So much to do, so little time

It has  been very busy here the last few weeks.  After Tokyo, I had a great adventure on an AWA bike trip.  Lyndon and I then spent 5 days in Vietnam. We got back on Tuesday and then Marlene, Jack and Cora came on Wednesday. We have been sight seeing throughout Hong Kong. They are currently doing a day trip to Macau.  On Thursday MJ leaves early in the morning, then Marlene, Jack and Cora head to Malaysia in the morning and Lyndon and I leave for the US in the afternoon.   It is a crazy busy time around here but all good.  I will post stories and pictures as soon as I can catch my breath in Atlanta or CT.

Tokyo : Back after 5 1/2 years!

Just got back from Tokyo. I will write soon but here is some of the beauty of Tokyo.

And some favorite places and foods for the kids!

Heritage Festival in Ho Sheung Heung

The Heritage Festivals that AWA takes their members on are a great way to experience Chinese Culture.  We went to the celebration of the deity Hungshung’s birthday celebrated by the Hau Clan.  They are one of the 5 major clans in Hong Kong . They settled in the New Territories about 800 years ago. There are lion dances, dragon dances ,drumming, incense, offerings made to the deity, food and celebrating. They do a scrambling game with gun powder to catch the coveted idol.  They put on an opera with a professional Cantonese troupe.  We were lucky to  be able to go back stage of the opera to get a behind the scenes look at the sets, costumes, make up and extras.   It was a great day full of culture.

Flower Market, Bird Market and Ladies Market

In Kowloon there are many markets to visit and shop.  My AWA buddy, Helen, and I went on a shopping trip to experience the markets. We started with the flower markets.  There are rows and rows of flowers. SO many beautiful orchids to choose from.   The smell alone is sometimes worth the trip.  Some small coffee shops are tucked in between or inside the shops as well.

Next we headed toward the bird market. Yes it is a market that sells all kinds of birds and bird food and bird supplies.  It is mesmerizing to hear all the birds but that is soon disrupted by the chirping of the crickets which are sold for food. The birds are beautiful and if you are a bird lover this is your place.

Our final stop was a stroll through the ladies market.  It is a stroll because it is so overwhelmingly crowded with stalls. It is blocks of stalls with so much “junk” and clothing and purses and shoes and …..  After a few blocks you just have to stop looking. We went during the day and it was crowded. Supposedly at night it is even more crowded.

Yuck!!

Sham Shui Po Wet Markets

A wet market is just the open air market that includes everything from pig snout to fresh flowers.  It is where locals do their shopping on a daily basis.  I have yet to venture out to do my shopping there but did go on a tour.  You can buy your meats ( pork, beef, fish, chicken) very fresh!! Literally butchered right there ( Yep you can pick your chicken) or only a few hours prior. They have it all hanging for you to choose.   The fruits and vegetables are beautiful and varied. Almost anything you want is there. Dry goods are available at some stalls as well as sauces and spices.  Small food stalls are scattered throughout too.  We did have lunch at one which was a challenge with our limited Chinese ( as in none).  I do know that one day I will try to do some shopping there but will probably stick with produce or fish .

Yuet Tung China Works

Today I went with the Foon Ying group to the Yuet Tung China Works in Kowloon Bay.  It is a warehouse and factory that is wall to wall china.  They have been open since 1928. I think some of the pottery has been sitting there that long.  There are stacks upon stacks of china everywhere.  The aisles are tight and you are so worried you are going to break something. There were 8 of us and that was plenty in the shop.They still do some painting of the pottery there on sight.  Unfortunately most of the artists are getting old and retiring. Hopefully not a lost art!  I am posting my rough directions in hopes of keeping them documented in case I try to go back!

15 Wang Hoi Rd Kowloon Bayimg_6052img_6053img_6054img_6055

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The bowl he is holding is beautiful. It tells the story of settlers in HK. It was made during WWII.

