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Travelog for: Blinchick

Mong Kok, Hong Kong - 16th March 2010

By: tarepanda

Today we visit an outdoor market calls The Woman's Street.  It's located in Mong Kok, a place which, according to Guinness World Records, has the highest population density in the world.

Here is the Woman's Street, so named because there are a lot of outdoor stalls selling clothes, handbags and accessories.  Now that it's popular with tourists, there are stalls for souvenirs, imitation name brand handbags and watches, and other things too.  You have to bargain the prices here.  Notice that the building on the left is under renovation, and the scaffolding is built with bamboos.


These sell handbags and fans.



This one has T shirts.


This one has towels.


And look, lots of stuffed toys!


There are also a lot of food shops here. 

This window display is not real, but made with plastic to show you what they have.


This tea shop boasts that the president of Taiwan is a regular customer.


This booth sells a lot of snacks.  Sausages, meatballs, and eve beef tripe.


We head on to another market nearby.  It's the type of market where people buy their cooking ingredients.  While there are supermarkets many people still prefer to get their meat and produce at the street markets, where the price is better, the food fresher and the service friendlier.


This is a soy bean stall.  It sells bean sprouts, tofu, bean curds and other things make from tofu.  When a customer wants to buy tofu, the owner cuts from the big block on the wooden board.


This one has dried fishes hanging, and bags of dried shrimp and other stuff.


Ah, something we recognize!!  I spot some broccoli and zucchini!


The fruit stall has longan, starfruit, dragon fruit (the big red ones) among the bananas, papayas, guavas, mangoes and pears.


* Posted Apr 25, 2010, 3:43 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong - 18th March 2010

By: tarepanda

Today we visit Tsim Sha Tsui, which is at the southern tip of the Kowloon Penisula which extend from mainland China.

We take a double decker bus to get there.  We are travelling along Nathan Road, a very busy main sreet in Kowloon.  It's a bit scary to be sitting so tall.


The bus has a TV, but a lot of the broadcast is advertising.


We are having dim sum for lunch today!  Mmm all the dishes look delicious.


Sorry the food is so tasty we all dive in, and then remember that we forget to take pictures first.  So some of the plates are empty already.  Except for that chicken feet which I am so not touching!!


In Hong Kong, many of the restaurants who provide seafood keep their stock alive in aquariums.  When a customer places an order, they will take the fish, shrimp, or whatever it is out of the tank and cook it in the kitchen, so the food is as fresh as can be. 


Here are some scary looking lobsters.


These are some mighty prawns!


These funny looking stuff are called abalones.


After lunch we walk towards the harbor.  We pass by an exhibit that shows the costumes for Cantonese opera.  Very eleborate looking!


We walk along the Avenue of Stars.


This is a broadwalk by the Victoria Harbor to honor the movie industry of Hong Kong.




This is the Victoria Harbor, separating Kowloon Penisula with the Hong Kong Island.  Across the harbor is the Hong Kong Island.


This is Bruce Lee, an iconic figure of Hong Kong origin.


Look, we find the hand prints of Jackie Chan, a famous kung fu actor from Hong Kong!


And this one is John Woo, a famous director also from Hong Kong.


Night has fallen and now we can see how beautiful the world famous night scenery of Hong Kong is. 


This is the clock tower of the original Kowloon railway station.  The station is no longer here but this relic remains.


Nearby is some decorations.  These are made in the style of traditional paper laterns, and depicts a scene of children playing.


* Posted May 1, 2010, 5:47 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Causeway Bay, Hong Kong - 20th March 2010

By: tarepanda

Today we go with our host to attend the BookCrossing meeting.  BookCrossing is a worldwide group of readers who love to share their books with the world.  Sometimes the members will get together so they can exchange their books.

We are taking the subway.  First this is where you can get a ticket, if you don't have a pass already.


Now we pass through the gate.


Here is a map to show you all the stations so you know which line to take.


We wait for the train to arrive.  Ah, here it is.  There is usually a train arriving every few minutes.


