Winning recipe with dash of flair
Bullock makes waves in Oceans franchise
On a recent visit to China, it was exciting that the last leg of our two week trip was going to be in Hong Kong for several reasons.
While mainland China uses the yuan, Hong Kong has its own currency – the Hong Kong dollar. By the time our journey reached its 7th day, we were all familiar with how things worked in the East. We had also perfected Ni Hao’s (hello’s) and XièXie’s (thank you’s) and having fully acclimatised, were starting to have fun.
Our visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen included lots of bus trips, train and plane rides, but the highlight was when we moved from Shanghai to Shenzen via a Maglev train from Longyang Road station to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.
To be light in our travel, our bus driver proceeded to the airport from the station with our big bags as we got into the fastest train in the world. The Shanghai Maglev (the magnetic levitation train) can reach top speeds of up to 430km/h. By any means, this 30km ride will take you an estimated 20 minutes in good traffic, but our exhilarating ride took just under eight minutes. It was almost as if the driver of the train was warned that there were eager visitors on board as he pushed it to 431km/h.
Though Hong Kong is under Chinese rule since the British handed it over in 1997, moving from mainland to the island still requires one to drive through a border post.
Hong Kong remains a capitalism enclave of communist China, and that is felt immediately on arrival, as the city feels more familiar.
We checked into East Hong Kong Hotel in an area called Taikoo Shing to amazing seaside views. The higher your room, the more majestic the views. Part of each hotel room facing the sea has a whole glass wall where you are literally looking down at the skyscrapers. The rooms have clever space-saving tricks where your main art piece for example slides to reveal a plasma screen. Various drawers house helpful travel tools like an iron, adapter, plugs etc.
It usually saves so much time trying to figure out where to shop when your hotel is connected to a mall. East Hong Kong is connected via a safe walkway to City Plaza, home to 170 shops and many restaurants offering both Asian and Western cuisine and this was our home for two nights.
We first visited the site of the July 1 1997 handover, marking the end of British rule. From afar, it looks like a flame but upon close inspection, we realised it is the national flower of Hong Kong, which is of the Bauhinia genus, captured as a big gold statue.
The tallest building in Hong Kong, is the International Commerce Centre, which stands at 484 metres and has an observation deck on the 103rd floor. It took us seconds to be whisked up the elevator to the floor. On the day, colourful Lamborghinis were displayed outside the deck attached to a bar and restaurant.
But the coolest part is their toilets, which also have a viewing glass. I found the feature wasted in a toilet. The mall attached to that building houses shops such as De Beers, Chanel, Rolex, Piaget, Chopard etc. We all looked totally out of place among the rich.
Lunch at a local restaurant called Yum Chá in Lenhem Place Mall came to the rescue!
Here the food is as pretty as it tastes, with dumplings and desserts created to look like small farm animals such as chickens and pigs. I enjoyed crispy dumplings that looked like chicks only to nibble on them to find pork filling inside. Hmm, that was sneaky.
In our quest to sneak in some shopping, tour operator Eva Chan took us to Mong Kok district after lunch where we lost ourselves in rows and rows of street hawkers for a frantic shopping spree. Ocean’s 8
Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Elliott Gould
Having followed the Oceans franchise, the most exciting part of the project is bringing all these big names together under one roof. Add a slick robbery and heist to the mix, and a dash of revenge in the plot, these movies have always been a winner.
The all-female cast takes its cue from the original, with Sandra Bullock making a big screen comeback leading a band of robbers who commit a brazen heist at the Met Gala.
It’s a clever way of maintaining the glamour associated with the franchise. With Bullock as Debbie Ocean, the sleek mastermind behind the heist, it is a perfect date movie. Life of the Party
Melissa McCarthy, Christina Aguilera, Matt Walsh, Molly Gordon and Helena Bonham Carter
Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone have given us Tammy and The Boss as a magical comedic writing and producing duo.
Life of the Party, though, feels like they were just going through the motions to satisfy a studio deal. After her divorce, McCarthy goes back to college where her daughter is also studying to unwittingly become the most popular student as she tries to reclaim her dignity in life.
There are typical slapstick moments and eyebrow-raising lines, but McCarthy is lukewarm at best in this offering or her brand of humour here fails to light up.
Rooms at East Hong Kong hotel offer amazing view.
Decorated dumplings and other goodies at the Yum Chá restaurant in Hong Hong.
A worker cleans the platform beside a Maglev train, also known as the magnetic levitation train, at a station in Shanghai, China.