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Archive for the ‘HK’ Category

I probably haven’t made much mention about our trouble moving from Hong Kong to St. Louis up ’til now, but I believe we are finished chasing down Graebel to fix the damages we incurred due to their gross negligence during both packing and moving.  They damaged our billiard table severely, ripped a hole in our sofa, broke the back off a dinette chair and there were innumerable damages to decorative items that were packed by the Graebel staff with the skill of throwing everything, whether it be fragile or not, into a box with absolutely no packing material.

This damage caused by Graebel’s negligence was not acceptable and we had made arrangements to have the additional insurance coverage in the event there were some damages during shipping/storage that were unavoidable.  Good thing we did, because there was a lot of it!

Problem is, Graebel has been nothing shy of difficult and at times argumentative regarding our account and in getting our information straight (stating we did NOT have insurance when IN FACT we DID!), insisting that we have a repair company come and fix things (which we did and they did and some things were fine, but a big rip with stitching in it is still a big rip!), and then arguing over what we did or didn’t find acceptable as far as repairs and letting that go on for months all the while they were actually closing our account without our knowledge even though the staff member we were dealing with just kept arguing with us.

Finally, we got a new person to deal with us and they are going to work with us.  They are NOT, however, going to comply with the request that I made that would make this acceptable for us.  We are conceding to their way because they are unwilling to make good on the customer service end of the deal.  They ARE going to compensate us with the specified insured amount of our sofa and loveseat, but they are going to do so by having what would be a minimum of 3 more people come to our home during the day…and quite frankly, all I wanted for them to do is pay us what we insured the sofa/loveseat for and LEAVE US ALONE.  But they can’t seem to do that.

They have rules they have to comply with that do not consider whether their customers are satisfied, but rather that inconvenience us even further than they already have by expecting US to jump through even more flaming hoops when it should be THEM jumping through this ONE hoop for us.

If they would just make this final transaction simple and not require any more from us, since we paid for their service, not the other way around…then, I could be satisfied and let it go.

But they won’t.  So I would suggest to anyone that is ever considering a move, whether it be a local move or a long distance/overseas move to STAY CLEAR OF DEALING WITH GRAEBEL MOVERS.  They will cause you nothing but grief and waste your time AFTER they break all your shit.

If you are interested, you can read the final letter of reluctant acceptance of their terms:

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug
8
Dear Cybr,

I know that this past week has been extremely difficult for you.  I know that it has been a series of things going wrong and sucking very badly. 

I know that in addition to stress due to things sucking you have been saying good-bye to people you like and a place that you love.

You are doing this all alone and I know how difficult this whole process is from my own experience, but doing it alone makes it ten times worse.

As much as I empathize, I cannot help but feel elated at the thought of you arriving soon.  I cannot wait to see you.  I cannot wait to put my arms around you and hug and hold you as tight as our little brewing baby allows. 

Just the thought of your pending arrival makes my heart skip a beat.  I miss you and I love you, my bestest friend, and I look forward to the look of surprise when you see how much our child has grown.

No matter when you actually arrive (I will let you share your flight mis-adventure with the world), I will be there waiting for you with open arms…

With Love,
Your best friend and devoted wife and the little kicking machine inside me.

I am alive and well.  Sorry for the hiatus, but pregnancy and jetlag don’t mix well.

To recap, Cybr saw me off on the airport bus at 11:30 am Monday June 30th.  He watched as I pulled away, it was all I could do not to cry.  My friend, Teresa, rode with me to the airport to schlep my large suitcases around and see me off.  It was so considerate of her to go with, since Cybr couldn’t…he had to return to our flat to meet the pet exporters.

I flew out of Hong Kong at 1:30 pm and after an untold number (simply because I have not the capacity by which to actually calculate how long I traveled, including layovers and time zone changes) of hours in transit, I arrived in Kansas City, Missouri at nearly midnight on the same day.  I had to wield my luggage around in LAX while going through customs and if it weren’t for a kind older man, I probably would have hurt myself or my baby by lifting those things.  Thanks, kind guy!

My Dad was waiting outside my gate at the KC airport, he was a sight for sore, blackened eyes.  They weren’t really blackened, just appeared that way from lack of sleep…I was not able to sleep for more than a few minutes at a time in flight.

He handled my luggage and drove us back to his house where I think I slept for about 4 or 5 hours.  I tried to get things situated for the fuzzy kids at his house during the day on Tuesday, then at about 10 pm we went to the cargo hold and retrieved Chini, Guinness, Francis and Burrito.  They all looked good, but desperately wanted out of those cages.

We were able to let Chini and Guinness out to take care of their business at the cargo hold.  We took them to a patch of grass and let them out.  They both peed forEVER, or so it seemed, then Chini proceeded to roll in the grass for about 10 minutes…apparently her way of kissing the ground post-flight.

We all came back to my Dad’s and the fuzzies seemed to settle in right away.  Chini, Guinness and Francis all seemed to remember my Dad and his home.  Even Burrito (who is quite the scaredy-cat) was exploring his new digs within just an hour or so.  They are all quite content and comfortable here.

