While there are certainly signs of Christmas here in Hong Kong (probably due both to the British colonial legacy along with prominence that shopping plays in the lives of people here), there were no signs of Thanksgiving anywhere. Well – Lingnan actually had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the dining hall Thursday night, but since we’re vegetarians, that wasn’t all that appealing to us (while I enjoy all the fixings, for me, Thanksgiving is really about spending time with family).
Feeling bad about depriving the boys of the holiday, we decided to take the day off and head over to Disneyland. If they couldn’t have the traditional all-American holiday, well then, we thought they could have a different sort of all-American experience, Disney. And Disney certainly didn’t disappoint; the experience began on the train ride over (given that many here don’t own cars, Hong Kong Disneyland is accessible by public rail. It took us less than an hour to get there). There’s a special line that takes you from the main MTR to Disney; the trains had Mickey-shaped windows, Mickey-shaped handholds, etc.
In fact, the whole experience was just like what you’d experience at a Disney in the U.S: fun rides, interesting productions and spotless service and grounds. We rode on Space Mountain, took a turn on Cinderella’s Carousel, and rode boats in It’s a Small World. Given that it was just a random Thursday, the lines were short (with one exception: the Toy Story Solider Parachute Drop. Worst line management I’ve ever seen at Disney. Of course, being my father’s daughter, I couldn't let such poor line management pass without comment, which scored the boys are line-free trip to one of the neighboring rides); given two boys and an impatient mother, the short lines made the experience all the more enjoyable. Sitting on Main Street, which was all decked out for Christmas, with snow falling and the Boston Pops’ version of “Sleigh Ride” playing in the background, it was almost like being at home – almost. I mean – the snow was fake, we were in shorts, and Mickey Mouse spoke Cantonese, so it wasn’t quite the same.
Nonetheless, we enjoyed it quite a bit. Part of it was the whole experience (the fireworks, the parades, the rides), but part of it was also the little things that make a visit to Disney so fun. As an example, when we were walking to lunch, we came across a man who was “painting” Disney characters with a broom and some water. He let Berkley and Quin have a go; they produced a face (which totally resembled the Genki Sushi logo) and a spider, respectively.
So, it definitely wasn't a traditional Thanksgiving for us. No traditional Thanksgiving meal (we had an Indian vegetarian sampler and Laksa for lunch followed by sushi for dinner), no family and friends. But it was still a day that reminded us how much we have to be thankful for, and in the end, I think that's what Thanksgiving is really all about.