Long distance relationships can be a fun-suck, especially when your significant other’s birthday rolls around and you are on opposite sides of the country. For my boyfriend’s birthday this year, I would forego the lackluster gift half-heartedly ordered online and would try something a bit unexpected. I presented him with a QR code progressive date package a few weeks later in Hong Kong where we would reunite for the start of our Asia vacation. I was inspired by a similar gift I saw in Erin Jang and Steph Hung's Make and Give book and knew this would be in the perfect interactive gift.
I told JB not have any plans for our first day in Hong Kong and to make sure to get enough sleep on his 14-hour flight because we would be on the move the moment we dropped off our bags. I planned an itinerary around activities and foods that we love and that would celebrate the city we lived in. The red, white and blue colors were a nod to the same colored, quintessentially Hong Kong nylon canvas that you can see peppered around local street markets to cover stalls and temporary structures.
Each envelope contained a card with a QR code and address printed on it. The scanned code would reveal a poem that provided a hint to where the location might be. One after another, JB would open the next smaller envelope to figure out the next destination.
So here we go! The first and biggest envelope, eagerly waiting to be opened on the streets of Tin Hau.
The first card led us to a local Hong Kong eatery or "cha chaan teng" where we would have a typical Hong Kong breakfast consisting of luncheon meat macaroni, scrambled eggs, toast and sweet hot milk tea. I will say it is not the most healthiest of breakfasts but it is darn delicious! I ate everything. And of course, it would not be the full experience without having to share our table with complete strangers and listening to the waitstaff shout loudly at each other.
Get ready to load up on eggs and buttery toast,
If not you will walk around the city like a jetlagged ghost,
Definitely an iced milk tea for me,
I hope they have an English menu for us to see.
For our second location I wanted us to participate in a collaborative file-sharing project called "Dead Drops." It is a project started by Aram Bartholl, a Berlin-based media artist, in which "USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop." There are USB installed all around the world and I thought it would be great to embed one in Hong Kong.
Pick the perfect location,
And become a part of this worldwide database collaboration,
We better make sure this USB stick is embedded securely,
As the other two in Hong Kong have already been deactivated unfortunately.
We decided to superglue one underneath a bench on Central's Gough Street. JB actually went back the next day to make sure it was there but unfortunately it was gone. Perhaps a cleaning lady found it or the hot humid weather prevented it from drying completely. It would have been better to have mounted it into a wall, sealing it with cement, but hey at least we tried. Next time we will make sure we embed our USB more securely!
When JB and I were living in Hong Kong, we would occasionally take the Star Ferry together from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central as part of our evening commute home. It is still one of my favorite memories of the city, making sure to tie my hair before the boat took off so that my lovely lady locks would not slap JB across his face due to the wind and then watching the beautiful glittering buildings that line Hong Kong island get bigger and bigger as we got closer to the pier. I would recommend the ferry to anyone who visits Hong Kong, especially when the sun is setting.
Your original Valentine's Day plan included one of these,
Be careful you might get hair slapped by the breeze,
Oh, to relive one of my fondest memories of Hong Kong with you,
And simply take in the beautiful city view.
For lunch, I decided on Sheraton's Oyster & Wine Bar because JB absolutely loves oysters. He could eat them for days. Plus who would say no to unlimited champagne and a gorgeous view of the city from the 18th floor.
Oyster & Wine Bar
You will be thrilled to load up on your favorite type of feed,
It must be love when you still ate them even after they made you bleed,
Let's sip on some bubbly and ocean juice,
After this, I am sure we will be completely stuffed and footloose.
After lunch we visited a small museum in Fortress Hill. Our favorite piece by far was this giant fortune cookie that visitors could tie handwritten messages onto the sculpture's wired frame. I loved that we were contributors to this work of art and in essence dictating what we would want our fortune to be, rather then a cookie telling us what our fortune is.
The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club kicked it here back in the day,
But a space that fuels creativity and imagination is what it is today,
You will have to eat more food but just with your eyes,
And to check out art that explores life's whys.
JB's wish was for a blessed future together and for good things to come for this blog. How sweet!
And of course what is a more perfect way of ending a date than with some cocktails. I found a stylish bar called The Envoy that creates artfully delicious drinks, many inspired by tea, a nod to the city's first governor Sir Henry Pottinger, who helped established Hong Kong as a major trading port. My drink was extra strong (just the way I like it!) and had an beautiful yellow flower inside the ice ball, which I must try making for cocktails at home.
Another form of art we will explore,
But this is the type that you must pour,
Locate this building named after Hong Kong's first governor,
Your reward: British-inspired drinks skillfully concocted with liquor.
We were all sweaty after running around the city but it was such a fun day. And JB, if you are reading this, it is your turn to give me a progressive date package! *wink*