Thursday, 31 March 2011

Are Koreans all mental, or just the ones who can speak English?

Dilemma of the day: Are Koreans all mental, or just the ones who can speak English?

As I am ahead with my planning/completely lazy and unmotivated I have been pondering this 'flaming issue'... We have been approached by quite a few Koreans during our 7 months here, in Jeollabukdo and further afield, and it is safe to say that they have all been completely barmy!! So, it set me wondering whether or not it was just those with the ability to speak English that were crazy or if everyone was - well, the  pondering did not last very long and clearly I have no intention to learn Korean so I will never know!! Personally, I think that Greg attracts the crazies - I always walk away (thanks for drilling that into me Dad!) but he always accomodates them - sigh!! Anyway, here are some examples of the craziness that humours me!

Example  1: 'The Professor' -Mc Donald's Jeonju:

This was back in the early days, when I lived in the Shack and wasn't yet consumed with hatred, but instead just walked around in a daze. My only salvation was Western food and so on our weekly trip to McDonald's I looked forward to getting some peace and just wolfing down my chicken nuggets etc. Unfortunately a random crazy woman did not seem to realise that this was our plan and harrassed us until the end of the meal. At first we thought she was special needs but her English was really good and I don't think she can have been special needs to learn a second language! She insisted on asking us dozens of questions about our lives and told us all about how she was doing a PHd and she had a boyfriend who was 30 years younger than her.. I think she was making it all up and that she was just a loon! But we will never know! We still look around in fear everytime we go into that McDonalds!

Example 2  - The Jehovahs, Evangelicals etc - various locations:

I have never stopped to talk to one of these weirdos, but unfortunately Greg does and then gets mad at me for walking off and leaving him! We have been harrassed in Lotteria and given a copy of 'The WatchTower' (yes, we are always in fastfood joints) but my favourite is the woman who got Greg at Yaksu underground station when we were waiting for a train. She had the MOST blue eyeshadow/mascara on her face that I have ever seen and just yammered on and on for ages about god etc, whilst I stood laughing at a distance! She must have been good though, because she got Greg's email address - we're still waiting for her to get in touch!

Example 3 - The woman in Itaewon

This woman is my favorite of all the crazies that we have encountered here, because she literally STALKED us all around Itaewon. She first grabbed us outside the International Food Shop and instead of walking away GREG TALKED TO HER!! She was apparently from Denmark! and came back here because her husband left her. She asked us where we lived about  5 times, when she finally got that we lived in Jeonju she was like, 'Ah, you work in a factory?' WTF  - I don't know a single Westerner here that works in a factory! Oh yes, I came to Korea to pack boxes (well it would probably beat teaching actually).. She kept asking if she could meet up with us, but we managed to non-committally shrug her off! Dilemma over, or so we thought.. We were walking down the high street giggling about how we hoped we would never see her again, and low and behold she jumped out in front of us!! This time, for some reason, she got Greg to agree to meet her in Dunkin' Donuts on the first weekend in March. Shockingly, we did not go - I hope she's still waiting!!!

The 31,000 won roller coaster ride and other stories.

[Greg]:  Once again we've been neglecting our shitty blog :-(.

This weekend was our anniversary weekend.  Katherine and I got together on a plane to Vegas this time last year.  Oh how our lives have gone rapidly downhill.  In 2010 we're on our way to the best city on Earth for the best holiday imaginable and now we live in a rural Hellhole pretending to be teachers and slowly dying from malnutrition and whatever else Korea throws at us.  We hate Korea!

Anyway, this weekend we went to Seoul to "celebrate" our anniversary.

Our trauma started on Friday night when we visited the newly-opened Johnny Rockets diner in Gangnam.  Despite the signs saying the diner was open until 10pm, the bastard at the door turned us away at 9pm so we had to go to our old friend McDonalds instead (again).

