Tag Archives: Hong Kong

Life in the Fragrant Harbor

14 Jul


Okay, this video is sort of how it’s like to be in Hong Kong, except the heat is way more sweltering, there’s *way* more people on the street, and you’re always smelling something weird. And, you know, I live in Kowloon and not the Island, which features in most of the video.  (A reference for those who might be better acquainted with NYC: Manhattan is to Hong Kong Island, as Queens/Brooklyn is to Kowloon.) But they do show a fair bit of Mong Kok, even what looks like the basketball court that I can hear from my balcony.

I realize this is an ad campaign for an airline, but honestly, they’re better photographers than I am. I think they do a pretty fine job of capturing some of what it’s like to live here.

The Country That Isn’t

7 Jul

We just celebrated “Hong Kong SAR Establishment Day” here in HK. (Really rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) It’s a holiday to celebrate the handover of HK as a British colony back to China… with a few caveats. This is less like Australia Day or Independence Day, and more like a cause for protests. I like to think of it as “We’ll take the day off, but don’t expect us to be happy about why”.  And so, the day was basically used as a pro-democracy rally — Beijing’s favorite type of rally. Over 500 protestors were arrested and it’s caused a bit of a to-do. I’ve found that CPG Grey actually has a pretty good explanation of Hong Kong and China.

Hong Kong

16 Jun

Well, I’ve been sitting on some rather important news for a little while, mostly because my life has been amazingly busy the past few months. In addition to finally landing a translation job, I also moved to Hong Kong at the beginning of June. So, yeah. That happened.

hong kong cat says maoZoe says hi.

I’m living in a quiet section of Kowloon with an old friend — Mlle. A and her cat Zoe.  I’m really liking it so far. It’s warm and lovely, even if the pollution has been a little bad the past few days. I haven’t been exploring the neighborhood a whole lot in the past two weeks, mostly because I’m usually exhausted from my day job during the week and then from the boatloads of translating that I have to do on the weekends.  I did manage to find a place that does amazing takeaway roast duck three streets over, so at least I’m eating well.  (That is a lie; I am mostly eating PB&J sandwiches and Lucky Charms because I am lazy.)
I will do more exploring as time permits, no worries there.  If there’s anything in particular you think I should go visit, let me know in the comments. Otherwise, on y va!

Rubber Duckie

10 Jun

rubber duck in hong kongPhoto via CNN.

Okay, today in the world is awesome, Hong Kong just said good bye to a massive inflatable rubber duck. This four-story duckie was hanging out in Victoria Harbor for the past two weeks, bobbing around and being adorable. It’s already visited Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Amsterdam, and will be headed to the US sometime soon. So if you live in an American port city, keep a weather eye out for a giant yellow duck!


Leaving on a Jet Plane

25 Jun

I’m still in transit today. By the magic of the International Date line, my plane lands in San Francisco three hours before it takes off. Three hours. Clearly, this means I’m a Time Lord.

I had a lot of fun in Hong Kong this weekend. It was great to see Amy and her family. I even got to go into Macau for a day! All of this and more will be forthcoming in the next week or so.

This is sort of a bittersweet journey to NY for me, happy as I am to go home and see my family. I might not have enjoyed spending this year in Chengdu, but I am sad at leaving Asia. I honestly don’t know when I’ll be back to see my friends in Hong Kong. And that’s a legit cause for sadness. On the other hand, I can get a decent slice of pizza whenever I want at home.

See you all Stateside, folks.

Baktus Scarf

11 May

My last knitting project was an incredibly intricate pair of socks (see Nutkin). My normal routine after finishing a long project is pretty predictable. First, there are a few days of blessed freedom, before the knitting bug starts getting to me. I start two or three projects in a row before frogging them in favor of something else. And then I stumble on my next pattern.

I picked out the baktus scarf pattern specifically for the yarn in question. I had bought a skein of Noro Silk Garden sock yarn at my favorite shop, the Knitting Cove, last Christmas. It was sitting in my stash just waiting for some free time. And so, I searched Ravelry for a pattern that would compliment the color pattern but wouldn’t use up too much yarn – I only had the single ball.

Enter Baktus. It’s dead easy and mindless enough that I can actually read on the computer and knit at the same time, albeit slower than normal. It showed off the colorway nicely, and it was blessedly uncomplicated in comparison to my previous sock projects.

I finished this one relatively quickly. It helped that I had a trip to Hong Kong and needed something to kill time in transit. I met a fellow knitter in Hong Kong, which was pretty cool.

