Friday, February 25, 2011

Hong Kong, 2011

I recently visited Hong Kong again and had a lot of fun. The stresses at work and a lack of sleep made me decide not to have a trip as busy as my last one to give me some time to relax and calm down. However, a friend and I signed up for a tour that consisted of a stop at Temple Street Market in Kowloon side of Hong Kong, an open cover bus ride, and a night time ferry ride and meal in the Hong Kong Harbour. I didn't take too many pictures in Hong Kong since not much caught my interest or they didn't come out right but I did get a lot of night pictures of Hong Kong and Kowloon. I suppose I should explain something about Hong Kong. What most people think of as a single city or island is really a number of different islands and territories, similar to districts. The tour took us around the island of Kowloon to take pictures of the main island called Hong Kong Island then out on the harbour to see a laser show off the skyscrapers of all the visible islands but mostly a small bay on Hong Kong Island.

Temple Street Market was interesting with lots of random things. It was started as a market for males with electronics and such but as with all markets it included things for women such as jewelry and shiny boxes common in the city. What caught my eye was that the market is a few streets down from the Jade Market where beads are sold, especailly jade beads sold in strings. Because we were on the tour and had limited time I decided not to vist the Jade Market but made a note of where it was for next time I come through. I know full well that I will get lost in there and probably spend a lot of money in there so I hope I remember to save up! After the market we went on the open bus ride and I enjoyed the night lights in Hong Kong with the wind in my hair. The ferry ride was fun and the food was good. It was buffet style and none of the three of us went down to watch the laser show as it was after 8 pm when we got the food and we were all really hungry. The entertainment was kind of fun too as it was two most likely Chinese women singing American tunes with their accent. One had a nice strong voice but the other woman was hard to hear even with the microphone. It was fun watching the children dance to the music though and the food was amazing. After the two hour ride was over we went back to the bar near where we were staying and had some sangri, my friends latest favorite drink.
The next day we went out to the Lady's Market which was full of clothes, sparkly jewelry, hair accessories, and boxes, as well sandals of every style but only small sizes and bags among a lot of things like ciggerette lighters and electronics as well as toys. We had fun and I got a lot of my Christmas shopping done already, or that's my excuse for spending so much. :) However, I didn't go too far over my limit so I'm not upset. It really is amazing what a person can find at markets. For supper that night we went to an international resteraunt that had nothing remotely American, which was odd to me. Usually international means American but there it meant other Asian countries. I got three pieces of fried pork in a white curry sauce to be put over steamed rice and my friend got a stone bowl of eel soup.

We had fun in Hong Kong and I hope you have as much fun in your life. For now this is Li'l B signing out 'til next time.

Manila 2011

I had a lot of fun in the Philippines not too long ago. The first night we stopped at the Mall of Asia and had some good food at the food court next to the ice rink inside the mall. It was good food but we still had a few hours of sunlight to explore so we did. Curious how the Mall of Asia compared to the Mall of America not far from my family home, my friend and I walked as much of the mall as we wanted to. There we saw a few play areas for children, the ice rink I saw before, and the bowling alley as well as the cinema and a lot of stores. I’m not sure which mall is larger although I do believe the Mall of Asia may win in size. However, the Mall of Asia is two stories long and spread over two or three blocks while the Mall of America is four floors tall.

The next day we went outside Manila to an abandoned naval base turned into a thrill area for people who love heights. There we did what they called a Superman ride where got strapped in tightly then sent across on a zip line for a few seconds and back again stretched out like Superman, or with your legs out on the bar and your hands tightly clenching the bar under your armpits, like I was. Quite exciting but really a short ride when it was over. Next we went on a ride where my friend and I stood on a few pieces of metal facing each other strapped on and sent across more zip line. That one was really fun because any little movement had a strong reaction to the metal that supported us. The next and last ride we went on was a freefall. Basically they strap you in to a tension line, you step out into the air about three floors out and can go head first, sitting, or Mission Impossible style. Then they release the tension and you freefall until they tighten the tension again about ten feet above the ground to slow you to a soft landing. Yeah, it was scary but fun and over really quick. It seems unsafe but all the people there that day landed safely although pretty shaken. Unfortunately I can’t post pictures of my fall because I only got video of it and even that was half missed by the amateur photographer that was nice enough to film it on my camera. I’ll try to post the video but no promises. Next we went on a hike through the trees and saw their version of poison ivy, the vines strong enough for humans to climb or swing on, and trees with roots up to my waist. We also had a lecture session on how to survive in the jungle including how to get water out of bamboo shoots, how to make fire from bamboo (no stones used), and how to make a spork jungle style.

For lunch we stopped at a lovely place overlooking a lake and ordered some good food. I ordered a soup but one of my companions ordered broiled squid and actually was served two small but whole squid. After a lovely meal we went shopping before getting on the bus to go back to Manila. Along the way our pit stop was called the Shell of Asia, which I found amusing as we had stopped at the Mall of Asia the day before.

The next day we again went to the Mall of Asia for lunch and found that the children’s bouncy playgrounds had been taken down and there was a martial arts competition in its place. After a few hours of shopping at the mall we got in a cab and went to a bar called the Hobbit House. The novelty of the Hobbit House, besides its selection of over two hundred international beers and the Lord of the Rings d├ęcor, is that all the servers are legal midgets. It was rather amusing to me because my companion was acting like they had met a celebrity just by being in the bar. Well, the peach flavored beer I had and the cherry flavored beer both of which were labeled from Belgium, may have added to the silliness of the night. The food there wasn’t bad although it wasn’t the typical version (my spaghetti had bbq sauce on it instead of marinara sauce) and it was a fun night.

All that said I had fun in the Philippines and can’t wait to go back. Well, until next time, have a nice life and check out my pictures on Facebook.