We thought it'd be a good idea to visit Seoul Land, a dilapidated amusement park on the outskirts of Seoul.  Mistake number 1.  The place was packed out with staring, shoving Koreans.  We paid 31,000 won to get in and managed to get on 1 ride - a poor imitation of a wild mouse roller coaster cobbled together with leftover bits of another ride.  We queued for over 75 minutes for this piece of crap (and Kathy got stared, jabbed and felt up by Korean children the whole time).  It was freezing (so much for this 'Korea has 4 seasons' crap - it doesn't.  It has 2:  freezing and boiling) and after queueing for all that time we couldn't stomach any more  We battled our way through the horrendous sea of Koreans and left the park.  We boarded an elephant bus to take us to the zoo, thinking it'd be quieter (mistake number 2) but,  surprise, surprise, these Koreans had thwarted us yet again because the elephant bus didn't go to the zoo.  Kathy had a mini breakdown and defeated, we gave up and left Seoul Grand Park forever.

Katherine, pissed off and freezing, surrounded by Korean animal children!

Our next stop was Namsan Tower.  The "short" walk from the subway to the tower was actually an arduous climb up a steep hill on streets with little or no pavements and lots of traffic (typical for Korea) and when we got to the tower there was another massive queue.  Eventually we made it to the top, via a cable car which we were crammed into with a million other people, and took in the view from the bottom of the tower (it's built on top of a mountain).  We decided not to go up to the top of the tower because the view from the bottom is much the same as you'd get from higher up.  Instead we decided to have a celebratory cocktail on the terrace (mistake number 3).  We walked into a bar where we were ignored by the staff.  We eventually managed to grab a drinks menu only to discover that the cocktails were disgusting and overpriced.  We left via the gift shop and picked up a padlock and pen.  There's a custom on Namsan Tower to 'lock' your love by writing soppy messages on padlocks and chaining them to the fence around the edge of the tower.  Sheep that we are, we decided to do so.  It was probably the only thing that actually went well on Saturday.

Greg and the Love Locks
Me and the Love Locks
Our Love Locks

After locking Kathy to me forever we went back to our overpriced, poor-value-for-money hotel at the top of a massive flight of stairs in Itaewon.  We went out for a meal and Kathy got a 'stomach upset'.  Then we tried to go for cocktails but there were no seats available in the bar and the hostess, complete with leather mini-skirt', literally pushed us out of the door.  Great customer service.

And so ended our Saturday from Hell in the worst country in the world.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Oh, It's O World!

(Katherine ): Again we are getting really complacent on the blog writing, so I thought I would write a quick post about last weekend. I feel like I shouldn't write anything unless it's monumental, but then nothing would get written, so here goes!

I was sick last week. I had the dreaded yellow dust/cold/sore throat/head death lurgy that seems to be going around everyone at the moment. I even had a day off school! (Which in Korea is a big no-no as they crawl into work even on their deathbeds). Luckily, I'm not Korean, so I spent a day in bed watching new shitty BBC3 show 'the Lock-up'. Where do they get these ideas from?!

Anyway, I digress... so last weekend, I was sick and didn't want to go anywhere, but as we had a limited time to do things before I left to go back to the UK (which I'm now not even doing anyway, but there you go) we decided to add another theme park/zoo to our list of attended theme parks/zoos in Korea! This weeks offering (following Lotte World the week before) was 'O World' (formerly Daejeon Zoo) in, you've guessed it, Daejeon!


I was not looking forward to it as I was sick, but I went anyway, cos I'm not a moaner/complainer or anything! ;) But it was actually a really fun day! I  had to sit down a lot cos of my lurgy, but it didn't spoil the day! The park consists of an amusement park, safari, zoo and flower park. Weirdly, the good old Koreans are obsessed with these flower gardens and apparently pack into them in their thousands on nice days! Why anyone would want to spend a day wandering around and being shoved about by Koreans whilst looking at flowers, when they could be going on rides or looking at exotic animals is beyond me, but there you go! At least it meant the amusement park/zoo was dead!

ooh magical flower land - yeah right!

The amusement park was really good, we went on a children's rollercoaster 3 times, lots of other rides and I was even brave enough to do a tower ride (which I DO NOT DO), the only disappointment was the crappy log flume, that we had to queue for half an hour for and was crap! Absolutely no theming/covering of the ride and you could see the cogs of the log flume creaking in action - it was very disturbing!

