Chinese New Year—or the Spring Festival (春節), as it’s sometimes called—just ended here, and we had a great time taking in some of the sights and sounds. It’s a big deal here (obviously), and quite different from Solar New Year in the US: more days, more family, more decorations, less booze. The celebration of the lunar New Year is a bit different in different parts of Asia. Here in Hong Kong it’s “only” four days.
Of course there are decorations. Here’s the entrance foyer of our building. Continue reading
As promised/threatened in my last post, I offer for your enjoyment a short video of worshippers at Wong Tai Sin Temple. You will be shocked to learn that I made this all by myself. That ridiculous Chicago-to-Hong-Kong globe animation at the beginning? That took nearly 30 seconds of work in iMovie, 20 of which were devoted to deciding between the regular map and the old-timey map.
I note that Koyaanisqatsi came out in 1982, and Baraka in 1992. That means we’re 10 years overdue for a follow-up. Once I get, like, 90 more minutes of footage like this, I’m going to commission a minimalist soundtrack and go for it.
Filed under Kowloon, temples
Another weekend, another trip to a religious site. Hooray!
Last weekend we took another short jaunt on the MTR to Wong Tai Sin temple (黃大仙祠), a very popular shrine just east of us [Wikipedia entry, official site]. We had originally planned to combine a visit here with our trip to Nan Lin Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery, but I’m glad we didn’t. There’s enough at each of these places to merit a trip of its own.
So it’s pretty impressive just approaching, yeah. Continue reading
Last weekend we explored a bit around Sheung Wan, on Hong Kong Island. Sheung Wan is one of the old neighborhoods of Hong Kong Island. While the British were developing Central (just east of Sheung Wan), the Chinese population of 19th-century HK were developing Sheung Wan. Here’s a little map for you.
In Sheung Wan is Possession Point and Possession Street, which mark (you can probably see this coming) the spot where the British formally took possession of Hong Kong in 1841 near the end of the First Opium War. Behold:
What’s slowly being constructed under festive red wrapping in the middle of Our Mall?
I’m pretty sure there’s a rocket under here.
What’s this merry platform?
It’s hard to resist the temptation to run up those steps and start singing “Sleigh Ride.”
Might it have anything to do with these giant bedazzled jellyfish descending from the ceiling to spread glad tidings with their gingerbread-spiced nematocysts ?
Swarovski® presents their latest creation, the Portuguese Man o’ Solstice (Physalia diei natalis). If it stings you, you have to pour champagne-spiked eggnog on the wound to stop the stinging.
The music hasn’t started yet, but soon, friends. Soon.
A few weeks ago Cate and I made our first trip into mainland China. Like many Hong Kongers, we took a day trip into Shenzhen, the city just across the border from Hong Kong, in search of deals. We took the MTR north about half an hour to Lo Wu, walked through immigration, and there we were.
First, a word on immigration. HK immigration was, as always, easy. I was a bit curious—heck, apprehensive even—about what the Chinese border crossing would be like. The answer is: surprisingly quick and pleasant. Also surprising is that each passport control station has a little set of buttons like so:
A little hard to read. The buttons are labeled Greatly Satisfied, Satisfied, Checking Line Too Long, and Poor Customer Service.
(Image via SpeedofCreativity)
When they’ve finished checking your passport, the lights blink and you are invited to push the appropriate one. The number above tallies the score of that line. I would give anything to find these buttons at O’Hare’s TSA lanes. Harrumph. Continue reading
Last night Cate and I ventured into the fascinating and awesome world of private kitchens.
A private kitchen is a restaurant that can’t call itself a restaurant. It can’t openly advertise, it can’t post a menu for passer-by to see; in fact it can’t, really, be openly visible to passer-by at all. They don’t even have official websites, relying instead on word of mouth and other means to get the word out. Because it’s not a restaurant, you see. It’s a private kitchen.
Private kitchens operate in a legal gray area. What usually happens is that some awesome (most of the time) chef and some partners buy a space (like an apartment) and turn it into a restaurant—errr, private kitchen. They’re not subject to governmental oversight because they’re not officially restaurants, and because they need to be mostly invisible, they’re typically in out-of-the-way places that are hard to find. That’s part of the appeal, of course. Continue reading