Posts Tagged ‘Hong Kong’

So the weekly photo challenge is Escape. I was thinking about sharing some more images from Mongolia which is my idea of escape from the crazy world that I love in Hong Kong. It is definitely different from Hong Kong and an escape fro the craziness of the high pace. But in the end I decided to share some images that I took in Melbourne a couple of years back.

I was in Melbourne a few years back for my summer holidays along with the Gold Coast of Australia. Australia was an incredibly beautiful country with some amazing scenery and interesting wildlife. But the point of this post is about what I saw in the urban part of the country. I will be honest here and say that I do not believe that any city comes close to the imagery that you can get in Hong Kong. No where else has the skyline of our harbour or the dramatic back drop of the hills behind all of the skyscrapers. But one thing that we do not have as much of is street art. I am always fascinated by street art ( what some call Graffiti), not the kind that says bob loves sarah but the amazing art that can be found. For example the art found on the Duke of Lancaster. I know that some of this is preplanned and has permission from the owner of the property but in a lot of cases it does not.

So why do I believe there is a link to Escape? Well a lot of these images are an escape from the reality that surrounds them. They add brightness in a world of modern greyness that is often found in any city.

I found the following street that was covered in graffiti completely by chance. I was looking for an apple supplier as I needed to get a charger plug for my iPhone. Anyway as I left the shop I took a wrong turn and was walking along when i happened to see this out of the corner of my eye. IMG_1270

Now normally I do not go down dodgy looking alleys where even the bins are painted. but then I saw this image on the corner and so decided to explore more. IMG_1271

Anyway as I walked down I took a few snaps and they are below.

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But I feel my favourite of them all is this one.

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Just the surreal feeling I get with the scooter in the foreground.

Anyway there you have my take on escape.

 

So the Weekly photo challenge is from above. Take an image of something from above and show it in a different light.

Some of you may be aware of the rubber ducky that is Hong Kong at the moment near the star ferry in TST. It is doing a world tour at the moment to promote peace and harmony and is the work of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.

Well being a typical Hong Konger I had to go along and see the rubber ducky and feel better about myself. off I went with some friends and we decided to take some pictures from the area that most people are trying to get them from, but then decided that we would get some pictures from the car park above Ocean Terminal. So below are the images I have taken from the original position. SAM_1535

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The following is the image that I took from above in the Ocean Terminal building car park. In the image you can see all the people down below trying to get pictures of the duck, there is not a great deal of peace and harmony in the flailing elbows.

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Whilst I was up here I also noticed the sunset over the new bridge that connects the down town area to the airport. SAM_1550

And the final image is for those who say that the duck is not taken from directly above. Enterprising individuals have started selling miniature ducks along the waterfront, I was given one of these by a friend. It is much easier to get an image of that from above.

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I hope you all feel more at peace having seen the rubber ducky. Have a great weekend.

 

So the Weekly Photo Challenge is change.

For me Change can mean many things,  the change in people, seasons or even as simple the change in location.  I could have talked about how I have changed over the years, I could have talked about the changing of the seasons. In the end I decided to talk about the a change that you can see within Hong Kong if you travel no more than one hour from the down town area around the Harbour.

Most people when they think of Hong Kong think of this image. IMG_4632

Or the images that I linked in My Neighbourhood.

But what a lot do not realise about Hong Kong is that there is a huge area of Hong Kong that is country parks. (If you do not believe me just look at a satellite map of Hong Kong on google and you will see a lot of greenery, especially in the north east.)

So in this post I want to highlight what a change travelling out of the centre can make. All of these photos are from the North East corner of Hong Kong around the villages of Sam A Tsuen etc. in the Plover Cove Country Park.  There are a lot of abandoned Villages in this part of the world that the young men and women left in the 60’s to go and work overseas in the UK for example. The villages continued for about 20 years more and started to be abandoned in the 80’s as parents got too old to hike 6 or 7 km in and out of some of them. I can get to this park in about an hour from where I live in the down town area.

Nature is changing and claiming them back slowly but surely, but in some of the villages there are holdouts. People who keep the places on for weekend homes or in some cases the sons returning from overseas to claim their family homes back, a lot of whom are retired. I wonder how many of them will be able to keep going.

There is a huge amount of Nature in the area and some really interesting structures, there are also the infamous wild cows of Hong Kong. Anyway I hope you like the images below that show the change that can be seen from the Down town area and the country park.

So the weekly photo challenge is colour.

