On Top in China: Photo Challenge

For this photo challenge I thought I would take a look back. These photos are from 2011 from a day trip to Zhejaojiao (ZGee-jah-je-ow) just outside of Shanghai. For some of my  followers you may recall the one photo used to be my header. This is my take on this week’s theme set by word press On Top. Which Sara states can be a physical location, or perspective.

Crowds of People On Top of a Small Bridge

Crowds of People On Top of a Small Bridge

 

Many old buildings are adorned with dragons on the tile rooves. Here is a close up.

 

Decorative Dragon On Top of a Roof

Decorative Dragon On Top of a Roof

 

This small town is called the Venice of China with the winding river and many small bridges. Many little shops, tea houses and restaurants line the river. You can take a small boat to cruise around and avoid some of the crowds. To get there we took a taxi which cost about 400 RMB ($60-70) back in 2011. The drive took 1 hour, one way. We were off the meter, so we could negotiate the price. We also had the driver wait for us, so we had 3 hours to explore at our own pace, which was more than enough time. If you want to read more check out my original post The Venice of China.

 

I have been busy blogging away this weekend. I took advantage of the extra day off. You can check out my other posts by following the links here:

Hoppy Easter (:)

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dusky Hues

Here is my response to Bastet’s Pixleventures prompt DUSK.

 

A cold wintry night in December 2012 left beautiful colours as the sun was dipping below the horizon.

Dusky Pastels

Dusky Pastels

 

Conversely, the warm gentle breezes in August painted the sky with soft, pale colours in Port Dalhousie, Ontario.

Pale Dusky Summer Hues

Pale Dusky Summer Hues

Check out the link above to see more examples. You may also want to see my post from earlier today on our recent quick trip to Hong Kong.

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Photography, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Time Fries in Hong Kong

Time Flies when you are having fun, as the saying goes. Well in Hong Kong it seems Time Fries ;) It seems someone who thinks up the names of shops and restaurants in Hong Kong has a sense of humour.One such place is a restaurant we were invited to breakfast to called the Flying Pan. It was explained it is FLYING instead of FRYING since the Chinese have trouble pronouncing R sounds as much as we have trouble with the tones and subtleties of Chinese.

 

20140402_094127A few other silly names we have heard about were the Lee Key Boot Shop, Kung Fu Shoes, Hip Wo Housewares, Woo Ping Optical. The best one is from Jo on word press who shared the Fook Hing Book Shop. All these shops are real places and sell real things! The last one, the Book Shop has recently closed or moved. We found the address, but it is now a mattress shop. After having the hotel staff call the phone number and look it up in a local directory we figured it closed or moved within the last year. The phone number was still active, but needed a password to continue. If anyone has come across it again please let us know ;) As I said someone must have a sense of humour, is very clever, or does not think about the translation.

On our last day in Hong Kong we headed down to Wan Chai Metro stop. From the metro we turned left and walked a 20140402_095450block or two before we came to this restaurant. It was tricky to find since it is on the 3rd or 4th floor and the sign was covered by trees. The entrance is into an office or apartment building, so it was easy to miss from street level. Luckily John’s friend waited for us on street level and lead the way. Inside we found a spacious restaurant in a 50′s style soda shop. Comfy couches on one sie and booths and tables on the other. Black and white floor tiles gave me the impression it was like the dinners of long ago.

 

Being a week day the place was not too crowded and service was pretty good. Weekends and later in the day we heard it would be crowded. Prices were reasonable and options for large English and Western style breakfasts adorned the menu. For many of the plates you could ‘build your own’. The sides were all listed on the bottom of the page and you could pick what you wanted to best compliment your meal. 20140402_092451Choices of breads went beyond your traditional white or brown toast to croissants, English muffins or pancakes. The side dishes were also different with healthy fruits, cinnamon apples, to more traditional tomato and potatoes. It was nice to have so many options.

