Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hong Kong Postcard Day 23 By Victoria Harbor

Hello Thursday! It's been another busy week but tomorrow is Friday (yay!!) and there is still time to escape to China. Last week we browsed through the paintings at the Hong Kong Musuem of Art and made our way towards the waterfront, below the distant buildings that drew us near.At the end of the row of coconut trees a blue van caught our attention, why was it parked there? We walked up to find...
... a man in a wetsuit, he marched towards the water and looked like he was on a mission.
By the sea, a different diver who appeared to have already been in the water was seen talking to 2 men who looked like authorities, why were they there and what were they looking for?
No one else seemed to be interested in the underwater discovery so we strolled away...
... and wandered towards the elevated walkway.
We wanted to take the stairs but saw there were people underneath the passageway.
A closer look revealed a man leaning on the railing, he seemed relaxed, what was he looking at?
Across the Victoria Harbor a colorful ferry cruised past, in the background the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre amongst other hi-rise located on Wan Chai North.
We had visited this area before, you can see more pictures of the convention centre and surrounding buildings on this post, they looked very dramatic all lit up at night. Everything seemed a lot calmer and muted in the daytime, it was a world of difference.
The colorful ferry sailed on by to the area called Causeway Bay, which we also frequented recently, some night shots by the harbor was shared on this post, click here to see views from Victoria Peak.
We continued on under the walkway, the shiny and smooth surface on the columns made the area feel so classy.
Just a few steps ahead the clock tower could be seen peaking around the corner, but...
... we decided to head back to the stairs, up we went to the higher level to get a different view of the surroundings.
The area seemed to be popular with the locals, a lot of people sat on the tiled bench reading the papers or chatting with friends, the weather was just the right temperature. We kept on...
... but it was not long before we encountered the same clock tower as we did underneath the passageway. In the foreground a row of lights contained in glass spheres, I wonder what kind of light shows were performed here and for what events.
We carried on to find the structure with the sweeping roof, it took up a good proportion of this shot below, I thought it went well with the sweet colored bougainvillea.
A short distance gave way to another composition of the same area, the clock tower was sure captivating.
It garnered one photo after another, this time the advertising display next to it flashed a bright red color, a message of some sort was aimed at passersby.
A final shot of the tower, a jumbled configuration of all the elements: people, buildings, advertising, coconut trees and flowers. Hong Kong sure is a photogenic city, I remembered each step was filled with all kinds of ever changing imagery I kept the camera shutter very busy. Our China adventure continues next week!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

China Journal Day 23 Hong Kong Museum of Art Part 2

Welcome to this week's episode of our China journey! Last week we visited the Hong Kong Museum of Art, I found some nice Chinese watercolors of landscapes and flowers but there were many others that caught my eye. Below part of a long series of flowers including a lotus and some chrysanthemums, several tiny orange berries nestled amongst the leaves, I wonder what kind of fruit were these?Further down the same painting, another branch that bore fruit, the color a yellow orange but they were much juicier in appearance.
A surprising end to the same piece of artwork, a group of vegetables, I recognized a bok choy and a turnip, I think the red colored one was a beet. They looked as if they were freshly harvested, I could not wait to sink my teeth into those crunchy looking stems.
Other than flowers, landscapes and fruit, there was also a study on leaves, this one belonged to the bamboo plant, which was another common topic for Chinese paintings. Its shade a brilliant green, the edges tattered and brown, there was white spots all over the leaf surface, could this piece be hinting towards snow in the woods during the winter season?
I could not remember if there were other styles of paintings other than Chinese watercolor, nor did I recall if there were other mediums. But I came across another long painting, the era was historic, the subject was the people, specifically the folks in the village. The first part was of their working life, it must have been very laborious to till the land by hand.
But there was also help from the trusty water buffalo to carry home the harvest of the day, I could imagine the relief from one's exhausted body when the end of the day was approaching.
Dinner shared together on the kitchen table at day's end, it would be so nice to grow what you eat but I am not a gardener nor am I a farmer, I would guess a feeling of utmost gratitude and fulfillment.
The painting also gave an insight to the common pastime of flying kites, which brought to mind that kite flying is still a present day activity, evident during our visit to Clearwater Bay on this post.
Would you care to be entertained by a monkey on a stick? Performance such as this must be quite popular, look at the large crowd transfixed on the animal. I much enjoyed this piece of art work, although it was in black and white, it gave me a descriptive look into what used to be a simpler way of life.
After viewing this last painting we left the museum, outside a different kind of art, it was not a watercolor on paper or fabric but a 3 dimensional work of steel.
From the side it appeared to be a profile of 2 angular shapes.
But walking around we came to a different point of view, red blocks resembled a tall column, on top a human form reached for the sky. What was the message? The sculpture did catch our attention, it was interesting but we felt it didn't quite belong to the landscape.
One last look at the Hong Kong Museum of Art before moving on.
We made our way to the waterfront, did you know the Hong Kong Museum of Art was located just minutes from our hotel?
The buildings in the area had the same color and of similar structure, modern in architecture style, check out the sweeping roof below.
We followed the row of coconut trees to the water, where did we go next? The location will be revealed next week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

