"bLog means boring-Log"
hongkong, day 13 (0 comments)
last full day
for me in hong kong, tomorrow at about 13:00 i will fly back home. did not really do much today, i was just wandering around, window shopping, drinking coffee, watching people, sitting in parks, etc. - so all those "doing nothing" things, since i did not really have a plan for today. no sight, no tour, just enjoying my environment. i spotted two cats today. one i already saw on day 08, and another cat that was staying with humans in a pharmacy.
funny thing i didn't mention yet: people tried to avoid me all the time during my stay here. whenever i sat in a cafe, restaurant or tram, bus, etc. people were trying to sit somewhere else rather than next to me. and even if a seat next to me was the only choice to sit down or eat at a restaurant, they either waited until some other seat got free, or they left the locality. well, i'm sure they had their reason, i'm fine with that, maybe it's also just a wrong impression i got.
another thing is that people always assumed i prefer fork and knife when eating. well, i did not, so i always had to explicitly ask for chopsticks. oh, btw. Monique and Derrick (which i met on day 04) said that my way of using the chopsticks was way more better than theirs (due to laziness on their side). that actually made me laugh.
another thing i noticed is that people in hong kong are very loud. they are way louder than in japan and they do telephon calls on the metro, tram, or bus. some even burp quite loud and for some the table manners are horrible. most of them look very angry but once you talk to them, they turn out to be very friendly (as actually all people i talked to were).
in hong kong there's also the tendency to tell people what to do and what not to do on ads, signs, and tv screens (as in stations or on trains). a lot of regulations everywhere - just as in japan. and warnings about swine and bird flu everywhere. they put up alcohol disinfectant dispensers in many public locations (especially where a lot of birds are around). McDonald's has them in every restaurant. and you can find them in all public toilets.
and a pretty dangerous habit is absolutely common here: pedestrians have to give way. cars (especially public buses or taxis) do not stop, even on the most crowded streets, even if there's a zebra crossing. combined with the fact that they drive on the left side of the street, and the fact that it is often hard to tell if the street is a one-way street or not, it's getting quite dangerous from time to time. at most crossings they painted "look left" or "look right" on the ground. this makes it a little easier, but again shows, that cars are taking a higher precedence over pedestrians.
my things are packed, i'm ready for tomorrow. i will use the in-town check-in which is located only three MTR stations away from here. so way better to have my luggage transported there than carrying it myself. additionally there's a "starbucks" cafe right next to it. been there today to check it out.
hongkong, day 12 (0 comments)
i decided to do a "nature" day. so i went to "HK wetland park"[002-111], a huge conservation facility open to visitors. it's a huge area full of plants and animals. you sometimes walk on wooden ways[005,007,039-044,054,060,066] through swamps or to special ornithology hides[076-077]. additionally they added some information on various animals and plants nearby. very educative and fun.
cute crayfish[029-034,038], dragonflies[022,045-046,072], big butterflies (though the one i took a picture of was pretty small. the bigger ones were very cautious and one couldn't get very close to them), and of course all kind of birds[026-028,055-056]. in every hide there are telescopes (by swarovski) and people from the park that setup the telescopes for you, so you get a nice view on the birds very fast and easily. they also give you all the facts about the bird you're seeing (if you want to), and they are all enthusiastic bird watchers it seemed to me. and of course i found some wedding photography[043-044] going on again. seems they are everywhere.
then there's also a huge visitor centre with all kind of exhibitions[081-108] and also some living animals[091-093,099-105]. although it was very hot again (around 35C again) this was a total nice day in nature.
although to get there one has to pass by hundreds of skyscrapers. and i really mean hundreds. well, maybe not that much, but i think you get the idea. oh, and not to mention that i was the only caucasian again there. seems tourists only stick to touristy places? strange and sad, since they really miss a lot. ok, not the skyscrapers, but the people, the lifestyle, and such. on my way home i came by another lantern carnival[112-117] installation again. again loads of pandas. people seem to like them here a lot. also cute red pandas were there. so cute!
back at the hotel again i wanted to check out some udon restaurant i found a few days before (see day 09, ). unfortunately the queue at the entrance was quite long, so i decided to go somewhere else. then i found a small restaurant with a menu card in chinese and english, and some pictures. here's a short (and by far not complete) list of stuff they offered: fried fish skin, beef/pork brisket/cheek/knuckle/reticulum/cartilage/viscus/hastle, etc. i chose the safe side and ordered "baked pork chop with rice". boring, but delicious.