 

The food came and loaded the plate. I had a delicious omelette with the sides of fruit and cinnamon apples. John’s friend had poached eggs, side of fruit and tomato. John had a big breakfast with fruit and potato. It filled us up and was delicious. Juice is included in the meal, or for an additional 20 HK$ (I think) you could have a bottomless cup of coffee. The atmosphere and food were just like home. Being away for so long sometimes it is just nice to have something familiar. Not to mention the unappealing breakfasts that was included in our hotel package. After 2 days of that this was a nice and welcome treat.

 

 

The Flying Pan was a little hidden gem that I am sure we will seek out again if we return to Hong Kong.

What is your favourite place for breakfast?

Stay tuned…

Categories: travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Soggy Sights in Hong Kong

Our spring break came before the Chinese and Easter holidays and last minute plans brought us to Hong Kong for 4 days. The price was right, so we decided to go find warmer temperatures, do some shopping and see a few more sights. Checking the weather forecast the days before we were to leave I was disappointed to see rain, rain and more rain forecasted. Thinking things would change closer to the departure I remained optimistic. The day before we left the weather reported only a chance of afternoon thunder showers and I felt relieved. However, I did pack my umbrella and raincoat at the last minute just in case. This may have jinxed the trip, or the weather report was toying with us to think we could get away with rain free days.

Sunday March 31st we departed Shanghai only slightly behind schedule. Landing in Hong Kong we immediately noticed the dark skies threatening rain. We made it to the hotel and out to dinner without incident. The skies remained dark. The air was thick and humid. We returned to the hotel room deciding what to do next when we heard this unusual noise. Looking out the window we saw heavy rain that sometimes was going sideways. The sound of the rain was soothing and with the windows open and fresh breeze filling the room it quickly lulled me to sleep. Not long after flashes of lighting and loud thunder roared. It continued all night waking us on occasion. The next morning the rain continued to come down. I wondered how it was possible for so much moisture to come out of those clouds. Maybe we should have built an ark!

Umbrella veding machine in Hong Kong Metro station... almost sold out!

Umbrella vending machine in Hong Kong Metro station… almost sold out!

We decided to head out and get out of our small almost claustrophobic size hotel room. Within seconds we were soaked despite the umbrella and rain coat. My feet were squishy and squeaking with every step as water lined the streets and keeping dry was an impossible task. We ran into a small home/ hardware type store that sold a variety of household items and gadgets. For 10 HK$ (about $1.43 CDN) I found a lovely raincoat that would be large enough to cover my poor leather purse and camera. It was also a little longer than the one I had, so more of me would be dry. However, I felt like I was wearing a plastic trash bag; how unfashionable, especially in Hong Kong. I looked like a drowned rat in plastic wrap and despite the rain locals looked cool and calm with their waterproof shoes and more fashionable trench coats. Oh well we decided the rain wasn’t going to spoil our vacation since our time was limited.

Luckily and we tramped around overhangs from buildings and some covered walkways protected us in some places, although the damage had already been done. We were still wet. We wandered a large mall at Time’s Square and bought some great new Samsung phones cheap, which just happened to be on sale, SCORE! so all was not lost. John was happy to find Pizza Express which served good thin crust pizza.

 

 

Rain rain go away... Heavy downpour along Hong Kong Street in Mong Kok

Rain rain go away… Heavy downpour along Hong Kong Street in Mong Kok

 

I knew the rain was bad and it continued until mid day. With a short break that was short lived it started again. It wasn’t until now as I researched things did I know HOW bad the weather was. Here are some of the stats I found from Bloomburg and The Guardian press on-line:

  •  March 31st there was 40mm of rain
  • In some parts of Hong Kong there was hail, only the 39th time this has occurred in the city
  • hail was golf ball to fist size
  • 245 flights were affected, some 200 delayed, while others were cancelled or diverted
  • there was flooding in some areas where water reached up to waist height! People were swimming to get around -or out.
  • there were 3000 lightning strikes reported in 1 hour with 8000 in total

