Vyktore: The PvZ Addict

More about games we play at home. Plants vs. Zombies were introduced by Hon few years back. He was totally addicted to it. I didn’t like the game at first, but soon got addicted to it. It’s a very popular game since few years ago and recently they came up with Plants vs. Zombies 2.

When we first played PvZ, Faythe and Vyktore were very afraid. Afraid that the Zombies might jump out of the iPad/iPhone haha..Each time I play, they’ll sit quietly next to me to watch. But when I pass to them to play, 90% of the time they will refuse. Particularly Vyktore, the scary cat.

Look at him, concentrating fully and so serious hahaha…my boy has definitely grown up alot.

But he has outgrown that stage, he’s not a PvZ addict LOL. He spends his free time figuring out the power of each plants, the nature of the Zombies and tries the most difficult stage, fighting against Dr. Zomboss.

Personally, I feel that PvZ 1 was much more challenging to play as compared to PvZ 2. There were some stages which I was stuck like forever and took so long to pass it.

I also miss some of the plants they featured in PvZ 1, but no longer available in PvZ 2, e.g. the smelly garlic.

Hiking to Wong Lung Hang (黄龍坑道) – 6 May 2014

Before the weather gets too warm and start of summer, church friends organized another hike at Lantau Island. We were not told that it’s a rock/stream hiking trail. Only saw some beautiful photos on some blogs. Hence I packed my camera to ensure I snap some good photos.

Around 15 odd of us met the petrol station across across North Lantau Hospital. I decided to warm up and walked to the petrol station with a Katherine while the kids followed Hon and went there via public transport. Soon, everyone started arrive and we started our hike.

For the first 30mins, it was pretty easy walk along the road. Then we entered the Wong Lung Hang Picnic Site, and thereafter that’s where the torture begins (*.*).

Sharon told us that she hiked before and we need to be prepared to get ourselves wet as there are some parts of the hike we need to go in to the stream. *Gulp*. My biggest worry was not my kids of course. But instead of DSLR which I can’t get it wet.

As we go deeper into the stream and forest, the hike gets more tricky. At some point, you need to stand and plan your route to ensure that you walk through shallow part of the stream. While I struggle to hike up to the waterfall, both Faythe & Vyktore were doing fine. They were so fast and I soon lose sight of them.

In fact, I was the last arriving at the base of the waterfall. Of course the scenery was awesome and was worth the 3 hours climb!!!

The water was so clean and cold. Even the kids who wanted to swim earlier pulled back. We took our break and ate all the food we brought up since we’ve burned all our energy on our way up LOL.

After rest for a while and take some photos, we make our way down. Gosh, going down was much worse. This is because most part of the stream were covered with rocks and you can barely see what’s lying over the rock in front of you. Me being me, keep on worried about my camera getting wet.

This part is like a mini spa. It’s near the main waterfall, but a secluded spot where you can sit down and let the water gush down your shoulder after a tiring hike :) .

In the end, we took about 4 hours to finally reach the base. There were only 4 of us left. Hon, myself, Vyktore and Pastor Kevin. Gosh, my legs start to ache as we inch our way to have a quick bite where a few others waited for us there.

To take it further, we walked home after our tea. By the time we arrived home, I could feel the legs aching much more. Kids being kids felt nothing. They were still jumping around after taking their shower. But soon, fell asleep by 8PM.

I fell asleep by 10PM and the next day I woke up and try to remember what happened. I felt as though I was beaten up hahhahaha…

It was a great hike despite all the challenges. It’s worth it definitely. But I’d think twice if you ask me to go again. Definitely not gonna lug the DSLR along :) .

Look at the water, so clear, I could see my shoes LOL.

Wish I could swim LOL. This is definitely a rare scenery in HK itself.

Visit to Fanling & Water Baptism – 1 May 2014

What better to do on Public Holiday than to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Wanted to bring the kids out of HK since 1st and 6th was public holiday. But thought it would be crowded, so probably the better option is to stay in HK.

Church organized water baptism on 1st May at a farm in Fanling. Hence we decided to join in the fun. Hon also ordered a roast pig to be shared among fellow church goers. Something that we have not done for years.

Kids were all excited as they went there last year. They were telling me there’s goats, rabbits, fishes, tortoises and even cow there.

