Monthly Archives: October 2014

Hong Kong protests

I promised my family and friends that I would stay away from the protests but my curiosity got the best of me so I went for a jaunt down Nathan Road which happens to be home to my hotel and the protests.

As I walked I noticed there were fewer and fewer cars and people had begun to walk in the middle of the road, I knew I was getting close. I read that this week there have been continued clashes between the police and the protestors and the police tear down the barriers only to have the protestors build them up again. My plan was to get close enough but avoid conflict.

I could see the barrier blocking the road. It was made up of recycle bins, metal barriers, boxes, etc. There were quite a few curious people like myself. Some of whom stood on the median to get a better view. I had no desire to pass the barrier in case a skirmish did occur but it didn’t stop me from taking a few photos and noticing half a dozen policemen standing nearby, simply hanging out. The people beyond the barrier seemed to be a mix of protestors and curious people.

Further up Nathan Road were a few cones to prevent traffic from turning onto the street.



Hong Kong and dogs

Dogs seem to be a welcome part of life in HK. At Victoria Peak there were dogs everywhere accompanying their owners on a walk around the peak or just sitting at a coffee shop taking in the atmosphere. Something I noticed in China as well as HK is that dogs do not have to be on a leash. In Datong, China, I noticed a man guiding his big Samoyed across the street by gently pushing it in the right direction, no leash in site. Small dogs, big dogs, there seemed to be no discrimination for the lack of leash law. Every city I’ve visited has had a plethora of pooches just roaming, staying fairly close to their owners of course.

At the top of Victoria Peak I noticed a sign about dos and don’ts for your dog. Leashes were encouraged for bigger dogs but it didn’t seem to say that they were required. What an interesting concept! There was also a sign for dog ice cream 🙂



Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

For about 50 cents USD, one can cross the harbour (I added a U since I am in a British English area) and reach Hong Kong Island. Follow signs for the “Peak Tram” and 5 minutes later you will be on your way up to the top in a funicular for about $4 USD or $5.50 USD for a round trip fare.

The view from the top allows you to see all of the surrounding islands (as long as the smog has cleared). There is a path that will take you around the peak giving you a view from every angle. It takes about 45 min to do the loop. It is a wonderful shaded path and has signs about the trees and flowers that you pass.

There are homes and apartments that go for millions of dollars I’m sure. There is also a small shopping complex at the top.

I was glad I arrived before the rest of the tourists. On my way back, mid-afternoon, the line to go to up wound around the corner.






Merry is the one who plays Mahjong

In Pingyao, we had a free afternoon and chose to get a lesson on Mahjong. It turns out that computer games are deceiving, one does not simply need to match the tiles with another tile in the set. Instead it is a game best played in groups of 4 and similar to gin rummy. There are sets of tiles – sticks, coins, directions, and numbers – and one tries to get pairs or runs. The directions though do not allow for runs as there is no order to them.

Our guide made up a handy dandy cheat sheet of the Chinese numbers and the things we needed to shout when we could complete a run or pair in order to take tiles from other players. We had great fun playing and couldn’t believe that 3 hours had passed when it was time for dinner. I would like to note that my partner and I won the first game we played!




Xi’an, China

I’m currently in Xi’an (I know you never would have guessed based on the title of this post). The weather forecast is warmer than it was in Pingyao for which we are all grateful, however, it does list haze on my weather app so that’s fun….

We are staying in the old quarter which is surrounded by city walls. The city wall is about 14 km long and one is able to cycle along it. The city has beautiful drum and bell towers, each with performances throughout the day. Traditionally, the bell was rung in the morning and the drums were played in the evening. The city has less people than Beijing and less haze as well.

The Muslim quarter is full of food stalls and touristy shops. The food is a delight to try and includes things I can’t even begin to describe. They are famous for a beef sandwich though so I made sure to try one of those. A mosque that combines Muslim and Chinese styles lies at the heart of the area.

Near the south wall stalls are filled with paintings, jewelry, and calligraphy supplies. It’s a fun area to wander around.

This region is known for 8 distinctive characteristics as seen in a photo below. For instance, squatting to rest, putting a towel on one’s head, having “half slant” roofs, the women never leaving the area to marry, and using unusually large bowls.





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