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5 days in Hong Kong

Cab to airport in Shanghai – including in seat TV with constant advertising …

taxi screen

Flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong was easy. My low cost airline even had a German option on the entertainment system!

And public transport is also great in Hong Kong. Took the airport express to Kowloon Station. From there I had a free shuttle bus to my hotel. Glad I chose the harbor view room: have been staring out of my hotel window a lot. When I arrived in the late afternoon I decided to do a “night in” and opted for an amazing seafood dinner at the hotel. To then stare at the view a bit more  …

cruise skyline night

My cold is pretty “clingy” thus I took it slow on my first days … and started my days with trips to the local Chinese pharmacy. I have been back to get the same med again and now I keep getting nice tips from the clerk on when to take them and how to get better as well as waves when I walk by.

After the pharmacy I started to explore Hong Kong Island, which involved many means for transport: hotel shuttle bus to ferry terminal, Star Ferry over to Central, the mid level escalator (longest escalator in the world) to Hollywood road, then the tram to Causeway Bay and eventually the ferry back to Kowloon. Visited a famous temple and some shops, but mostly took in the city as it passed by on the various means of transportation.

Star Ferry Hong Kong

Mid Level escalator - longest in the world

Mid Level escalator – longest in the world

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Temple in the middle of skyscrapers

Random shop window find

Random shop window find

Hong Kong is clearly all about shopping. There are lines in front of the many super expensive stores. My only purchase (apart from food in 5 days: two post cards … I must be a very rare exception!)

After a short break at the hotel, I ventured out to see the Temple Street night market and walked back along Nathan Road to make it to the waterfront in time for the nightly light show. A million pictures later, I walked along the Avenue of Stars back to my hotel. Exhausted but also inspired by a lot of new impressions.

Night market display

Friday – hoping the sun would burn of the haze – I took the ferry to CheungChau Island. Mona and Markus recommended the island. And even though the sun never broke through, I had a great day exploring the island and getting a great work out at the same time. Amazing how often you can go up and down on an island that is only 2.5 square kilometers big.

The ferry had been crowded and I was a bit worried when I first saw the waterfront. Lots of people and one seafood restaurant to the next already serving a lot of customers. But my travel guide was right – most locals do not venture beyond the main drag and come for food only. For the better part of the day, I was alone hiking through hills and walking along beaches. At some point I even worried that if the stray dogs that seemed to own the beach would attack me, no one would ever find me …

many stairs to lookout

colorful boats all sizes

colorful boats all sizes

colorful barrels

colorful barrels

artwork at temple on island

artwork at temple on island

island cemetary

island cemetary

island impressions

island impressions

school trip to the island with a random European as attraction

school trip to the island with a random European as attraction

Managed to include some hiking ... in Hong Kong of all places!

Managed to include some hiking … in Hong Kong of all places!

Back at the hotel I hit the pool for the first time – deciding to beat this cold by working it off. Once in the pool, the sun broke through for the first time since I arrived and I swam looking at the skyline drenched in an amazing sunset.

Hong Kong sunset

Hong Kong sunset

Evening ended with Mona and Markus – that came from Shanghai for the weekend – and some of their MBA friends at the famous Sevva Bar in Central. Amazing view – was just too cold on the terrace. But we got seats inside. Fun night – only getting back to Kowloon took over an hour, since cabs do not want to make the trip. Luckily I had local support who at some point just bribed a taxi driver 😉

Next day it was really sunny – but windy. Took it slowly after the long night out. Wrote this by the pool. Needed to get my swimming in before I headed to town again. Mona and Markus took me up to the Peak – and guess what, ever there Hong Kong attractions come with a shopping mall …

From the peak

me at the Peak Hong Kong

the tower on the left is the Ritz where in the highest hotel bar in the world I said my farewell to Hong Kong in style

the tower on the left is the Ritz where in the highest hotel bar in the world I said my farewell to Hong Kong in style

Later we met with Mona’s family for a seafood dinner at “happy seafood”. Really fortunate to have local company and guiding on this trip! I would have never ventured to this area of Hong Kong – and according to the locals, as a foreigner, I would have been cheated with the food. But as I was with locals … we picked out the seafood which was then taken to the restaurant a few doors down and prepared to our orders. It was AMAZING.

Buying seafood

Buying seafood

seafood galore

seafood galore

seafood prepared

seafood prepared

yumm
yumm

mastering chop sticks

mastering chop sticks

Met with some more friends at a local bar – and while still on the wrong side of town, I had no problem getting a cab back to my hotel.