Oh it's really crowded!


When we reach our station, we take the escalator to go up to the street.


We have a great time at the meeting.  Everybody brings lots of books so we have plenty to choose from.


This coffee shop is also an Official BookCrossing Zone, so here's a bookshelf full of free books that people can take.


Afterwards, our host stops by one of her favorite shops.


This is a dessert shop famous for its fruit drinks and fruit salad desserts, especially ones with mangoes.  I have to say everything on the menu looks delicious.


After some deliberation, we decide to get the mango coconut aloe vera drink.  It's very tasty!!


* Posted May 11, 2010, 3:36 am Last edited May 11, 2010, 4:20 am by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong - 21st March 2010

By: tarepanda

The weather is getting really warm here,  My host thinks it's time for me to change out of my sweater.  She happens to have something that fits my size.


I try to tell her that I am a boy... but I guess she doesn't understand Russian.  Oh well... at least I am not sweating like crazy...


Today we are going to try some Shanghainese food.  The restaurant is in Tsim Sha Tsui, not far from the Avenue of Stars we visited a few days ago.  Here is another view of the Harbor, where the cruise terminal is.


This restaurant is called Crystal Jade Ramen and Xiao Long Bao.


One of the most famous food from Shanghai is the Xiao Long Bao.  We are reading the restaurant's placemat, which has a story about this dumpling.


Let's see what we shall order!


The dumpling (bao) comes in small bamboo steam basket (xiao long).  Traditionally, pork is used as filling.  Chilled meat gelatin is wrapped inside, so once it heats up, the dumpling is filled with hot, juicy soup.


We also order some ramen noodles.  Ramen literally means "pulled noodle" and the noodle is made by stretching a round of dough, folding it and pulling again, repeating until you get many strands of noodles.  Sounds easy in theory but takes lots of practice to get noodles that are thin, uniform in width and not broken apart. We can kind of see the chef at work pulling the noodles, but he is working too fast for us to take good pictures.



We first enjoy the Za Jiang Mein. (Jajangmyeon in Korean)  It is a popular Northern China dish with minced meat and bean paste on top of noodle.  You can call it a Chinese style spaghetti bolognese.


Next is the hot & sour noodle, which is noodle in hot and sour soup.


This is a dish of fried eel, a little crunchy and sweet.


Turnip pancake.


And last, something sweet to end the meal.  Steamed buns with a sweet paste.  Usually the paste is made with azuki beans or lotus seed or egg custard.


* Posted May 11, 2010, 2:10 pm Last edited May 31, 2010, 2:17 am by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Wan Chai, Hong Kong - 22nd March 2010

By: tarepanda

Today we are taking the double decker bus again.  To cross the harbor, we go through the tunnel under the water!


This is the Wan Chai district on the Hong Kong island side.


Wan Chai used to be the red light district for American sailors when they stopped by Hong Kong.  Today, while many bars and nightclubs remains, Wan Chai is among the most affluent district in Hong Kong, boosting lots of five star hotels, a government office complex, art center, exhibition hall and restaurants.


Let's take a group picture by this interesting statue.


Behind us is the financial district of Hong Kong, the Central.  You can see the tallest building, IFC, to the right, and th Bank of China building (like a cutting blade) on the left, amidst the many highrisers.


This obilex is a monument commemorating Hong Kong's return to China (after a 99-year lease to England) in 1997.  The handover ceremony was performed here.


The bauhinia is the city flower of Hong Kong.  At this Golden Bauhinia Square, you can see the flags of China and Hong Kong in the background.


* Posted May 11, 2010, 2:38 pm Last edited May 11, 2010, 2:40 pm by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Lantau Island, Hong Kong - 23rd March 2010

By: tarepanda

Today we are going to see a big Buddha statue.  It is on Lantau Island, the largest island in Hong Kong.  While it was once a hangout for pirates with a few fishing villages, today Lantau is where the airport and Hong Kong Disneyland are located.

After taking the subway, we line up to take a cable car.  Oh this looks scary!!


