Sunday, March 18, 2012

March on

Last weekend, I took a walk/hike through some areas of HK near the boarder with China that are only recently opened to the public, Sha Tau Kok. Before last month, only villagers who lived up there could come and go. It was all for boundary protection. Anyway, I saw some old ancestral homes and the oddest part of the area was the fact that derelict abandoned homes and temples are steps away from brand new buildings going up with modern cars of commuters parked out front. Crazy.

My favorite part would have been the old WWII era bunkers from the British Army. They've just been left in the hills around the boarder. These were apparently defense against the Japanese coming in through China.


This an old ancestral home. I'm not sure how old, but it was completely abandoned.


The particular group of people I went hiking with (I was invited by some friends to join their church group that goes on these hikes regularly) went out to dinner afterward and I tried my first taste of feet. Here I am eating a duck foot. It didn't taste bad at all, but there's not enough to it. It's a lot of work for some skin and collagen...


This past weekend I did a little more celebrating. We had another night out with the airport team, expats and locals. It was a ton of fun. Then yesterday I celebrated St. Patrick's day by having lunch and few Guinnesses at an Irish Pub and then going to a friend's rooftop bbq. I briefly excused myself from the party to video check in with friends in NYC, Boston, and Israel. Guys, it was great to hear from you! We ended the night by going to watch rugby. Wales won, which I guess was what most of the British guys wanted. All in all it was a fun weekend! Just what the doctor ordered.

Here are more pics from Sha Tau Kok if you're interested. The weather was kind of gray, but I like some the shots.

I'll leave you with this image, live the dream!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tai O and other thoughts

It's spring training down in Florida and Arizona and I couldn't be more in the spring mindset. As far as the temperature is concerned it never got to real winter temperatures here, so it's basically been spring for a while and right now I'm in a springtime kind of mood.
Actually this got me to thinking about why baseball is so perfectly intertwined with American life. Baseball lines up with our own natural calendars. Spring is in general a season of hope, rebirth and renewal, and no ritual is more a symbol of that than spring training. Every team has hope, every dream of a title is reborn. It's great. The season plays out over the summer while we try to relax and enjoy the long nights with our summer heroes. And then just as the weather starts to cool down, the season winds down. Before the coldest days hit, a champion is named the awards are given out, and we pack in and settle down for winter once again. I love it.

And, I'm not just looking forward to the upcoming baseball season*. I've got an excellent opportunity to find out how Hong Kong (or more accurately, the expats in HK) celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Can't wait.

Tai O:
I went out to Tai O, a little fishing village on Lantau Island with W on Saturday. Let's start with the fact that to get there, you're on a somewhat ventilated, large bus going around some windy hilly roads. This whole area is basically coastal mountains (not mountain mountains, Colorado people, but mountains in their own regard). Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, getting motion sick on my way out there. So the bus ride out (and back) turned into eyes closed resting time. It was okay though, W works even more than I do usually and so we could both take advantage of the down time. I was surprised by who touristy the village was. And the people there milk that for all it's worth. Locals set up shop right in front of their house selling treats and trinkets. And they have lots of little shops and places to grab a bite. Seafood that's alive and swimming in till buckets outside the restaurant so you can pick which one you want for lunch. The village also seemed to have a collection of semi-domesticated cats. It seemed like they didn't really belong to any one person or house but just kind of roamed the village, probably helping with pests and getting food from various people. Pretty good deal if you're a cat, fresh seafood and not being locked up in a house all day.
I tried some dried, then grilled/fried seafood. Kind of like a cooked shrimp jerky. Sort off. It was alright.
There were lots of fresh fruit trees too. Bananas and I think mango, we couldn't be sure.
My favorite thing had to be the historic police station that's been renovated and turned into a hotel that operates as a non-profit organization to bring money into the village for preservation and other things. It seemed like a pretty interesting place to stay if not for the fact that it's so remote.

Anyway after getting back to the city it was out to SoHo for drinks and dinner. I'm starting to spend more and more time down in that area. I wish it was cheaper to live in that neighborhood. While walking around before dinner, I found a little sports bar that's a knockoff of "The Keg" chain in Canada. And like anything Canadian, they have hockey. Plus, the guy outside (bartender? manager? friendly barfly?) gave me a program to the CIHL, a local 4 team pro hockey league. Go Kowloon Warriors? Anway, Saturday was a great day.

For full res and all my pics go here.

So at lunch one day last week, for probably the 53rd time, the guys on the team asked me what I usually do for dinner. I never realized that the eating habits of a white guy living on his own in Hong Kong were that interesting. The answer is simple stuff I can make at home: pasta, chicken and rice, spinach salad, etc etc. Now you know.

That's all for now.

Cheers all!

*But it seems like the Hong Kongers have a few details to work out, at least they have the right team?: