Tuesday, January 31, 2012

China Diary Day 24 Hong Kong via Tram Ride

Hello Tuesday! I had such a good start last week posting early on our China trip I decided to do it again this week. I hope you don't mind, it gave me a boost in energy, plus the inspiration I needed to share some crafting posts. With this positive note in mind, let's not waste anymore time and boot off to Hong Kong!

After hanging around the Museum of History most of the afternoon we decide to do some exploration across the street, which required walking up this ramp pictured below. I honestly could not remember why we were there, I supposed the structure looked interesting, perhaps the view would be too. The walk was effortless on this graceful curve, accompanied by the lovely green roof and pink rails we reached the top in no time.The outlook through the canopy of the trees, a much different perspective than the ground level view. I like this new angle, even the air seemed much fresher at this height.
Looking down at the roads below, no traffic was passing by for just one second, a rare and eerie moment in this bustling city of Hong Kong although the peace and quiet was much appreciated.
We noticed the roads meandered through segments of green space, judicious urban planning combined nature and manmade as if they coexisted in perfect harmony, many instances of such combination were witnessed in Kowloon Park and Clearwater Bay.My eyes began to peruse the pavement, signs of human activity and development. Just as we thought there was a moment's privacy from the clutches of capitalism, my sight witnessed commercials on the ground level and higher floors, the helpless consumer was constantly targeted.
Traffic in the distance began to generate their familiar noise, at the green go vehicles began to flow from one corner to another. On their path the yellow lines caught my attention, I did not think we came across this piece of roadwork before, what was its purpose?
As cars and trucks went whizzing by, the camera zoomed in to reveal some buildings were in need of resurface work, others were covered in a mesh material to hide the ongoing construction. 
Off to the side, a completely different point of view, buildings in tip top shape. The one in the corner was covered with advertisements, so huge they were 4 times larger than the lorry truck, I could not miss them from where we stood and we were far away!
Captured here the bridge we were on, it was equipped with stairways to not one but 2 levels of shops. Shopping was not our purpose that afternoon so onwards we went towards the water to catch the Star Ferry.
While waiting for our boat, a shot of Victoria Harbor once again. It seemed this waterfront and I were involved with a love affair, I lost count of the days and nights we encountered each other, as posted here, here, and here. The ever-changing scenery completely enticed my visual senses, depending on time of day and weather conditions it could look very different. Lights began to appear on the buildings below, it must be early evening then, how time flew by on this last day of Hong Kong.
There were more dramatic shots of Causeway Bay at night but the muted colors of the setting sun that cloudy evening offered a monochromatic calm.
The Star Ferry reached Hong Kong Island in just a few minutes, we decided to take the tram from Wanchai to wherever it went, the fare was a reasonable 2 RMB per person, about 30 cents Canadian. Night fell as the route began, the first shot a blend of ruthless ads with a dining scene under the chandeliers...
... followed by a row of spotlights for a jewelry store.
The camera adjusted to the low light situation, double decker buses were prevalent wherever we went in Hong Kong, a transportation necessity for highly populated areas. I remembered riding one of those in Singapore and London, it was quite a thrill especially when you were at the top level as the bus went flying around a sharp corner!
We went pass a pile of bamboo scaffolding on the side of the road, hmm... either construction was just completed or it was about to commence.
The commercials on the side of the building looked like a fresh display, could the scaffolding be used to put them up? Questions were pondered about paper quality that withstood exterior conditions, there must be numerous pieces judging by the size of the ad but the seams were invisible, talk about quality work. Captured below, the logo for Mikimoto, a name associated with high quality cultured pearls, the kind one would be proud to keep as an heirloom, I could not remember the last time I saw one of their ads.
Sogo, another Japanese company, I recalled the grand opening of their first store made quite a splash in the papers, it made other established chains like Yaohan and Isetan a run for their money. On the side of the road numerous pedestrians waited to cross the road, it was past 7 in the evening, people were either heading home after work or starting the shift for their second or third job. 
On the other side of the road, the same scenario although the crowd was not as big as the one pictured above, just like them we were heading somewhere, where to next to be continued next week!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Tablecloths and Coverings

A new runner for the dresser
command some sort of covering
for the bedside table too,
one that protects the wood
from daily objects like the lamp
and the alarm. A soothing
pattern was chosen, seaweed-like
waves stirring gently about
in deep calm waters.

But the light on the alarm
display was too bright,
a request was made to sew
another covering for it too.
So the dedicated partner went
into her fabric stash once
again and produced a double
sided piece, angled shapes of
complementing colors on one
side, horizontal blues on the other.

