Tag Archives: Hong Kong

Travel Diaries: Wan Chai District

Wan Chai was my home from May to August last year; my first ever shot at living solo due to work. While it sent me to fits of homesickness initially, I lately find myself musing over my quiet life there as a single, I.T. consultant, who strolls the city and the islands by her lonesome self on weekends and holidays.

I just love the vibrant colors of the different MTR Island Line stations

At first, I find it really hard to trust and enjoy this neighborhood because the serviced apartment I was billed in is surrounded by several girly bars, which sadly is fronted mostly by our kababayans. They entice tourists and locals alike in their barely-there outfits; they would grab their arms and try to pull them inside, sometimes almost close to begging them to check out the place. It’s just sad. Well, maybe for them it’s not, as it could be survival for them and their families back home. I don’t judge.

Anyway, sooner than later, the neighborhood grew on me and I’ve come to love my adoptive home. As they say, warts and all.


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Of Signs, Life and Eggs

I like taking photos of street signs. And I like street signs per se. They tell you if you’re headed somewhere or nowhere. They have the decency to tell you what direction to take for your desired destination or if you’re headed to a dreadful dead end after walking for hours.

Street Sign in Central, Hong Kong with an interesting building name in the background. How honest!

It’s akin to dress tags giving you instructions on how to properly wash them so you get to keep on wearing them for a longer period of time.

If only life is that easy. But life doesn’t come with instructions and signs. That’s what our anatomy is for. Whether it’s the hypothalamus or the proverbial heart, I’ll just leave it to people who know their stuff.

For women, men don’t come with signs like IMPENDING DOOM AHEAD or CHASTITY BELT: ON!

For men, women don’t come with labels emblazoned with GOT BREASTS, NO BRAINS or NOTORIOUS TEARS USER across the front.

These things  we figure out for ourselves because we are equipped to handle these things. Take the egg (of the HEN, not the MEN’s), for instance. You crack an egg and all you see are the yolk and the egg white (excluding the infamous balut, of course). But it actually has everything it needs to become a hatchling given the right time and nurturing.

What I’m driving at? (Note to self: Take driving lessons seriously no matter how much you prefer commuting in spite of its nuances.)

We walk through life doing wrong turns, taking risks and making mistakes. Life doesn’t give us guarantees for the choices we make. We just take that leap of faith and hope that a cushion is laid out somewhere to break our fall.

But should there be none, pick yourself up and don’t head straight to Your Own Pity Party Street. Ok fine. Wallow in misery for a bit. Hurt for a while. But please, do yourself a favor and don’t make Misery Avenue the site of your retirement.  Get yourself together (and that includes your brain, my dear) because the drama gets really old, you know. It really does.

Street Sign at Cheung Chau Island

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The Lunar Project: July

Photo #07

With just a few days left of my project stint here in Hong Kong, I am busily looking around for things that I need for my new hobby. So I heeded friends’ and reputable forums’ suggestions and bought the much needed lens blower, lens cloth and the ancient and highly-recommended prime lens, 50mm 1.8 lens.  These purchases are the best souvenirs I’ve ever had and ever bought for myself.

So I thought to post shots taken using the new lens; which by the way is a bit hard considering it doesn’t auto-focus with the Nikon D3100 but when I finally got the hang of it, I was so delighted like a kid.

The pensive Star Ferry sailor

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Take nothing but pictures.

 Leave nothing but footprints.

Kill nothing but time.

Break nothing, especially hearts.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Shortly after, he starts prepping to anchor the ferry ...

Tips:

For your photography needs, the  Wing Shing Photo Supply over at Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok is worth checking out. The staff there are courteous, knowledgeable and helpful. They recommend you the better stuff even if it’s cheaper than what you’re interested in. 

Purchased from Wing Shing: Prime Lens, Eviteo Lens Blower, Sorak Lens Cloth

In general, whether you’re buying or window-shopping, stick to the big and reputable stores like Wing Shing, Broadway and Fortress. They are honest with their prices and they have courteous staff. Plus, these stores save you the effort of asking because the prices are already displayed. And do check the prices in your local shops before buying it in HK. I found out some lenses are more expensive here than back home.

Avoid those little shops declaring in bright neon signs that they sell “tax-free” goods. They should. Because Hong Kong is free of sales tax.

Especially avoid this store  at Star House near Harbour City. The guy named Vick is very helpful but this other 40-something guy was particularly VERY RUDE. No wonder, few people wander in that store compared to those three stores which are always littered with buyers and window-shoppers.

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Travel Diaries: Cheung Chau Island, Hong Kong

Finally found the chance to trek through some off-the-beaten path in Hong Kong: Cheung Chau Island, which literally translates to “long island”. Well it is quite a stretch from one end to the other but it’s not a really huge island.

Tung Wan Beach, Cheung Chau Island

After some half an hour via the fast ferry, Cheung Chau was already in sight. Once you step out of the ferry terminal, you will be greeted by a row of commercial shops like McDonald’s, IP Zone, Wellcome, 711, Baleno and a variety of local shops selling souvenir, swimming outfit, dried fish and seafood and kiosks of the inns and hotel so guests can book a room. This place is very reminiscent of Puerto Galera but not to be be partial, I find Puerto Galera more scenic and relaxing (during off-peak season huh!)  in comparison.

Bike rentals for tourists

I really prayed for some ray of sunshine as it was raining last Friday and this is my last weekend and I wanted to maximize my stay. And He blessed me and those wanting for an escape from the city some nice sunshine. It did rained for a while but good thing, I  was over at Warwick Hotel having some late lunch.

Rain clouds over at Tung Wan Beach

It’s not a fab hotel but their restaurant/coffee shop offers a nice view of the beach. And it sheltered me from the rain, so no complains here! I got to refresh myself in their clean restroom (because I dare not use the public toilets around the area 😉 well, it’s just me)

Afternoon tea set at Warwick Hotel

Tips:

  1. Take the tram if it’s accessible from where you are. Then alight at Gilman Street and head to the walkway and follow the signs to Central Pier #5.
  2. Ferry schedule is very convenient and runs until 11:30PM. But I suggest traveling from Monday-Saturday as fares are cheaper compared on Sundays and holidays.
  3. If you’re just on daytour, wave your Octopus card in one of the machines at the terminal and you get a discount on your return fare.
  4. Drop by Cheese House for some of their Baked Mango Cheesecake. It’s so delish and a steal at HK$16 per slice.

    Baked Mango Cheesecake from Cheese House

 

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Call Me Gwen

It is a Friday and it’s a ritual to take endless walks in the city; on the lookout for nothing in particular and anything fancy.

This time, I walked from Kowloon all the way to Jordan. It’s a 15-minute walk but when I came upon Temple Street, I just couldn’t get out. I walked along the various crowded stalls, amidst locals and tourists alike. And I went all the way to Jade Market.

Main entrance to Temple Street

I finally got tired of it all and decided to head on home when suddenly a guy came up to me. Imagine my surprise. He casually said “Hi” and asked me where I’m from. I said Manila. And asked my name. Of course I didn’t tell him…… My real name. 😉  I said, it’s ‘Gwen’.

He asked me to have light dinner with him and I politely refused; smiled at him and said, “No, thanks but it was nice meeting you though.”

I had to turn around and walked away casually…. for a few steps… then headed the other way as fast as I could.

Mahirap na……. Once you go black… you won’t go back. LOL ^______^

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