I live in Hong Kong which has a really unique set up as part of China, as they say one country two systems. It is remarkably different between the two systems, in terms of what happens. A while back I was lucky enough to go to Xi’an with work, as part of that trip we went to Mount Huashan. Mount Huashan is a popular destination for tourists as it has amazing views from the top of the five peaks. When I went you had to walk up or take a cable car, we walked. Now there are apparently two cable car routes up, with a new one starting recently that is faster and has better access to the peaks. It is incredibly beautiful and has some rather dangerous drop off points along the ridge of the peaks.

So how does colour tie in with this and Hong Kong. Well the colour most commonly associated with China is Red due to communism, This is the case in Hong Kong as well with lots of red colour found all over. But Red is not just associated with communism it has a much older meaning of luck. This is why you will find the red pockets that are little pouches of money given to people for weddings and Chinese new year.

At Mount Huashan one of the most amazing things I saw was the locks on chains, seen in the images below. People climb the Mountain then they buy a padlock from one of the many vendors then have them engraved with a message to their family wishing  good luck, health and fortune. People then attach them to the chains on top of the mountain so that the good luck can reach the entire family no matter where they are.

You will never find red at funerals for example as it the colour linked to happiness. Though writing the name of a person in red can be offensive, as it was the colour previously used to write the names of the dead. In the case of the locks the red strips are added to bring that much needed luck.

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Well that is all for me this week. Over the weekend I am going with a friend doing a 12km hike in the new territories of Hong Kong. We are going  to be photographing some of the old abandoned villages in the plover cove country park. It should be a lot of fun.

Jamie

So the weekly photo challenge is My Neighbourhood as seen through a smart phone. I decided to cheat on this slightly, I did not use a camera, camera like some have, but instead I have used a new ipad. I figured it is a hand-held device that does a lot of the things that my iphone does but with a better set up for taking an image. It actually worked out better than I thought it would, and I got quite a lot of images.

Let me start by talking about “My Neighbourhood.” I live in Hong Kong on the Kowloon side in a place called Tai Kok Tsui. I live on a big new estate with a lot of features that make my life very easy, and I have lived there for the whole time I have been in Hong Kong.  I love where I live,it is close enough to town for me to get whatever I want but is more local in lots of ways, something I really enjoy. It used to be/still is pretty notorious for its cage homes, or so some of my friends from the police rugby team tell me. ( See the following web link for an example. Cage Home)

What it is also famous for is metal working and recycling shops, something I really enjoy. I love seeing the metal being worked and cut, maybe this comes from my family history as both of my grandparents worked in heavy industry.

But the area is changing, the Urban Renewal Authority has come in and are starting to tear old buildings down and replace them with new apartments and hotels. The character of the area is being lost and I feel a little bit sad about it all in a way.

Anyway on to the photos, I have a lot this week as I have so much to show of the area.

All of these shots are from the metal working shops, or the street outside the shop in the case of the last one.

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The guard dogs that look after these workshops are well looked after and do a really good job of barking at people that they do not recognise.

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The following images are of some of the old buildings. The second one shows some of the redevelopment that has happened in the background. Along with one of the buildings that used to be a cage home area.

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The new building is nearly complete so down comes the bamboo scaffolding. I am always amazed at how high they go with this stuff. When they were building the tall building in the previous picture the bamboo went all the way to the top, about 70 floors.

 

 

 

 

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At the end of the day some of the workers are winding down with a cool beer.

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They also recycle metal here with trucks turning up with old window frames, fire extinguisher’s and old air conditioners to name some. There is a lot of complaints about this activity as they often park two deep.

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It is not all metal working shops, there are also car places that can give your car a quick clean or buff. IMG_0113

You can also get something to eat at a local “Cha Tsan Tang” basically a local white wall restaurant with good cheap local style food. For fellow Brits the guy is not swearing, just posing.

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But it is not all heavy industry, there are some relaxing features. Hong Kong has some really good local parks where you will find a quieter, greener location that is a breath of fresh.  This one is right outside where I live. IMG_0132

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In the park you will find a lot of old guys playing Chinese chess on the special tables they provide. IMG_0131

So there you have my neighbourhood. I was impressed with the images that the ipad took. I am planning on returning to take some more images of the cut metal pieces with the painted ends on my proper camera. I think they would have made good images for last weeks challenge.

So the weekly photo challenge is lost in the detail. take a photo opportunity and move in closer to see what else you can see.

