Thursday, December 15, 2011

China Diary Day 23 A Typical Day in Hong Kong

Hello hello! It's that time of the year when everyone seems to be busy with holiday preparations, lots of looking and shopping going around. Let's take a break, put your feet up and take a few moments to escape to China! I have made quite a few posts on our China trip, as a matter of fact it started in February 2009, that's almost 2 years ago. I've been so careful to make sure all photos were presented in a chronological order but so many pictures were taken during the last couple of days in Hong Kong I missed out on quite a few... Ooops!! Here are some that represented a typical day in Hong Kong, we had just left the hotel looking for lunch and stumbled upon the shopping district. The most popular item for sale were clothes and accessories, many were packed into tiny little shops like the ones below.
We were searching for our favorite noodle shop, one we had lunch and dinner a few times before, everything we tried was amazing not to mention good prices and fast service, and only a few blocks away from our hotel.
Our hungry eyes looked high and low, the whole neighborhood of shop signs and buildings of residential flats were calling out for attention. To make it worse, there was construction that added to the confusion.
Amidst the visual clutter we spotted a tailor shop, there were lots of businesses around that catered to custom fit suits.
One shop seemed out of place, an oddity in this neighborhood it was very clean and tidy everything was in its place.
There was even some electronic shops scattered about, it would be interesting to browse through some of the latest gadgets but with hungry tummies that groaned louder we forged on.
A considerable touch to calm down the construction chaos, a sign that clearly stated the dates of project commencement and completion, there was even a phone number for those who felt like complaining.
Inching along we found the yellow sign we had been looking for!
With hasty steps we headed towards it, our minds focused on the task at hand.
The small shop with the yellow banner was our haven for rice and noodle dishes, served piping hot in generous servings. They had the best spring rolls, similar to the ones in Vietnamese restaurants. Their shrimp wontons were so scrumptious in taste and texture (my mouth is watering just writing about it) everything was so delicious this cheery sign was a welcome sight in our Hong Kong travels.
We were on the road for 23 days now, looking for busy and reasonably priced joints was a daily chore, one we did not have to partake in Canada. At home eating out was limited to once a week but a couple times a day for 23 days in a row was an all time record of eating out for us!
After wolfing down beef stew and garlic sauce on pork with rice, we drank the last of our milk tea and Ovaltine. Re-energized we returned to the maze of apartment buildings and business signs.
I honestly did not know how we managed to find our way out of this chaos but somehow we were able to locate the noodle store day after day, it was a miracle. Onwards we went on this typical day in Hong Kong, what will we see next? Stay tuned to next week's China episode!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

China Postcard Day 23 Hong Kong At Night

Welcome to this week's edition of China escape! There has been quite a few posts on this eventful Day 23 in Hong Kong, we started off wandering through the magnificent Kowloon Park, saw some wonderful paintings at the Museum of Art and crossed the Victoria Harbor on the Star Ferry. It has been quite a journey this China trip of ours, we visited several Chinese cities and found all kinds of things to see and do but spending time by the harbor in Hong Kong became a nightly pastime. We found it relaxing strolling along the walkway by the sea, watching the sky darken at the end of the day, how the buildings glittered when they lit up at night.