Katherine, wet after the 'so not worth it' log flume
Katherine's favourite Korean rollercoaster (joint with Lotte World's Comet Express)
The park also gave us an all access pass to Ariel's Grotto (sort of!). You may remember that one of my highlights of the disney trip in February was getting to meet the lovely Ariel at Disney Sea and sharing our tales of life. Unfortunately, this grotto was just a tacky Korean rip off (though I still loved it!). In Korea, there are clearly no copyright laws and there are some amazingly obvious rip offs here and no one cares! I'm sure theres a long winded blog post in me about it so will save that for another time! Anyway, at O World I got my picture taken in this shell with a poorly drawn Ariel, score!
Katherine in Ariel's 'Grotto'

The safari was also really good, we didn't have to queue and lions, tigers, bears,zebras, and elephants were all coming up to our bus and being nosy - I love safaris and have many a happy memory of Knowsley Safari Park as a child, so this great for me! Plus, we didn't have to worry about monkeys ripping off our windscreen wipers! The only bad thing about the safari was that the small Korean child in front of us seemed to think we were the exhibits, and not the animals outside! She spent the whole time just staring at us (especially Greg) as if we were aliens and then stuck her tongue out at him at the end! Luckily we gave her some abuse in English and she went on her way (cos she was pushed off in her pram, not cos of our insults unfortunately!).

Safari Lion
Greg liked the indoor animal bit because he got to be eaten by some fish (see below).. I was too freaked out to do it (even though I have done it before, I think I was put off by the dirty Korean water). So he got nibbled to death while I took photos. You can't really see the fish as they were all underneath his hands - but they were there!

Greg being eaten by fish!

The amusing highlight of the day for me happened in the zoo. The zoo is Korea's 2nd largest and is a million times better than Jeonju Zoo, where all the animals are cooped up in tiny cages covered in shit, with no water - I swear that zoo was the worst place ever- and the animals are free to roam, we saw more lions and tigers, camels, monkeys, seals, penguins, bears etc. However, this was not the highlight. The highlight was a monkey wanking itself off in full view of us! It was soo funny and weird, and he was a total exhibitionist! My biggest regret in life to date is that Greg did not take a photo quick enough because it was comedy/blog gold! Edit - he did (see below), amazing - it's like a David Attenborough show!! It even pulled 'you know what' out of it's bits and it was one of those moments where you want to look away but can't!! Anyway, a good zoo time was had by all!
Ooh, I was wrong - we did get the monkey having a wank!

We went away from 'O World' happy and had tea at Bennigans (which Greg treated me too, yay!) and some weirdo American girl randomly harrassed us in the street, but luckily we managed to lose her - everyone here is odd - am I odd?! Yes, I think so.....

We also hit homeplus and I got some more malted wheats, but guttingly they had no ham sandwiches for our lunches so I've had to have jam all this week :( Anyway, despite illness it was a good weekend! Unfortunately, Greg is ill now and we are going to Seoulland (another themepark/zoo) this weekend, so hopefully we will still be able to have a good time - no doubt an update will be had on here at some stage!!

Happy O World-ers

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The day we went up North (Korea!) - a DMZ Tour

[Katherine]: Last weekend we finally made it to the most interesting part of Korea - the border with the North. We had been planning to do the tour for ages, but bad weather had discouraged us from going there for the 4 month long winter. Now, the weather is slightly (I'm still shivering at my desk today) better, we thought we better get in some touristy stuff.

DMZ - Tourism Central!

The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) Is the fortified border between North and South Korea, which has separated the countries since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The border runs across the whole of the country (obviously) but the heat of the action is seen in Panmunjom - JSA. Most tours just offer the chance to look at the North from the distance, but we went for the pricier USO (US Army) tour, which allowed us to actually go to the border and inside North Korea (very exciting!)

South Koreans face off against North Koreans - ooer Missus! (The border is halfway along the blue buildings)

We had an early start to our day, having to get up at 6am to meet our tour bus at 7am. The bus was packed with ESL teachers and oldies, including a very annoying woman who oh-so conveniently was sat behind us and did not shut up talking into her phone the whole time despite the fact that everyone was trying to sleep!! I really don't give a shit if she wants to 'talk to her Momma/sister/aunt etc etc '.