We have set off!  Look at the buildings!  Or don't look!


They are getting smaller and smaller!


There is the airport!  The planes look so small!


We have to go over the sea and the mountain! Just a little cable car swinging in the wind!


Look, we are almost there!  Can you see the Buddha statue in the mist?  I am so happy because I don't think I can stand it anymore!


We arrive at the Ngong Ping, home of the big Buddha!


This is not a real village but a collection of shops for tourists.  The buildings are built in the traditional Chinese style.



Some of the shops sell Buddhist souvenirs.


This is a wishing tree.


We continue on to the monastary.


The Buddha is just up the stairs!!


Being a small bear it's not easy to make it up the 268 steps, but I did.  The Buddha is 34 metres (112 ft) tall, weighs 250 metric tons, and is among the world's tallest  seated Buddha statue.


Surrounding the Buddha are six small statues: "The Offering of the Six Devas", posed as offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha.


This is the main hall of the monastary.  In front of it is a white statue of Kwan Yin.


We help our host's mom make an offering.  First, we have to light the incense.


People then kneel here to say their prayers.


I guess the huge joss sticks are for some really big wish!


The small incense sticks are placed inside the burner.


Cough! It's very smoky!!


Near the temple is a small tea plantation.


Further up along the path is the Wisdom Path, where the Heart Sutra is inscribed onto 38 wooden columns arranged in a figure 8 symbolizing eternity.



Afterwards, we take a bus to Tai O, a small fishing village on the western end of the island.



Besides fresh fish, they also have dried fish (kind of like a bacalao), scallop, shrimp and other products for sale.


We wonder what this is? Our host tells us that it is a wooden bucket of soft tofu, it's made a bit sweet to be eaten as dessert.


* Posted May 11, 2010, 8:38 pm Last edited May 11, 2010, 8:43 pm by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Mong Kok, Hong Kong - 27th March 2010

By: tarepanda

We have a new TV, Thiele, who just flew in yesterday.  We have been expecting her and actually get kind of worried when she still hasn't shown up.  Turns out she flew to China before finding the correct way here. So glad she's arrived safely.

Today we start off the day by eating some traditional Chinese breakfast. 

Chinese like soybean a lot.  You can drink soy milk, which is a nutritious drink, especially before dairy milk was introduced from the West into the diet.  Just like milk is made into cheese, the soy milk is made into tofu.  If they make it very soft and young, it is like a pudding.  In Northern China, it is usually eaten with soy sauce, salty peanuts, pepper and scallion with a savory flavor.  In Taiwan they like it sweet with beans.  In Hong Kong it's usually sweetened with ginger syrup.  This one looks a bit dark because of the black bean in it.


Next is rice noodle roll, "cheung fun".  It is made by rolling a sheet of rice pasta.  Sometimes it's eaten plain, with just sauces.  Like what we have now.  With lots of sesame seeds, soy sauce, hot sauce and sesame sauce.  Or you can add beef, shrimp, mushrooms, or other ingredients inside the roll.


At night we take Thiele to visit Mong Kok.  Some of the streets are closed off on weekends and nights to make room for all the pedastrians.


We take her to the Woman's Street, which we have visited a few days ago.  It is a street filled with street vendors selling everything from fake name brand handbags, clothes, toys and tourist souvenirs. 



This one has some pretty Chinese dress.


There are also a lot of food stalls too.  This one specializes in a snack called eggies.



This one has snacks like stuffed pepper, meatballs, sausages and other things on a stick like a kebab.



People line up on the street to buy snacks. 


* Posted May 16, 2010, 12:19 am Last edited May 31, 2010, 1:24 am by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Central, Hong Kong - 28th March 2010

By: tarepanda

As Thiele hasn't been to dim sum yet, we take her out today.

We show her how to mark what she wants on the order form.


This is the Hainanese Chicken rice.  It's considered a National dish of Singapore.  The rice is cooked with ginger, garlic and chicken stock to give it a delicious flavor.


