Monthly Archives: November 2016

Hong Kong, City of the Future?

Hong Kong: Picture of skyline.

Hong Kong's famous skyline.

Hong Kong, what an amazing place! The city is full of energy. Its markets are sprawling; its people are always on the go. Parties last until the wee hours of the morning, fueled by bottle shop beers and 24-hour coffee shops. Little dim sum restaurants dot the streets, offering locals and tourists alike a wide variety of Cantonese morsels. Walking around, you get the feeling that this is a city of the future.

Kong Kong was also a lot bigger than I had expected. The territory looked tiny next to mainland China on a map. I thought it would be nothing but a giant city, with little room for nature. But the center of Hong Kong Island is a forested park. Hiking trails take you to The Peak, and its sprawling views of the city below.

I was told that there were also some villages on the outskirts of the territory, where people still go fishing in their junk boats every morning. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time on this trip, so I didn't get to experience anything outside of the city. But I can still recommend a visit to Hong Kong, as a long stopover, as part of a larger trip, or even as a vacation in itself. Hong Kong is more international than the big cities of mainland China, making it an easy stop for those new to Asia.

Here are some photos from my short trip:

Hong Kong: Picture of Western Market.

The Western Market, near the port where the ferry from Macau dropped me off.

Hong Kong: Picture of junker.

An old junk boat in Aberdeen Harbour.

Hong Kong: Picture of lights.

A row of purple lights, along the shore of Aberdeen Harbour.

Hong Kong: Picture of fish.

Fresh fish for sale at an outdoor market.

Hong Kong: Picture of fish from market.

There's something about getting your dinner from a fresh fish market by the sea shore.

Hong Kong: Picture of graveyard.

A cemetery on a hill, leading to The Peak.

Hong Kong: Picture of forest.

There's a forest in the middle of the island.

Hong Kong: Picture of The Peak.

Here's the view from The Peak. This is where the classic photos of Hong Kong's skyline are taken from. Unfortunately, it was a little foggy when I was there.

Hong Kong: Picture of mainland.

Looking north, toward the mainland of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong: Picture of Ferris Wheel.

This Ferris Wheel is in downtown.

Hong Kong: Picture of pier.

From this pier, you can take a ferry to Kowloon.

Hong Kong: Picture of Kowloon.

This is the boat landing at Kowloon. Hong Kong has a tropical climate, full of lush palm trees. In December, it was still warm enough to walk around in a t-shirt.

Hong Kong: Picture of skyline.

Here's Hong Kong's skyline, looking south from Kowloon.

Hong Kong: Picture of beam.

The spotlights were shooting straight up, making this giant beam into the sky.

Hong Kong: Picture of street.

On the streets of Kowloon. A hotpot restaurant, next to a laundry place. Classic Hong Kong.

Hong Kong: Picture of Lamborghini.

Just a Lamborghini, parked outside of a Circle K convenience store.

Hong Kong: Picture of dim sum.

Dim sum!

Hong Kong: Picture of mall.

A shopping mall, covered in Christmas lights.

More photos from Hong Kong

An Easy Day Trip to Macau

Macau: Picture of towers.

Some of Macau's iconic towers.

As I made my way south through China, I got an idea: why not stop in Macau for a day? As it turned, out, it was quite easy. I took trains through Guilin and Guangzhou, and eventually ended up in the lovely city of Zhuhai. (One bonus of Zhuhai: it was the only place I had been in China where cars actually stopped for pedestrians.) From there, I just had to go through some immigration formalities and walk across the border.

Macau is a former Portuguese colony, a fact that became immediately apparent from the road signs written in Portuguese. I dusted off my knowledge of the Portuguese language, acquired from three months of travel in Brazil (for example, “bombeiros” means “firefighters”), and was able to get around quite easily.

The casinos and racetrack were iconic, of course, and there were many other sights and sounds to conjure up both Chinese and Portuguese culture. I spent the whole day walking around the city, thoroughly enjoying both the subtle and obvious differences from mainland China. When it came time to leave, this proved quite easy as well. I simply hopped on one of the hourly ferries to Hong Kong.

Though I was only in Macau for a day, I had a great time there. Here are a few of my photos:

Macau: Picture of milk.
The first thing I saw upon entering the city was an entire district of shops selling baby formula, condensed milk and protein shakes.

Macau: Picture of street.
Many of the city's streets are narrow, and the apartments have cages over the windows. The layout simultaneously looks both quaint and futuristic.

Macau: Picture of temple entrance.
The Lin Fung temple is near the Chinese border.

Macau: Picture of incense.
Incense burning at the Lin Fung temple.

Macau: Picture of fish.
Fish for sale at a market.

Macau: Picture of vegetables.
Plenty of fresh veggies here.

Macau: Picture of market.
At the seafood market.

Macau: Picture of butchers.

Macau: Picture of scooters.
Scooters are very common here.

Macau: Picture of apartments.
Here is a typical apartment building.

Macau: Picture of casinos.
Macau is famous for its casinos.

Macau: Picture of housing.
Here's some more dense housing.

Macau: Picture of palm.
Macau has a tropical climate. Palm trees are common here.

Macau: Picture of palms.
More palm trees.

Macau: Picture of fort.
Fortaleza do Monte is the historical military center of the former colony.

Macau: Picture of street.
On the streets of Macau.

Macau: Picture of theater.
Here is a classical theatre.

Macau: Picture of lake.
Sai Van Lake is one of the biggest in Macau.

Macau: Picture of bridge.
Here is the bridge to the southern district.

Macau: Picture of MGM.
The MGM is one of the biggest and most famous casinos in Macau.

More Macau photos

The Fu Ling Weekly Market

Fu Ling - Picture of mandarins.

Grandfather and grandchild, at the Fu Ling weekly market.

Nowadays, it may seem like everyone in China lives in a big city. But that definitely is not true. Many villages are emptying as more and more people migrate in search of a better life, but small-town life still is flourishing in pockets of China.

Take Fu Ling, for example. Once a week, the people of this southern Chinese village get together to sell their wares in a market. Local produce, as well as household goods, are sold under one roof. For me, the Fu Ling market offered a great look into a way of life that is in slow decline. Given that the average age of salespeople in Fu Ling was north of fifty, I doubt this market will exist in thirty years. But for now, it is still thriving.

Fu Ling - Picture of market.
The outdoor section of the Fu Ling market.

Fu Ling - Picture of cooking salesman.
A salesman of food and cookery makes his pitch.

Fu Ling - Picture of chicken lady.
A chicken salesperson moves her stock.

Fu Ling - Picture of Daikon.
Daikon (大根, literally "big root") is a type of Chinese radish.

Fu Ling - Picture of greens.
Many greens for sale.

Fu Ling - Picture of tarps.
Tarps protect against frequent rain.

Fu Ling - Picture of women.

Fu Ling - Picture of cassava.
Cassava root.

Fu Ling - Picture of vegetables.
I'm not sure what this vegetable is called.

Fu Ling - Picture of old man. Fu Ling - Picture of older man.

Fu Ling - Picture of spices.
Spices for sale.

Fu Ling - Picture of hoe man.
I love the craftsmanship that still exists among the older generation in China. This guy is hand-carving handles for his hoes. I doubt you'll see this kind of thing for much longer.

Fu Ling - Picture of knives.
Knives and files for sale.

More photos from Fu Ling