Instead of packing for our flight to northern Thailand (which takes off in a matter of hours!), I’m sitting here in our hotel room in Hong Kong, tapping away on my laptop, answering emails in preparation for the release of our cookbook. (That’s right: our book hits (American) shelves and mailboxes in just a few days—and in fact, it appears that some copies are already making their way into the hands of folks who pre-ordered!)
I can’t decide whether it was a good or bad idea to plant ourselves half a world away during our book release, but I suppose it’s too late to start second-guessing myself now.
Besides, I’ve had an incredible time in Hong Kong. We survived the flight from San Francisco without killing each other, though I had stupidly ordered the gluten-free meals on the plane, which turned out to also double as the super-low-fat, high-carb meals ordered by fat-phobic passengers.
By the time we arrived, we were starving and passing out—but thankfully, there’s no shortage of great food in this city.
After stuffing ourselves every morning, we’ve split up: Henry has headed off to work, leaving the boys and me to explore this megalopolis on our own.
We’ve wandered around the city, taking in the sights from the Star Ferry, dining on suckling pig and crispy Peking duck…
…riding the tram up to Victoria Peak…
…scouting for gastronomic oddities like Doggie Gelato (beef or cheese flavored!)…
…posing for pictures with Bruce Lee…
…and braving the super-deranged rides at Ocean Park.
And did you know you can find penguins and panda feces in Hong Kong?
Yesterday, the boys got to sample the world-famous xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung, while I enjoyed the dumpling joint’s gluten-free fare: meaty soups, sautéed greens, and pickled vegetables.
Oh, and we’ve walked through a crap-ton of shopping malls. If you’re into retail therapy, I highly suggest you get your butt onto a plane headed for Hong Kong—a city that sometimes appears to be comprised of nothing but interconnected, temperature-controlled mall complexes.
Every evening, Henry has returned to find us sluggish and hungry. Luckily, we have family and friends in the city who have kept us entertained and well fed, including my parents (who happen to have been staying with my aunts in Hong Kong since early November)…
…Henry’s extended family…
…and Henry’s childhood buddy Dan, who—believe it or not—quickly became one of Asia’s biggest movie stars and heartthrobs after moving from California in the ’90s. Dan and his lovely wife Lisa became parents earlier this year, and let me tell you: their daughter is the cutest thing ever. Even as my jet-lagged five-year-old passed out cold at the dinner table, Raven remained adorably bouncy and smiley.
Chiang Mai is up next, and I can’t wait. After poring through my copy of Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok (a must-read for anyone interested in the fresh flavors of northern Thailand), I am dying to try ALL THE THINGS.
I’m also looking forward to touring local eateries and meeting all the farmers and chefs in the region that Mark Ritchie (owner of CrossFit Chiang Mai and founder of the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute) have lined up for my visit. The kids, meanwhile, are buzzing with excitement over the prospect of ziplining (Lil-O) and attending a cooking class (Big-O).
Henry has a much less ambitious agenda in Chiang Mai. After weeks of around-the-clock work (I have no idea what his international legal work entails, but it appears to involve a lot of black coffee and late night phone calls), he’s finally on vacation. My exhausted husband has vowed to do as little as possible. “I just want to sleep,” he says.
Me, too—though I’ve already been catching plenty of Zs. I thought I’d spend all of December tossing and turning, fretting about the publication of our book, but I actually got a solid eight-and-a-half hours of shut-eye last night. As a natural worrier, of course I’m nervous that our cookbook will fall flat on its face upon release, but it helps that I’m thousands of miles away from home at the moment.
Besides, after pouring gallons of blood, sweat, and tears into the pages of our book over the past couple of years, it’s completely out of my hands now, so I might as well just chill out and focus on what’s important: Spending quality time with my favorite people in the world. While riding elephants.