This ended up being a gift for a friend’s birthday. For whatever reason, I almost always end up gifting away most of my knitting projects. (Except for the tragic mistakes, of course. Those hide in the bin of shame, aka my sock drawer.) Hope you enjoy the scarf, Kate!

I Left My Heart in Tuen Mun

11 Apr

So, I’m back, internet. A full day ahead of time, even. I was going to come back by train, for the sheer novelty of it. After all, the average Chinese person travels by train when going around the country and wasn’t I all about authenticity? So thus, I stood in line at the Shenzhen train office, waiting patiently for my turn and when I got to the counter, there were no hard sleepers left. Or the much more expensive soft sleepers. The only seats left were the hard seats. For a 32 hour ride.

There’s being authentic and then there’s sheer stupidity.

Needless to say, I ponied up the extra hundred bucks for the flight back to Chengdu. Mea culpa. I’ll take the train on my next trip. Also? The internet is lying about the current going rate for long-distance train seats. I had a bit of sticker shock when the agent reeled off the ticket prices.

ANYWAYS, the previous bit, you know, hanging out in Hong Kong? That was a lot of fun. I hung out with Amy and her family. Her aunt and uncle live over in Tuen Mun, which isn’t exactly downtown Hong Kong. More beaches than skyscrapers out there in the New Territories. Yeah, life is real hard, living in a tropical island paradise.

It was a pretty low-key week, to be honest. I spent a lot of time hanging out, reading, comparing knitting styles with M., and helping out a little at their new shop. M. and F. just opened a Dymock’s in Gold Coast and it was interesting to see the other side of the counter, as it were.

I also participated in the national pastime of Hong Kong*. That was fun. I even bought some black ballet flats, which I’ve been looking around for. Huzzah for large shoe sizes!

All in all, I had a really great time in Hong Kong, mostly thanks to Amy, M., and F. Thanks, guys!

*Shopping. They’re hardcore about their malls in HK.

Happy Tomb-Sweeping Day!

4 Apr

Today is Ching Ming Jie, or the Feast of Tomb Sweeping. In traditional Chinese calender, today is an important time in spring for people to remember their ancestors and honor them by cleaning off their graves and lighting a bit of incense and by flying kites and having picnics. Okay, the latter bit might just be a slightly more modern addition.

I care, mostly since I’ve got the week off. How is this different from every other week, you ask? Well, so does everyone else. And so, I am headed off to merry Hong Kong to visit my friend Amy. I should be gone for about a week. I’m planning of flying in and taking the train back. It’s a 32 hour ride, so that’ll be interesting. I’ll have lots of cool things to talk about then, but my return time is still a little fuzzy, so I don’t know when exactly I’ll post again.

Posts will probably return on April 11th and on April 13th at the absolute latest. In the meantime, go fly a kite in honor of your ancestors and have fun!

A Very Hong Kong Thanksgiving

23 Nov

Okay, let me say this first: Hong Kong is gorgeous. It is an island paradise, even wreathed in smog and pollution. I understand now why the British didn’t want to give it back. The weather is warm, you cannot escape the green mountains or the water even in the midst of downtown Hong Kong, and the food is delicious. Maybe all of this praise should be tempered with the reminder that I have spent the last two months in Chengdu, where it is chilly and gray (think Seattle, with more pollution and less coffee or greenery), but I honestly think Hong Kong is pretty damn cool.

Of course, my friend’s aunt had me bake seven pies over the weekend, so there’s that as well.


My good friend Amy had invited me down for Thanksgiving in Hong Kong, where the celebration wasn’t so much about American harvest festivals so much as good food and the birthday of Willis Haviland Carrier.  Carrier is famous for inventing the modern air conditioner and that is a very important thing to celebrate in the hot and humid climes of Hong Kong. It may be an island paradise, but AC units make Hong Kong livable.

I didn’t feel homesick at all, thanks to all the manual labor and kitchen minion-ing that Aunt M. put me through. It was exactly like being home for Thanksgiving, down to the cleaning of the silver. So, thanks, Aunt M., for making this Thanksgiving wonderful.

I have a lot of things I’m thankful for: my friends, my family, coffee, chocolate, pies, clear blue sky days, the Chinese government for footing the bill for a year’s worth of study and leisure, and the opportunity to do any and all of this. But mostly, I’m just thankful for another year lived well.

It helps if you live in an island paradise, though.