But wait! The sewing projects
continue, the dining table would
like a new cloth too, so back to
the crafting table, the sewing
machine worked its magic and
produced yet another piece.
A mesmerizing interlocking
circles of various tones that
camouflage dining spots all too well,
now someone will have to do
something about that 80's chair
cover, the sewing projects never ends...

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Runner and New Flowers

Some quiet time was spent over the holidays completing some sewing projects to start off the new year. Thank goodness for the time off work, I finally had the energy to do some creative work! First off a new runner for the dresser, there was no going to the store to shop for material, all fabric used was from my stash at hand. The main pattern a maroon batik with blue rice pattern speckled all over, it looked so interesting I had to purchase all one fat quarter of it. I did run out of fabric, a purple scrap for each corner came to the rescue. The underside was not forgotten, a vintage flowery design which added a flare to the edge also functioned as a second layer.
At the end of the runner sat an elongated yellow pottery bowl, proudly purchased from my friend Vancouver potter Amy Chang. Some flowers were made to keep it company, thanks to the great instructions on this post. All steps were followed except the circle was cut into quarters instead of semi circles, this allowed the flowers to have more petals with less ruffles in the material. The final touch were some wooden buttons from my collection, 3 second hand items were given a new life!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

China Postcard Day 24 Hong Kong Museum of History

Hello Tuesday! I know it's normally Thursdays we go to China but I thought we'd get a head start this week. I spent most of last Thursday and all of my weekend in bed resting, getting over some cold symptoms but I'm much better now and an escape to China is just what the doctor ordered right now!

We are on Day 24 of our China journey, it is our last day in Hong Kong and also the final day of our visit. I've mentioned before there are just a couple more posts to go but looking over the pictures on this day, I think there might be a few more posts left. I can't believe the number of pictures I took on this trip, more than 18,000 and looking back at the past year of Hong Kong posts most of the photos were taken there. I don't know why that is, perhaps because it was the last week of our trip and recording each and every step was a way to savor the journey we had dreamed of for quite some time.

Without further delay, let's embark on this final day! We decided to spend it near our hotel again, the Tsim Sha Tsui area was filled with all kinds of museums, this time the Museum of History caught our interest. Pictured below just steps away from the entrance, a long flight of stairs led the way to a tiled courtyard.
On our right there was a pair of blue and pink buildings, joined together in the middle with interlocking blocks of color, a captivating architectural feature.
The camera lowered to capture the ground tiles, bold lines a graphic detail to match the equally structured buildings in the background.
On the left the tall construction in the distant caught my eye.
A closer look revealed a rather futuristic design with antenna looking rods at the very top. I think this is one of the most unique structures we came across in China.
Our focus returned to the entrance at the Hong Kong Museum of History, it was surrounded by lush greenery, a common landscaping feature we noticed in Hong Kong.
Inside the museum, wide open spaces greeted us, we marvelled at this layout, its ceiling spotlights and color palette comparable to a grand hotel lobby.
The museum started off with a caveman exhibit, followed by pre-British to British colonization era, there was mention of the 3 year Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, which later led to modern day period. Some displays involved loud audio which we found too noisy and annoying, there were also lots of small theaters that played short documentaries. We didn't watch any of it, instead we strolled by and absorbed as much info as we could and took no pictures until we came to the map of land reclamation below. Different colors indicated various reclaimed areas throughout the years, the project started in 1841 as shown by the darker colors, it ended in 2000 with the lighter blue. Land is precious for a small country like Hong Kong.
Everything else we came across was a blur but I remembered my favorite part of the museum was the retro era. Check out the 1960's seats in the cafe below, love that yellow color, I counted 3 different patterns for the tiles on the walls and floors. This must be a cool area to hang out, I imagined customers of various ages seated here and there, munching on a piece of French toast, sipping milk tea or coffee as they flipped through the daily papers for the latest buzz.
In the corner of the coffee shop a shiny little juke box, what kind of music would they be listening to? My mind wondered as my eyes admired the vintage posters on the wall. 
A snapshot from the past, captured below a typical corner store where one could get their fix of cookies or candy, an occasional soft drink and ice cream, various canned goods or dried foods. There was one just like this from where we used to live in Singapore, oh how I longed for their spicy tapioca chips... 
A display of old items, metal serving trays with bright designs, one had a British crown, another a Chinese double happiness character which might be part of a bride's dowry. I noticed the tiffin carriers at the top, fond memories of family picnics included these as valuable porters of delicious homemade food. The rattan collection on the right was equally memorable, we had the one that had a long handle ending with coils. No mattress sunning chore would be complete without it, it was an excellent tool for beating out the dust from the kapok mattress.
Another favored exhibit was titled Made in Hong Kong, a section that commemorated the manufacturing era of this country, hard working citizens made everything from shoes to clothing...
... schoolbags, ties, toys, torch lights. Come to think of it, I had a metal torchlight just like that as a child, it was heavy to begin with but with 4 D batteries required for operation boy was it hefty!
Small household appliances were produced as well, like this solar pressure lantern below. How does it operate?
Inching down the row of displays we came to a row of product logos, I could not take my eyes off that capital letter A, simple and bold, it was unforgettable like an object of everlasting quality.
More trademarks below, I am amazed by the various illustration styles and fonts, although red seems to be the popular color.
The displays finally came to an end, we headed out to catch a breath of fresh air. The tidy looking courtyard greeted us again, we glanced briefly at the pink and blue buildings and continued on our way. What else is there to do on this last day in China... more adventures to be continued next week!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