Church rented mini bus and we gather at Novotel Citygate at 9AM. Left for Fanling, which took us about 1 hour or so to get there. It was darn far. And it passed by the area at University Station that we went on our Geological Tour few weeks ago.

Everyone was excited about the roast pig and couldn’t resist to take photos with it. And of course savoring the roast pig once it was chopped into tiny little pieces by 2 butchers LOL.

Even bones and all the parts were not spared. All the ladies having a gala time dividing the remaining of the roast pig.

Kimchi fried rice with roast pork LOL. Yes we got creative later on.

We also setup the BBQ pit and even heat up the roast pork on it so that the skin stays crunchy and warm.Of course, after all the pig out session, it was finally water baptism time. There were 5-6 kids/teenager and a few adults to be baptist this round.

It was a great day to spend our Labour Day and weather was great as well, although at times it looks gloomy and about to rain.

We finally left Fanling at about 330PM and arrived at Tung Chung close to 5PM.

Serai. There were plenty in the farm and we helped to get rid of it by hoarding all the serai back. According to the ladies, these are expensive stuff in HK.

Kids surrounding the rabbits cage and trying to disturb them.

What’s everyone looking at? Check out the cow’s butt on the left of the pic LOL.

Kids playing with the water after the water baptism was executed.

Geological Trip at 荔枝莊 & Crooked Island (吉 澳) – 29 Mar 2014

I thought it would be fun to bring the kids to see some volcanic rocks and some remote island for a short getaway within HK. So i purchased some Groupon for a visit to Lai Chi Chong (荔枝莊) and Crooked Island (吉澳).

We headed off from Tung Chung at 645AM as the meeting point was pretty far, at University Station (Hung Hom Line). We arrived there 15mins early, hence I quickly bought some bread, drinks and snacks in case they get hungry between breakfast and lunch.

We waited till 0815AM and finally made the move to the Ma Liu Shui Pier near University Station and boarded the boat. There were 20 odd of us and the day was rather gloomy. Praying hard that it won’t rain, else we will end up sitting in the boat instead.

While we were on our way to 荔枝莊, we saw this huge Kuan Yin Statue. Apparently build by Li Ka Shing and spent millions on it. It took us about 30mins when we  finally arrive at 荔枝莊. We took a walk along the rocky beach side. The tour guide busy yakking and yakking, but we didn’t bother. We took our take taking photos and enjoying those green mossy rocks. The moss were amazing, like carpet!!!

The rocks were awesome too. Volcaniclastic sedimentary rock formed millions of years ago. Research has shown that this region has rather complicated geological setting and rock types, with Mesozoic volcaniclastic sedimentary rocks, tuff, rhyolite and Paleozoic sedimentary rocks occurring locally. The uneven stratum on the foreshore near the Lai Chi Chong pier is volcanic ash sedimentary rock. Displaying very distinctive foldings, faults and bedding structure, it is an ideal location for geological study.

seaweed that looks like zombie brain LOL.

Major outcropped sections of Lai Chi Chong Formation can be found on the beach west of Lai Chi Chong pier. Although less than 200m wide, these sections manifest extremely complicated rock properties that include tuffite ,tuffaceous sandstone, siltstone, coarse ash crystal tuff, eutaxitic fine ash tuff and porphyritic rhyolite in current bedding. Bedding development is excellent with a wealth of visible sedimentary structures, such as current bedding, graded bedding, convolute bedding and subaquatic slump. Signs occurring from folding, fault and discordance of strike directions are also clearly noticeable.

There were a group of students that came by too. Probably geologist students. It’s great stuff since I love Geography and I used to learn about Volcanoes. But just wondering how did these rocks end up in Hong Kong, since it’s not like there’s Volcano here.

There was this part of rocks that was black (like burnt) and it looks as if they were scraped by something. The tour guide called it the the dragon’s mouth or something. It forms a U shape, like the dragon’s mouth.

After finish “cerita” and snapping photos, we head back to the Pier and went to another side of the island, just for a walk. But it started to drizzle, so we all went back to the boat. The boat started to head for 吉 澳 and the rain got heavier. At one point it was so foggy, we couldn’t see those rocks formation that we were supposed to stop by. The tour guide quickly did some shuffling of schedule due to the poor weather condition.

