Posts Tagged With: Hong Kong

Scale -Bigger than Life: WP Challenge

This week’s WP Photo theme is SCALE. When we visited Hong Kong Disney (Fall 2014) we noticed that things from Toy Story were larger than life. All our favourite toys from childhood were creatively made into displays.

Larger than child size!

Larger than child size!

This photo here shows just how big they were; certainly not to scale.

On a side note did you know there is a Disney theme park being built in Shanghai? Just made official the park will be ready to open spring 2016.

Stay tuned…

Categories: China, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , ,

Signs of Democracy

We recently traveled to Hong Kong for a few days and while we were there the student lead protests had just begun. Read more about that with my post Last Night. Be sure to look at the comment section where I posted a link to a young girl’s blog who lives in Hong Kong and is taking part in the protests. A very interesting perspective, one that you won’t get from a news report or newspaper article.

This week Word Press has given us the theme signs. Previously I posted on signs from around China and street and silly signs around my neighborhood in Shanghai. WP talks about how signs can point us in the right direction, decorate, announce and show us about a time or culture. This was very true of the protests that are ongoing in Hong Kong. I decided to post more of the signs from Hong Kong that we saw around Admiralty and Central during the protests. It certainly is representative of time and culture.

The contrast of signs on HK streets Sep. 29, 2014

The contrast of signs on HK streets Sep. 29, 2014


Hand made signs on cardboard, streets and fabric are in English and Chinese stating their feelings and ideas. Most ask for democracy. The contrasts between the handmade signs made from whatever materials were on hand and the massive  neon lighted signs of the high-end designer shops is opposite in every way. Will these become signs of change?



Stay Tuned…


Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, History, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , ,

Last Night

Last night a peaceful protest in Hong Kong turned into something much bigger which may make change for the future. Demonstrations started with hundred then thousands of young people, mostly university age students. The reason for their assembly to try to influence the changes that may take away some of the freedoms of the people. From what we can gather, Hong Kong which returned to China in 1997, has been allowed freedoms and government to act somewhat independently from the rest of China. News came that this may start to change. 2017 a new process would allow people to vote, but the candidates would be hand picked by the capital, no longer a freedom from local residents to pick their own candidates. The young people took to the streets last night and peacefully blocked roads in the financial district of Hong Kong. The police tried to disperse the crowds by using tear gas, but the people stood strong.


From reports only a few were hurt and the and the crowds remained calm despite the police presence. This says a lot about the people. They are staying put, but without violence, disruption, chaos or rioting.

The crowd around Admiralty -HK financial district

The crowd around Admiralty -HK financial district

Today we were in the area and went to see for ourselves. At first it looked like a handful of people on closed roads. Someone pointed us further down the road and on the other side of an overpass we were startled by the crowds still there. Signs were posted on cardboard, on roads and barriers. Thousands of young students dressed in black with yellow ribbons of support with eye goggles and face masks sat peacefully on phones or chatting to friends. A few people spoke to the crowd and people quietly applauded. Talking to some of the young demonstrators you can see how passionate they are. They want to fight for freedom, show civil disobedience, but peacefully resist. One young girl quickly explained to me the reason for the crowd and why they had gathered. She stumbled over her English and kept apologising for the errors. She ended with I just want to help. I am here to help the people. She offered me a wet towel and when I refused she insisted.

one of numerous signs to get the message across

one of numerous signs to get the message across

Some shops were open, but many closed, but the people were not interested in doing any harm. It overwhelmed me to see the support, passion and how they cared for their city. As visitors many thanked us for coming and showing support. We were offered food, water, cold packs and wet towels to keep us comfortable in the heat. A young man gave us a face mask in case of more tear gas and said if we need anything speak to any of the ‘cooling stations’ which were well stocked with food, toilet paper, cases and cases of water. An elderly woman came with a trolley and in a styrofoam box she passed out hot meals to the students consisting of rice and breaded pork. Men and women in business suits came out on their lunch hour. To many people it was a photo op of selfies, but deep down you could see the care and concern that the future may hold. A young business man said he watched it all unfold from his office building and stated how proud he was of the people banding together, but how they remained calm and in control. As we walked along people apologised for bumping into you, offered you whatever they had. All these people demonstrating would cause quiet the mess, but there was no garbage strewn about. A young protester was carrying a garbage bag and picking up the small amounts of litter that were left behind. Again I was overwhelmed.

peaceful civil disobedience

peaceful civil disobedience

Whenever you think protest in a foreign country, or any country, your first instinct should be turn away. We felt safe and everyone wanted to share their message. The genuine thanks for our support, smiles and shaking our hands was like being welcomed into someone’s home. The feeling of acceptance and appreciation was unlike anything I would expect. The diverse groups of people coming together made us realise that this could be a part of history, life changing for many.