China Journal Day 23 A Typical Day in Hong Kong Part 2 of 2

Welcome to the first post of our China trip for 2012! It's been a busy busy Holiday Season, I had to take on extra shifts to beat the Christmas and New Years rush. There was more staff and customers than usual, and more then enough energy to catapult me into the new year. Thank goodness that's all over now, I spent part of of my break cleaning up the place, donating some items to charity stores. Then there was quiet time spent with loved ones over movies and munchies, ahhh... it felt good to relax after a hectic couple of weeks. I hope everyone had a warm and joyful Holiday Season, here's to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2012!!

Let's continue our journey on this typical day in Hong Kong, I thought I'd share some of what we normally see after we left our hotel. Last week we went searching for our favorite noodle joint in the nearby shopping district, below a street sign we often stumbled upon during our Hong Kong travel. All the popular destinations were clearly pointed out, there was no need to carry a map.
Not far from the sign, the infamous Chungking Mansions, made famous in Wong Kar-wai's movie Chungking Express. While researching for places to stay we came across several interesting reivews on Trip Advisor, some comments were too colorful for us, we decided to pass for safer accommodations.
Our hotel was within walking distance to Nathan Road, previous wanderings to this area were at night and a brief daytime walk en route to Kowloon Park. We decided to take a closer look at this popular area on our last couple of days in Hong Kong. Pictured below, just steps away from Chungking Mansions, a very different outlook of downtown with classy looking buildings, much taller and neater in appearance.
The camera zoomed in to view signs for a clothing chain store, United Colors of Benetton became popular in Asia some 20 years ago. Next to it a fitness gym associated with Hong Kong actor martial arts expert Jackie Chan, this was news to us, when did he open a gym?
We walked on to stumble upon internationally renowned fashion names like Louis Vuitton...
... Fendi... 
... and Harry Winston, all had been around for ages. I could not help but notice the buildings on this stretch were very elegantly designed, there was something captivating about the cream color and dark accents, they made the area feel so chic. Check out that yellow bus ad, I was instantly drawn to its bright color, a cheerful contrast amidst all that grey. It looked like a promotion for a drink, would I feel happy and refreshing as its joyful color after consuming this beverage?
Pictured below, Valentine, a new name for me in the jewelry line, its stylish commercial added another level of sophistication to this part of town. Beneath it an advertisement for Sheraton Hotel, which suggested Perfect Dreams.
On the same street, more promotions for Perfect Stage and Perfect Wedding that marketed Sheraton Hotel as the one stop entertaining and accommodation venue, somehow the montone palette and simple layout seemed appropriate for this world-class lodging.
Amidst all the international labels there was Burberry, founded in 1856 it has seen many decades in the fashion industry and is still around today. We did not go into any of the shops, but simply passed by with a brief glance through the windows, everything looked so smart.
Another new name to me for shoes, Inniu, Italian in origin, apparently it had been around since 2003. The orange color of the sandal was striking but I did not think the unsightly feet it rested on suitable for this ad. 
Continuing on Nathan Road, we came face to face with this gigantic Omega display, the watch was much bigger than life, anyone would notice it whether they were on the road or the sidewalk.
On the other side, a look into the intricate parts inside the watch, I've always thought Omega Swiss watches are not only gracefully designed on the surface but are just as well built on the inside, their products synonymous with quality and beauty. 
The final shot for Nathan Road, a window for the House of Chanel, the suit and handbag classic feminine styles that transcended many decades. As I looked at this picture, I recalled glancing at its distinctive fabric pattern on a fashion magazine when I was little. Not too many people I know owned the Chanel merchandise but their signature products were easily recognizable.

It was lovely to spend part of our morning on Nathan Road, as friends Peter and Vonny said this stretch of roadway went on forever, we normally began our day in this location and wandered off to other locations we planned on visiting. Where will we go? The China trip is coming to an end, only a couple of posts left to go, I hope you'll continue to join us next week to see what we discover!