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February 25, 2008

Hong Kong - Part 9 (the final chapter!)

Hurray! I'm almost done blogging about Hong Kong. I've just got this one last batch of photos in a folder that I entitled "Architecture"...

Let's see what's in it:

UltimateSkyline.jpg (Can't get enough of these skyline shots)

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FishBalls.jpg(Take special notice of the Fish Ball sign... it makes me giggle)

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lippo2.jpg(those amazing robotic Lippo buildings again)

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February 18, 2008

Hong Kong - Part 8 (as seen in Hong Kong)

For you entertainment, a series of random shots of the city:

BruceLee.jpg(Statue of Bruce Lee found in Kawloon)

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Some photos from our favourite watering hole, Brecht's (123 Leighton Road). I took the boys here and we had a brilliant time... but the next year, unfortunately, Kelly paid for our drinks on our credit card. Upon her return to Canada she discover that Brecht's had stuck about $100 worth of someone else's drinks on her tab and refused to reverse the charges. Not very impressive. So if you do go to this bar, do yourself a favour and pay in cash.


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More alcohol related photos:

WingWah.jpg(Where Hong Kong's tourists get tipsy)

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meByRobert.jpg(Photo of myself, by Robert)

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Hong Kong - Part 7 (Will this Hong Kong series ever end?)

So my original intention was to do maybe three or four entries about Hong Kong and have them all up before Pauline left the city. I have failed on both counts. As we can see above, I'm now on entry seven, and I think I have at least two more before I'm finished with the city. I'm having a bit of a issue with brevity. Oh and the other goal... Well, Pauline left Hong Kong five days ago. Oh well, its the thought that counts, right?

Anyway, I have a bunch of photos taken from the top of a building that I can't remember the name of. I think its the top of a bank where there is an exhibit of various types of Hong Kong currency, but I can't really be sure if that's true. I wish I would've taken more notes when I was travelling. Someday, when I'm back in Canada I should be able to go through my old guidebook and figure out where the pictures were taken... In the meantime, if anyone knows where I might have taken these photos, please let us all know ;}

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February 12, 2008

Hong Kong - Part 6 (Day two: Heather makes a new friend)

One of the best things about staying in a hostel (besides the price) is that its always easy to make a new friend, and on my second day on the other side of the world, a new friend happened to be exactly what I needed.

MeLisa.jpgMyself and Lisa on our first day hanging out together

Lisa is from Toronto, but had been living for the last year in Brisbane, Australia. She had also lived in Hong Kong for a few months about a year before we met there. She taught me some Cantonese, took me to places I never would have found on my own, invited me to meet up with her and her friend on a sunny beach in Thailand (since I had a free ticket to Bangkok anyway...) and she was able to give me loads of advice about New Zealand and Australia. I was very lucky to have ended up sharing a room with Lisa. She enhanced the first chunk of my travels immensely. Thanks Lisa! I owe you a couple of drinks when I finally move back to Toronto. If you're still around that is.

Here's some photos of the parts of Hong Kong that Lisa introduced me to:

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food.jpgReal Chinese food! I took a pass on the chicken foot soup.


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I met these kids in this amazing little restaurant that Lisa took me to. The food was cheap, fresh and delectable. I had mushroom and pumpkin soup and the noodles for my soup were squeezed out of this old-fashioned noodle making machine (that's the technical term) right before my eyes! These kids watched Lisa and I eat for awhile before they finally came over to introduce themselves, we then spent the next little while attempting to communicate and show each other our hand writing and different alphabets. I still have their signatures and little doodles in my little travel notebook.

metro.jpgI have a strange fascination with local transit

The streets of Kawloon:

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IMG_0079.JPGThis look familiar to any of you Torontians? I had no idea it was a chain.

Hong Kong - Part 5 (The first day in the city)

Don't ask me why I'm posting photos of my first day in Hong Kong in part 5. I've always had strange organizational skills.

I was so so so so tired and ever so jet lagged, but way too excited to go to sleep when I arrive the morning of January 29, 2006. I was so excited, that even the Starbucks in the airport seemed wondrous (they had different snacks that you can't get at home!) Leaving Toronto to go on this trip was chaos. I thought I was way more on top of my packing than I was and because I wasn't flying out of Toronto until about 11 at night, I felt like I had all the time in the world to get ready. I didn't. This is a mistake I make quite often. And I NEVER seem to learn that I should make sure that I'm well rested before a flight because I'm ALWAYS too excited to sleep on the plane. So, after almost no sleep the night before I left Toronto, no sleep on the 19 hour fight, and a couple of delays (of course), I decided I should hit the ground running anyway. As I stumbled around my new neighbourhood wide-eyed and culture-shocked, this is what I saw:

vicPark.jpg(Victoria Park)

It was about noon on Chinese New Year Day, and it would seem that, sadly, I'd already managed to miss a major party. I shouldn't have worried. There was plenty more excitement in store for me.

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Photos from my meanderings around Causeway Bay.

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After admitting to myself that I was exhausted, I decided (wisely) that a nap was in order. So I put myself to bed until it was time to come out for the New Year's parade. I didn't get any good pics of the parade, but the city itself managed to provide a couple of good shots.

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February 11, 2008

Hong Kong - Part 4 (the Duk Ling tour)

I think I've bragged a couple of time now about the free Duk Ling tour I got of Hong Kong harbour. For those of you wondering what I've been on about, the Duk Ling is a restored shipping boat. It would've been in use around 150 years ago for fishing and opium trading. They are very pretty boats and make for a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

I don't have a whole picture of the boat as I took all the photos once I was on the boat, but you can find images and book yourself a tour here.

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My traveling companions Robert...

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... Mark ...

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... and two very cute kids ...