today the chinese people celebrate "mid-autumn festival". seems it's the most important holiday here. it takes place when the moon is the fullest, thus they eat cake that is called "moon cake". it consists mainly of sugar, but i haven't tried one yet. maybe i get one. they have all kind of fruity flavours, but there are also (exotic and non-traditional) ones with salty or sour flavours. the festival also is for family reunions, so maybe comparable to the european christmas celebration when the whole family joins to be shiny happy and eat together.
oh, and i still did not give up thinking that one day all those people on "jordan road" might stop asking me if i want a rolex, suits, or hashish. but since it's the mostly always the same guys the annoyance got less. i think they know me by now.
hongkong, day 11 (0 comments)
i went to "tsuen wan", a district a little outside of the core of hong kong. at the usual mall at the MTR station[001-002,005-009] i found a pet shop that had cats[004,006-007] in the shopping window. maunz, they did not seem very happy though, or maybe they were just lazy. who knows.
first sight i found was the "sam tung uk"[011-024] museum, which houses an exhibition of the daily life in this area from a few hundred years ago until today. it describes the farmer's and factory worker's life. additionally the museum building itself is an relict from around 1786.
next thing i wanted see was the "chuk lam temple". while walking there i saw three wild cats[025-026]. at least it seemed to me they were wild ones, since they were very shy. the one in  sits on the tree in the middle of the picture. good luck on finding the little cutey on the picture.
unfortunately my book guide is a little inaccurate when it comes to the map of this area, furthermore it lacks street names of important streets to get to the temple, and thirdly it seems a little outdated too, although my edition is from 2007. so i ended up a little lost in some streets that did not resemble anything i found on the drawn map. so i asked some locals, a group of three young guys. they said i could join them on part of my way to the temple since their home is located along this route. great! we had a nice little chat and then they almost brought me right to the entrance of the temple and the included monastery.
the temple[027-059] was totally nice and it had loads of cats[047-059] (in numbers: around ten cats, ranging from cute little curious, but yet very cautious kitties, to old grumpy cats giving me an angry look). they were all very very shy so no petting, unfortunately. it was even hard to get pictures of them. but i managed to take some (although, sadly, they're all out of focus). "wee, you're a kitty!".
the monks and employees there gave me strange looks since i was so happy seeing so many cats. again i almost got locked in, but this time an old lady escorted me to the exit. she was only speaking chinese and she said a lot of things to me (maybe that i'm a stupid tourist or such?) but she was totally friendly and waved at the exit as i left while she stayed. very kind and friendly.
ah, yeah, of course i was the only caucasian again since nearly half of the MTR ride to "tsuen wan" station. this changed rapidly when i got back to the centre to see two main "mid autumn" festival highlights. first one was the "tai hang fire dragon dance"[061-103].
it started with a parade of cute young girls and kids having lanterns. some pipe bag dudes (no idea what they represented though) and some drummers. and then came the fire dragon. a 67 meter long dragon, made of hay and studded with thousands of burning joss sticks. the dragon is hunting to big spheres, again made up of incense sticks. the carriers turn and wave the spheres and the guy holding the dragon's head also spins and waves the dragon around. the guys holding the body and head of the dragon often changed, so i guess this thing is quite heavy. also the heat of the incense sticks makes this job even more straining. very impressive spectacle actually.
next i headed on to the "lantern carnivals"[105-167], situated in the huge park i've already crossed on day 04[027-028], this time in the dark and lanterns all over the place. additionally all kind of activities went on there, like some old fashioned games[108,167], theatres[113-114,162-166] and live performances like jugglers[116-120], or dancers[150-156], and winners of some lantern creating contest[131-132,138-144,146-149] of course loads of people there (including many caucasian tourists).
what a nice day and evening!
hongkong, day 10 (0 comments)
i wanted to see some outer districts of hong kong. so i got on the double-decker bus and started my journey[001-003] out of the core of the city. first stop was "repulse bay". although my pocket guide says there's only a nice beach for swimming and sun bathing i wanted to have a look at it. so after a wild ride on the bus over several steep hills and along the coast i arrived at the bay[004-009].
to my surprise i found some strange temple [010-032] like complex there right at the beach. i still don't know what to think of that since it was so totally untypical from all the sacral things i've seen so far.