Porridge. Faythe had 2 bowls of porridge. Vyktore opt for Rice instead.

We got off at 吉 澳 and headed to the restaurant for lunch. Nothing to shout about, but nice home cook food. They are known for the handmade cuttlefish ball. So yummy, and was lucky that I could have 2 since Vyktore wasn’t too interested LOL.

After lunch, it was still drizzling a bit but we took our chance and started walking towards the Tin Hau Temple at 吉 澳. It was a short walk and by the time we reach there the rain had stopped.

The tourist did his story telling thing again before we were given opportunity to take some photos around the temple.

On our way out, we stopped by a stall selling some local desserts. For once, I manage to convince my two banana kids to try Chinese Desert. Bought the Loh Mai Chi for them. The ones sold here comes with red bean stuffing apart from the normal peanuts stuffing.

We hang around at the Pier while we wait for everyone to be ready to board the boat. After the rain had stopped, the sky was so clear and what beautiful scenery we witnessed in 吉 澳. You couldn’t imagine that’s HK.

We continue our boat trip to look out for more rock formation since the sky was clear now. And we finally made it to witness the oldest rock formation in Hong Kong. Found around Pak Sha Tau and Wong Chuk Kok Tsui on the northern shore are called Wong Chuk Kok Tsui Formation.

A buddha face.

The rock formation was given all sorts of name due to it’s shape and how it’s formed. Some look pretty obvious by their name. Some you really have to squint your eyes and look at only a particular angle to get the meaning of it.

The monster fist.

The monster face.

Good thing is that we didn’t have to get off and walk. Else the kids might be complaining. They were busy eating the snack i bought and having some self entertainment on the boat.

Right after we finish all the sightseeing, it started pouring again. What a day!!! As it takes about 1.5 hours to get back, we all fell asleep in the boat while it sway along the border of China and back to Ma Liu Shui Pier. Yes we went right up to the China border!!!

We were all so tired, when we arrived at home, we were like jelly. Well, I did enjoy myself, seeing something different. As for the kids, they say no more rocks LOL.

HK Wetland Park,香港湿地公园 – 3 Feb 2014

Backdated post.

It’s 3rd Day of CNY and we have nothing much to do. Hence decided to head to Wetland Park to visit the Crocs. Vyktore first heard about this place when he was in Kindy. He’s been yearning to go there to see crocodile ever since then. So when I suggested 湿地公园, he was delighted.

It was an unexpectedly warm day during winter season. so we all went without our Jackets and layered clothing.

The place is located somewhere near Tuen Mun. Hence we took the MTR and changed to the LRT. It was the 1st time kids riding the LRT (they call it the mini MTR).

It was a bit of a walk after we got off from the LRT station and we were greeted by a Secret Garden Maze at the entrance of the Wetland Park. They both had fun going thru the Maze to get to the other side.

We finally got into Wetland Park after taking some photos at the outside compound. As it was still early, it wasn’t too crowded and we decided to do the outside area first. It was a lot of walking and looking at plants, which the kids weren’t too interested at. Vyktore was busy looking out for the crocodile, which was obviously not living in the wetland compound.

There was bird watching houses where people can hide and watch the birds. For someone that doesn’t fancy birds I find it rather boring. Even the kids got bored after watching the birds from far. 

We also went to the muddy swamp area where we saw some crabs.

It got really hot when we finally finished the outside, we headed in for lunch to find a tremendously long queue of people buying food. Then we finally got a peek at Pui Pui, Hong Kong Celebrity Saltwater Crocodile. She was found in one of the river in HK and was moved to the Wetland Park later on.

There was only 1 restaurant there by the way. No choice, they both went and find a seat while I line up to buy the food. We were all in a hurry to eat as there was a Swamp Adventure the kids can’t wait to try on. It’s like a jungle gym. The catch is you gotta line up to get your pass. And thanks to the crowd, the kids were willing to chomp down their food quickly and went to line up for their entry pass.

They enjoyed themselves in the Swamp Adventure (30mins) and when they finally got out, it’s time to head home.

 

Air Supply Concert – 11.08.2013

I’m was born in 1970s and I grew up with songs like Bee Gees, Air Supply and a few others, no thanks to the influence of my brother. Two months ago, I received the weekly updates of HK concerts and saw that Air Supply was coming to HK. Was so excited, I what’s app a few of my friends and hence we bought the ticket to watch Air Supply concert.