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The view along the way:

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February 9, 2008

Camden

I interrupt the Hong Kong Diaries to bring you some images of Camden market.

I've been staring at the tv in disbelief for the last hour watching images of giant orange flames licking the London sky. Its heartbreaking to watch such a beautiful, unique and historical part of town burning. Camden is one of my favourite bits of Londontown. My very first trip to London way back in 2001, I stayed in Camden with Renate. We fell in love with the area immediately.

The news is delivering conflicting reports about what has been burnt and what hasn't. One minute its mainly warehouses and The Hawley Arms, the next they say perhaps the Canal Market has also burned. I assume by tomorrow things will be clearer.

I don't like it when places that I love are destroyed.

These night photos were taken less than a month ago, on the 23rd of Jan.

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These are from October 21st, 07

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July 3rd, 2007 - Gilgamesh - Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road

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The food here is gorgeous. Pricey, but well worth it.

++++ Sunday, Feb. 10 ++++

Some of you asked for updated news on the Camden fire, so I'm adding this little note to the blog. Firstly, and most importantly, there were no casualties or injuries. Amazing consdering how large the fire was and how quickly it spread. At this point no one knows how the fire started, but it is known where it started.

The stalls that were affected were in the Canal Market, not in the main part of the market. All of the photos that I featured above are in the main market.

When I first heard about the fires I heard if from Sky News. They are a bit trashy (kinda like Fox in America), but they do have a lot of video footage and other links here.

I think Sky mentioned that Amy Winehouse drank at Hawley Arms at least 30 times in the hour that I was watching their footage. At one point they even managed to mention her name twice in one sentence. When they grew momentarily tired of repeating Amy's name, they latched on the work 'artisans' to describe Camden's crowd and then repeated that with glee for the next 10 minutes. Honestly! The reporters were shockingly transparent in their excitement over the big news.

The BBC is a little less sensational and more reliable in their reporting.

The RTÉ reports on the number of people out of work because of the fire. Not to be remiss, the good people at the RTÉ also make sure to get Amy Winehouse's name in the article. Has anyone reached Amy Winehouse for a comment on how everyone seems more concerned that that she's lost her supposedly favourite haunt, than any other fallout resulting from this fire?

The Camden Council's list of all affected properties.

February 4, 2008

Hong Kong - Part 3 (Victoria Peak)

My first time up the peak was with the boys, around dusk. We were in equal parts in love with and terrified by the incredibly steep tram ride. I don't know this, but I'm going to make the assertion anyway: this must be the steepest tram ride in the world. It can look very freaky at times, if the tram is crowded and people are standing in the aisles then it starts to look like your fellow riders are standing on an extreme diagonal and are about to tip over at any moment. It also sometimes look like some insane architect built all the buildings around you on impossible slants. I tried to take some photos of this, but the optical illusion didn't translate. Thankfully, the photos from the top turned out just fine.

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The set above that looks a bit bluish were taken with my digital camera. The next set were taken with my now deceased lovely SLR film camera (I still miss it sometimes...)


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Besides admiring the view, there are plenty of other ways for spend your time at the top of the peak. Overpriced restaurants, souvenir shops, but best of all are the walking trails. The walks are quite lovely can take you as long as 20 minutes to a few hours depending which route you take.

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lastPic.jpg(This was the very last photo my Nikon ever took....)

Of course I brought Kelly up the mountain next time I was in town, and this time we did a day trip!

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February 1, 2008

Hong Kong - Part 2 (park life)

I had three separate entires into Hong Kong. My very first arrival was on January 29th 2006. Chinese Year Day and the very first stop on my two plus year adventure. Man, was I excited! After about a week, I took off again. My return ticket to Auckland came with a free side trip to Bangkok, so I had to take advantage of that. Upon my return I happily had a couple of friends waiting for me (more about that later) and we had four days to play in the city. The third entry was a year later when I met up with Kelly. (You've already heard about that).

I thought I should get all that straight because you'll be seeing photos from all three trips in this entry. And as I'm sure you've already gathered, this entry is all about parks. Two parks specifically (I had to narrow it down to two because I take so many photos). This first park I'll show you is Hong Kong Park.

The park located in the heart of Hong Kong Island and covers about 8 hectares, so I still haven't see it all. It was love at first sight for me when I first found this place and I return here each time I came back to HK. This first bunch are from my first HK experience.

I love the way the natural beauty of the park accents and contrasts with the architecture of the city.


(I couldn't resist snapping a photo of this couple)

If you get tired of all the scenery (or even if you don't) I highly recommend going to the tea room beside the tea museum for ceremonial tea. The tea museum is worth a stop as well, if you're into that sort of thing...

The flora of Hong Kong Park:

The fauna:


(I know, I know... I couldn't resist)

A few photos from end of January 2007, my visit with Kelly:


(this is my favourite building in the city)


(I love the way these buildings look like robots.)

The next set of photos were taken during my second Hong Kong stop at Kowloon Park's annual Lunar New Year Spectacular Lantern Display (no, they aren't exaggerating by calling it that). I was soooo pleased to finally have Robert join me. I was officially no longer travelling alone! At the same time another friend of ours, Mark, flew over from Japan. We hadn't seen him either in a wee while as he'd been based in Japan for a bit, doing the whole teaching English as a second language thing. The three of us had amazing weekend together; seeing the sites, finding adventures and doing just a tiny bit of drinking...

but more of that later... back to the park!

The lantern festival is Hong Kong's equivalent to our Valentine's Day. I adored 2006's theme... Radiant Romance... Click on the image below to read sign. You'll feel all warm and fuzzy afterwards. Promise.


(go on, click it)

A few non-lantern photos were taken while we waited for night to settle:

and finally...