Sunday, June 26, 2011

Drawings for My Second Book!

It took me some time to come up with sketches for my second book, I wanted the pictures to be better than my first book Her Beef Stew, better in every way, more action, more exciting, more expressive. These past weeks, whenever inspiration strikes I would be working away on my desk, drumming up all kinds of ideas to make each and every drawing a better drawing. And this week, they were all finished! Today I share just a couple of them with you, your very own sneak peek into this second book I am currently working on.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Simple Sweet

At the end of the week
a project deadline was completed,
a visit to the night market
was my mini celebration.

There was fresh produce, sweet
desserts, wood fired pizzas,
chilli, even kettle corn.
The craft vendors had an interesting
array of creations, different music
bands played for the wide
range of audience.

But my eyes were on the local
strawberries, small and red,
they were not as sweet as anticipated
but they were sure fresh, a
delightful treat with low fat yogurt,
a simple sweet at the end
of the day.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hong Kong Postcard Day 20 Tai O An Area of Renewal

It has been a busy week, a project deadline has kept me from blogging but I made sure to set aside some time to escape to China! We are in Hong Kong visiting Tai O, there has already been a few posts about this special little village but there was one last part of Tai O Peter wanted to see, so we made our way back towards town, down the windy path pictured below.Back into the neighborhood of tightly built residences where people lived so closely you could chat with your neighbor across the street without leaving your home.
The occasional open space was noticeable, as was the great variety of exterior materials and texture, be it pastel colored stucco or gradating tiles.
We followed Peter, who was looking for a specific area of Tai O, one that was going through some changes. The walkway led us to...
... an empty housing lot that was scattered with bricks and rumbles leftover from construction projects.
As we ventured further, we found some homes made of metal sheeting, it appeared newer developments were rising above the remains of the past.
A closer look revealed they were neatly structured with clean angular shapes and lots of windows.
Check out this one on the left with numerous tiny windows, I wondered what it would look like from the inside. My eyes were drawn to the adjoining rusty green residence, the paint poorly disguised its corroded walls.
In some way, the newer homes made a pleasant difference to this older part of Tai O, where houses were built on stilts right over the water.
As the camera wandered around capturing images, the sound of sawing in the distance caught my attention.
The camera zoomed in to find a husband working laboriously while his wife stood by, offering help only in a verbal manner.
Closer to us, a pile of construction materials left on the side, there was a kitchen sink, some scraps of wood and some rolls of roofing membrane.
Why was this part of Tai O going through a stage of renewal? Our observation returned to the development right before us, on the ground were strings that determined each lot, that was when we noticed the charred remains of the homes.
A fire broke out in the year 2000, about 90 stilt homes were destroyed, leaving many families homeless, a lot of the residents were elderly and poor. I was told the government was slow with the rebuilding process, there was talk of better housing designs with clean running water and sewage systems. It had been 7 years and there was still vacant lots waiting for reconstruction.
I looked on at the blackened remainder amongst the heaps of debris, what was once somebody's home that held all their belongings. I hope the government would complete the restoration that was badly needed for this area.
On the way back we noticed a fire extinguisher station, colored in bright red with bold Chinese characters that clearly spelled out its purpose, we questioned if this was there before and if it was used to stop the spread of fire in 2000.
The maze of walkways guided us back to the market, lining the fence on the bottom right were a network of pipes.
More pipes accompanied the path, this time there was more than one.
We came across this amazing trail that zigzagged marvelously, how would one construct a water pipe here?
The wooden path trailed off into the unknown distance, it was unfinished, a mirror image of the current government rebuilding project.
We walked on leaving the renewal zone, past the new homes made of metal. As I followed David and Peter, I thought about my visit to Tai O, it has been a very interesting afternoon, all the way from the pier to the museum, the dried food market was an eye-opening experience as was the search for lunch, I really enjoyed walking through the neighborhood where we found homes by the water and got a closer look at the lifestyle in this little fishing village. It is truly a special place, many thanks to Peter for suggesting it and guiding us around. Until next week, our China adventure continues!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hong Kong Journal Day 20 Tai O A Closer Look at Home

Hello and welcome to this week's post on our China trip! We are in Hong Kong exploring the fishing village of Tai O, Day 20 of our journey has been most exciting, we visited the museum, the dried food market, our search of lunch led to a stroll through the neighborhood, where we discovered homes by the water. We also got a closer look at some parts of the home, revealing the way of life in this little town.