Although it was a much smaller scale concert compared with Eric Moo and Jacky Cheung, I totally enjoyed myself. The sound system was great and they sang so well no doubt they both are probably close to 60? We even ran to the front of the stage towards the end of the conccert to take a look at this duet pair.

It’s a pity I didn’t bring my camera, hence only took photos with phone. The photo here was taken by my friend.

After the concert, we could still hear the power of their voice humming through our ears. It has gotta be the effects from blue yeti pro microphone.

.

 

Cost of Living Review: Eggs

 

Eggs are something that you definitely eat at least once a week. In a family where there are 2 kids, we would probably finish a dozen of it within a week or so. My kids are eggs lover. They can eat ‘em in all sorts of form be it steamed, fried, scrambled, soft boil, hard boiled, poached except raw!! I recall once, my Cambo maid actually stir fry vegetables with eggs..OMG..speechless, but the kids ate it (=.=).

So lets look at affordability of eating eggs this week.

In Malaysia:
Since I’ve left for about a year, I’m not sure what’s the latest egg price, hence I did a google search and found about this official website (Federation of Livestock Farmer’s Association Malaysia – FLFAM) that puts the price of eggs sold in Malaysia in general. Are eggs controlled items in KL? Not very sure. Anyway, I got to know there are so many grades of eggs sold in KL. Ranging from AA up to F. F is priced at 0.00…broken egg LOL. Anyway, on an average, eggs cost RM0.35 cents. Pretty affordable. I definitely can afford to make egg sandwich for kids party :) .

Does anyone knows if Malaysia sell imported eggs? What about Organic eggs, how much do they cost?

In Hong Kong:
It’s amazing how many types of eggs you can find here, all from different country. They don’t have grades, and comparing the sizes, they are more or less the same. I spent some time to copy down all the types of eggs sold at supermarket and here’s an overview of how much they cost:

Organic eggs: HKD71.90 (for half a dozen)
US eggs: HKD29.00 (for 2 trays of 14 eggs) – promotion
HK brand eggs: HKD28.00 (for a dozen) – weird, how come US eggs are cheaper than HK LOL
Thai eggs: HKD28.90 (for a dozen)
Korean eggs: HKD27.00 (for a tray of 10 eggs)
Japan eggs: HKD40.90 (for a tray of 10 eggs)

Makes me wonder why they are importing eggs from so many country? Further reading found that back in 2008, they started doing egg testing on all the eggs from China for fear of melamine content :| . This made the supply slower and the prices soared. Also here’s an article that mentioned that egg price rose 15% comparing 2009 and 2011.

As you can see here, US eggs are the cheapest. 2 trays for HKD29!! We will usually grab these. This only happens on certain day of the week where there’s promotion, so you gotta catch the right time.

This works out to about HKD1.03/egg.

Verdict:
Assuming that we consume 5 eggs a week, this will work out to:
In KL: RM0.35 x 5 = RM1.75 (HKD4.25)
In HK: HKD1.03 x 5 = HKD5.15 (RM2.11)

The difference is not much, but if you are heavy eggs eater, you will probably feel the pinch. When we first came, they weren’t selling US eggs, hence we felt the pinch each time we purchase eggs. Eat sparingly was the motto back then :P .

It’s definitely more affordable making egg sandwich for party in KL rather than HK :) .

Cost of Living Comparison Round II: KL 1 – HK 1

Have a nice weekend and do check out the Organic egg price for me in KL ya ;) . As for now, any eggs for lunch / dinner tonight?

Cost of Living Review: Pre-school

Since most of my readers have school going children, be it pre-school or primary school, thought I should share this first (Actually I haven’t got time to do my marketing this week, so can’t put up anything on grocery yet :P ).