China Diary Day 23 Hong Kong Museum of Art

Hello weekend! It's... the first Sunday edition of China escape, I hope this coming week will return to normal so we can continue my weekly series on Thursday. Thank you so much for the lovely comments on the last post, I'm glad you guys enjoyed the birds.

After a delightful morning at Kowloon Park we decided to visit the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which was located just a few minutes away. Much to our surprise it was free admission that Wednesday, I think admission is free every Wednesday, normally admission is 30RMB per adult, about $4.30 Canadian. Below the walkway that led us towards the museum, I could not help but notice it was covered with tiles. We were lucky it had not rained during our entire China trip, I wonder if the tiles were slippery when wet. It seemed a strange choice for outdoor application, we saw it on exterior walls throughout our China trip, was this a low maintenance solution?
There was no pictures of the interior of the museum, all I had were pictures of paintings I liked. Throughout our China trip I kept a notebook of what we saw and what we did on a daily basis but there was no notes on what the building looked like inside, how many stories and if there were other collections of artifacts. We have been traveling for 23 days, my notes got shorter and shorter as each day went by, we did so many things I was too tired to record everything.

The first painting that caught my eye, a peaceful scenery of river and mountains, a few boats floating down the calm waters, it reminded me of our cruise down the Li River in Guilin.
Another painting reminiscent of the Li River, I remembered its size was quite large, a breathtaking backdrop of tall hills nestled amongst the fog, was this Li River or another part of China?
The one below depicted a quiet walk in the woods looking through the trees onto the soothing river.
An artwork with a view of the rice fields over the bamboo grove, I quite like the brushstrokes of this piece, a mix of lively black and subtle light grey ones. It made me think of Lok Ma Chau Lookout when all we could see were farmlands.
Another portrayal of a village field, I much enjoyed the paint strokes of this one too, perhaps because it revealed a simpler way of life working off the land, were those farmers or oxen laboring in the fields?
A couple of watercolors on vistas, this one the sight from the top of a hill, boats anchored in a bay, I imagined soft waves lapping on the shore, a gentle sea wind blowing through the area.
Another landscape illustrated a river scene, a lone boat in the corner, the rest of the painting a blend of bold and soft brushwork representing a hillside and mountains, love the blue which complimented the judicious use of orange.
Then I came to a long painting of flowers, pictured below a delicate rendition of a white lotus, I have seen numerous pink ones but this pale tone made it seemed so pure. The leaves, a fine study of the vein structure, the use of the brush to show its tattered edges was most impressive.
Next to the lotus, some chrysanthemum blooms, each petal edged with a "U" shaped paint stroke, the white blooms that sat adorned the top of the stem caught my eye. There were more flowers on the same painting, every one of them separated by a short poem, I did not recognize the Chinese characters what were the poems about?
Another picture of chrysanthemum, it seemed to be a common topic in Chinese paintings, the illustrative style here was most impressive, it was as if the plants were swaying in the breeze. It also showed not one but 3 different varieties, I like the pink one with fine narrow petals.