next i got on a mini bus and drove on to "stanley". there's a big street market[034-036], a wonderful beach[037-048], and a military cemetery[049-072] with a nice (as i guess) lolita photo shooting. then i took a walk along the coast[074-075] back to the center of "stanley", along the beach[076-086] again with all kind of american-style bars and restaurants. sights there are "blake pier"[087-088,098], the "murray house"[089-106] one of the oldest surviving public buildings in hong kong from 1846, and quite popular for couples[092,094-097,099-100,103-104,106,114-115] to marry there as it seems. all in all i think i saw about eight different couples there having photo shootings with hired professionals. of course a temple, namely "tin hau" [107-113] is there too.
to get back to "tsim sha tsui" i took again a bus, but this time the trip took over an hour due to the heavy traffic. still quite nice to watch the traffic chaos. this was a nice day with a lot of sunshine. although there were loads of rainy days predicted only two days ago, the typhoon has vanished (or moved on). so now it's hot again (35C), but at least i finally can now use my sun tan creme.
hongkong, day 09 (0 comments)
i wanted to go for "the peak", the well known spot in hong kong where you get the most beautiful view of the town, at least according to the brochure that you get when you buy the ticket). the ride with the peak tram[002,004,015,046] is very nice. totally steep up the hill, it's really scary from time to time, especially since i got no seat but was standing all the time.
once arrived at the station, i found the usual thing one finds when they get off some transport thingie: a mall. a huge shopping mall[029-031,035,049,053-061,071-072] up there with all kind of different shops. from luxury good shops to furniture and the usual souvenir shops. actually malls are everywhere it seems to me. additionally one can find a "madame tussaud's" wax museum [006-007] up there. a huge observation deck is put right on top of the mall. it's called "sky terrace"[012,019,027-028, 066-067,098] and to get there extra entry has to be paid.
i really have a tendency to end up all alone here in hong kong. and so i managed to do so today again. i wanted to walk further up the hill to see "peak garden" and take the "governor's walk". so while walking the "mt. austin road"[076-097] i came by a small unnamed (at least i think so) garden[073-075] to finally come to "peak garden"[083-084]. it was crowded with participants of a baptists convention, who were dancing and singing, and 99% female. after listening to some of their songs i went on to take the "governor's walk"[087-092], a circle walking path.
so, after walking back to "the peak", taking the tram to get back to the MTR station again, driving home, taking a shower after this exhausting hiking day ("mt. austin road" and the "governor's walk" were quite straining), just to get back on the street again to witness the 60th anniversary celebration of the people's republic of china. a huge firework was planned which of course i wanted to see. while being in my room and changing i was watching tv and they showed live streams from beijing. quite impressive ceremony although it was a weapon show all the time.
quite impressive and quite disturbing at the same time. to get to "victoria harbour" was not an easy task it turns out. the streets were closed by the police, and so everyone was walking on nathan road, a street that usually is full of cars and buses. was strange to walk there where one would actually get killed within a few seconds during normal operation. so i en joyed walking with the crowd to end up in some unknown street [111-112]. though i somehow knew where i was it was quite unclear to me where exactly the fireworks will take place. but i was in the middle of a crowd so i thought that must be a good viewing point[113-119].
well, it turned out all of us were wrong. the view was not that good, but it was ok. the people were really shouting "aaaw" a lot, especially when very bright explosions took place. was really nice, as they did it until the very end of the fireworks. people in austria would do that for maybe a few minutes. they had nice rockets with all kind of shapes like a heart and a smiley. also they had nice effects i have not seen before. all in all a nice spectacle and a good atmosphere in the crowd. i watched the fireworks later on tv when i got back to my hotel room. i really missed some cool stuff. hehe.
hongkong, day 08 (0 comments)
my trip for day 08
brought me from "central" to "sheun wan", starting at the "statue square"[02-03]. there they have huge drums (like the one they have in every temple) put up as part of the 60th anniversary of the people's republic of china, which will be celebrated on the 1st of october.
then i was heading down to the harbour[06-09] where several ferry peers are located. right next is the "International Finance Center Two"[10-14] ("IFC II"), which is the second highest building in hong kong. since it was again raining all day long i tried to get through malls from sight to sight. thus i ended up in malls for staying dry rather than for cooling down as in the last few days. on an entry to a subway i found this little cat that was resting on this chair while loads of people were walking by. cute kitty.
i finally reached my next stop, namely the "bank of china" building, which has an observatory on the 47th floor. but it was closed today. too bad, i really wanted to get an overview in a building that close to the harbour.
