Category Archives: Hong Kong

It’s For The Birds

In Hong Kong just past Flower Market Road, there is a large group of retired men who spend their days in a park together. They bring their singing birds in unique, beautiful cages and hang them in the trees, from poles or on hooks. Then while their birds sing, they socialize.

I’ve never seen so many birds. Perhaps I’ve never seen this many old men. I’ve most certainly never seen this many birds with old men.

Some men loved to show off their birds. I watched this man give his bird a bath.

These two birds on this perch were my favorite, perhaps because they were not in a cage and definitely because they constantly chatted and teased each other in between “Hello?” calls and whistles to me. I wonder if they are always like that or if maybe this bird just gets especially feisty after a bath?

There were also birds and all manner of bird keeping items for sale.

In the next photo, notice the lovely porcelain food and water bowls that were in most of the cages.

And for those who are reading this and know me well, yes, walking through the park I debated between buying as many birds as I could afford and freeing them or just running through the park opening as many cages as I could. Some of these cages are just too small and it seemed cruel… Then I wondered how long it would take for the freed birds to be captured again and if they would immediately fly away if I opened the door? But my rebellious thoughts stayed only as thoughts and I strictly observed and photographed the bird/man society.

However, even though I don’t like seeing animals in cages (except jellyfish), I still enjoyed seeing this culture that is so different than what I think of when I look forward to retirement.

Are some of the young men in Hong Kong really thinking, “I can’t wait until I retire so I can get a bird and go to the bird garden every day…”

What do I hope retirement means for me? I have grand plans of travel, so I can see more new and interesting things like these men in the park.

What do you want to do when you retire?

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Flower Market Road

If you are in Hong Kong and you are feeling blue…take the MTR to Prince Edward and exit out of B1. Walk a few blocks away from the MRT and you will find happiness and beauty along Flower Market Road.

They have an entire street filled with flowers that are oh so lovely.

Shop after shop after shop (more than 70 shops) of beautiful flowers on display.

Amazing bouquets in every color.

I dare you to walk down this street without a smile on your face.

Watching the workers sweep or care for the flowers is lovely too.

They seemed to have almost every variety but these were the strangest flowers I saw that day. Like corn on the cob that either has a disease or was radiated to grow red projectiles. Seriously, does anyone know what these are?

There are no words to describe the beauty of the orchids.

I know rent is expensive and condos are small in Hong Kong. However, if I lived here, I would be tempted to fill my house full of flowers. Because, as I walked down this street in awe I realized, if I was buying I would never ever be able to pick just one. How could I possibly choose when they are all so perfect? I would go home with a taxi overflowing with flowers and still be sad at the loveliness I left behind.

Thank you Jonna for the recommendation to visit the flower market, because this was the perfect way, and the first thing I did to start my birthday.

Super Saturday Night in Hong Kong

If you have been to Hong Kong you have been to Victoria Peak. The tram ride is scary fun and the view is fantastic. If you are going to the Peak for the first time, do not feel obligated to eat there when you go because the food may be higher on the hill but it is way below the Hong Kong average. On our recent trip to Hong Kong, we skipped the Peak (been there already, done that) and went to the new (just opened in April) International Commerce Centre instead. Do you want to go too? Just follow the signs to Sky 100 from the Kowloon MRT. After you purchase your tickets step into the lift to be whisked up, up and away by a lift that rockets you to the 100th floor in 60 seconds. Really, the elevator has all the rocket essentials. A 60 second count down timer, cool shooting star graphics, a futuristic voice and a feet/meter counter. My childhood dream would have been complete if only someone would have given me the freeze dried ice cream I used to get at my local science center when I was in Young Astronauts in 5th grade.

Upon arrival, since I was channeling my inner young astronaut, I stepped RIGHT up next to the glass and looked down. Then I wondered, why is the ground moving and my stomach somersaulting?

Wait, why is the building moving? Are buildings supposed to move this high up?

Suddenly I realized that I have never been 100 stories up before and it is not the same as living in Singapore on the 24th floor, especially pressed up against this window in a moving building.

If you have a similar response, channel your young astronaut, perhaps step away from the glass a few inches, take a deep breath and look OUT at the view. Hopefully you will have better self control than I did because I could not resist my urge to continually glance straight down which brought back the dizzying somersault feeling.

Then, ask your husband if the building is moving. Because surely he will reassure you that it is your imagination. Or in my case, he confirmed that it was moving which for some reason made me calm anyway.

Contributing to my calm was the realization that I paid to come up this high, I had my camera, and I’m in amazing Hong Kong. I really need to take some pictures. Then I struggled to get a good shot because 1) I didn’t have my tripod and 2) glare because the lights on the platform are constantly dimming and brightening. However, I finally found a column I could hide behind which blocked the glare as long as I didn’t mind wedging myself between the column and the floor to ceiling glass window. Young astronaut Debbie rejoice! My stomach somersaults are over. And here’s the photo made possible by said column. You know you have to click on it to get the full effect.

Just in case you are not impressed, this building is the 4th highest in the world.

If you are still not impressed, the new Ritz-Carlton is located above the sky100 viewing platform.

If that does not impress you, I was up there with my superman. It’s a bird…it’s a plane…

…he’s more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound…

Why Do You Love Hong Kong?

Recently someone asked me why I love Hong Kong. My first thought was, “What’s NOT to love about Hong Kong?”

Then I went through a list of my Hong Kong loves. It went something like this…

I Love the food. It’s beautiful, tasty and varied. Here’s recent Thai food I had in Hong Kong on my birthday. The pomelo salad was the best I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve eaten a lot of pomelo salad in the last three years.

I Love the mid-levels. I love whoever decided to put escalators all the way up the hill. Directions for use…if you are hungry and you don’t know where to eat take a ride on the escalators to view all your options. Stop when it smells good.

I Love the steep streets and hills. They beg you to walk around and find treasures.

I Love the views when I am walking around. I love being surprised by a beautiful view of tall buildings and water.

I Love the interesting architecture. This building on the left is shaped with panda bears hanging on to the side. It’s also the building that was visible from the window of our hotel the first night I ever spent in Asia. I remember sitting in the window seat hugging my knees and staring out at Hong Kong in awe. Hong Kong does that to you…

I Love the ocean, beaches and all the greenery. A large part of Hong Kong and the other islands is undeveloped land that has fabulous beauty and hiking.

I Love the night markets. Vibrant and packed with people, food and shopping.

I Love wandering around during the day. I always see something interesting. Like an outdoor butcher who uses a blow torch to cook or perhaps sear his pig head before he dumps it into a pot of boiling, steamy water.

I Love the jade market and shopping in general.

I Love the friendly and happy Hong Kong people.

I Love the buildings and the view at night. Either from Victoria peak, your favorite hotel, or the 100th floor observation deck of the new International Commerce Centre in Kowloon.

I Love something else that I cannot take a photo of. The energy in Hong Kong. I can feel it the same way I do in New York. A buzz, a beat, a busyness…it’s contagious and it’s fabulous. Perhaps the energy comes from everyone walking around loving that they are in Hong Kong.

This city has it all…what’s not to love?