of this world delicious. After so much fusion and gastronomy, it’s quite nice to go back to the kind of dining Julia Child would approve of.

AND save some room for AFTER dessert. They server up ice cream bon bons on little Amigo sticks that must be made in the toy factory. They are served in a silver dish with a false bottom and giant ice cube underneath. Lastly, don’t forget your rose in your taxi home so you’ll be able to remember your romantic meal for another week or two!

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USS Bonhomme Richard visit.

Last week we hosted 18 navy and marine service people and as a surprise bonus we were invited on a tour of their ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard. 

What a cool ship she is!

The Bonhomme is an amphibious operation, which means the back of the boat looks like a gator’s mouth: there is a wide opening in the back well that can be opened even larger as the ship lowers its ballast to the back end to let out giant landing rafts that can transport a dozen humveess and tanks to shore, loaded with marines. The ship had three of these crazy rafts. You can see in the photo above the giant fans that inflate the crafts so they can float to shore.

I’d never really seen tanks or humvees in person and they are so stinking big!

Oshkosh, as it turns out, makes more than little boys overalls. It was amazing to think of all of the planning that goes into just loading up a ship like this.

And while I felt a lot of pride to be an American with such a fully prepared armed  forces, I also was very cognisant of the fact that none of the equipment on this boat had ever been used.

Up top, there was a runway to land helicopters and jets. It was pretty cool to see the helicopters up close.

This is the giant missile system that protects the Bonhomme.

But our guide said that they would be in trouble if they ever had to use it as it has a relatively short range. Those little circles each have a missile behind them.

The boat afforded some great views of Victoria Harbor. We took a 30-minute boat ride out from Central to board this giant boat.


Above you can see both IFC and ICC which is pretty cool.

Our tour was led by a really lovely lady whose job it is to DRIVE this boat! Can you imagine?!

She showed us around her “office” where she drives the boat.

The Bonhomme is a steam ship and can travel up to 20 knots.

She weighs in at 40,000 tons and regularly carries 1200 Navy and can transport 1,800 Marines.

I thought all the navigational equipment was really quite beautiful in its own sturdy, traditional way.
Here I am pretending to ring the bell… which is actually automated!

The secondary mission of the boat is medical and one whole floor is a hospital. The room above can be turned into an ICU; you can see all the lamps and equipment just needs to be lowered into place.

After aircraft carriers and medical boats, it has the third largest medical facilities of all of the Navy’s boats. One whole floor is dedicated to medical.

This elevator takes patients from the airstrip directly to the O.R. The ship has everything a modern day hospital has and has several operating theaters and can accomodate 300 patients in an ICU.

Isn’t this a cool shot into an O.R. from the port hole?  To end, I’ll leave you with some shots of the service people over at our home for a BBQ.

My neighbor Kirsten and I hosted and we asked some girlfriends to accompany to have more people on hand to chat with the service people. Unfortunately, the Mr.’s were caught at work, so we ended up having the Marines and Navy guys help with the BBQing. I think they actually miss doing things like this and they did a much better job than the girls would have done on their own so it all worked out!

We hosted the BBQ down by the pool / parking lot in the kiddie play area. It was nice to be outside!

Tequila shots were requested by some and so we obliged!

And finished up with some nice desserts!

A sweet ending to a sweet night! It’s always such a pleasure to meet these men and women and thank them for their service. If you’re interested in hosting, simply email: mealsinthehome@gmail.com

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Vision First stitchin’ booth at the American Woman’s Association Charity Bazaar.

My dear friend Kirsten, who’s been in my stichin’ group for a long time, had the brilliant idea last winter of creating a similar group for a bunch of refugees here in Hong Kong.

So seven months ago, we headed over to the Vision First shelter in Sai Ying Poon, armed with balls of yarn, needles and some patience and taught the ladies to knit, and later crochet.

The women are from all over the world (Iran, Uganda, Somalia, etc.) and have come here fleeing war, persecution, and / or violence.

Many of them are Muslims and so don’t like to have their photograph taken as they believe it steals their spirit, so bear with me on the photographs, please.

The women were really excited to learn how to make something beautiful with their hands and enjoyed having some time and space as well to chit chat over the past seven months.

And they’ve made some beautiful scarves, Christmas ornaments, hand bags, hacky sacks, baby shoes, etc.

Here I am with some of the other volunteers who are more up for photographs.We are really hoping to turn this small but vibrant enterprise into a micro-finance type business and are having our first sale this coming Thursday at the American Woman’s Association bazaar at the Hong Kong Jockey Club from 10am – 6pm.

We are very excited to hopefully give these women, who aren’t legally able to work in Hong Kong, some much needed extra money from the sale of their wares. I do hope if you’re able you’ll stop by and support these lovely women, whom I’ve grown very attached to. Their stories are so heartbreaking, but their spirits are just as bright. To read more or to make a donation to Vision First, kindly visit their website.

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