next thing i actually found by accident was "st. paul's cathedral"[29-31] where a piano convert was just about to end when i entered the church. again, too bad. a few hundred metres away i spotted another church, but i don't know the name since it was not listed in the guide book. since hong kong is built on hills and islands, i had another steep way to the "HK zoological and botanical garden" ("hkzbg"). in the zoo they have lemurs, apes, turtles, two crocodiles and one snake.
additionally loads of plants spread all over the park. also they had a stuffed tiger, that was a donation from a zoo in germany, and bred two offspring. sadly the kitty died last year.
since all the animals were in cages i did not take pictures of them but rather took a picture of some wooden animals[48-49] that are also spread all over the park. also they had nice benches with all kind of animals like cats[41-42] or apes[55-57]. lovely zoo in the huge city of hong kong.
next stop was an old stone stair and the four last gas lanterns in hongkong. then the weather got really very very bad, and i was hasting to "man mo" temple. next stop was "lok ku road", via the "hollywood road"[64-70]. usually at "lok ku road" there should be the "cat street market" (meow!), but due to the really heavy rain no market stalls were opened. additionally i was soaked to the bone and decided that this is not fun anymore and was fighting my way to the next MTR station. when i arrived the station i really felt like i had just taken a bath with my clothes on. good thing about the rain: it's a little cooling down.
the intensity of the rain showers is called "amber
" - in formation sheets were put up in the hotel elevators. looks like the weather wont change soon...
hongkong, day 07 (0 comments)
went to McDonald's to have my breakfast on day day 07
. inside the restaurant sat an very old woman who soon started to talk to me (in perfect british english, though she was asian). we were talking a while, then she started palm-reading of my hand (of course not for free, but less than a "professional" one would charge). actually what she told me was all kind of stuff she could have guessed by just observing me and talking to me for a few minutes (which she actually did). but a little pushing for the ego is never a bad idea.
so i enjoyed listening to all the stuff like i'm intelligent, wise (she might be assuming this by our previous conversation we had), i'm artistically gifted (though i wonder how she found out this one. maybe because of my huge camera bag?), and i will marry at an old age (well i am travelling alone and i'm not 20 anymore), i have a well going career in my job (yes, at least i can afford a stay in hong kong for a longer time), and i'm rather observing and introverted than extroverted (well, yop, she was talking most of the time), i'm friendly and open minded (yop, again, that's why i want to visit "exotic" countries and have dread locks). and so on...
but all in all this was a very nice chat with the old lady, who unfortunately refused my plea to take a picture of her. when i left McDonald's it had surprisingly stopped raining. so i changed my plans, and instead of walking through malls or museums, i went to see the "po fuk shan" cemetery and the "man fat sze" temple (aka "the temple of ten thousand buddhas"). to get there i took the MTR and got of at "sha tin". right above the station is a huge mall[013-018]. outside the mall there's a small "snoopy's world"[001-012] park for kids. due to the rain it was actually empty and most of the fair-things were closed anyway. cute to see all the peanuts in 3D and this size.
then i headed on to the "po fuk shan" cemetery[019-063]. the cemetery is huge and has several levels[056,060] that spread all over the hill. at the main hall there was some ceremony going on, but i have no idea what it was for. then i found the usual stuff like golden statues[046,051-052,058-059,061-062] in temples or outside. all those buildings (that could be closed like garages or shops) contained loads of marble plates, and there were thousand of them. each of them for one or more relatives.
going back downhill all the cemetery to the main entrance again to get to the next sight, namely "the temple of the ten thousand buddhas", or "man fat sze"[067-175]. although a steep climb up to the monastery it was totally worth it. what you get is really several thousand buddhas. be it life-sized ones on the trail up/down to/from the monastery[067-092,134-142,173], or miniatures [121-131] inside the main temple. this was my first real WTF?
experience in hong kong. the temple is really awesome. three walls all filled up with tiny buddha-statues. then there's a smaller glass case again with several hundred buddhas inside. and then there are those three cones with small buddhas inside too. so adding up all those buddhas that might really make it to ten thousand. totally impressive and fascinating. please note that all the life sized buddhas were unique.
also most of the ones placed in the walls and in the cone were unique. i wish someone would have made such a temple with cats. wooooo, ten thousand cats - i would die in aweness instantly.
the trail is not finished yet at the main temple. instead again a steep walk up to another temple (or whatever it is/was) again with life sized and coloured statues to each side of the path [135-142].