We arrived at the border, and were met by a shouty US soldier, who said we had to get off our bus and go for a briefing. Despite his scariness I liked him because he called me 'Ma'am' - nice! In the briefing we were given a history of the war and of incidents that had taken place on the border since 1953 (mostly N. Koreans coming and killing/causing mayhem - I'm sure you'd get a different tale on the other side).  We also had to sign a form to say we had to follow a load of scary rules like not pointing, looking in a funny way etc and generally not piss off the North Koreans. By the end of the briefing I was worried I was going to be shot!

Shouty US Army guy

After the briefing (and one of my mandatory loo stops) we had to march single file up some stairs to the actual border!! It was exciting but pretty scary as I didn't really know what was going on and Greg walks faster than me! Anyway, we were taken into a tiny conference room. The room is one of several buildings that separate the 2 Koreas - there is no wall between the two, just a wooden beam. South Korean soldiers guard our side and came into the room with us. The room is used for the (rare!) talks between the two sides but on this day we had soldiers just to guard us! There was a table, and behind one half of it was S. Korea and behind the other half was N. Korea! We found out we were stood in the North, which was pretty exciting and got our picture taken next to a unsmiley soldier in sunglasses (they wear the sunglasses so the North can't see their faces/feel their fear etc). After a few minutes in North Korea we left the room and went up on some steps to watch the North Koreans and take pictures of them. We only saw 2 soldiers. One kept hiding and the other marched back and forth. I had to keep resisting a sudden urge to point! 

Greg stood in North Korea (looking serious!)
Katherine stood in North Korea (also looking serious!)

This was the best part of the tour and when it was over we visited some observation points and learned more about the history of the area. I thought this was actually interesting as I'm shockingly ignorant about the border and the war/troubles in the area. We stood up at One observation point (Check point 4?) to look out to the North Korean 'Propaganda Village'. The village was apparently set up to show an idyllic North Korean place (no one actually lives there) and it has a giant flag outside it. Apparently this is a competition between the North and South to see who can have the biggest flag (I think it's just the North really and the South don't really care because they're not total nutjobs - just a bit!.  We also saw 'the Bridge of No Return' the place where POWs had to cross to go to either N or S at the end of the war. Once they crossed they couldn't go back. It was a really nondescript bridge, but such a poignant place - I can't imagine having to make that decision! 

The Bridge of No Return

After the tour of the JSA the interesting part of the tour was over. Next, we endured hell in the 'Third Tunnel'. The South Koreans have discovered 4 tunnels dug by the North Koreans to try and infiltrate. One, imaginatively named 'The Third Tunnel', is open to the public. However, stupid Korea foiled us again as despite the fact that a cool train thing (Greg thought it was a rollercoaster) took you down to the tunnel (300m down a steep incline) lucky us had to walk it! Therefore I nearly broke my back on several occasions and kept hitting my head on the top of the tunnel as the ill fitting hard hat I was given kept falling over my eyes! The tunnel itself wasn't very interesting, I have been in more interesting ones at Ypres and Vietnam, but the walk back up the hill was hellish!! I admit I'm completely unfit but c'mon - it's meant to be weekend,  I don't want to just be constantly in pain, Korea! :( Before going to the tunnel we had to watch a boring and overly dramatised video about how the DMZ is now some beautiful landscape or something - the script was dire! I think this is the video:

Anyway, enough Korea bashing (yeah, right!) The next part of our tour was to an observatory. The Dora Observatory. I think this is where most tours go to, to get a view of North Korea. Anyway, it was not very good as you could not take proper photos and it was a pretty misty day. I was pleased we got to actually go to the JSA as the view from Dora was not great! After this it was 'delicious Korean food' time. This is a lie, as obviously Korean food is disgusting!! Luckily, Greg and I are a pair of geniuses and cunningly bought Subway sandwiches the night before the tour in Seoul. We waited around for everyone in a cold waiting room for about an hour with only this weird old guy for company and some Koreans who had come to mock the Japanese tsunami tragedy - nice work Koreans!

The tour was almost over by this point and why we had to have lunch on it I don't know. The DMZ is less than an hour from Seoul so we could have been back there by 2pm if we'd not stopped for lunch. Clearly, it was an attempt to earn extra cash for their annoying Korean friends/themselves! Maybe it was like that thing in Turkey where they always take you to a carpet  factory on guided tours??