Hong Kong terms this kind of storm “Black Rain” which means 7+cm of rain can fall in 1 hour. We were lucky we missed this coming in, but wandered out in it the next morning not realizing how bad it could be. The rain ended up lasting the entire time we were in Hong Kong and it didn’t let up for days after. The rain lasted 1 week in total! It started Sunday and the following Saturday it stopped. Now we did have a few hours each day rain free and the heavy rain luckily started JUST after we returned to our hotel. The day we left we were not as lucky and it rained quite hard for a few hours. A quick dash to the metro kept us dry. Our flight was ready to go when it began again and with only 1 hour delay we were able to take off. Luckily we were already on the tarmac and in the que, or I am sure the delay could have been longer. With so many trips and vacations in my life the last 2 seemed to have had the trickiest weather. Hopefully that  is it for a while.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

Misty Threshold of Inspiration

What is a misty threshold of inspiration? For me it is a combination of 3 photo challenges ;) Ailsa has asked for something MISTY while Word Press asked for a THRESHOLD and Bastet asked for INSPIRATION.

Going through my pics from our recent short trip to Hong Kong I thought this photo fit the bill for all 3. Our short trip was saturated by heavy down pours. Luckily we got in before the storm, so our flight was not diverted, delayed  or cancelled. Each day we would arrive inside JUST before the skies really opened up. Umbrella’s and rain coats were unfashionable, but kept us mostly dry. The day we left heavy rains left everything misty over the hills. As Ailsa says fog and mist are mysterious and I thought this was be good inspiration for someone to write a short story or poem. Bastet wanted a photo to help inspire someone to write and hopefully this will get some creative juices flowing.

Misty Hong Kong

Misty Hong Kong

WP’s theme of threshold was described as something that can show change or a beginning. Travel is just that for me. Stepping away from the comforts of home and going somewhere new is exciting. I love the opportunity that travel provides… allowing you to see and do new things, meet new people, experience new foods, sites, smells and learn about different ways of life. My first solo trip opened so many doors for me and without that opportunity I may not have ever taken the chance to move half way around the world. It was a big step… challenging, exciting and scary. Crossing over that threshold has been many fantastic adventures.

The Ultimate threshold -flight

The Ultimate threshold – flight

What big step have you taken in life?

Stay tuned…

Categories: travel, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Looking up: Shanghai Skyline

Bastet’s Pixelventures is talking about looking UP this week. Well to continue on with my info on the Pearl Tower from my ROUND theme for the monthly Tourist in Your Own Town challenge I thought I would show you what the tower looks like from the outside. The tower is certainly interesting and quite large. Although the newer buildings are slowly dwarfing this unusual landmark it still stands out from views across the river along the Bund. Its colour and shape are truly unique.

When our visitors came a few weeks back we brought them up the tower for views of the Shanghai Skyline. Before we went inside I captured these views looking UP at this cool architectural design.

The Pearl Tower -Shanghai, China

The Pearl Tower -Shanghai, China

 

From the entrace looking UP at the Pearl Tower

From the entrance looking UP at the Pearl Tower

Be sure to check out Bastest to see more pics and interpretations of the weekly theme. To find out more about the Pearl Tower and see views looking down click here to read my post from earlier today.

Stay tuned….

 

Categories: Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Round: Tourist in Your Own Town

Recently we went up the Pearl Tower here in Shanghai. It is an interesting building that has pink coloured glass and round ball shapes. Certainly not your traditional straight lines and rectangular shaped building. Word has it that the name came from the round balls, similar to pearls. It was the tallest building in Shanghai at the start of the building boom. The Pearl Tower was completed in 1994.

One of the upper decks has a glass floor where you can view the streets below. Looking through my photos I loved the circular shape.  I loved looking down at the round pedestrian walkway and round about. I thought that would be a cool idea for this month’s Tourist in Your Town photo challenge – ROUND.

Looking down at the (g)round.

Looking down at the (g)round.

IMG_7141

Around and Around they go

Now you don’t need to go to a tall building to get your shot. Just look (a)round you and show us something in your backyard, from your street or skyline. It can be round in shape, or hey maybe it could even be something that has been (a)round a long time. Get creative!