In Malaysia:
Fees: RM700/month on the average (equivalent to HKD1719) 
I used to send my children to Fungates Pre-school in KL. Every month, we spend around RM400-500 for school fees (per child). This is only for 4 hours, i.e. from 9-12pm. If you leave your child for daycare (which not all the pre-school provides) you will need to add an additional RM250. That comes to about RM700 per month (rough estimate).
Transportation: RM120 (equivalent to HKD295)
I used to have transport auntie to send my kids to MIL house. That’s from Section 14 to Damansara, about 20mins drive on a non traffic jam day.
Food:
Lunch and snacks are part of the package above. You don’t get to see what they serve in the school, but trust that they are giving the kids healthy food. Snacks are usually biscuits.
School Trips: 1 per year, budget about RM50 per trip (equivalent to HKD122)
We all love joining the kids for school trips. During their days in fungates, you have 1 school trip per year. Everyone goes together from N1-K3. I’ve joined 2 of the trips and seriously, it’s rather tiring just to watch them getting the kids from one place to another. Depending on where you go, there would be charges.
School Events: Twice per year, budget about RM50 for party (equivalent to HKD122), if concert budget about RM80 for costumes (equivalent to HKD196)
They have party twice per year, at the end of each semester. Usually it’s themed and you need to dress your kids up. You also need to bring food to school. They will also have either sports day or concert (alternating every year).
School environment:
Pretty clean, sanitized daily. Checking of body temperature. Cleaning of hands (to avoid HFM). If you leave your child for daycare, each child will have their own sleeping bag. You bring home the sleeping bag every Friday to wash over the weekend.
Safety:
Varies from each Fungates. The one at Section 14, you are given a card with your child’s name which you need to display at your car when you pick them up. If you forget to bring, they will still let the kids go with you, provided you are familar faces to the kids.
Rules:
Strict. If you are late, you are not allowed to go in..booohoohoo…
Books & other fees: RM1000 (equivalent to HKD2455)
I seriously can’t recall the administrative fees they charge each year at Fungates. But I recall each time when I register the kids, I need to pay at least RM1500 per child, which includes the fees for the last month. So lets just estimate as RM1000 (including books). And some fees you need to pay twice (after each semester).
Miscellaneous:
The weird thing bout Fungates is, you only go to school like for 10 months, but you need to pay for 11 months. Something like that. But it’s not the same throughout all the Fungates. Homework could be quite a fair bit. Maybe now has changed since the school system changed last year. But I recall there’s spelling test every week :| . There’s exam every semester. And then you will have parents-teacher day thereafter.

Before I start talking about HK Pre-school, just to let you know that we send Vyktore to govt. subsidized pre-school. There are many types of pre-school here. Private, DSS (Direct Subsidized School) pre-school, govt. subsidized pre-school, etc…If you send you child to govt. subsidized ones, the govt. pays 50% of the school fees. And that’s throughout K1-K3. It doesn’t matter you are expat or local, whatever religion, whatever ethnicity, so long as you know the right channel to apply and provide the required documents, you are entitled for it. I’ll safe the details for another blog post on how to apply for govt. subsidize on another day.

