Posts tagged with "Hong Kong"

far, far away from my heart

I’ve been feel­ing nos­tal­gic about Toronto ever since I drove down for ____’s wed­ding. The oth­er day I stepped out­side and the spring air brought me back to Camp Creative when I used to live there, between semes­ters in grade 5–7. At some point this year I hope to dri­ve home again and take pic­tures of those old schools where I spent the days mak­ing gimp bracelets1 and lip-sync­ing as Javert in Les Miserables.

Places are only as good as the peo­ple though, and I’m sure I miss Toronto for ____ and Darren as much as those old child­hood mem­o­ries, when life was so sim­ple that the fact that it was dis­gust­ing­ly hot nev­er entered my mind, even though I was out­side for most of the day.

Ullapool cafe

Scottish faces in Scottish places. This was lit­er­al­ly the size of half the cafe. Off-cam­era is Mike work­ing his mag­ic to con­vince these two baris­tas to let us film inside.

I miss Mike and rainy London nights too. I want to be part of a cre­ative team again, work­ing towards a com­mon vision, with some­one who can com­pli­ment my weak­ness­es with their strengths. It’s been too long since I had some­one to bounce ideas off of, some­one to give me hon­est crit­i­cism and inspire me to improve. Mike does all those things, and I’ve yet to find some­one like that here in Ottawa.

Stores in Chartres

Night shop­ping in down­town Chartres.

I miss France, and Misun and Frédéric, and how they could tru­ly appre­ci­ate who I am. I love the cul­ture in that coun­try, and the fact that you can buy a fresh baguette by walk­ing a minute from any­where. And I’m far from being fin­ished with Paris; there was so much I had left to explore, so many things I’d yet to do. I want to go back as the right per­son, not as a per­son try­ing to escape my thoughts and mem­o­ries.

Kowloon Walled City entrance

Gateway in Kowloon Walled City.

Hong Kong I miss most of all, and my fam­i­ly there. I want noth­ing more than to walk those streets with Uncle Joe or Uncle Eddie. Sometimes, I sit by my back door with the win­dow open and just lis­ten to cars pass­ing by in the dark­ness, pre­tend­ing it’s the din of those high­ways and the diesel of the trucks. Nothing ever comes close though, and it only leaves me feel­ing like all these places are so far away.

  1. Square, cir­cle, and but­ter­fly were my favourites. []

The Tao Character

Tao character 5

Thumbnail: Tao character 1
Thumbnail: Tao character 2
Thumbnail: Tao character 3
Thumbnail: Tao character 4
Thumbnail: Tao character 6
Thumbnail: Tao character 7
Thumbnail: Tao character 8

A few spot­tings of the “Tao” char­ac­ter while I was in Hong Kong. The word is some­what ubiq­ui­tous, since it can mean “road”, “path”, or “way”, and so marks road signs every­where. This is the same char­ac­ter that I got tat­tooed on my right wrist.

It’s inter­est­ing to see how dif­fer­ent Chinese char­ac­ters can look, whether they’re engraved, paint­ed, writ­ten, or stamped.

Little Hong Kong Differences

I’ve been back from my trip to Hong Kong for a lit­tle over a month now. Here are some lit­tle dif­fer­ences I’ve noticed between there and here.


Space is at a pre­mi­um in Hong Kong, so park­ing spots are tiny. Most cars have fold­ing side-mir­rors, and prox­im­i­ty sen­sors that beep faster the clos­er you are to some­thing when back­ing up. Vans and SUVs have mir­rors on the back win­dows that lets a dri­ver see the back bumper through the rear-view mir­ror. That way, you can squeeze into a space with­out any guess work, although it takes about three or four turns, Austin Powers style.

Parking sensors

Some park­ing lots also have these lights above the spots that let peo­ple know if a car is parked in the space — green means it’s avail­able. That way, you can see what spots are free with a quick glance, instead of dri­ving around and hunt­ing.

Taking care of the elderly

Workout area

In the parks, there are work­out areas for the elder­ly. They include things like Gazelles, bench step­pers, and wheels you can rotate for flex­i­bil­i­ty. This is so awe­some. Canada should have some­thing like this. My grand­ma used come to this park to work out before she had colon can­cer.

Bench stepper station

Fitness guide

How cool is it that the sym­bol they use is the sil­hou­ette of some­one doing sin­gle whip. I found this sym­bol in many parks actu­al­ly, and I think it means that it’s a pub­lic park.

There are also speak­ers that beep at the traf­fic lights to let blind peo­ple know when to cross, and sub­way esca­la­tors that click con­stant­ly, so they know where to get on.

Continue read­ing “Little Hong Kong Differences”…

Goodbye, Hong Kong

Boats in harbour

Thumbnail: Cell phone message
Thumbnail: Alley walk
Thumbnail: City Hall construction
Thumbnail: Bakery goods
Thumbnail: Abalone

Drinking tong sui

Thumbnail: Door shrine
Thumbnail: Barista
Thumbnail: Billboards
Thumbnail: Candy stand in mall
Thumbnail: Chinese checkers stone

Street and people

Thumbnail: More City Hall construction
Thumbnail: Dessert booth
Thumbnail: Expensive shoes
Thumbnail: Flower vendor
Thumbnail: Grandmas holding hands


Thumbnail: Mirror self portrait
Thumbnail: Murray House
Thumbnail: Music listener
Thumbnail: Neon sign
Thumbnail: Open area

Street person

Thumbnail: Pacific Coffee Company
Thumbnail: Roadside snack
Thumbnail: Seaside properties
Thumbnail: Smokers
Thumbnail: Soccer against mountain

Chestnut stand

Thumbnail: Temple doorway
Thumbnail: Apartment view
Thumbnail: Holding hands
Thumbnail: Water shipper
Thumbnail: Wedding photos

Cracked turtle shells

Thumbnail: Stanley Market
Thumbnail: Stanley waterfront
Thumbnail: Sundries stand
Thumbnail: Taking blood pressure
Thumbnail: Tea machines

Airport waiting

I’ll miss the way you com­fort me with crowds. I’ll miss the smells of your streets. I’ll miss your alleys and their sto­ries. I’ll miss your mix of clas­si­cal and con­tem­po­rary. I’ll miss the diver­si­ty of your food.

You made me feel com­fort­able, like I belonged some­where, and with all your rich and some­what mys­te­ri­ous cul­ture, renewed my pride in being Chinese.

It’ll be a long time before I see you again.

Goodbye, you beau­ti­ful city. I miss you already.

Cat Street

Jewellery stall

Thumbnail: Upper Lascar Row
Thumbnail: Stairway entrance
Thumbnail: Decoration shop
Thumbnail: Examining goods
Thumbnail: Food stand
Thumbnail: Rainy alleyway
Thumbnail: Stair alleyway
Thumbnail: Stalls

Upper Lascar Row, also known as Cat Street, is a nar­row alley­way mar­ket that sells dec­o­ra­tions, trin­kets, and antiques. It’s not quite like oth­er Hong Kong mar­kets because it’s less com­mer­cial­ized (i.e. does­n’t sell as many touristy things), even though the most com­mon buy­ers there seem to be for­eign.

The name comes from a joke in Chinese: it’s said that if you have some­thing stolen, you’re like­ly to find it for sale on Cat Street. Thieves are known as “rats” in Cantonese slang, and peo­ple who pur­chase goods from rats are called “cats”.