at the end i found some abandoned buildings[145-153] again (yuhu!) and it seems i found the place where they repair the broken statues. at least some of the ones standing up there were (partially) damaged or disassembled. i'm still not sure if this was really meant for the public or if i took a wrong turn somewhere. the place was a mess, but i totally liked it.
but, you might have guessed it, this was still not the end of the path. again up the hill i ended at a statue garden and a huge white statue[162-163] with a lovely dragon in front of a waterfall. totally impressive and nice. but this time, this was really the highest point one could go.
since i left the main temple i was totally alone (and on the way up to the courtyard i saw only about five people all in all). i explored the abandoned houses again on my way down, when i noticed it was only 15 minutes left until the temple closes. i saw gates along the way up. so i hurried to not end up locked in this place. but... ahm... too late. all gates were already closed. the only being here besides me was a barking dog. but it ran some other way (actually i was quite glad about that). so i was locked in, totally alone, and it got darker every minute.
great. since i've seen a way i have not walked yet when i was wandering the courtyard i decided to exit there so that at least i would not miss something important just because i was locked in. it turned out to be a good choice because the barbwire at exactly this exit was pretty lose, so i could partially remove it, and then hop over the fence to land safely about two metres lower. puh, lucky me. down the way were another few hundred buddhas. once more totally nice. oh, and i saw another cat .
i wanted to go home since i really was tired now from all the climbing. but the day was not over yet. i got on a MTR train and thought "oh, this train cabin looks so different. so few people and... hm... what does this sign say? first class'? aha, interesting.". so i thought i'm wrong here, and wanted to get off again when suddenly three MTR-employees were going to each passenger asking them to put their octopus-card on some card reader.
so did i. then the guy told me i did not pay for first class. ahm... yop, i never intended to go on first class. well, we got off the next station and he explained to me that i have to enable my octopus card for a first class ride before i get on the train. fines may be up to 500HKD (~50EUR) if you don't do so. damn. then he asked for an ID. but i had none, since my wallet got wet the day before so i left it at home so it could get dry. also this was illegal. fines here could rise even higher he told me.
well... guess i looked so totally exhausted and tired that this really nice and kind MTR guy said i get a warning and do not have to pay. guess my apologies and surprised looks were convincing him that i really did not know better. so he showed me where to charge my card so i could go on first class. pretty expensive actually, but i was very willing to pay only the extra charge instead of the fines. as a sign of good will on my side (though no one noticed that since the MTR guys already left the station for some other trains) i travelled the rest of my way home in second class trains (though it was charged for first one for this trip).
quite exciting day... if only the fortune teller lady would have told me that in the morning...
hongkong, day 06 (0 comments)
well, who would have guessed... yesterday i bought sun cream for my face, since i had a sunburn, and today
there's a typhoon warning T1
. this means no sun, a lot of rain, high humidity, and, and that's the good side of it, falling temperatures. so today it had about 26 degrees celsius, which is - compared to the average 30 to 35 degrees so far - very acceptable to me. but... no need for sun cream anymore.
but unaware of the typhoon warning T1 is started my trip to "lan tau" island, thinking the rain would go away soon (as known it from austria). but it turned out i was wrong. so this day was ok for me, but a huge threat to my poor camera. my lenses grew damped, the body was exposed to a lot of water. but it seems it survived this day. bad thing is... it looks like the typhoon will stay for a few days. so maybe tomorrow i will make it easier for my camera and go to a few museums. we'll see...
at the MTR station there's the entrance to the cable car system called "ngong ping 360"[002-026,161-170], that takes one right to the "po lin" monastery, the biggest (sitting) bronze buddha statue in the world, and a bone relict of buddha.
when i left the cable car cabin it was raining quite a lot, and an australian told me this will not change for today. so i started my tour to the buddha statue[031-033,045-049,053-054,061-063]. 200 steps[028-031,055-056] lead up to the big statue and the museum[042-044] inside the statue.
inside the museum of course no photography was allowed. and the bone relic would have only been visible through a magnifying glass, but it was locked away in a glass case anyway. so the closest i could get to it, was about four metres. i didn't see the piece of the bone. too sad.
next to the statue there's a monastery[067-109] with the monks taking care of the complex. they had vegetarian food[103,107] only offered at the canteen. so i had some sweet-sour, some "pork"-flavoured, and some unknown flavoured tofu pieces. totally delicious and very cheap.