In HK:
Fees: HKD1787 (equivalent to RM726)
His pre-school is full day system. Starts at 900am and ends at 430pm. It opens at 800am and closes at 600pm. The full day fees is HKD3574 for K3. Since it’s subsidized, I shall put the subsidized amount here cause we are talking about how much we spend every month.
Transportation: NIL
Well, his kindy is just downstairs our apartment, 5 mins walk door to door. Hence we need not pay for transportation. For picking up, it will be either our part time helper, Hon or myself.
Food:
It’s part of the fees that you pay monthly. Their menu changes every 3 months. Before the start of the quarter, they will provide you the menu. Breakfast would be either: oats, milk, bread. Lunch would usually consist of rice with a dish OR noodles. It comes with fruits as well. Tea time (4pm), they will have biscuits and hot drinks or fruit juice.
School Trips: NIL
They have school trips like every 2 months and sometimes every month, depending on the season. Different age group goes to different places. For Vyktore, so far they’ve been to Library (at least 3 times), Ocean Park, Traffic Safety Town (where he gets to cycle there and hold a girl’s hand :P ), CNY Flower Market, some Charity organised event (where parents could join), Dentist World and a couple more which I can’t recall. We didn’t have to pay for any of these trips, except the one that went to CNY Flower Market where we gave him HKD20 so he could buy something and experience trading.
School Events: NIL
This is pretty fun too. Each time when there’s some festival e.g. Mooncake Festival, Dumpling Festival, CNY, they will organise mini events in the school for the kids. For Mooncake Festival, they brought their lantern to school and off all the lights and let the kids roam in the kindy. During CNY, they had steamboat. Not much cost associated to these events. For the steamboat, we just had to bring some food stuff as part of the ingredients.
School environment:
Extremely clean (I think due to SARS experience previously). They sanitize the whole school everyday!! Temperature checking is a must. Since it’s indoor, you need 2 pairs of shoes. When you arrive at school, you need to change to the indoor shoes. Then when you leave, you need to change back to your outdoor shoes. Each child have their own sleeping mattress and you bring it home for washing every Friday. If you fall sick, you are expected to provide an MC. Upon returning from sickness, you are expected to provide a letter that the child is fit to return. Oh, and if they are just having cough and cold, the school helps you to feed the medication as well. There’s some form to fill in and they will follow the timing that you provide to them. Bliss :) .
Safety:
Each kid is given 2 pickup card. Everyday when you send them to school, they will give you a card. When you pick them up, you will need to present the card. They give 2 as spare since sometimes Daddy might sent the kid off, but Mommy might pick the kid up. If you did not bring the card, you will need to fill in a form with your IC No before you can pick the kid up.
Rules:
Pretty Strict, but you can still go in to school when you are late LOL. They will also call you upon checking the attendance and found that you are not in school.
Books & other fees: HKD1000 (equivalent to RM406)
Books are expensive here. It’s about HKD1000 a year. But there are no other fees e.g. admin fees, registration fee, dunno what lab fees, art & craft fees, bla bla. Oh and it includes a school bag too. Everyone uses the same bag. Save some money no need to buy school bag :P .
Miscellaneous:
School begins every September (follow British schooling period) and ends in July. That’s 12 months. But if you do not attend school during summer holiday, you don’t have to pay the remaining 2 months. Homework is 2-3 pages per day for K3. It could be a combination of English + Chinese or Chinese + Maths. No spelling test, but they make the kids read and recite passages based on some of the words they write in their homework. No exams for his school. They review the kid on weekly basis to check on their progress. A handbook with the latest progress will be given and parents are expected to acknowledge it every week and return to them. It will tell you within the week what has been thought and where is their capability level.

Verdict:
Let’s do a total sum for a year for ease of comparison.
In KL: we spend RM10,170 a year/kid in pre-school
In HK: we spend HKD20,657 (RM8,395) a year/kid in pre-school. Without subsidy from govt. it would cost HKD41,314 (RM16,790) a year/kid.

KL is cheaper in terms of pre-school (if we do not consider getting subsidy from govt.). Then again, if you are smart like us and manage to find lubang for govt. subsidized pre-school, then you could save a tonne and it becomes cheaper than KL. Since I’m comparing what I used to pay in KL against what I’m paying here in HK, then I consider HK is the winner in this review.

Just FYI, a year of K2 fees for International school near our place is about HKD57,000 (excluding transport).

Cost of Living Comparison Round I: KL 0 – HK 1

T’was a long and wordy post :| . Hope I can do a shorter one next week.

Cost of Living in HK

Since we moved to HK about a year ago, friends been asking me how is it like living in HK? Is it expensive? Because most of us visit HK as tourist, and being a tourist, we always have that foreign exchange conversion mind, we will always compare the prices here and back in KL and everything seems so expensive.

Thus I’ve decided to give you a weekly insight review of how much things cost here, just for the fun of it and allow you to compare if it’s cheaper to live in HK or to live in KL.

I’ll be posting it up every Friday hopefully doing simple comparison of some items be it perishable goods, kids clothing or even petrol. So if you want to find out how much I spend for groceries and whether it’s cheaper to live in KL or HK, do stay tuned :) .

Weekend is approaching…

Wohoo..it’s mid of June today and weekend is approaching. I’m glad that the week is over without any big hiccups over the last few days. School exams are over too for Faythe and she did pretty well. I’m currently compiling a list of To-Dos for their Summer Holiday and hopefully we can check check check most of ‘em if not all of ‘em.

Needless to say, I’m just 1 month away from celebrating the 1st Anniversary of living abroad LOL. Excited? Yeah, maybe I should throw a BBQ party. *giggles*.

Anyway, have a nice weekend and Happy Father’s Day. Reminds me that I need to go book for hi-tea after this.

Here’s leaving you with a photo taken last year when the house was still empty.