Monday, January 30, 2017

Gung hoy fat chow

When we realized we would be in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year we weren't sure what that would mean. Would the city be packed? Or deserted? Turns out that the answer was 'Yes'. Sort of. 

Chinese New Year is one of the great travel events in the world. Millions of people are on the move within in China, and more and more Chinese people take the opportunity to travel outside the country. Throughout much of the rest of Asia people are moving about, too. 

So, Hong Kong, the city built on hustle, the city of go go go. When we started out on Saturday morning the streets were empty. Most of the shops were closed, and with the shutters down the streets were very dull. We found our way to the Kowloon high street and admired the shop windows in all the luxury stores - all by ourselves. We walked onto the Star ferry with a few people and found ourselves on Hong Kong island. Our plan was to take the tram up to the peak and look out over the city. We had a bit of a wait as the bus didn't run until 10:00. Of course we got talking to a fellow in line. Firstly, we were in the wrong line for the bus to the tram. But, this was a better bus - it would take a scenic wind up the mountain and then we could take the tram back down. Which is what we did. 

The view from the peak across Hong Kong to Kowloon. 

When we took the tram back down the city had woken up - there was a mob waiting to go up the mountain, the street hawkers were setting up and people were out and about. This was more what I expected. In spite of the crowds, many things were not happening - the flower market street only had one shop open, only a few goldfish shops were open, the jade market was locked up tight and even the ladies market was barely open when we passed by. 

So what did we do with ourselves? Oh, the usual.....

Yep, eating our way through the town!

Lots of decorations for the new year - almost every business had mandarin orange trees flanking their doors - the Intercontinental Hotel won the prize for th biggest trees!

I seem to have lost Friday

Travel across the dateline is disorienting enough, but I can usually get my head around the concept. Flying to Hong Kong turned out to be more confusing than usual. We started off from Victoria on a 10:00 flight to Vancouver. Instead of leaving for the next leg at 1:00 pm delays to the inbound flight meant we didn't get airborne until about 6:00 pm. It did mean that we had a leisurely time at the airport - we even took the time to enjoy the art displays that we usually race past.

The original plan had us arriving around 7:00 pm, giving us time to get to our hotel, hit the nearby night market for a snack before bed time. Instead we had a 14 hour flight that arrived just at midnight, putting us at our hotel around 1:30 am on Saturday. So much for Friday - it vanished into a travel black hole. Turns out the night market was still in full swing, but we decided to give it a pass.

Being the determined tourists that we are we were up and out early Saturday morn after a few hours of sleep- after all the sights weren't going to see themselves!  I'll leave you with a shot of us up on the Peak, enjoying the view out over the city.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Once more, into the breach

You know that whole - the days, the months, the years just fly by - thing? So true. And it is so easy to look up in the spring and realize that I've been hibernating and have not gotten enough exercise over the winter. My solution to that has been to sign myself up for a training clinic for the spring 10k road race in Victoria. If nothing else, it means that for 14 consecutive Sunday mornings I get myself out and to the community centre for a walk. And then there's the homework sessions in between. By the time the race rolls around I'm ready and the day itself it fun.

After participating in the clinic 5 times I decided it was time to up the ante this year.
Yep - this year I'm a leader for the walking group. Today was our first session (only rained a little bit!) I figured I'm going to show up every week and do the work - I might as well be part of the team!

Having said that - we're about to embark on another one of Wilf and Sharon's adventures, so I'm going to miss a few session. But more about that later!