I will have to leave Francis and Burrito behind when I return to St. Louis in about a week.  I am not looking forward, it will break my heart to leave them.  I am trying to think of it as an extended vacation where I would be away from them anyway.  I know they will be fine here with my Dad and will not miss me nearly as much as I miss them…but it is still going to hurt me.

So, the fuzzy kids were all fine, but I had a bit of a health issue this week…you can read about it at Baby Barie if you so desire.

I will slowly be getting back to regular posting, so please check in regularly.  Again, sorry for the lack of posts, but life and getting healthy has been a priority for the past week.

See you soon!

Jun
29
Last Day

This is officially my last full day in Hong Kong.  Technically, I will wake up in Hong Kong tomorrow; however, just with enough time to get cleaned up, take care of the fuzzy kids, say good-bye to Cybr and head to the airport.

I hate that I have likely been such a downer lately, but this is truly a sad event for me. No matter how I may try to mask it, it shows through me as though I were transparent.  I am really, really not good at keeping a poker face…seriously, if I think it or feel it then it will show up across my face or, in this case, in my writing.

Sorry for being a drag, but I am not good with good-byes.

I will try to keep this one short, as I still have more Hong Kong goodies up my sleeve for this blog.  You can expect more photos from Hong Kong that I haven’t had time to post and you can expect a few transitional posts that discuss life here vs. life there as I make the change.  After that, well…I will likely reformat the whole site and who knows what my musings will entail.

For now, so long Hong Kong.  I hope to see you again…

In a traditional, local restaurant in Hong Kong, at least. Cybr said if he knew I was going to title this post as such, then he would have done the “big arms” reach in the photo…this is why I don’t tell him everything.

Dinner was delicious. We had dim sum and a few local dishes I had never tried. One was eel and I didn’t really get to try it. It was served in a pastry dish, resembling deep fried pizza crust. It looked delicious but the general consensus among our friends was that I should not eat eel while I am pregnant, as it is not good for the baby. This is a Chinese cultural ideal, not so much a medical concern, but I was happy to oblige.

All the other dishes were good. And spicy. Lots of red chiles. Dominique knows I like spicy food, so she ordered a lot of it. The most interesting dish was a tomato-based soup with shrimp that is served with “sizzling rice”. The sizzling rice is basically rice patties that you put into the soup and crush. It doesn’t really sizzle, but it was soooo good. I had never had anything like that before.

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Enough about food…it was quite good company, too. I often think how lucky Cybr appears when he is sitting at a table FULL of women at a restaurant. The other patrons must think he is a stud, hehe. So, it was myself and Cybr (seated) and from left to right: Daisy, Rebecca and Dominique at dinner. We were there from 7 until 10 and had a very good time. I will miss them so much but they all agreed that given the chance to stop by St. Louis, they will visit with us and are welcome to stay in our home.

I took the opportunity to thank them for helping us so much and always thinking of us, especially Dominique who has really gone so far above and beyond helping to get us settled and make us comfortable here in Hong Kong. Even when we just came for a visit pre-job offer and moving here, she went by our service apartment and left us soap, shampoos, and toothbrushes in our room. She thinks of everything!

They came to dinner bearing unexpected gifts for our baby, too. I took pictures and I am going to be extremely redundant and post them both here and at my Baby Barie site, but go check it out anyway.

This is the onesie that Dominique found for us. I swear that we are having baby’s first pictures taken in this unless it just swallows her whole:

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To zoom in on the print, click this thumbnail: made-in-hk2.jpg

And this is from Daisy and Rebecca, who obviously appreciate my love of all things Hello Kitty:

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I was so touched by their thoughtfulness. It was so very unexpected.

Before going our separate ways, we all agreed not to say good-bye. See you later seemed more appropriate…

This is my last Friday in Hong Kong…*sigh*

Cybr and I are going out with some ladies he works with who have befriended me during our stay here for a traditional dinner.  I am looking forward to spending some time with them before I leave, as well as looking forward to the delicious food we will be eating.  Traditional meals are always better when we go with this group because they are all locals and know what is good and can communicate with the restaurant staff…when/if we go by ourselves, sometimes we don’t know what things are, what is good to order, or we can’t order from the menus if they are solely in Cantonese.

It will be a great evening, that I am certain of.  Trying to go out with a bang…well, I guess with being pregnant it is really more of a *poof*, but it is the best I can do.  If I wasn’t pregnant, then we would go out and get our drunk on at some local bars and really go out with a bang.

All that is left to do is try to make some sense out of all the crap in our office space, clean up the flat so Cybr doesn’t have to worry about it, make up the pet crates with absorbent bedding, pack all my stuff into suitcases (it is already “together”, just need to go into the suitcases but I wait because the dogs get freaked out), give Cybr a haircut, cry a whole lot, and board the plane.