One last photo of a painting filled with cosmos, I stood in awe and stared at its fine details, the most sophisticated of them all. It was so enchantingly beautiful I felt lost in the midst of petals and wispy leaves.

There are still more paintings to share but I will have to stop until next our next post on the China series. I hope you have a pleasant week, may it be filled with sunshine and mild weather, see you on Thursday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Mini Mini Update

Hello readers! I had all the intentions to have a China post today, certain pictures set aside and topic decided, but some things have come up on short notice that needed some immediate attention, I will have to postpone today's post until this weekend. Too little energy and attention at the moment to spend on special travel memories, just would not do it any justice whatsoever. Please check back later this week for another China escape!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hong Kong Postcard Day 23 Kowloon Park Part 2 Animals in the Park!

I can't believe October is here, days are getting shorter, weather is getting colder, but it's...... Thursday, that time of the week to escape to China! Last week we spent some time in the company of trees at Kowloon Park, I promised to show more of this wonderful place on this post, let's see what we found.

At the end of another stairway we were led down this path, what was that on the right? We were surprised to find an aviary nestled amongst the trees, we peeked in and saw...
... this bird perched on a branch in the corner, its feathers an exotic deep blue, the ones on its crown reminded me of a peacock. What was its name, I did not know.
Another unusual bird, I seemed to remember each was housed with their own species, I could not recall if this one was alone. I could not help but stare at the plumage around its nape, such a handsome shade of dusty blue, the iridescent greens, blues and orange on its back was amazing. It sat there quietly and allowed me to snap a few shots.
Just a few steps away we found another bird that looked very similar to the one above but it had a white tail and was much bigger in size. I wonder where did they get all these birds and how long were they there for.
A white creature stared at me from its cage, its pale feathers and shape reminded me of a dove. It did not struck me as unusual, but the subtle shade and soft details on its rump was quite soothing in appearance.
Then we came to the parrot section, a pair of blue and yellow macaws sat up high on a tree limb. I thought of the time in kindergarten when my dad took us to Jurong Bird Park, I had the opportunity to hold one on a stick and boy was it extremely heavy!
Since then, I had seen some wilderness documentaries that showed parrots roaming in the wild, flying and feeding in the open jungle, I much prefer to see animals in their native environment. These group of smaller parrots below were a quiet bunch, most were napping while others sat looking lethargic, I think they would be a lot livelier if they were free.
Then we came to the last enclosure, what drew us close was a voice that said, "Hello how are you? Lovely to see you!" I believe its name was Benjamin and he was a talkative one, captured below his face a comical expression, it was most amusing to meet him but it was time to move on.
We kept walking, there was sure lots to see in Kowloon Park, just when we thought we had seen everything we came to a pond, compared to the surrounding hi-rise it was huge. I was admiring the dark waters and the aqua colored glass windows when David pointed out...
... the flamingos on the edge, there was so many of them I don't think I have ever seen such a large group before.
We stayed a while to observe them feeding and walking about in the water searching for more food. There was tags on their legs but they were not caged nor were they netted in, what kept the birds from staying here?
The water was so smooth that day it made a great reflection, it was delightful to see the birds in the aviary but watching the flamingos roaming about freely was a gift.
But flamingos were not the last birds we saw, in another pool a Mandarin Duck was seen waddling by, it instantly reminded me of the ones in the Humble Administrator's Garden in Suzhou on this post.
More ducks, a pair of them keeping each other company as a....
... black one with a dull expression swam by.
Many fowls were enjoying the water that afternoon, even the sparrows were taking a bath.
But there were not only birds in the park, turtles of various sizes were sunning themselves on a trunk.
And then there was the koi, they were so colorful, I took numerous pictures of them swimming this way and that. They were so peaceful to look at I would have stayed longer but David called out to me, Kowloon Park was not the only item on our agenda that day.
Returning to the company of trees as we made our way to the entrance, these trees below had such an enormous root system it caught the attention of an elderly couple.
We decided to head over and get a closer view, but look what we found growing on the side of the steps! How long was it there and how did it get there in the first place?
We walked on, more visitors arrived as it was lunch hour.
It was nice to spend the morning at Kowloon Park but it was time to leave for our next destination, join us next week for another episode of China escape!