15-17 December 2015. Hong Kong.
My physical and emotional strengths were put to the test on the kid's first trip outside The Philippines. I think I must have carried him the whole of the three days we were exploring the different tourist spots of the Special Administrative Region. He also refused to eat rice on all of our meals but munched on bread and cookies whenever he felt hungry, and chowed on large-sized, seafood-flavored cup noodles every dinner. The kid loves to run around so during those times when he wanted me to 'un-carry' him, I still had to hold his hand and run around with him too, pained calves and heels notwithstanding.
Even so, I did not regret bringing along my son on this spur-of-the-moment trip to Hong Kong, with my relatives composed of very opinionated senior citizens and social media addict teens. Given the composition of our group, cousin and I decided to avail the services of a tour agency, Scenicworld Travel and Tours, Inc. I highly recommend this travel agency because of the smooth and very, very coordinated way they handled our tours and transfers. Three days, in my opinion, is enough to cover the basics of Hong Kong - Ngong Ping, Disneyland, and the City Tour which included a night climb to Victoria Peak.
The Big Buddha, its informal name (it's formally known as Tian Tan Buddha), was the one attraction I so wanted to see. I readied myself for the physical exertion of having to carry Zac all the way to the top, 268 steps and all. The kid surprised me, however, by climbing ( and going down, afterwards) the steps on his own, without stopping once to catch his breath. He even had the energy to run around the spacious grounds of the monastery, and I let him because it's an enclosed space. I was worried that he was somehow destroying the sacredness of the place but people were noisily taking selfies left and right, so what the heck.
Disneyland Resort was, naturally, the attraction where Zac had the most fun. He could have had more fun had our group not wasted our time locating the other group. Mom wanted all of us to have lunch together but somewhere from the entrance to Tomorrowland, we got separated. When we arrived at Fantasyland and we still saw no sign of our relatives, mom decided to explore the amusement park on our own. About time, I thought; but by then, the line at Autopia, the one ride I so wanted Zac to try because of his obsession with cars, was kilometric. We did the Orbitron, instead. I was worried the ride would be too much for Zac, but the kid's laughter as we were whisked higher and higher was enough for me to realize that the kid was braver than I gave him credit for.
The thing I feared the most when we were at Victoria Peak enjoying Hong Kong's skyline at night was whether or not Zac could withstand the cold. The last thing I needed was for Zac to have an asthma attack on our first night in the city. Surprisingly, the kid endured the cold like a trooper.
The Hong Kong trip was thus a baptism of sorts, and now that I have been initiated into international travel with a kid in tow, expect more of it. As of this writing, I have booked three international travel with my son. Let's see how those will turn out.