After the pointless and non-delicious lunch, we went to the final stop on the tour - Dorasan Station. It was built as the furthest North station in South Korea and one day they hope to 'link it with the North'. I'm cynical, but I guess this won't be for a while. Anyway, George W., that great thinker, was there when they laid the tracks so the sleeper he laid was a bit of a tourist attraction. We also got stamps to show we had been to the DMZ, some people got them in their passports but the sign said not too and I was being a bit wussy ( I wish I had now cos it would have looked cool). 

Dorasan Station - yeah you can't actually get to North Korea from here!!

This was the end of the tour, and we all got driven back to Seoul. Again, the woman talked loudly on her phone and annoyed us no end! It was like coming full circle! Good times....

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Japan, the land of Arabian Sorcerers, Mermaid Princesses, fibreglass fairytale castles and the Rainforest Cafe.

[Greg]:  After Hong Kong, we made a quick trip to Tokyo.  This involved flying from Hong Kong to Korea, staying at a hotel in Incheon Airport, then flying from Korea to Tokyo the next morning.  Katherine got culture shock when we arrived back at Incheon Airport because the Koreans, unlike the polite and friendly Hong Kongese, started pushing, elbowing, staring and generally making life as difficult as possible from the moment we stepped off the plane.

The main reason for visiting Tokyo was to take in one of the cultural highlights of Japan, a must-see attraction for all visitors and one of the wonders of the modern world - obviously I'm talking about the Tokyo Disney Resort.

We'd been led to believe by Koreans that Japan is a country full of barbarians and savages and that Korea is infinitely superior in every possible respect.  This turned out to be untrue.  The Japanese were incredibly friendly, polite and well-mannered and actually queue up to get on trains and planes.  Now it was my time for culture shock after 6 months of living in Korea.
One thing Korea does beat Japan for is prices.  Everything is ridiculously expensive in Japan, unlike the value-for-money motels, public transport and just about everything else(except toasters) in Korea.  It's definitely the UK of Asia.

Because of the high prices, we stayed in a capsule hotel.  Despite what she might now say, this was actually Katherine's idea, not mine(although I was whole-heartedly in favour).  The hotel was actually really nice(for a capsule).  It was small but it had an excellent mens spa and a so-so womens spa and the man on reception was incredibly helpful.

On the first evening we took the train to the Disney Resort and bought our 2-day Magic Pass tickets for Disney.  We'd be visiting Disneyland(the traditional Magic Kingdom-esque park with all the usual stuff) on the Thursday and Disneysea(a unique, amazing, maritime-themed park) on the Friday.  Then we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe(delicious and not too expensive considering it's Japan) before heading back to our capsule.

On Thursday morning, we were up and out early to go to Disneyland.  We arrived just after opening and the park was busy but not packed.  We had sausage pizza for breakfast in Tomorrowland and then grabbed a fast pass for Monsters Inc Ride and Go Seek before joining the queue for Space Mountain.  Unfortunately we didn't quite master the use of Fast Passes at Disneyland(although we more than made up for it at Disneysea) so we ended up queueing 60 minutes for Space Mountain and also queueing over an hour for Splash Mountain(twice) but apart from that the queues were minimal.  We saw various characters, enjoyed 16 rides, caught some of the parade and were amongst the last to leave the park at closing time.

Both of us thought that nothing would top the magical day we had at Disneyland.  But Disneysea did - by miles!  The park is huge(and I should know - I still don't think my feet are fully recovered from running round the entire park multiple times to get fast passes whilst Katherine practiced sitting on a bench - although she did use some of her alone time to buy me Duffy Bear chocolates from one of the overpriced gift shops so she gets away with it) and unbelievably well-themed.  It has some of the best rides we've ever experienced and just walking around the different lands within the park was awe-inspiring.  Everything about the park was immense.  And because I'm King of the Fast Pass, we managed to get on 21 rides, although there was one hairy moment where we waited for the longest 10 minutes of our lives to pass so we could get a ticket for our second ride on Journey to the Centre of the Earth, a roller-coaster-esque ride through Disneysea's own volcano.

Katherine also achieved one of her lifetime ambitions when we got to meet Ariel at her grotto.  She was as charming as you'd expect from a mermaid Princess although, owing to Japanese modesty, she was more covered up than we were expecting.

