Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Plan vs. the Reality

The plan: Leave the apartment right after breakfast, head down to the mall to do three things: Purchase American coke, buy a few games and art supplies at Toys R Us, and use up the rest of our tokens at the kids indoor play area. Return home for lunch.

The reality: Managed to finally get out the door about 9:50. Waited 15 minutes to board the bus, then got stuck in terrible traffic. Finally got out of the bus about 11:15, took the MTR (subway) and arrived at our destination about noon! So much for returning home for lunch!

We did a little shopping in a huge, fabulous grocery store that has almost every imported item I could imagine (except for dill pickle relish, sorry Amy!). By the time that was done we decided to get some lunch, then head toward the other part of the mall where we could let the girls play as well as shop at Toys R Us.

The girls had a great time at the play area, especially because we let Clara Anne have the responsibility of putting the tokens into the various machines to start them up. The girls rode lots of "car" rides and played in a ball pit for awhile. John played some basketball and I sat and nursed Christin in all the noise!

On to Toys R Us, where John and I had a great time! My list was short: a few games to play together as a family, and a couple of Crayola products. But once we got started it was hard to stop! We bought several classic games that we thought the girls would enjoy, and I know they'll love the glitter crayons and fingerpaints that are now hiding in my closet. Wow, I never knew I personally could get so excited about going to Toys R Us!

By now it was 4pm and John said, "we'd better leave before we spend any more money!" We had discovered that the reason for the mammoth traffic jam that morning was a huge fire in the area where we were staying. Some people were saying that the traffic there was still a mess, so we didn't dare to take the bus home (the most convenient way). So we walked the 20 minutes to the nearest MTR, made our way onto the subway, then arrived back to our stop and decided to walk home rather than wait for the bus--about a 25 minute walk. Oh my! We were pooped! It was hot and steamy out, we had way too many packages and all of the girls were asleep on us--John with 40 pound Clara Anne on his back in the Ergo, Christin strapped to me and Chloe sleeping in the stroller. At least they were sleeping, though, and not whining or crying! We arrived home about 5:15, and glad to be here.

So, sometimes the reality is better than expected, like our trip to the pool, and other times we just sit back and laugh as our plans go completely out the window. I think we're finding that going out with all three kids and taking public transportation (other than taxis) is challenging in this city. It usually takes much longer than we expect, I guess we should just expect that! For all of Hong Kong's wonderful advantages, I will be eager to return to our city soon! Home will indeed feel sweet when we return.

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