Today I am tying up a few loose ends around our flat.  I got an SPCA trap cage back to Kathy (my CCCP cohort), I sucked the air out of the vacuum pack bags, I shaved the Chicken…er, yeah, that may require an explanation…it is just a figure of speech meaning I shaved our dog, Chini, who we sometimes call Chicken as a nickname (she is a chicken and she has chicken legs).

Otherwise, I am getting out of here to go hang out at the mall or do something until dinner at 7.  The neighbors are having some remodeling done and it is quite loud.  It requires loud jackhammering to get the tile off the concrete walls in these flats.  One would think that the concrete walls would block the noise, but mostly it just vibrates and reverberates through out the entire building.  It sucks.  I wish they wouldn’t have begun this project until Tuesday of next week!  Then no one would be here during working hours.

Well, I am off (in more ways than one!).  I will try to get pictures of our dinner tonight to share here and commemorate the final traditional meal for me.  See ya!

Jun
26
Baby update

I went to my 20 week appointment today, but I am not going to tell you the sex of the baby here…you will have to go visit Baby Barie to find out.

All went well at the exam.  I am fit to travel 23+ hours by plane.

It is unseasonably cool here today due to torrential downpours this morning and an overcast/rainy sky all day.  My fuzzy kids are getting sick of rain.  They are beginning to refuse potty time.

3+ more days in Hong Kong and counting…it makes me sad.

We ate at a favorite local eatery today and it was delicious.  We shared pork & leek dumplings and beef & spring onions in sauce.  OMG, the food there is always so good.  It is the same place in the alleyway that we went with Scrappy Sue and her hubby.  I believe they liked the food too.

I will miss that place.  I will miss all the street markets and wet markets.  I will NOT miss the sea of umbrellas slamming into your face on a crowded sidewalk if it is so much as sprinkling…UGH!, that drives me crazy.

My (most likely) final typhoon, that is.

We are currently under a level 8 Typhoon Warning, a Red Rain Warning, a Thunderstorm Warning, a Landslide Warning, and Flood Warning.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it?  Well, I am pleased to say that it isn’t as bad as it sounds…at least not yet.

Cybr worked from home yesterday so he could help with getting all the fuzzy kids to the vet and today he is doing much the same, since at a level 8 Typhoon Warning all ferry service is suspended and everyone is recommended to stay home from everything, including work.  It seems that our buses are not running or are running on a minimal schedule.  I haven’t seen one all day, so far.  I have to  admit that it is kinda nice that we get to spend a bit of extra time together before I head out of here a month before him.

I just hope it clears up later today so that tomorrow we can finalize the pet travel and I can make it to my 20 week exam.

Jun
24
Finality

I am down to the wire.  My time in Hong Kong is abruptly coming to an end.

I really cannot believe it is time to leave, my departure date has made such a swift approach.  Many people keep saying to me that I must be excited about leaving, especially since it is so soon.  Mostly, I am sad.  A profound chapter of my life is ending…I look forward to the new chapter that is about to begin, but I cannot help but be sad.

Last night (Monday), Cybr and I went for our last “super monday special” at Caramba.  We don’t do this every week, but frequently enough.

Today, we took the two cats and two dogs to the vet clinic for their final health inspection.

After the vet visit, I took a nap.  Stress and pregnancy =  really freaking tired.  Upon awaking from my nap, I went off to Mong Kok to shop the Ladies’ Market for the last time.  I will miss shopping street markets in a big way.

There will be more final moments in the days ahead, but that is all there is.  Days.  Five days plus waking up to go to the airport, to be precise.  I am counting.

We did it again.

We took another road trip with our friends this past Sunday.

It didn’t quite turn out the same as the previous road trip.

Our Sunday began with Cybr and I checking out the unexpected flea market at the plaza in Discovery Bay.  It was painfully hot on Sunday, so when our friends called and said, “hey, do you want to take a road trip?” we said, “sure”.

We headed into the Gold Coast area hoping to find something cool to do or see, but to no avail.  While we were there, I had to pee and ended up using my first (and hopefully last!) eastern-style port-a-potty.  You literally squat over a hole filled with the shit of the thousands that came before you.  Yuck.

From there, we headed east to Sai Kung/Clearwater Bay at which point this occurred:

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A blowout.  We hit a curb.  Tire=trash.

The guys were EXTREMELY quick with the tire change and the bonus was that the spare was full-sized.

From there we just went to TST and then went our separate ways.  Our friends had a work-related dinner to attend and while they invited us to join them, we opted for Hard Rock Hong Kong for dinner.

I enjoyed the beef brisket sandwich and Cybr had a bbq burger.  It was great food.  It was a $302.50 meal, so it better have been good!  Of course, that is in HKD so it’s only about $39 US.  Still expensive for a burger and sandwich (in my opinion), but it is the price you pay to eat at Hard Rock.

We followed that up with a trip on the Star Ferry, which takes us to Central to catch yet another ferry to Discovery Bay where we catch the bus to get home.  Sounds complicated?  Not really, but it takes forever.  It would have been faster than the train, but the ferry was delayed docking  which made us miss our other ferry.

The Star Ferry has some REAL HISTORY in Hong Kong.  Check out the link if you are interested.