next thing i wanted to go to was "the path of wisdom". but i soon found out i was the only one willing to go this path. so i was walking through a dark and foggy forest, while it was raining heavily down on me. but what i found was worth it. no, not the path of wisdom yet, but an abandoned house[111-132], surrounded by scarecrows[111-113]. pretty spooky scary, but awesome for taking pictures. i just love abandoned buildings.
after exploring the ground floor of the ruin (the stairways to the first floor and basement unfortunately were obstructed) i went on with the seek for my wisdom. "the path of wisdom"[135-142] turns out to be about 38 wood beams, each of them several metres of height. quite impressive in the fog. but again, a little spooky, as i was still all alone. so what does this tell me? i'm all alone in the fog and rain on my path of wisdom? i have no idea.
on my way back[143-146] from enlightenment and wisdom i came by another few abandoned houses[147-158]. again very beautiful, but unfortunately inaccessible.
when going back again to the MTR station via the cable car it was really foggy and windy. the cabin[161-170] was shaking and sometimes visibility was limited to about 15 metres. another spooky event, since once more i was alone, this time in the cabin.
but... i found a McDonald's near my hotel. so, tomorrow i will have breakfast there. yippieh!
hongkong, day 05 (0 comments)
i think i had a sunstroke yesterday. i really felt miserable today
in the morning. so i spent all day resting, sleeping, and drinking gallons of water (as every day). in the evening i felt much better again, so i decided to watch the "symphony of light". it's a light show that is the largest permanent light show in the world and thus is listed in the guinness book of records.
44 buildings on both sides of victoria harbour are included in this multimedia spectacle. additionally there's sound involved which can be heard either via radio or at the area around the "HK cultural centre" (cf. day 02, [047-066]). impressive light show since all lasers and (search)lights are coordinated with the music.
independent of this event, a lot of buildings have animated light fronts. really amazing to watch. i really love the sea-front in victoria harbour. be it day or night. good night.
hongkong, day 04 (0 comments)
today, day 04
, i went to "wan chai"/"causeway bay". they nice old trams there[001-002], and the area is not plain. instead all the skyscrapers are built all over the hills, and quite often there's also unused green wood areas. right next to the MTR (the metro) is the "tin hau" temple[008-023]. there were no "no photography" signs, and since there was another tourist in there taking pictures i thought that's a good chance of finally getting pictures of the inside of a temple.
this one was quite typical and (for my eyes) looked exactly the same as the other ones i have already visited. the only difference is size.
my guide book said there should be another temple near "tin hau" temple, but actually i didn't find it. too bad. so i went on to "victoria park"[027-035], a big park with loads of green areas, a separate jogging lane, and other stuff like a model boat area.
after taking the exit on "gloucester street"[044-051] and walking around some side streets i was searching for the "noon day gun". the gun is located right on the seaside, but between me and the gun there was "gloucester street" and no pedestrian crossing. since my guide said there's a subway somewhere i was searching for the usual subway signs. but this subway was very different. the entrance was totally hidden (i had to ask twice where it is, since i didn't find it, though i was standing only a few metres away when i asked the second time). so first step is to go partially through the underground car park, then following long hallways with sea-water pipes[053-054] until you finally reach the other side. quite strange, but i did it. the gun itself was a little disappointing then actually (for all the effort i had to take).
next thing i wanted to see was the "HK convention and exhibition centre" (aka "HKCEC"), the huge building i saw on day 02 () from the other side of the harbour. on my way there i came by the "chinese resource centre" that has some nice dragon things like a fountain[070-072,078-080] and a wall[081-084] on the ground floor. very impressive and totally nice.
and so finally i arrived at the "HKCEC"[086-107] that somehow reminded me of the opera house in sidney. at the centre there was still the jewellery and gems fair that is now ongoing for days. i often see people running around with access passes and jewellery related catalogues or shopping bags.
to get back to "tsim sha tsui" i took the ferry[108-110]. it took me about eight minutes to get back there. quite fast, quite cheap, and definitely nice. so i went home, took a shower, changed cloths and was heading for "mongkok" (been already there on day 03) to meet with Monique and a friend of hers, Winnie. Monique is a pen friend of jake's girlfriend Andrea. Andrea wrote her an email and asked if i could get a guide for one day, and she agreed. later Monique's husband Derrick joined us. we were strolling around went to a soya restaurant. they had all kind of tofu stuff there. like a sweet soya bean thing that reminded me of pudding somehow. then some deep-fried tofu, and some other deep-fried tofu thing with a fish paste layer on top of it. all very delicious and very healthy i guess.