Disneysea had a land themed to the Little Mermaid(Kathy's favourite Disney film) so she was over-the-moon and there's also an Aladdin-themed land(my favourite Disney film) so I was pretty pleased too, even moreso when I got to meet Jafar!!!

We were at Disneysea for the gates opening and, like Disneyland the day before, we were amongst the last to leave the park.  Our feet were destroyed and we were both exhausted but it was undoubtedly the best 2 days ever!

We ended our trip to Tokyo with a morning of rushed Tokyo sightseeing which took in the Tokyo Tower, a bullet train and the Pokemon Museum before boarding our flight back to the land that manners forgot.

Hong Kong, where the people are actually friendly!!!

[Katherine}: So, we went on a fabulous double trip to Hong Kong and Japan about a month ago, so I thought it was high time to get it up in the blog! Hopefully I can get everything we did in there and slot some pictures in too.

So, after a month of teaching my kids by myself (Ancheon weren't letting me have any let off at all!) Greg and I escaped Korea for the sunny climes of Hong Kong! When we left it was averaging about -10 C in Jeollabukdo and in Hong Kong it was 15C so it was practically tropical! It was so great to not be wearing my massive puffa jacket and shivering all day!

Hong Kong is my favourite place in the world. I went there 3 years ago and fell in love with it, and have always wanted to go back since, so this was a great opportunity (its only 3 hours from Korea) and I wanted to convert Greg to it's charms too. Luckily, HK has 2 theme parks so he was happy!
We stayed at the IBIS hotel at North Point, the hotel was nice, but as with all hotel rooms in HK it was tiny! It had a great harbour view though, so we were pleased! Unfortunately, the only TV channel we could find was FOX news, argh!!! So, we were bombarded with right wing insanity for the whole stay! Luckily, these presenters were very easy to laugh at!

Damn you Gretchen/old guys!!

When we arrived in HK, we were very impressed as the bus to our hotel had wifi! So obviously we went on the internet for an hour instead of actually looking at HK! On our first night in HK we set out in search of a hip night out and some food (it was a Friday). I had the name of a bar on a map, but we couldn't find it, or anywhere else that sold food. The only places around were bars and clubs that were packed and really loud(Yes, we are pensioners now!) Alas, the only place we could find was a McDonalds, and even then we couldn't get a table! I looked v out of place with my makeup and outfit, but was the classiest person in there!

Saturday brought a trip to the Lantau Buddha, a giant Buddha built in 1992 ( I think!) by the Chinese to try and suck up to the Hong Kongers they were soon to take over. Its only accessible by a steep mountain climb or a 20 minute cable car ride! We chose the cable car route, but were amused to see some hardy fools climbing up the steps of the mountain!

I liked the Buddha, but had seen in before, and we were in agreement that the 300 steps to climb to reach it was a killer! A really massive, old guy overtook me on the steps so that was pretty depressing!

The area around the Buddha is all very touristy and tacky as well, a bit like Lourdes is (Catholic shrine), but Greg made friends with the local stray dogs so he was happy. He tried to get me to touch them but I wasn't having any of it as they were all fleay and mangy! eugh!!

After the Buddha we went to look for a new netbook for Greg (his had broken in Korea because the stupid ethernet wire (we don't have wireless, wtf!) was really short and his computer crashed off his bed on to the ground!) So, we looked around some cool computer markets and Greg eventually bought a MacBook - lucky him, we love the MacBook!

On Saturday, we also discovered the most wonderful thing in the world - Marks and Spencers Food! Oh my, it was soooo amazing! I jumped up and down in the street! We had a long look round and resolved to stuff our cases with things to take back to hell-hole Korea (it has M and S but no food - wtf!!)

On Saturday night, we went to a Mexican bar and drank cocktails out of cactus shaped glasses - good times!
On Sunday, we started the day by going to the 'World's Best Buffet' at the Shangri-la, a lovely posh hotel on Kowloon. It was the nicest buffet it the world, and as I had made a reservation they kept calling me Ms Lees and giving me great treatment and stuff  - it was ace! The food was fabulous (Greg was even converted to eating salads) and they had the best icecream bar ever! Greg also ate about 20 cakes. I was more restrained and had 3! The service was my favourite thing about it though. Every time my glass was nearly empty, Hunter the lovely waiter came up and was like 'Refill, Ms Lees?' It was ace and I felt v posh! I want to stay in the Shangri-la next time I go to Hong Kong!!

