Saturday, July 30, 2011

Meeting with George

A very serious meeting with George:
discussion started in the kitchen
while waiting for the water to
boil, it continued into the
dining room while waiting for
the meat to cook. The burnt
smell soon revealed the pork
chops did not survive George's
intense BBQ heat. Oh well
lunch must go on, the buttered
buns went well with the creamy
coleslaw, corn and crunchy carrots.

After a munching recess it was
determined the beef patties was also
too dry, the star of the meal was
the sausage called torunska. Topics
of conversation soon led to
Jenny Craig, storybook illustrations,
the past, the future and the
present, which summarizes this
afternoon's activities.

It was nice to take the time
to visit an old friend, to break
away from the routine
and take a break.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hong Kong Diary Day 21 Convention Center and Causeway Bay

It seems there is little else to do but go to work or stay at home and paint for my second book these days. I for one would love to break away from this monotonous routine. I am looking forward to some 'free' time this coming long weekend and fear not, progress had been made each time I sit down to paint, something I hope to share later this week and... I have also set aside some time to escape to China today!

Let's continue on Day 21 of our trip, after a quiet walk at Clearwater Bay, Peter took us to Po Tai O, a fishing village much smaller than Tai O. We then stopped over at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, captured below the sweeping roof of the building, a remarkable shape against the evening sky.
Walking around the structure, another view from a different angle, various shades of blue and green glass a lovely compliment to the concrete grey, the row of white pots a subtle adornment on the edge.
Strolling by the other direction, the interior began to light up as the sun set creating a completely different outlook as one would witness in the daytime, this was one of my favorite sights of this exquisite architecture.
Just a few steps ahead, cars began to appear followed by the crowds, something must have been going on at the time as traffic got to be quite noisy. In the background the center's lights began to glow behind its glass walls like amber in the light.
It was time to leave and head over to Causeway Bay, just a short drive away, Peter left us for the evening, we thanked him again for showing us around Hong Kong and headed over to the water, below the scene as we waited for the night to fall. I have posted about Causeway Bay here, the scenery looked completely different from Victoria Peak.
I could not remember if there were many people around but the night was warm and the skies were fairly clear that October evening, we were hoping for a clear night for some night time pictures of the harbor.
In just a few moments the colors became more vibrant as the sun continued to set.
We waited patiently as the minutes passed, the salty air and calm sea kept us at ease, Peter told us the harbor would look completely different in the dark.
The taller buildings began to illuminate from within, some rooftops began to radiate...
... then the surrounding shorter ones followed in the twinkling brilliance.
We were enjoying the light show when a building's face began to display a colorful exhibit of the upcoming year's event. I recalled Peter mentioning this event but I could not remember what it was.
Nevertheless it kept us captivated as we watched the animated fireworks on this delightful show.
Below the panorama of the waterfront with all of the buildings lit up, it sure paid off to wait for the night to fall, the buildings were a wonderful array like jewels glistening in the dark.
A last shot of the harbor before heading back to the hotel, with no tripod we had left the camera on the concrete sidewalk on a prolonged exposure, the result was a ghostly image of a Chinese junk with crimson sails as it slowly glided along the water. It was nice to have a quiet day after an eventful Day 20, nevertheless we did not go to bed until 1 AM that night.

The China trip had taken up a lot out of our time and energy, did I tell you we were there for almost a month? And in that course 18,000 pictures were taken, some of which I was able to share on my weekly China posts, with the very first post that started in February 2010. I have enjoyed this blog journey of our trip, there are only a few more posts to go, I hope you continue to join us as we reveal another episode next week!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hong Kong Postcard Day 21 Po Tai O

I'm glad its Thursday, because this means tomorrow is Friday!!! Painting for my second book has taken up most of my time these days, there is little left for sleeping and eating, but I made sure to set aside some time for my weekly post on our China trip. So here here we go again to Hong Kong, where Peter decided to take us to Po Tai O, a fishing village just a short drive away from the park in Clearwater Bay.