A couple of years back I played Rugby for the Hong Kong Police, a very enjoyable pass time on the weekend for being sociable and keeping my fitness up. This weekend was the grand final for the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union leagues with the top two teams from all the leagues playing at King’s Park. I decided this would be a good opportunity to catch up with some of the old boys and also to get a few good shots of the game.

First up was the Hong Kong Police vs the Discovery Bay Pirates, unfortunately the Police lost but I did get some good pictures.

The one below sets the scene of my lost in the detail scenario. It is the scrum, the part of the game which most people have no idea what is going on. As a loose head prop this was the area I was expected to spend a fair amount of time in (Especially when the back players knock on the ball!!) In the scrum there is a lot of binding that needs to go on to hold it all together, apparently the scrum is one of the most dangerous things in any sport in the world. You can just make out one of binds across the guys at the front backs and on to the leg.

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But what happens when we get in closer? IMG_5384

Well we can see that the player on the side called the flanker is bound on to the second row and is helping to push the guy in front. What a lot of people miss is the bind between the legs of the front player grabbing on to the top of his short. (Look next to the Kukri symbol in the shadows.) This is the bind of the second row player on to the prop it helps hold the core of the scrum together.

Next up the line out. Here you can see the two props supporting the guy jumping so that he can knock the ball back. It is amazing how long a player can float in the air like this.

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After the game there is always celebrations and some times in rugby this can be a little weird, as can be seen by this photo. In this case the Discovery Bay Winger is enjoying his victory.

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Finally on to the next match I watched. Can you work out what is a little bit different about this picture?

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Well the pink may be the clue, all of these players are female. ( Not always the case, Paris St. German men’s team played in a pink kit a few years back.)

And just to prove it, I had to finish off with a common seen site according to a lot of people who have watched some rugby.

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This lady is one tough cookie. It was quite a big cut and she came off strapped it up and went straight back in.

Anyway there you have my ideas for lost in the details.

So the weekly photo challenge is forward. I must start by saying if you are a little bit squeamish then this post may not be for you. I will post the pictures at the bottom and I will write the blurb at the top to explain what it is all about. The pictures are from the Bodies exhibit at the Venetian hotel and casino in Macau.

So over the weekend I went to Macau with some colleagues, Macau is another Special Administrative Region of China just like Hong Kong, the key difference is that it was a colony of the Portuguese. The two regions are similar in a lot of way but also very different. Macau is more laid back and definitely has a very European feel, in some ways it reminds me of living in Italy as a child. Part of the reason for this more “European feel” is probably due to the fact the Portuguese governed in Macau from the middle of the 16th century where as Hong Kong was only under British rule from the middle of the nineteenth century. Another big difference is size, Macau is smaller in population than Hong Kong by a long way. There is about half a million people in Macau and 7 million in Hong Kong.

Macau is growing and is becoming more economically strong because of gambling. Before the hand over in 1999 most of the major investment in this part of the world came to Hong Kong. Macau was known as the Sin city of south china, it was seedy casinos and loose women all the way. Now it is big Casinos and loose women (some things never change.) These new Casino’s are massive and you have all the big players in town, The Wynn, MGM and the Venetian to name a few. Macau has become such a powerful gambling location, that the casinos since about 2009 have made more money in Macau than in Las Vegas.

I have been to Vegas, Macau is completely different. Gambling in Macau is business, the minimum bet on tables is 300 HK$ (They have their own currency in Macau, the Pataca. But the casinos will not accept it opting for the Hong Kong dollar instead. Apparently this is due to the security of the HKD being second to none.) 300 HK$ is equivalent to about 25 pounds, 30 euros or 40 US$. These tables are rare to find as well with most being 500 and 1000$. (one of my colleagues was shooed off the craps table for bidding too little, by the other players! the staff diplomatically suggested he might want to try the other table with lower limits)

Anyway we arrived on the boat and set off for lunch at a Portuguese restaurant called A Lorcha, an incredibly busy restaurant that should be on every ones list of things to do in Macau. Afterwards we set of for the Bodies exhibit, something I had been looking forward to seeing. I am a biology teacher and so I know all about the plastination technique of preserving bodies.

So we got there to be greeted by this fellow.SAM_1426

As you go through the exhibit they showcase various structures in the body. So this one was looking at the muscle system and how it all goes together.

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This one was looking at the combination of all the different layers.

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And finally the image that got me thinking of forward. The body in full run with the muscles exposed and in some cases disconnected.

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So there you have my post for forward. All about a city that is moving forward fast, with an exhibition that some my say is forward thinking, whilst some would say it is not.

Jamie.