Thursday, 17 January 2013

A Night at the Races

My first Wednesday evening in Hong Kong was possibly the most exciting experience I'd had in the city - after seeing a young local wearing a t-shirt that read "Blaenavon".

We went to Happy Valley Racecourse. I'd never been to any kind of races before, in fact I'd never been to an actual proper sporting venue to witness a proper sporting event, live with my very own eyes, sitting in the stands and everything...except school sports day, but there were no stands there, just the grassy floor; maybe if you were allowed to bet at sports days they'd be more fun? Watching others race and placing extremely small amounts of money on them to win or place is genuinely exhilarating, and far better than doing any kind of racing yourself. Maybe it's because they're a different species with tiny little men sitting on them which makes it more entertaining? And that it doesn't last as long as that big one on the tele...the grand national...never interested me before, I'd give it a watch now but only after placing some strategical bets.

The race is over in a minute, a perfect duration of time...there is no danger of boredom. Although you may miss the final furlong if you blink.

Also, you can buy big jugs of beer and giant hot dogs, and not just crappy fair ground hot dogs with sloppy onions on, oh no no no! Gourmet hot dogs with feta and salad. The beer is in plastic cups though so that keeps you nicely grounded, you haven't made it to the top yet.

We did pretty well that night and won enough to have made our evening a free night. And whether it's because I have a potentially dangerous like of gambling or that it's just genuinely a fine way to spend a Wednesday night, Happy Valley remains one of my favourite places to be for middle of the working week kicks.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Signs to Blow your Mind

Overhead signage. Not a street in the city where advertising isn't trying to sell someone something. One of the most noticeable differences about city life, heavily overbearing signs hanging above your head as you walk down the pavement, a suspended ceiling of metal, wires and lit up plastic.
The photos taken at night are from Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. As for the two day time shots, I'm not entirely sure but I have a vague recollection that they are from Kennedy Town, West of Central on Hong Kong Island.

The First Time I Ate Dim Sum

So this is one of my first dining experiences I had in Hong Kong. The name of the restaurant was Pancake Colours, in Mong Kok.
We had been bimbling around the humid hectic streets, sweating and hungry, for some time and it had just started to rain. With no umbrella we tucked into the lobby of one of the many gigantic buildings that has an escalator leading to floor after floor of mazes of tiny chaotic shops, full of masses of cheap clothing and jewellery and hello kitty paraphernalia and copious phone covers and mobile accessories. Amongst the bric a brac, knick knacks and endless clutter, you can often find restaurants.
Pancake Colours offered me my first taste of dim sum. We had dumplings, rice noodle rolls and duck all with soy sauce. I also tasted my first lemon tea, a beverage I have every time I visit a Chinese restaurant, only now I tend to get it iced rather than hot as they give you a cup of bottomless hot tea or hot water for free anyway.
At this time I was absolutely terrible at using chop sticks. A lot of my food touched the table top before finally making it into my mouth. Still tasted good though.

Since May

I've decided to blog about my experiences living in Hong Kong, since May 2012. I actually arrived on April 29th, or there about, but let's not be pedantic...pretty much May.
In all honesty, I can't say I all together liked living in Hong Kong for a long time...even now, to this day there are things I do really dislike. But I am forming a strange new bond with the place, and now I'm starting to feel even love for the city on some days and in some places, I want to share this experience.
Until recently, I didn't have a great deal of time to write or at least I didn't feel like it after a day of teaching English. Within a week of arriving I was working five days a week at an education centre in an area called Whampoa, Hung Hom district. Although my days were fairly short, teaching is quite a tiring and draining job. So, all my diary writing I had maintained almost daily for four months in Australia was forgotten, put on the back burner, maybe tomorrow.
I quit my job, or at least gave notice in order to leave on December 6th. I went home for just short of two weeks and returned in time for Xmas, or more importantly because that's when the flight was cheapest...although missing my plane did add some drastic costs onto my bargain journey but that's a story for another time.
What I'm getting at, is now I'm more or less free to spend my days more or less as I wish. Writing can be achieved again and this time I've decided to share it. Although I can't remember precise in depths bouts of thoughts I had at those times when I first arrived, I can recall fairly easily how I felt or my conceived opinions about things I saw or did which I photographed. The photos I took still ignite memories that have left their mark, so I thought I would begin my new attempt at blogging by uploading photos from the past eight and a half months and just adding any text to them that explains them I some way.