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AFter leaving the station walk the path with the cafe bakery on your left

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turn right and walk along walkway with low ceiling

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leave walkway and cross over the street

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cross over the street by red roofed walkway

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at bottom of stairs turn left towards UHK

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this is where you are turning towards University

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walk down Wang Hoi Rd

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Sub station on left

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sub station

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HK Jockey club on left

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Kowloon Bay Industrial Center on right

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Pottery is on third floor

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

We just got back from a short trip to Kuala Lumpur. Lyndon had some business in KL and so I joined him on Thursday for a long weekend. We had been to Lankawi Malaysia back in 2011 but never to KL.  I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice it was.  There are great museums, skyscrapers, food, and culture.

I arrived Thursday afternoon and took the KLIA Express train from the airport to Sentral Station, then the LRT to KLCC.  The key is to pay for the express train at the airport with a credit card but exchange some money because the LRT does not take credit card. The tickets were only 2.6 ringgit which is only about 50 cents USD .  AT the KLCC station it is really easy to get to the Mandarin Oriental if you know where you are going.  Unfortunately I wandered a  little out of my way but eventually got there.  All you need to do is channel your inner Amazing Race Contestant !

After checking in I went to the mall and checked it out. They love their malls here! Dinner was arranged with a workmate , Ramzi, who is the brother of our friends from Tokyo and Hong Kong.  We went to a great Lebanese restaurant and ate way too much. After dinner we walked around the area and tried to get the lay of the land.

Friday morning  we took  a taxi ( take a blue one only) to the Batu Caves. To get to the top of the temple and into the caves you climbed 270 stairs.  Inside there was the temple and some other holy places .  On the way up there were many monkeys climbing the stairs and jumping around. One was a mother monkey carrying her baby which was so cute.  Then we went to the “Dark Cave” tour.  It was quite educational to hear about the environment in the caves and the conservation efforts they are employing to keep them in good condition.  It was very hot that day and we were starting to wilt a bit.  We took the train back into Sentral, grabbed a bite to eat (at the mall) and then walked to the National Museum.

The National Museum is a great way to learn the history of Malaysia.  The Chinese, Indian and Malay cultures have mixed and  coexisted peacefully for quite a while.  I was surprised to learn about the history with Thailand and Singapore.  I guess I was not aware of the fact that Singapore and Malaysia were one until only about 50 years ago.   Lyndon was having some work issues so we headed back to the hotel to cool off and let him do some work.

At night we had reservations for the Petronas Bridge tour.  The views from so high were amazing.  There was a storm rolling in so there were some openings in the clouds, emitting sunshine, and then the dark clouds on the other side. It made for some interesting pictures.  Then we walked to the Pavillion ( another mall) and found a restaurant there.

On Saturday morning we walked around the KL Park which is right outside our hotel. It is quite beautiful. The children’s playground was huge. There were some pretty fountains, ridges, running trails, and quiet space.  They had the nicest drinking fountain you have ever seen in a park. Then we trained to the station nearest the Islamic Arts Museum and National Mosque.  There was some protest or meeting going on at the mosque.  There were hundreds of people at the Mosque wearing purple shirts.  Yep I felt out of place. The Islamic Arts Museum was done  so well. The first section all focused on the Islamic Architecture.  There were models of mosques from around the world.  Then there were Chinese, Indian and Malay Galleries, areas on textiles, wood, jewelry, etc.  I would highly recommend going there.

It was very hot again but we walked over to the Central Market for some shopping and lunch.  The fish at the Thai restaurant was so good but very spicy .  We walked around the area and headed to some temples and Chinatown.   We were going to walk some more but once again the heat got us.  We taxi’d back to the hotel to cool off. That night we had plans with Ramzi and his wife Najwa for dinner.  Once again so much good food.  I think we have eaten half of Malaysia.

Sunday morning we got up early to go to church. There was a marathon running that morning so it was tough to get to and from the cathedral.   After mass we had breakfast and had to pack for our flight back home.  It was a quick trip but loads of fun  and food. We were very impressed how three very distinct cultures ( Chinese, Malay and Indian) lived in such harmony.

We are great at walking  around and taking public transportation but I think I might take the hop on hop off bus if I were to do it again. There is so much to see and do and even though it is not a huge city it is spread out enough and hot enough that the bus would be easier.

 

 

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