Chinese New Year Festivities at the Blue House

The Blue House in Wan Chai is a historic site that serves the community as a place to gather weekly for an assortment of talks, view small exhibitions of Hong Kong’s past and a hodge podge of books and toys. 

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The event space is a small area of roughly 250 square feet, furniture and randomly placed bric-a-brac reduces it to roughly 100 square feet of walkable area. Pretty small. It’s up some stairs (possibly to avoid flooding in the old days) and this is certainly an inconvenience to the disabled or those confined to a pram. 

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The extensive renovations taking place behind this facade is estimated to continue for the rest of this year, but it looks like there’ll be some open areas and  rooms to hold yet more bric-a-brac.

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Of the four little rooms on the ground floor, the first and second are blocked off with simple plaster board and serve as a makeshift notice board. 

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The third is the current event space area and the fourth is often full of guys wearing white undershirts sitting around. I’m unsure of what they do in there but perhaps it’s a rest area of sorts. Maybe it’s where the mahjong table is placed. 

An open-air rectangular clear glass aquarium full of small koi and goldfish make a nice pit stop if you have kids in tow.

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The Blue House has its own decorations for this Chinese New Year. Red lanterns hang out front, a very cute knitting of a monkey couple adorn the corner street sign. 

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On the “notice board”, a range of announcements compete for attention. If you’re looking for something to do in Wan Chai, you might want to stop by and have a look. 

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You can volunteer to help out with the Southorn community during Chinese New Year (2016) though you’d have to speak Cantonese, or take part in the stamp making workshop later in the month on the 27th of February.

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Baumhaus Playroom in Queen’s Road East

It’s been at least half a year since I last visited Baumhaus. Since then, things appear to have gotten much busier with many more mothers and children visiting the playroom. 

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The lift attendants are now more attentive and open the door to the secure lift lobby when they see you coming. The lift buttons still don’t light up when pressed but light up only when it gets to the floor. In this case, Baumhaus is on the first floor. 

Some thoughtful renovation has been performed. The front counter and bench has been shifted to give more space to the playroom, it also created a useful reading nook beside the cafe which was otherwise a wasted corridor space that visually partitioned the cafe from the playroom. 

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There were additional toys, a play kitchen, an aeroplane baby swing. I liked that when the playroom got really busy, they expanded the roam area by opening the collapsible doors to the classroom to create a contiguous space. 

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The soundproofing was a critical upgrade. The walls beneath the windows are now covered with an inch thick layer of padding. It makes a huge difference to the acoustics of the playroom. Think 30 screaming children dampened to half. That’s a significant tolerable reduction.

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The cafe is now properly equipped, so coffees, teas, hot/cold chocolate and bottled juices are now available. Served alongside if you want are a variety of biscuits, muffins and toasted bagels with cream cheese (recommended, HKD 23).

The playroom costs HKD 80 per entry, kids are welcome to play for several hours but 2 hours is usually enough for them to do all the sliding they want, and get through most of the toys.