Did I ever imagine that I would be in Hong Kong to celebrate 15 years since the British handed the city back to China? To say ‘no’ would be an understatement – I didn’t imagine that I even needed to imagine it! But life happens and we found ourselves in the thick of it and yet another evening panned out where things really didn’t run that smoothly.
Sunday 1st July marked this special anniversary that the Hong Kong-ers all seemed to be getting quite excited about. It would be easy to think they were delighted to have lost British control but they have barely changed anything in 15 years. Anyway, a huge harbour fireworks display was scheduled for 8pm that night and Dan’s parents had booked us an outdoor table at a restaurant right on the harbour so we thought we were in for a nice evening of good food and fireworks enjoyment.
The table was booked for 6.30pm but afternoon activities over-ran and I didn’t want to leave until Eden was settled so we moved the booking to 7.30pm. When we got in the cab, our driver said he wouldn’t be able to drop us right at the restaurant building as there were a lot of road closures due to the evening’s festivities. Call us naive but we didn’t realise that would be the case. He dropped us at the closest possible point he could get to but this was a good 25 minute walk away. It was already about 7.30pm so now we were worried we wouldn’t make it to our table in time for the start of the fireworks. We must have called the restaurant about 5 times to tell them we were on our way and to keep our table but despite Dan’s best navigational efforts, we didn’t make it there by 8pm.
We wer still about 5 minutes away when the fireworks started. Luckily we were in a position where we could see across the water and had a great view of the fireworks. Unfortunately, Joshua, who hates extreme loud noises and bangs (sensitive chap!) didn’t enjoy it at all and spent most of the time cowering with his fingers in his ears so we had to dash into a nearby Starbucks as a way of noise reduction. I could tell he was still impressed by the fireworks themselves as he was watching them through the window, he just hated the noise! So even though we were now ridiculously late for our dinner reservation and couldn’t watch the fireworks properly, we couldn’t leave Starbucks until the display was finished as it was too noisy outside!
The display lasted a full 23 minutes, so the newspapers reported. It was definitely one of the longest and most impressive displays I’d ever seen – would have been better had we arrived at our table on time but there you go.
We eventually rolled up at the restaurant, took a cooler indoor table as there was now no point sitting outside in the heat & humidity seeing as the fireworks were over. Well, literally they were over but metaphorically, they’d only just started!
Firstly, Joshua found himself sat under an air conditioning unit that was dripping down on to him. We were too flustered from the drama of actually getting to the restaurant to start faffing about changing tables so good old Dan swapped places with Joshua and sat awkwardly for the rest of the evening avoiding the drips!
Then we had the stress of seeing that there was no gluten-free food on the buffet for Joshua, apart from rice, so a lengthy discussion with the chef was required and Joshua was soon satisfied that he had an order of lamb chops on the way.
As the rest of us tucked in to the Indian & Italian buffet (random I know!) and Josh waited patiently for his chops, next thing we knew a glass of water was spilt all over the table (I couldn’t possible divulge who did it) and somehow managed to spread firstly onto Dan’s dad, then Joshua, then onto me which I wasn’t expecting as the water hadn’t even been spilt near me but the table must have been sloping or something as it well and truly sloshed in to my lap and through the table onto my handbag – not happy.
Once we’d mopped up that problem, Joshua was then presented with the biggest plate of lamb chops he had ever seen. The poor kid was starving as it was around 845pm by this time. Just as he was tucking in …. the fire alarm went off! I mean, seriously, was someone trying to tell us that we should have all just stayed at home that night???!! The alarm didn’t appear to be stopping and after a few minutes people started filing out of the restaurant. Joshua got upset as he thought there must be a fire. We grabbed a waiter who said we didn’t need to leave, it was a false alarm. This reassurance didn’t come before Dan had declared, “I can smell smoke you know.” Another well thought out comment Dan, well done! This sent Joshua into even more panic until the reassurance from the waiter came. A few well deserved lamb chops later and all was calm again!
Luckily the journey home was a lot easier, the roads had all reopened and we found a cab easily. Maybe one day soon, a relaxing uneventful family meal will await us…