More dim sum arrive at the table.  They come served in small dishes or bamboo steamers.


The sesame ball has a creamy custard filling.


I am not sure I like this dish.  It's fish head with soy sauce.  Maybe a bird will like it better.


Afterwards, we take the bus to cross the harbor.


I don't like dark tunnels and tunnels under the water sounds creepy so I am glad we are seeing the light!


Last time we get off at Wan Chai but this time we ride on longer to get to Central district.


Central is the financial district of Hong Kong.  Many multinational financial and trade businesses have their headquarters here.  Here you can see from the left the Bank of China Tower (designed by I. M. Pei and the 4th tallest building in Hong Kong), Cheung Kong Center and HSBC HQ.  The little brown building behind me is the old Bank of China office, which looks really tiny compared to all the shiny new buildings.


* Posted May 16, 2010, 1:05 am Last edited May 16, 2010, 1:12 am by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Macau, China - 28th March 2010

By: tarepanda

Today we are travelling again.  We wait at the ferry terminal.  I wonder where we will be going?  Mocha gets that funny smile like he knows but is not telling!

It's time to board the turbojet!


Goodbye to Hong Kong for now!


I hope I won't get seasick!!


After an hour, we arrive at the new place.  Everything looks a bit different from Hong Kong.  There are signs in Portuguese, Chinese and English.


Mystery solved!  We are in Macau!


* Posted May 16, 2010, 3:44 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Macau, China - 30th March 2010

By: tarepanda

Today on our way to downtown Macau we pass by the Macau Tower.  You can try the world's highest bungee jump from there.  Which of course we are not interested in. 


First we want some breakfast.  We go to a this place, Margaret's, which is very famous for its egg custard tart, nata, as you can imagine from the long line.



We finally get our natas.  They are so delicious, fresh from the oven, with a flaky crust and a creamy warm custard filling slightly burnt on top.



Now we are full, we can do some sight seeing.  We first go to the town square, Largo do Senado.



From the square we walk up to the most famous landmark of Macau, Ruinas de S. Pablo.  The church, originally built in 1602-1640, was destroyed by fire in 1835.  The facade was left standing alone.  This is a World Heritage site.


There are a lot of shops selling snacks along the street to St. Paul.  We can watch the staff make the snacks.  This lady is making sesame candy by rolling the sweet roll in coconut, peanut and sesame, then chopping them into bite size pieces.


Here she is rolling up little egg pancakes to make phoenix rolls.


This man is making little almond cookies.  He puts them onto a big bamboo basket then into the oven to roast.


Here the machine is making dorayaki, a Japanese pastry.  It will be filled with red beans in the center.


There are also all type of jerkies, made with beef, pork, boar...


Lots of candies and cookies to choose from!!


Enough food for now... let's go on more sight seeing!

We pass by this bookstore.  Macau was a Portuguese colony, so the buildings have a European influence, and streets have Portuguese names, even though the residents speak mostly Chinese and English.


We see some tile paintings showing how Macau looked like when the Portuguese first arrived.



We now visit Casa de Lou Kau.  Built in 1889 it was the home of Lou Kau, a prominent merchant, and is a showcase of traditional Chinese style mansion.

I imagine old grandpa Lou used to sit here and sipped his tea...


And the mother watching from upstairs as the little children played in the courtyard below...  Traditional houses have a courtyard in the center of the house to let in more light and air.


A beautiful lattice work on the wooden window.



I wonder if this is where they had dinner.


This is the family altar, where they would offer incense to the gods and the ancestors.


Afterwards we stop by the library so our host can check her emails.  The library is in Holland garden, so named because the Portuguese had a battle with the Dutch here.


Can you spot us?  Also did you notice the design on the plants?  It's a picture of the St. Paul's ruins which we visited earlier today.


As Macau is a small place of only less than 30 sq km, people like to get around with mopeds.