Last night as the police tear gassed the crowds the protesters quickly handed umbrellas out to those closest to the police. They covered themselves in plastic wrap, wore face masks and opened the umbrellas to protect themselves.

“The Umbrella Revolution” Last night as the police tear gassed the crowds the protesters quickly handed umbrellas out to those closest to the police. They covered themselves in plastic wrap, wore face masks and opened the umbrellas to protect themselves.

WP challenge for this week was NIGHT. This was a pretty historic night…

OK so my pictures weren’t taken at night and we only watched it on the TV because we had just arrived in HK oblivious to the news until after we checked in. It has carried on all day today and I am sure again into the night…

Stay tuned.

Categories: Culture, History, strange adventures, Uncategorized, unique experiences, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , ,

Macro Shots: Photo Challenge

In this day and age I don’t know how I managed, but for 4 years I had a crappy phone where no one could hear me unless I shouted. Texting wasn’t much better since things didn’t line up and although I pressed this a letter a letter from the opposite side would often appear. For just over a year I gave up and the cheap terrible China iPhone became an expensive alarm clock. That is what happens when you are new to town… they prey on the stupid. I managed for as long as I could with this phone, so I guess I got what I paid for and finally gotsome of  my money’s worth by using it as long as  I did.

The last trip to Hong Kong ended up to be in search of a new phone. We knew if we went to a proper shop we would get an authentic phone, good quality and better price in Hong Kong than China. Electronics are often cheaper there. I was partial to iPhone since it seems everyone has one. Over the last 6 months Samsung has started to take the lead here. So I did some research and asked people who had both pros and cons.

My husband preferred the Samsung and I could go either way, so we decided on Samsung. A selling feature for me was better photo quality and cheaper price tag. In Hong Kong we went to the large mall at Times Square and found the Samsung store. I wanted a good phone, light and easy to carry. Then there was the Samsung zoom, which is more camera than phone. It was on sale… I was sold. For the price of 1 iPhone we got 2 phones. One for me and 1 for hubby. When I have a chance I should do a post about this great purchase, but today’s purpose it a photo challenge, so I best get to it 😉

The great thing about this phone is the amazing quality of macro shots. I was impressed.

Spring Rain

Spring Rain

And here is another…


raindrop close up

raindrop close up

Check out more great macro shots over at Bastet’s Pixleventures.

Stay tuned…. new Tourist in Your Town challenge should be up later this weekend.



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

Rain Rain Go Away

Rain rain go away…

Heavy rain in Hong Kong. View Looking down onto "Times Square"

Heavy rain in Hong Kong. View Looking down onto “Times Square”

I know April showers brings May flowers, but it seems every weekend for the last two months have been super soggy. Spring arrives earlier here in Shanghai than what I was used to back home in Southern Ontario. This year March was glorious. The blossoms filled the air with delicious sweet scents and the sun was shining. Then April happened. We went to Hong Kong in the middle of their ‘Black Rain’, which was a terrible storm that lasted a week. It was the worst they had in years, maybe ever. It must have been a bad omen, bad luck or hid away in our suitcases because we had terrible weather, all of April, here in Shanghai. After a mild winter many complained April turned into winter -cold, damp and grey. We didn’t see the sun for days or sometimes a week at a time. How depressing. The winds were chilly and every weekend it rained. The rain was that heavy downpour that soaks you to the skin in seconds. What is worse it is a cold rain. Brrr!

March sunset and blossoms

March sunset and blossoms in Shanghai

April seemed it would never end, but eventually May made its way. After the first soggy weekend in May temperatures started to rise, the sun shone for days in a row; a shock to our now sensitive eyes. Then the weekend came and it rained and again it rained some more. Our balcony is covered in water and the pinging of the heavy rain on the railing and pipes outside is constant. 14 floors up I can hear it coming down! Tomorrow is Monday and the forecast is…. sun.

Join in on Bastet’s Pixleventures and show your examples of Spring activity.

Stay tuned….


Categories: Tourist in My Own Town, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Letters & Words : Weekly Photo Challenge

I had fun searching and looking through all my photo files to come up with examples of letters. Spending nearly the last 4 years in China and having the opportunity to travel and visit many places in Asia I had to narrow it down to these.



So stop what you are doing and sit back and enjoy the collection of letters, words and symbols.


This first photo is a stop sign, which I am sure you guessed. The word is TING and means STOP in Mandarin Chinese.



The one on the right is also a stop sign that we spied in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

These letters are very different from what we are used to, but we get the meaning. Who knew the sign colour and shape would be so universal?


Welcoming in the New Year 2014.

Welcoming in the New Year 2014.



Pub Street is a main tourist street in Siem Reap that is loaded not only with bars, but many western style restaurants. The neon sign lights up the night as we wandered along. A New Year’s Eve banner also stretched across the street to advertise their Angkor Beer and welcome in the New Year.







From Siem Reap, Cambodia. A small shop that made its own wine. The 3 types of letters spell out Wine Shop in the local language, English and I believe Chinese.