My last day in Hong Kong my hosts took me to dim sum brunch at the restaurant they had their wedding reception at. The food drives by on carts and you can see what you choose. If you pick something your card gets the responding “stamp”. Another delicious meal!

food cart with menue

food cart with menue

restaurant tracking system

restaurant tracking system

We then took the train to Hong Kongs big Buddha – and yes, both the cable car station as well as the way to the Buddha itself are … shopping malls.

shoppingsstrip on the way to buddha

shopping strip on the way to Buddha

Despite the haze, the cable car ride was great. Lines were long, but we mastered the many stairs up the “largest outside sitting bronze Buddha” in the world. Everything seems to have to be big in Hong Kong … even the incense sticks:

giant smoke

giant smoke

Mona and Markus at big Buddha

Mona and Markus at big Buddha

cable car in the haze

cable car in the haze

cable car and budda as sun sets

cable car and budda as sun sets

not alone

not alone

At the cable car I had to say farewell to Mona and Markus who were incredible hosts. They went to the airport to head back to Shanghai. While I spent a night in at my hotel packing for a very early departure for Koh Samui in Thailand the next morning.

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Add a little culture

I admit, the weather in Auckland could have been better today. But after droping my bags at the Mozilla office I took the weather as a sign from the gods of culture … and went to the Auckland museum. I bought a ticket for the Maori Culture Experience – it was a bit like Disney Land, but I did at least learn a few things! The best bit was the volcano exhibit (has nothing to do with Maori). You walk into a living room and sit on a sofa. Then the TV starts and they inform you that a volcano will soon erupt in the Auckland harbor – given that is is build on volcanos, not unlikely. All of a sudden the room shakes and goes all dark. Ok – very much like Disney land, but I liked it!

On the way back to the hotel I got a bit lost but had time to take pics of the plants along the highway (for my parents: ueberall agapanthus, bluehend!). Had my first restaurant meal on my own – and it was not bad at all. I guess I was so “disturbed” by the waitress that wore eyeshadow in the color of the restaurant logo – acid green … That I did not miss any company. Sorry, no pictures. Not only because I was scared to take one of the waitress but also because I am at a pubic internet terminal at Auckland airport. Internet access is free … nice surprises all around.

More from the South Island!

note to Mozilla: the free computers at the airport run Opera …

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They really are very nice!

view from hotelroom

View from my hotel room

Not sure if it only feels this way because I read and heard so much about it – but it seems like the Kiwi are really genuinely nice: Shuttle bus diver, that caries my luggage into the hotel, and hotel staff that juggles a few reservation around so I can actually check in and get into my room at 9 in the morning!

Sales people in camera stores, which sincerely apologize for not selling the piece of accessory I am looking for and then give me directions to the competition that might have it. Locals sitting at the table next to me in a café noticing my travel guide – asking me where I am from, complimenting me on my choice of sights to see in New Zealand and whishing me a great time in their country.

Downtown Auckland

Downtown Auckland / Ferry Terminal and Sky Tower

 

And last, but not least: Colleague, that spends part of his Sunday showing me Auckland and invites me for lunch (thanks Rob!). After a walk around the harbor area in the morning, I met Rob and his family. They took me to one on the 48 volcano cones in Auckland. The view from Mount Eden was impressive. Then we went to the beach for more great views. And all this after a delicious Vietnamese lunch.

Rob mit Kids

Rob with kids

 

Now a short break –and if I can fight the jet lag, I will go down to the bar below for a beer. It is called Fox’s – guess it is a sign for me as a “Firefox” employee on the eve before the 5th birthday of Firefox. Reminds me – the really friendly person at the visitor info at Auckland airport was using Firefox (so much for not thinking about work!)

 

am Meer

Bin wirklich da! / I am really in NZL!

@ Alix: I guess they are all happy someone is actually visiting them!

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numbers …

… a blog post a month is not the best rate, I guess. This will improve!

But much more interesting are the numbers I am learning as I dig into the Mozilla past … trying to prep for my future job.

Only a little less than a year ago, media reported that 120 million people use Firefox in about 50 languages. This equaled a worldwide market share in browser usage of 13%. And just a few weeks ago, we reported, that according to the latest stats, the worldwide market share of Mozilla is 20% with 220 million people using it. WOW. We are available in about 60 languages … I guess there are not many more we need to cover.

In some countries Firefox usage even passed the 50% mark. Almost scary – but this certainly underlines the power of localization and thus the importance of the Mozilla community.

And according to Nielsen Mozilla is the internet brand in Germany that grows faster than anyone else – even passing You Tube.

Lots of numbers – if they keep rolling in at this rate, I should be fine to blog more than once a month …

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Initiation

Starting a new job has upsides and downsides.

I have to say, one you have given notice at your old job, people are especially nice to you. And you get a lot of encouraging comments about your work. Thus you are tempted to wonder why you decided to leave in the first place.

Meeting new people is great. Understanding what they actually talk about is tough.  (especially when you are jet-lagged). But when I went out to Mountain View, CA to meet my new colleagues at Mozilla, they all made sure I felt welcome. Thanks for that 🙂

What I have learned so far is, that I will get to work with a group of very talented people. With a great sense of humor. Humor that I hope I will not loose as I will struggle to work my way up a very steep learning curve. Today I was encouraged to think about social businesses. Great. Love to be inspired by what I work on. And did I mentioned that I chose PR as a profession, because I always feel like I am being paid to learn?

Will keep you posted on my progress

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