28 May 2014

HK Day 5: Enchanting breakfast and fabric jackpot!

Tuesday, we thought we should start our day off right with a Disney breakfast buffet.  Having already tried Chef Mickey in our hotel, we took the shuttle bus (like a charter/tour bus in the States) over to the Disneyland Hotel.  There, we went downstairs to the Enchanted Garden, where we saw a sign saying the "next breakfast seating" would be at 9:30am.  Being only 8:30am, we asked a lovely Cast Member, Tam (apparently people here often pick their own English names, and we have seen some interesting ones - "Windy," "Chicsi," and "Yancy" to name a few) how the seatings work.  She took our room number and told us to come back around 9:20.

Mini version of the main lobby of the Grand Floridian in the Disneyland Hotel.
Hedge labyrinth behind the Disneyland Hotel.

The Hong Kong Disneyland park doesn't open until 10:00am, so at 8:30am, the Disneyland Hotel (DH) was still pretty sleepy and empty.  We took this opportunity to explore the hotel and enjoy the views in the super bright morning sunshine.  We'd also read on the interwebs that the DH provides different complimentary toiletries, themed after the seven dwarfs, so we went in search of a maid cart to verify.  [Anyone who knows me well knows I love the cute little "goodies" from hotels... one of the little things to love about traveling I learned from Mom.]

Back at Enchanted Garden  at 9:25am, the foyer outside the restaurant was starting to fill up with the haphazard queuing we've started to get used to (the result of quantities of pushy/eager/excited/barely-able-to-communicate Asians of all types).  As we approached the hostess counter, Tam saw us and quickly recited our room number from memory (! and we realized that we hadn't even left our names), and graciously set us up with an usher (the 9th or 10th "Matthew" we'd met) who led us to our table.  Following Matthew through the beautifully themed restaurant, we finally understood the "seatings."  They had completely re-set the restaurant so it seemed we were the first to enter for the day.  All the buffet offerings were freshly laid out and the restaurant empty, waiting for a new round of excited diners.  Because we were among the first into the restaurant, I quickly took some photos of the huge breakfast spread:


Round 1: Plate clockwise from bottom: Zhongzi, samosa, tea egg, teriyaki glass noodles, coconut milk rice, spring roll, cha siu in flaky pastry & 2 xiao long tang bao; accompanied by blueberry Mickey muffin, Nutella filled doughnut, gluten free blueberry pound cake, grapefruit juice, vegetable juice (possibly containing papaya), sweet potato and pork xi fan, museli with blueberry yoghurt and apricot yoghurt.
Much more like Chef Mickey at WDW, at the Enchanted Garden, there were several characters roaming around, interacting with guests.  And by interact, I mean really interact - as much as they can without making sounds.  Unlike in WDW, after making their first pass around the restaurant, the characters wandered around playing with children and "talking" (?) to adults, without handlers.  It was amazing to watch how a mute Pluto gently freed himself from the death-grip clutches of a little girl so that he could pose animatedly with another family and then return his attention to the little girl.  These characters really have skills!  Equally talented are the photographers who speak at least 4 languages plus baby-attention-grabbing (a surprising and sometimes loud language of entertaining sounds).  I tried (but failed - didn't want to be TOO much of a creeper) to get a video of one particularly exuberant photog (also named Matthew) who was animatedly teaching a little girl how to be a princess, including the walk, poses, fixing her hair, and wiping her face.

Absolutely stuffed (in more ways than one, see photo below...) from too much breakfast, we lounged a bit in the lobby before waddling back to our room.  There we re-grouped, packed the adventure bag and headed off into the city.

Breakfast haul: 6 little jars of jam, "Sleepy" cotton swabs & pads, comb, razors, shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, Asian pear, emmanthaler cheese, tea spoons
First stop was Sham Shui Po, a mecca for all things sewing related.  Streets FULL of wholesale fabric shops sold every type of fabric imaginable.  We even saw branded fabrics - polo shirt fabric with little embroidered Abercrombie mooses, satin-y fabric printed with golf tees and balls that I swear was for Vineyard Vines ties and others.
Beads galore!
Fabric stalls on the street
Fabric swatch cards for wholesale purchasers
Halfway through our perusal of one block of street fabric vendors, all the vendors suddenly began hauling their giant (read: probably 300lb) fabric carts closer in towards their tents/booths.  A few minutes later, we saw a police-like person a little way up the street and decided they must get fined if they have their carts too far out into the street.  Maybe another 5 minutes later, all the carts were right back out whee they were.  Fantastic!

Wending our way back to the MTR station, we stopped in lots of little shops selling all sorts of bits and bobs.  One shop was the size of a small apartment and packed FULL of all kinds of plastic beads.  So full that though the walls were lined with tiny drawers, some of them were pulled out to make shelves for jars of still more beads!  Similar stores sold all types of strings, ribbons, elastic, lace, sequins (including giant 3"+ diameter ones for making curtains - like the sort you might have for a party), buckles, and rhinestones.

Having completely exhausted T's (very generous) patience for looking at all things shiny and crafty, we headed off in search of Granville Road and the promise of up-and-coming designers, discounted clothing, and interesting Hong Kong shopping.  Emerging from the MTR, right away we could tell that this was indeed a place for shopping.  It was starting to get dark, so neon lights were on advertising all types of wares, including a particularly large sign above the center of the road that read "UNDER WEAR."  Sadly, looks like we didn't get a photo.  Already somewhat laden with my haul from Sham Shui Po, we spent another several hours perusing the stores and malls on Granville Road, making a few more purchases to add to our load.  At Uniqlo, we were entertained by the variety of American/American-inspired t-shirt designs and also Moomin, a new favourite "cute thing" to add to our list.
Street vendor selling all types of zhongzi
Something (very popular - there was a long line) called egg yolk ball... looked like a crunchy sort of pastry/baked item
Heading back to the hotel around 10:00pm, we realized we hadn't eaten dinner... or lunch... and one of us was becoming somewhat hangry.  So we made a quick stop at an ever present 7-11 for sandwiches, sparkling orange juice and a strawberry banana juice (sorry, too tired to take photos).  By the time we reached our room, we had just enough energy to shower (we've lost track what number we're on now, but I think we're averaging 2.5/day), eat, and fall into bed.

Next time: Disneyland!!

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