This funny fellow drove around on his electric scooter spewing bubbles. Meanwhile heart-shaped balloons spun along wildly in the breeze. We saw him a few times and one night as luck would have it he had stopped to refill his bubble machine, so I was able to snap a pic. I wish I knew what he was saying on his signs. Any ideas?


Neon signs in Chinese from Honh Kong.

Neon signs in Chinese from Hong Kong.


More signs this time down a small side street in HoChiMin City, Vietnam.

More signs this time down a small side street in HoChiMin City, Vietnam.


Silly mistakes

Silly mistakes

In China they call in Chinglish, where things are misspelled or lost in translation. There are entire books on silly things like this. I pointed out the 2 mistakes I found -Hepsi Cola and Freda Orange Juice. Take a look as some of the other interesting options on this menu.




The last photo is simple and understated after some of the other interesting combinations of letters. This was a boat that took tourists from the resorts around Mindoro Island in the Philippines to another beach that has soft powdery sand. Enjoy the view.

This is my response to Word Press’ Theme for their weekly photo challenge Letters. Check out more here.

Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, teaching overseas, travel, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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: , , , , , ,

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: , , ,

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On the Streets of Hong Kong

Asia is King of the markets… street stalls, makeshift markets and neighbourhoods catering to specific items pop up everywhere from the steps leading into the metro, along the sidewalks and pedestrian walkways. Hong Kong probably has the best markets and most organised I have seen. Years ago a friend of mine had travelled to Hong Kong and raved about the street markets and cheap wares you could buy. Last trip to Hong Kong we missed the markets as we were in the wrong area. We did happen upon a jade market and kitchen street where you could buy any kitchen gadget imaginable.

Traditional Medicines Made from dried fish and animal 'parts'

Traditional Medicines made from dried fish, animal ‘parts’ and plants

This trip we stayed in MongKok not far from the ladies market and another un-named street market. The markets were along narrow streets and thin tarps and pipes were set up and seemingly taken down and dismantled each day. We wandered some of the street markets and the vendors didn’t seem keen to bargain so we moved on. The quality of items were so-so and there was nothing that was a ‘must have’ so we did the walk away. No one called after us, so we continued on.

Street Market Souvienrs

Street Market Souvenirs

We learned about a few unique markets and on the last day we left the hotel early in search of the interesting places. Last trip we also tried to find them, but to no avail. This time we were more successful and discovered the fish markets, or should I say ‘fish street’. This street was lined with small shops selling various koi, goldfish and even expensive tropical fish. The fish were taken out of tanks where I am guessing they were housed for the night. Since we got there early most vendors were just setting up for the day. We saw them place some fish in these plastic bags, add some oxygen (from a dive style tank) then tie them up and place them on a row of hooks along walls, over door entrances and any other available space. The endless row of colourful fish was a delight for the senses and very interesting to watch. I am not sure how much the poor little fish enjoyed their temporary housing though.

Wall of Fish

Wall of Fish


Up close...

Up close…

Around the corner there was a bird market and next we went in search of it. We passed numerous flower stands and stalls and thought maybe we went the wrong way when we came to a park. From the posted signs I thought maybe this was it. Inside there were a few stalls selling bird cages and men walking with birds in little bamboo cages and we still weren’t sure we were in the correct location. We continued deeper into the park and came across more stalls with numerous tiny little boxes with birds housed in each one. One stall had more exotic birds including a variety of parrots and even a toucan. The bird of choice was this smaller bird that flitted and flew quickly from perch to perch.

Bird Market at the Park

Bird Market at the Park

Hooks around the park all held a nice decorative cages and housed a little bird. Nearby an older gentleman sat and read the paper or chatted to a friend. We giggled and thought that maybe these were the bird owners and they were taking their birds for a walk. After researching and reading up on this park more we discovered we were not far off the truth. It seems that locals do go to the park to visit with friends and give their feathered friend a chance for fresh air and be with nature.

Beautiful Bamboo Cages -many made lovingly by hand

Beautiful Bamboo Cages -many made lovingly by hand

Our location was perfect this time and the busy streets were always filled with passing tourists and locals. Street performers were out occasionally, and markets lined the streets and narrow alleys until late. Street stalls sold a variety of foods, the ultimate in fast food. One night we even found a fruit and vegetable market around the corner from our hotel.

Fast Food and Street Meat

Fast Food and Street Meat

Wandering the streets of Hong Kong was always an adventure and interesting amongst the bright neon signs all competing for your attention. The sounds of the city and energy of the hustle and bustle were not only interesting, but surreal at times. I felt like I was a part of a movie set, transported through my TV into a different world. Hong Kong lived up to my expectations of a world class city and more.

This is the last post of our small trip to Hong Kong and Macau. Be sure to check out the others if you haven’t already.

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Photography, post a week, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,