Hong Kongers are definitely some of the nicest, politest people in the world. Despite all being crammed onto a tiny island and the issues that come with that, they are all friendly, smiley and don't glare at us in the street - Korea what's your excuse??

After our buffet we treked to the Victoria Peak.We got the Star Ferry across back to HK Island. The Star Ferry is great, it costs 25p and gives you a great view of the Island if you get a window seat. We did not :(

 The trolley tram used to access the Peak goes up a really steep cliff and the view from the top is amazing. Unfortunately, there was a long queue to get on the tram, but luckily we decided to visit the Madame Tussauds on the Peak (yes, we really do love Chinese film stars) so we got to buy duo tickets and skip most of the queue! We decided to go on the cusp on sunset so we could see the view of HK from both the daytime and the evening! We went to Madame Tussauds first, which was ok but a bit crap as we didn't really know most of the Chinese 'stars'. We got to take the piss out of Kim Jong Il though, so that was amusing. Greg wanted to go in the Chamber of Horrors but I didn't after my 3 previous experiences at Chamber of Horrors, particularly in Blackpool where the monsters/actors hit me with sticks and said 'Greg can do nothing!' when I screamed for help from Greg....shiver!!!

The peak was really nice and to top it off we had a romantic picnic after sunset. Unfortunately, we couldn't find anywhere to sit so we ended up sitting on the cliff road - it had an excellent view but people gave us funny looks when they walked past! We were also swigging Bucks Fizz from a bottle (as we couldn't find plastice glasses anywhere so I think we looked a bit Alkie! On the plus side our Bucks Fizz was from M and S, so was the best thing ever! We also had M and S sandwiches, crisps, and wait for it, sausage rolls!! That shop was like heaven in a basket!! ( I will keep banging on about it!)

At the top of the peak we also wrote romantic notes to each other on love hearts and tied them to a fence thing ( I don't know what it was for but it was a good thing anyway - very soppy):

After visiting the Peak, we were due to watch the Symphony of Lights, a big light show which lights up all of the building on the Hong Kong Skyline. It can be seen best from Kowloon, but we underestimated the time it took to get down the peak (there was a BIG tram queue) and so we had to race across town to get to the harbour. I moaned a lot but we got there on time. However, as per usual, I had to go to the loo, and then got lost in this shopping centre, so we ended up missing most of the show! Gutted!!! I also lost my earring so I was grr tastic!! After the aborted light show, we went to a Shisha Bar and had Shisha - I have never had it before and it was good, we also had many, many cocktails - which for Katherine is not a good mix! Stupid lightweightness!!

On Monday, I had a stonking hangover. Unluckily I had forgotten in my hurry to get pissed that we were visiting Ocean Park, HK's Premier theme park and animal park - they have pandas. Thus, I was a grumpy moo all day and also got stressed about times and stuff - poor Greg! Ocean Park was also very busy. We had to queue for about half an hour to walk around and aquarium and about 20 minutes to see some Jellyfish! We did get to see the best pandas ever though, and got our picture taken with Redd the Red Panda ( a man in a suit). We went on a scary roller coaster and a carousel and also the log flume. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go on many things, as the ride queues were massive and we didn't have lots of time. Maybe we will go back one day!

After Ocean Park, we hit M and S and stocked up on as much tinned stuff (the M and S guy was like, 'ah you love paste') and crisps and sweets as possible. If only I would have thought more I would have brought a bigger case! Luckily, Greg is smarter and bought a new, bigger case in HK (his old one had broke he's not just crazy) so we managed to get a hell of a lot of food. We would have got more but we were going to the fabulous Tokyo before we went back to hell (Korea) so we had to be slightly restrained! HK also sells things like Cadbury's chocolate and maltesers which for some reason Korea does not, so we had to stock up on them as well!

On Tuesday we headed to the airport, tired but happy with our trip, and looking forward to the next leg of the journey to Japan and magical Tokyo Disney!!