Monthly Archives: December 2016

Hong Kong — New Year’s Eve

Anatomy of a day:

  • another sumptuous breakfast
  • hotel shuttle to central district
  • walk to waterfront, only to find the art museum under renovation
  • so plenty of time on the waterfront, with photos!
  • slow walk through side streets, regal old hotels, local commerce, and lunch of rice noodles with beef at a traditional HK hole-in-the-wall
  • fitting for my new suits
  • much of the afternoon at the Hong Kong History Museum, a well-planned and engaging place to spend part of a day
  • bus and then ferry across to Hong Kong Island (of the iconic skyline)
  • a carousel ride
  • a long walk through crowded streets and uphill to Lan Kwai Fong, the entertainment district on the island
  • dinner of very good Tex-Mex at a hole-in-the-wall on a tiny side street
  • loads of photos and marvel at the police presence and the crowd-control barricades
  • subway and taxi back to hotel, after a quick trip through Marks & Spencer
  • fall sound asleep well before midnight
  • but wake to see in the new year

The fireworks reveling crowds really throng the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Kowloon, and after seeing how many people were already present by 4 p.m., J and I decided to watch the fireworks on the telly.  This was the right call (although I could see them over the tops of the high-rises to the southwest), as I was again utterly worn out from the kilometers and kilometers of walking yesterday.

Say one thing for certain: I shan’t be gaining weight on this trip, if the dining and walking so far is any indication!

What impressed me the most last evening was the visible police presence all over the wealthy Hong Kong Island. Barricades were ready.  Pedestrian control was well-planned.  Revelers could not become rioters.  They were everywhere, and from the looks of it they raided the police academy to make it happen, so young were these mostly-male officers.  They had the traffic flow and crowd control down to a science in Lan Kwai Fong.

My fitting went well. I’m sorry I didn’t have any photos taken. And later in the evening I saw a local television tourist spot for Sam’s Tailor, and realized that I’d been helped by Sam himself on my first visit.  (I go back Tuesday for a second fitting.)

So today is the first day of 2017.  As I write, my friends in the UK have just turned into the new year, and folks back home are now in the dark of night awaiting the new dawn.  May 2017 be better than many of us dare hope, and filled with compassion, truth, justice, and the good works that many people can do together.

To see the local fireworks celebration, take a look here.


I have posted a number of recipe links on Facebook this past year.

But I can’t always find them.

So here are some links:

  • Garlic Smashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Fire Chicken
  • Pineapple Dream Dessert
  • Pineapple Pecan Cheese Ball
  • Chicken Tamale Pie
  • Homemade Bread
  • Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings
  • Earl Grey gelato
  • Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
  • Stick of Butter Rice
  • Crock Pot Mac-n-Cheese
  • Homemade Cheez-Its
  • Mini Pineapple-Upside-Down Cakes
  • Easy Butter Chicken
  • Salsa Chicken Casserole
  • Easy Peach Cobbler
  • Apple Cinnamon Pork Loin Roast
  • Maple Bacon Crack
  • Steak Stuffed Garlic Bread
  • Beef Kebabs in Garlic Sauce
  • Chicken dinners

Hong Kong — Day One photos

It’s 5.45 a.m. on Saturday morning in HK.  I’ve slept all I’m going to sleep tonight, but that sleep was a full eight hours with only one interruption.

As I type while seated at the desk in my hotel room, I am looking occasionally out of the window at the high-rises east of me.  The sun has yet to make any kind of announcement, but I can see that the sky is clear today, and that we might well have a glorious last day of 2016.

My need for sleep last evening was evident by about 7 p.m.  The jet-lag and the wear of a day spent walking, with little sitting at all, meant that I started to fade very rapidly, so by 9 p.m. I was in bed and out quickly.  J tried to keep me entertained at dinner — I was getting grumpy in my weary state.

But a night’s sleep cures many things, as does a change of shoes today!

The Friday excursions:

  • hotel shuttle to Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district on the southern horn of the mainland.
  • walk to Nathan Road to find Sam’s Tailor, one of the many local tailor shops, and a vaunted one.
  • order two new suits and five new shirts.  First fitting today.
  • mosey along side streets and take in the local culture.
  • walk one km to Sky 100, the tallest building in China, and spend time at the top-floor observation deck, and eat a salad for lunch
  • subway and bus to Mong Kok and a slow crawl through the famed Ladies’ Market.  More of these markets follow in the next few days.
  • walk back to hotel and dinner at a nearby restaurant.

It doesn’t sound like much, but this was a long day!

First impressions: Hong Kong is bustling, but friendlier than some other Chinese cities.  (Of course, this was a British colony for the better part of the last 150+ years.)  Commerce is king.  Streets and sidewalks are crowded, but not inhumanely.  Food stalls and shops are everywhere. And if you like fashion or jewelry, Hong Kong is the place.

I’m looking forward to being outside of the main shopping district and seeing more of other sides of HK.

Food: Friday was essentially a Western food day.  Breakfast (I’m on the club floor at the hotel, and have a full breakfast, afternoon tea, and heavy appetizer cocktail hour provided daily) was Western food save for the two shrimp and vegetable dumpling I ate.  Lunch was a Caesar salad at the cafe on the 100th floor of the skyscraper.  Dinner, finally, was Eastern, but I was so tired that I only ate a portion of the soy-sauce chicken.  More eating adventures await for certain.

Ex-pats: Americans still take the prize for the most obnoxious international travelers.  Rather than roll with the experience and soak it in, too many of us want to replicate home whilst abroad.  We don’t deal with money, or with language (I’ve already learned a half-dozen phrases in Cantonese), or with people as equals.  Every time I travel outside of my own comfortable culture, I note this ugly American tendency, and while I could describe the tendencies of Spanish-speakers from the Iberian peninsula, or the take-photos-everywhere-and-don’t-notice-your-surroundings tendencies of Japanese student tourists, this chauvinistic American attitude, albeit generalized, is not one of which I am proud.

6.25 a.m. now, and a faint glow is emerging in the east. But Hong Kong still sleeps.

Street scenes:

For sale:

From Sky 100:

From the wharf:

Retail advertisements:



Hong Kong — Day One

I arrived Thursday evening at about 9.05 p.m. local time (7.05 a.m. in Saint Louis) after 27 hours of wakefulness and transit.  Both United flights were unremarkable, which is exactly what one wishes to say about transit.

The Polaris-class service on United was attentive and pleasant.  Dining options were especially delightful, with truly the best airline food I’ve had.  The vaunted Polaris mattress topper was no big deal, but I did appreciate the fluffy pillow.  Next time I would not choose a seat so close to the toilet and to the flight deck door, as the constant traffic caused me not to sleep as well.  But these are quibbles!

I have awakened this morning to find that my room at the Royal Plaza Hotel on Prince Edward Road West actually faces east.  From my window I see high rise apartments and off in the distance some mountains.  Right below my window is the Diocesan Boys’ School — a whitewashed mass of low building that is very clearly a remnant of colonial Hong Kong, founded in 1869.

In the same complex as my hotel is a shopping mall and the Mong Kok stop on the KCR subway. Directly across the street is Mong Kok Stadium, host to HK Premiere League soccer matches.

View from hotel window, 7.30 a.m. Friday morning.
View from hotel window, 7.30 a.m. Friday morning.

The day is overcast.  I’ve had a cup of tea already.  This Club Floor at the hotel offers a full breakfast every day, which I will soon enjoy. The hotel provides a free Android phone for me to use whilst here, so I won’t be carrying my iPhone with me.

First stop of the day = a tailor!