next thing they showed me was "temple street"[115-126]. though i've already been there, this time all the shops were opened and the market was full of life. they had all kind of stuff there. from clothes to electronic things and hello kitty stuff for the kids. strange, yet fascinating mixture. oh, and here i saw the first cat on hongkong! actually i saw four all in all.
then we decided to go to the "HK jockey arts club"[127-128,138-143], a place that houses studios of loads of artists. one of them was specialised in glass production[129-137]. and we had the chance to watch him doing his art. it was time for dinner. so my very friendly asian guides asked me where i want to go, and i decided (of course) for traditional local restaurant. so they brought me to some area where there was no other caucasian being besides me. at the restaurant[144-145] Derrick ordered something for all of us. they brought goose with sweet-sour sauce, rice mixed with dried shrimps, vegetables with garlic sauce, chicken with onions, and this pot full of weird things. in there was pig liver, pig hind gut, and frog-legs. though i knew how liver tastes the rest was new to me. the hind gut was not my thing, but the frog-legs were quite delicious.
after we finished eating and drinking we drove back to "nathan street", once more passed by the "temple street market"[152-168] and finally split up at "nathan road". this was a very nice and enlightening evening with three inhabitants of hong kong. thanks very much to them.
hongkong, day 03 (0 comments)
of my trip to an exceptional city of china. on my plan: "kowloon park" (which i didn't visit yesterday although it's just around the corner of my hotel), "yau ma tei" and "mong kok", and "wong tai sin". good thing: i found a MacDonald's in kowloon park. bad thing: they don't have croissants. just "choco-pies".
oh well... one day i will find my perfect breakfast here in hongkong. i hope. kowloon park was full of life. it was full of old people doing all kind of activities, such as "qi gong", "tai ji quan", or... honestly, i have no idea what they actually did. but it's the cliche of china: old people doing exercises in parks. that's exactly what i got. and it was fun watching them. some where really elegant, smooth, and such, others where... quite the opposite.
but, everybody was physically active, and that's what counts i guess. some in groups[022-023], some alone, but everyone with total devotion. some even had swords[024-026], some had fans[028-029,032-033]. others played instruments[005-006] and/or sang (both can be weapons too).
besides old and/or active people there are loads of birds and turtles (and other animals such as dragonflies and parrots and pigeons in cages) in and around the ponds.
quite close to the park was "tin hau" temple[056-065], a very small temple, where taking pictures was prohibited (as usual inside the temples). the way back[066-067] to the closest underground station brought me through the skyscraper valleys back to the main street of "tsim sha tsui", namely "nathan road". i will from now on try to reduce skyscraper photography as you might, by now, have already found out that they are... huge. and everywhere. and ugly. most of them. some are nice and modern though.
the metro brought me straight to "wong tai sin" station, where one can find the "sik sik yuen wong tai sin" temple[072-140] - a huge temple complex. since japan has taught me i dig temples (and shrines), this was my little heaven in hongkong (and a rather time consuming one). but before i went to the temple i cooled down a little in a close by mall called "wong tai sin mall"[068-071,141-147].
i started my temple tour in front of the main temple(s) where there are two floors full of soothsayer's booths. loads of them were occupied, most of them with couples. quite interesting actually. next stop was a huge garden called the "good wish garden"[074-127]. again turtles, dragonflies, and huge fish were all over the place. very peaceful, very quiet, almost no people there - absolutely wonderful and impressive.
now it was finally time to enter the main temple. inside the temple buddhisms, taoisms, and confucianisms is practiced. thus there were quite a lot of people, having tons of incense sticks lit. inside the temple buildings there's always so much smoke of them, i always get a little dizzy when being in there for a longer time. i guess the people working there are on those incense stick drugs all day long. must be the reason they all were so very friendly to me all the time.
to get some water and onigiris (didn't know they have them here too) i went back to the mall. in there i found a small market, where they sold things like fish-slices, chicken-something and salted raw, fried and deep-fried fish. same with beef, where they had dark-red slices of meat. looked strange and unknown to me. also they had beef tripe on a stick. very... not delicious.
