Sunday, May 1, 2016

2-Hours and 20 Degrees

Hong Kong City from Kowloon

From the moment we stepped out of the plane, Hong Kong has been phenomenal. Immigration and customs were a breeze. When stepping out of the cordoned security area in the airport, there were train tickets to be bought to the left and a money exchange to the right. Straight across the giant atrium lay the entrance to the express train, to take us to Kowloon Station. I am always apprehensive when things go so smoothly.

Entrance to the Night Market

When we finally exited the train into this bay city, Harvey looked at me and at the same time we said together, “Oh my God, it’s so cool here!” I felt better that I had left my sweat rag in Bangkok. 78 degrees is so more civilized than 98.

Swimming pool in Kowloon Park 930 at night

Thus far, Hong Kong is much easier to navigate. Perhaps it is its English heritage? As soon as we got our bags to the hotel, we ran out to the BTS, bought tickets (on the first try) and found the Michelin Star Dim Sum Restaurant, One Dim Sum. It was small. It wasn’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but lordy, it was tasty! We had Ribs in black bean sauce, baked barbequed Pork Bun, Shrimp Shu Mai, Vermicelli Flat Rice Noodles, Chicken Wrapped in Lotus and Mango/Coconut pastry. I hear there is a line in front as soon as this place opens till it closes.

Seafood Restaurant at Temple Street Night Market-Yum!

The next morning took us to the Star Ferry and across to Hong Kong proper. (We are staying across the bay in Kowloon.) Our intent was to go up to Victoria for the view, however the lovely cool weather had shrouded the peak in clouds. So we searched for the Saturday Market. Did I mention that once again; we are in the middle of a major holiday in a foreign country? Therefore, many of the streets of Hong Kong near the ferry were closed for the holiday (May Day- Communist here, ok?) 

Star Ferry-costs about 75 cents and 10 minutes to cross the bay.
Not that you could walk across the streets anyway. There were instead walkways above the streets connecting to mall after mall for several blocks before the streets themselves became maneuverable. Below us, on the street level, were large groups of women, sitting on cardboard boxes with suitcases, bags, umbrellas, food and loud music. They were everywhere! Finally, we found our way down from the Blade Runner-esque multi-level walkway system unto the streets. Harvey, being naturally inquisitive, approached a group of the Sunday-street-sitting, lunching-ladies to ask why?

May Day for domestic workers

Harvey asking questions and getting answers

A lovely Filipina woman explained that they were all domestic workers and this being a major holiday, they were off for the day. All lived with their employers. Having no money and nowhere to go in this expensive city, it was the custom on holidays, when the streets were blocked off to get together with friends, gossip and eat together until it was time to return to their jobs. They all collected cardboard to make sitting more comfortable. There were hundreds of them on the streets, happy, laughing, singing, eating and sitting in the sun. Aberrantly beautiful. 

Hoping for Sunshine tomorrow!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Canal RIde

This is a long movie (10 minutes) made during out canal ride from Talin Chan Market. Turn down your sound, as there is a lot of motor noise in the background.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Spicy Water

I guard the gate!

Exiting the ferry or metro, one must inevitably exit thru a sea of stalls selling food, souvenirs and a plethora odds and ends. When the ferry stops at a tourist destination, the stalls multiply exponentially, providing a circus atmosphere. On the way to our last Shrine, Wat Po and the Imperial Palace, the stalls were particularly festive and loud. Harvey found himself drawn to a gentleman hawking cold water. It was his patter that made the sell, as he sang in broken English, “Spicy Water – best spicy water!” If Thailand is really the country of smiles, this businessman was the Ambassador of smiles.
Wat Po is the home of the longest reclining Buddha in the world. Instead of boring shrine pictures, I give instead, close up of the detailed tile work that covers all the temples, prongs, stupas and bases of Buddha’s. I am in awe of the custom work I have seen here.

We met up with Cousin Marissa and David for her birthday on our last day in Bangkok, prior to leaving for their winter home in Cha Am. The day began with a birthday tiara for Marissa and ended with drinks on the 64th floor of Breeze Bar followed by dinner at a jazz club, The Saxophone Club.

Marissa, her tiara and cousin Harvey

Sunset drinks high above Bangkok

Cha Am is a 2-hour taxi ride from Bangkok, depending on traffic. Located on the beach, it is a weekend resort for the Thai people. Marissa and David have been wintering here for about 20 years and now own a delightful 2-bedroom condo. It is a great little town which luckily, we got to visit when it was not the height of season. You can get where you need to on a bike in Cha Am and there are plenty of restaurant options (Smoking Dirt Fish).

Beach Massage Parlor
PJ Park in Cha Am
Buh Bye Bangkok!

I am sitting in the Bangkok Airport, RIGHT NOW, waiting on our flight to Hong Kong. Buh bye, Thailand.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Talin Chan Floating Market

A different kind of Banana Boat
Salty-Sweet coconut bites of heaven
Lovely displays
Exit thru to the main canal

Foot Picture!
Stir fry boat.

Chicken wing boat.
Busy intersection.
Jacks on the Chao Phraya River-just down the street!

Stay tuned for the canal trip movie!