* Posted May 20, 2010, 5:08 pm Last edited May 31, 2010, 1:22 am by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Cotai, Macau - 31st March 2010

By: tarepanda

Macau is famous for its casinos.  It is called Las Vegas of the East, and actually has more gaming revenue than Las Vegas.  Today, we go visit some of the casinos.  We are too young to go inside the casinos but some of the hotels are very pretty inside and worth a visit.

The first one we visit is the City of Dreams.  At the entrance, they have a screen showing an underwater world.


We walk around but it's mostly shops.



Next door is the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.




They have a lot of memorabilia from famous musicians.  Here's something from Elton John.


A guitar from Eagles.


Hey Mommy do you know whom these things belonged to? A diamond studded glove!


* Posted May 20, 2010, 7:55 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Cotai, Macau - 31st March 2010

By: tarepanda

We walk across the street to visit the Venetian.  It's by the same owner of the one in Las Vegas.


It is so beautiful inside! 


Look, this escalator is curved!!


They have a huge food court, with a large variety of food: Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Macanese, sandwiches, burgers, pastas, dessert and more...


They have a canal inside the hotel and you can even get on a gondola!!  The steer will sing as the boat floats down the canal.



There is also a square modelled after the San Marco Square in the real city.



* Posted May 20, 2010, 8:47 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Taipa, Macau - 1st April 2010

By: tarepanda

Today we go to visit Casas-Museu da Taipa.  They are the restored buildings which were once the residences of Portuguese officials and Macanese families (Portuguese who were born and grew up in Macau) in the early 20th century. 

On the way to the houses, we walk along a small street.  We see a small temple.


This used to be a firecracker factory, but not anymore.


Further down the road, there is another temple.  This one is for the bodhisattva Kwan Yin, who is often portrayed as motherly figure like Maria. 


Inside we see a lot of large coils hanging there.  What are they?


They are incense.  By making them this shape they can burn for a long time.


We take the stairs up.  The trees lining the steps are over a hundred years old.


On top of the stairs is a small church, Our lady of Carmel Church.


Next to the church is a small park, where there is a statue of Luis Vaz De Camoes, the National poet of Portugal. 


There are some exercise equipment in the park.  It looks like gym equipment but it's for outdoors, and it's free!  Since we have been eating so much, it's time to do some exercise!


Oh, I think I spot the houses we are looking for!


They are very European looking.  It must be very nice living here.




On the other side of the lake, we can see the casinos that we visited yesterday.


This is the typical style of street signs in Macau.  Very elegant, isn't it?


Nearby there is a garden.


It's a beautiful pond with koi fishes and lotus.



* Posted May 22, 2010, 4:48 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Mong Kok, Hong Kong - 3rd April 2010

By: tarepanda

We are back in Hong Kong. 

We go to a department store, and happen to see a man from the Dragon Well village in China talk about tea. 

Here you can see the bags of tea as well as a bamboo tray of harvested leaves that are being dried.


He is demostrating how they pan fry the tea leaves after they are harvested.  There is a fire under te circular wok, and he keeps stirring and rolling the leaves with his hands.


Then our host takes us to try a new dessert. Yay!!


This is Taiwanese shaved ice.  It has become popular in Hong Kong recently.  As you can see it is very pretty, with very thin sheets layered one on top of the other, looks like layers of cream, and is different from the regular shaved ice.  Instead of granular ice crystals, this one is smooth almost like ice cream.  This one is the mango flavor.  It is topped with syrup with cubes of dragon fruit and mango.



We order another one, this one is sesame flavor, with red beans.  Delicious but I like mango better.  I wish I can eat this every day!


* Posted May 31, 2010, 3:58 am Last edited May 31, 2010, 4:00 am by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Airport, Hong Kong - 4th April 2010

By: tarepanda

While we had a really good time in Hong Kong, sadly it's time to leave. 

We are at the airport now.  Good bye Hong Kong!


It has been a really fun trip.  Now I am heading back to the U.S. I wonder what adventure I will have there?


* Posted Jun 1, 2010, 9:44 pm Last edited Jun 1, 2010, 9:45 pm by tarepanda [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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