A walk down the ramp towards town, Peter pointed out Po Tai O was much smaller in size than Tai O. After an eventful Day 20 on our journey, we gladly wandered into its peaceful atmosphere. All was quiet, there was no locals around, not even a single tourist.
We headed towards the water, unlike Tai O, there were no twists or turns, navigation was simple and straightforward. In just a few steps we arrived on the edge, the familiar sight of laundry hung out to dry greeted us.
As the sea lapped against the shore, we noticed the houses were built on concrete foundation, not on wooden stilts like the ones in Tai O.
Most homes were newer, cleaner and tidier like the ones pictured below. I quite like the red couplets that decorated the entrance doors, I hope they bring the homeowners lots of happiness and good luck.
There were homes situated right next to one another in a row, but there were houses that stood alone like this one. It was a modest size, but a comfortable one for a small family. I would imagine with the number of plastic chairs stacked out front, extended family members gathered here once in a while for a merry reunion.
The scent of incense beckoned us along, we found a small shrine on the edge of town for residents to worship.
Across from the temple the view of the peninsula, just a few fishing boats tied to shore, they were much smaller than the ones in Tai O, I did not notice any engine motors.
Another outlook from a different angle, the water was so calm it was almost smooth as glass.
One last shot before heading inland, just a few short buildings in the background and some small vessels in the foreground, somehow this conjured up thoughts of a simple life by the water.
Returning to the car, we passed by a seafood restaurant, Peter said there was only a couple of them in Po Tai O.
Next to the eatery, a fresh seafood stall with tanks of live creatures, there was all kinds of swimming fish...
... and a good variety of shellfish on display. The photos reminded me of the wonderful dinner we ate that night, Peter's parents took us to a marvelous rooftop restaurant where plate after plate of battered and fried cuttlefish, razorback clam in black bean sauce, boiled shrimp, steamed garupa, steamed scallops on their shells, and chicken feet and it has been a long time since I ate chicken feet. All was delightfully delicious. It was the kind of place where guests chose their menu and while they sit and wait at their tables, the chefs in the kitchen prepared their meals.
"Look! A local!" I exclaimed with excitement as a little boy with yellow pants went walking by, we all decided to follow him.
He was looking for his playmate, I tried to take their photo but they both dodged the camera shyly, these were the only souls we saw in Po Tai O.
One of 2 last photos to share, as usual my eyes could not ignore the flowers, a golden hibiscus with double petals grew out of a tiny pot outside a home.
The camera also captured a common Chinese ingredient in the kitchen, a basketful of dried orange peel. Curiously there was no dried seafood in sight like Tai O, no drying in the sun nor was there selling of the dried goods. Our visit in Po Tai O was short, but we much enjoyed the restful minutes there. Next week our China adventure continues... in another part of Hong Kong!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hong Kong Journal Day 21 Clearwater Bay

I can't believe its Thursday! There's lots to do but at least the painting for my second book has started, and there is still time to escape to China. It has been quite a trip traveling through mainland China, click here to see the destinations of our entire trip. After a very busy Day 20 on our journey Peter took us to Clearwater Bay for some quiet time.

Down the path at the park, not a soul in sight.
There has been a tremendous amount of walking on our visit, our heavy legs took us up some steps, this was when we discovered the lone stroller ahead of us.
At the top of the steps, a grassy area with wooden animals, it seemed to be a designated kids play zone but no children were to be seen. I decided to ride one of them, the newly painted timber was very hard and uncomfortable, nevertheless I found the antlers amusing. The ones with horns off to the side reminded me of lambs whereas the others with antlers on top made me think of reindeers, some even looked like grasshoppers.
Leaving the area of fun we followed the trail down the path, Peter said a nearby hill is a popular spot for flying kites.
And there it was on top of the hill, the silhouette of a man holding a colorful kite beckoned us.
A closer look revealed the man was busy preparing his kite for flight...
... then he started to run around very fast so his kite would catch some wind. I could not remember if he was successful in flying his kite, maybe it was not a particularly windy day.
But the kite had a unique shape...
... and I remembered the decorative patterns on the ground, there was some lovely painted kites amongst the floor tiles.
I really like this one that looked like an old man, his facial expression is somewhat amusing.
This one below reminded me of an owl. There were a few more designs but each one was of similar style, they were not traditional but a modern interpretation of the wind's toys. I like the way the kites were painted, the colors were muted but they went perfectly with the peaceful atmosphere of the place.
Trailing down the path, I turned my head to look back at the peak, some silhouettes were captured, outlines of people gathering to enjoy the calming effect of the park.
Pictured below, a distant vista, it was cloudy and humid that afternoon, I could smell the saltiness of the nearby sea.
There was a lookout of the distant islands, complete with benches and tables for contemplating.
Heading down, I lagged behind as usual, there was something appealing about the meandering paths, each turn revealed a different photo opportunity.
Further down, we were engulfed by the trees, there were actually quite a few trees, we could hear the rustling of the leaves in the warm breeze. The trees were slim in the trunk but looking up, they were tall in height and offered a fair amount of shade.
The tranquil quality of the area put me at ease, it made me notice the littlest of things, like the pattern on the fence post, I even found the fence design interesting.
A couple of highlights amongst the bushes, this spider was a good size, with its legs stretched out it was the size of my hand!
An unusual variety of berries, the orange colored fruit peeled open as they ripen to reveal a purplish grey center.
A plant with delicate leaves, which had the most intricate vein structure.
One of the last twisty paths led us down to...
... the ranger station, a handsome looking hut with a terra cotta roof, it was equipped with an air conditioner. I could not help notice the surrounding tropical plants, their form was most distinct, I like the ones on the ground with the pointy leaves.
Back to the car, as Peter drove away he said there was another destination before heading home for dinner. Join us next week as we continue our China adventure!