i think i will get a t-shirt saying "want no suit, got apartment". whenever i'm on "nathan road" (on which my hotel is) all kind of guys ask me whether i want a suit (tailor made of course) or if i need an apartment. honestly, do i look like a guy that needs or even wants a suit? and if i would need an apartment, shouldn't i somehow have some luggage with me? unfortunately this is really annoying. but i guess that's the price for the low budget hotel. worth to pay actually.
hongkong, day 02 (0 comments)
having plenty of sleep i felt totally fit on day 02
. so, according to the tradition when i was in japan, i was searching for a MacDonald's restaurant to have black coffee and croissants. unfortunately i haven't found one. instead i ended up at a starbuck's cafe, full of americans (or english?). so i had a tall americano (following the tradition i started on my america trip) and a blueberry muffin for breakfast.
i decided to explore my neighbourhood today, called "tsim sha tsui". first stop was "1881 heritage"[001-015], a former marine police headquarter, which is an old victorian building. today there are all kind of luxury shops in there. first time i got strange looks today because i definitely didn't fit in there. near by was a construction site, and skyscrapers. but skyscrapers are actually everywhere. almost all of them are old, ugly, and huge, but somehow that's something typical for hongkong i guess.
next i took a walk along the waterfront[016-046], where one really has an awesome view on the skyline of hongkong. during the day i always went to shopping malls from time to time to enjoy the cool air inside, since outside it's really hot. though there's always strong wind it still is hot. inside the "harbour city" mall there were all kind of luxury stores again. second time i got strange looks today.
some special things (amongst the really fabulous view on the other islands) along the waterfront are the old clock tower (unfortunately not open to public), stuff at or in the "HK cultural centre"[047-089], and the "Avenue of stars"[090-120], where all kind of chinese movie-stars have their names and sometimes their hand prints on the ground, just as in los angeles. notice the construction site using bamboo for building scaffolds[115-117,126].
next i came by the HK polytechnic university[130-137], a very huge campus with loads of buildings and loads of students. a totally busy and crowded place.
on my search for a temple i had to leave the usual tourist roads, and thus ended up in areas where i was the only non-asian person there. still i felt totally safe. was nice seeing a little bit of the non official hongkong. the buildings got even more decayed, the pavements got narrower. that was the third time i got strange looks today. the temple itself was quite strange (compared to the ones i know from japan) and taking pictures was not allowed. too sad, as it was quite a nice one (though very compact, as it was only one room.
last stop for today was "whampoa plaza"[149-157], which actually is located in the area called "hunghom". "whampoa plaza" is a shopping mall that is built inside a ship. so within narrow streets, ugly skyscrapers stands a ship, far away from the water. pretty weird, but nice shops inside. chinese people seem to share a lot of stuff they like with japanese people, like the moomins, hello kitty, relakkuma, doraemon, and loads of other stuff i know from japan.
in a bookstore i found another book of "chi's sweet home" from which i bought one book in japan, one in america (in an japanese bookstore), and this one here in hongkong (though i think it's translated and not original japanese anymore. not sure though). some more trips and i have them all.
there are ads all over the city that say something about a "dress special day", which will be held on the 30th of september. too bad i don't have special clothes. i wonder what this day will look like...
hongkong, day 01 (0 comments)
HK. no, this time not "hello kitty", but rather hong kong, the first day
. long journey to get here. linz to munich, munich to hongkong. all in all an 16 hour trip with about 13 hours of flight. unfortunately no free wifi on the airports in linz nor munich. the legroom on the plane from munich to hongkong was surprisingly ok, still i did not get a lot of sleep. instead i watched movies like "star trek XI", "angels and demons", "night at the museum: battle of the smithsonian", and "monsters vs. aliens".
the rest of the flight i spent eating, drinking, or sleeping. at the airport people were very friendly and nice. i got my "octopuss card" which is an convenient way of getting around. you charge the card with a certain amount and then don't have to worry about coins, but just hold the octopuss card to some card reader, and you're done. recharging can be done at any station or grocery store (at least the lady who sold it to
me said so).
hongkong (so far) is so totally different from tokyo. here i really get the impression that it's a mega-city. narrow streets and all of them are totally crowded - there are people everywhere. but that's only my first impression so far, since my hotel is located in one of the busiest districts in hongkong, namely "tsim sha tsui". the hotel itself actually is also quite... let's call it unique. i'd suggest you read the wikipedia site
for the building to get an impression.
now i'm tired and having headache. but i try to stay awake a few more hours to get back into the normal day-night-cycle.
tap water has chlorine smell, still i will take a shower now and then go to bed.