Pictured below a working area right outside this house, there were tables for cutting up the catch of the day and buckets for rinsing and sorting out parts.
Nearby a fish drying area accompanied by a relaxed but watchful guard dog.
Another fish drying area, no dogs around but it was protected by covering of green net.
More hanging fish, there were few homes without them, these ones were left out in the open, no dogs or covering, there was not a soul watching. The ones that were laid flat had their heads wrapped in paper, could these be salted fish ready for sale?
Not all fish were hung individually by their tails, this lady below was drying trays of fish.
I managed to get a close up of a fresh tray of fish, these were suspended in the covered balcony situated right over the water. Their heads and entrails were removed, their size was quite small, what kind of fish were they?
While walking through the homes by the water, we stumbled upon a platter of fish drying in the sun, it was placed next to the walkway on a heap of salvaged materials.
I could not resist capturing the glistening scales, they still looked fresh even though the flesh underneath was shriveled from the heat.
Some dried seafood were weighed down with metal screens and wooden blocks to prevent curling whilst drying. These were round shaped and very thin, could they be butterflied fish or was it cuttlefish?
We were able to roam through covered patios of some of the homes, some of them were quite large like this one below. Judging by the round table, chairs, and baskets and ropes strewn about, it was a working room as well as a dining area.
A much tidier deck with a great waterfront view.
Mahjong in the cool shade by the water, what a way to pass the time, I could imagine the chatter of conversation amongst the mixing of tiles at the end of the day.
Not all verandas were spacious, this one below is quite small but there was room to dry the laundry and store some items, there was even space for the kids to play.
A close up of the kid's motorbike, love the black and yellow! There were 3 stools, were there 3 kids in this family?
I have mentioned gardens before, and I had to include the photo below, any bit of green space in Hong Kong was a prized luxury, especially if it was part of a home. There was no need for a grand area, just a couple of wooden planks and pots of various materials, pottery or plastic filled with all kinds of tropical plants and there you have a garden!
A peek into a kitchen, it was most tiny with everything you need within arm's reach, be it garlic, seasonings, utensils, wok or sink.
An outdoor living room setting in a marvelous green, on the door 2 fu characters on diamond shaped paper, plus another one off to the left totaling 3 fus that just about guaranteed blessings of happiness and good fortune.

So ends this post with this picture in mind, there was no grand residences in Tai O, most homes were small and compact. Somehow the residents made it work, there was room to live, work and play. In their little space people seemed to be content, which brings to mind do we really need so many things and a big house?

Next week our China adventure continues, just a little bit more on Tai O, a very special part that Peter was eager to see.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bamboo Shadows

There is something striking
about the shadows of the
bamboo, like that of
a Chinese painting,
bold brushstrokes black
ink on white rice paper.

Follow the Shadows

Follow the shadows
of the weeds along
the path by the river
one weekend day,
the breeze was cool
the air was warm
it felt just right.
Nothing to think about
except to relax.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Random Flowers for Tuesday

Some flowers to share
from a walk by the river,
the ones with the white
anthers look very interesting.
I think its petals have fallen
off, I think it's a weed.
It doesn't matter, even
the pale yellow broom seems
pretty basking in the sun.
The last photo with a
mysterious pink blossom,
I do not know its name
but I see it everywhere.

The weekend was very busy
some time to work
and some time to rest.
I hope for a good week ahead
I hope to finish some tasks.