As we walked by the same path night after night, we noticed the same Chinese junk we had encountered a couple of nights before on this post, its characteristic red sails a dead giveaway.We watched as the ship floated past Causeway Bay, another famous Hong Kong landmark, one we often passed by and could not seem to miss during our visit.
Ahhh... the stretch of those shimmering buildings along the waterfront, combined with the smell of the salty air what a sight! We were hoping to catch another fantastic sunset but alas the sky was cloudy that night, no chance for the brilliant colors we hoped to see on this post.
 Regardless there was something quite stunning about that diamond studded structure at the end of the landscape, what was its name?
A closer view revealed a working boat anchored in front of it.
A different crop of the same area resulted in a completely different picture, I must say Hong Kong is a photographer's paradise.
The clouds dispersed and gave way to a dark blue sky, the Causeway Bay hi-rise began to shine through the darkness just as they would every night.
Below an advertisement on the face of a building played the same message for a future event, I had captured this commercial before but somehow this was a final show, it would not be long before we leave to head home to Canada. 
Despite this sad realization I still think the Samsung structure had the best glow, its simple lines and uncluttered lighting design produced an overwhelming amount of colors on the water, its dramatic tones completed the night life of Hong Kong by the water.
We took the Star Ferry across the harbor and returned to Kowloon, dinner was at a small noodle shop in Jordan. Searching for food was a daily chore when we were traveling in China, we were looking for reasonably priced but bustling joints, not an easy task to fulfill at 8:30 PM that night! Re-energized with pork wontons and shrimp dumplings we headed for the Temple Street Night Market, sorry for the absence of pictures but imagine row after row of stalls filled with cheap trinkets, purses, and t-shirts. Key chains with solar powered animation for 20RMB each (about $3 Canadian) caught our eye but we decided not to buy anything and returned to our hotel.

Back at our hotel David captured the view below from our room, he simply leaned the camera against the glass and took the pictures.
We experimented with different compositions and... 
... zoomed in to focus on different aspects.
Judging from the food Chinese character and Toys R Us logo below this seemed to be a shopping mall filled with all kinds of businesses. I remembered it was close to midnight, the stores were closed but on the street there were endless streams of pedestrians.
Our attention turned to the lights on the roof tops, they emitted an eerie glow in this shot.
Zooming out and off to one side, many lights were lit up for the night, it was time to head to bed and ready ourselves for more China adventure, see you next week!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hong Kong Journal Day 23 Arrival at Central Wanchai

Thank goodness for Thursday! I say this because tomorrow is Friday, and also because we get to spend some time today in the wonderful city of... Hong Kong! Yes, it's that time of the week where we run off to China! I cannot tell you how much I've enjoyed sharing our memories from China, let's just say it's one of the highlights of my week, one that I look forward to very much. Thank you once again for joining in.

We were crossing Victoria Harbor, as the ferry neared the terminal at Central Wanchai we noticed the walls were in the process of being painted.
As the boat slowed down we could see people peering out of the windows.
Many watched as a worker used a long pole to pull something out of the water.
We made our way out of the boat and squeezed past the long queues of people, did I tell you the "Star" Ferry was a popular ride in Hong Kong? Lots of locals as well as tourists frequented the passenger ships, it was a convenient and reasonable way to get around, at only 2 RMB per person (30 cents Canadian) it accommodated the smallest of budgets.

As we walked down the long passageway away from the dock, I turned around and saw the advertisements below. They were promoting the China Scouting Fair at the Hong Kong Convention Centre, friends Peter and Vonny mentioned an increasing amount of trading occurred since the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
More commercials greeted us as we headed out of the building... 
 ... followed by more corporate signs outside, pictured below the structure of long walkways guided the passengers to various bus stations.
We decided to cross the bridge, a shot of the roads below capturing the huge building structures and the clearly painted bus stop sign.
The outlook in the other direction, there was bustling traffic everywhere in Hong Kong at any given time of the day.
Just a slight shift of the camera to the right revealed interesting looking architectural forms which we witnessed throughout our visit to this city. 
From the distance we saw the signs light up by the waterfront, a mix of English alphabets and Chinese characters denoted an international group of businesses.
The buildings on the harbor grew smaller as we walked on. 
Our attention returned to land, some amazing looking structures especially this one pictured below, it looked like an office building, how many offices do you think there are?
Once again we came upon the Hong Kong Convention Centre, I honestly could not remember a day in Hong Kong without passing this landmark!
By the centre locals and tourists gathered at the Golden Bauhinia Square, many were taking photos by the statue of the golden Bauhinia blakeana. Vonny told us about this sculpture, it was attractive from afar but at just a few feet away I could not help but marvel at its curves, such graceful contours combined with the warmest of yellow. On this delightful note I end this post, we have seen so much during our 23 days in China what will we discover next? Stay tuned next week!