How to join in:

  • take a photo or search your files for something that fits the theme round
  • use Round and Tourist in Your Own Town in the tags and title of your post
  • link back to this post, so others may join
  • add a link to your post in the comments below, so others can find you
  • have fun… this challenge is up a bit early and lasts the month of April before a new theme will be posted

Be sure to check out my post from earlier today for WP theme street scenes.

Stay Tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Shanghai Street Scenes: Photo Challenge

This week WP has asked us to show a street scene. There are so many interesting sights and sounds here in Shanghai that it is hard to pick what to show you. Streets are generally crowded with people and sellers showing off all things to tempt you from t-shirts to DVDs to books to dishes to flowers and fruit.

A few weeks ago we had some visitors from home and we took to the streets. Here are some new and interesting shots I captured while we toured around.

Enjoy my views of the streets of Shanghai.

One thing you see on occasion is a small gathering of men playing this traditional game.

Game ON!

Game ON!

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These men were near the bird and insect market that I posted about here. Quite a crowd gathered to see this man’s items for sale and  little birds.

For Sale

For Sale

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A typical side street is crowded with people, bikes, and cars. There is always laundry hanging out of windows. It certainly makes for an interesting site. This is more typical in the older part of Shanghai. With newer buildings the balcony has racks for hanging laundry so it is not as noticeable.

Laundry Day

Laundry Day

 

Please visit Word Press to see more examples or find out how to participate.

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, Photography, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 26 Comments

A Market For Everything

It seems like Shanghai has a market for everything. Want new clothes made, go to the Fabric Market. Need some electronics then the electronic market. How about souvenirs, luggage, knock offs? There is a market for that too. I have shown you Art Street, a sort of market for paintings. A class trip even brought us to a flower market. I needed new glasses, where did I go? The glasses market of course! Spread across the city there is a market for a variety of things, whatever your needs. I have stumbled on some, explored others and have many more to discover.

IMG_6959

A market I heard about my first year here has been on my ‘do-to’ list for a while. We had visitors from home last week and they love shopping.  I decided we should take them to see more of ‘real’ China and explore a market that would be filled with sights, sounds, smells and crowds. The market in question was a bird and insect market. The market promised a variety of interesting insects, many of them crickets used for fighting. Small birds and other pets would also be housed here. Now it is not your Western Pet Store, so a warning of cramped and crowded conditions was mentioned in the description as I searched for the address of the location.

IMG_6971

After a wrong turn we found our way jostled by people cramped on a crowded, narrow sidewalk. We eventually made our way to doorway leading to the market. Immediately cricket chirping deafened our ears. Pushy people came pouring in as we stopped and adjusted our senses to all we were seeing and hearing. Stalls and small storefronts no larger than a small closet lined the maze of rows of stalls. Our first section houses turtles, fish and crickets. At the next turn were small birds and bamboo cages. As we neared the end hamsters, guinea pigs and bunnies were for sale, housed in cages and small plastic containers or boxes.

Most of the patrons were locals with a sprinkling of tourists or western expats  like us wanting to snap some interesting photos. Most vendors did not notice or care, but some shooed us on saying ‘NO’ when they spotted us raise our camera. The market was not as big or interesting as the one we saw in Hong Kong, but a cool side trip not far from Xintiandi and YuYuan Garden. The address is:  South Xizang Rd, 西藏南路 From Line 10 get off at Laoximen. It is only a short walk from the metro. Turn right out of the subway away from the Bread Talk and Electronics store.

Stay tuned….

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Pixelventures Mood

This week Bastet’s Pixleventures asked us to show our mood. Spring always lifts my mood as the fragrance from flowers fill the air and the sun feels warm on my face. In Shanghai spring is slowly drifting in. What better example of spring than these beautiful tulips we bought last weekend from our local flower guy on the street.

We Drink Because We Are Poets hosts this weekly challenge and encourages us at verse as well as pics. This week I tried my hand at both.

DSC06822-001

 

I posted another Tourist in My Town look at SKYLINE earlier today. If you missed it you can check it out here.

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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