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Back on the South China Sea

After a year’s hiatus spent immersed in learning and working in public health, I’m back to explore Hong Kong once again. This year’s goal is to continue to push myself to find new things to see and do. Having spent so much time here in the past it is easy to go back to things I know and love. Such as these dumplings, which I could happily eat daily.

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The trip here was good if somewhat uneventful. The highlight of the plane ride was re-watching the Olsen twins hit movie It Takes Two, a cheesy remake of the Parent Trap that lacked the explanation of why two children who meet unexpectedly could look identical. Other than that movie I spent the time reading, eating bagels and wishing I could fall asleep.

Now I am here, and still have the same wish. Damn you jet lag! Oh well, it will pass. Bring it on Hong Kong, I’m ready for anything!

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Thank You, Buh-bye!

Until next time!

Well Hong Kong, its been fun, but now I must love you and leave you.

Until next time,

Gill

Living on a Boat in Hong Kong

My two theme songs while in Hong Kong:

Living on a boat in China does come with some differences.

Motion: Unlike a normal house that doesn’t move, living on a boat means that the house is always gently rocking. After a few days you get pretty used to it, but sometime a bigger wave will come by and really mess with your balance. Also, even when you don’t feel the boat moving, if you look at anything hanging in the boat it will be swaying and when you look out the window you can notice how the view sways slightly.

Getting Home: Instead of a driveway, we have a dock.

The dock

The dock

Toilets: When a boat is in motion there can’t be water in it or it would slosh, so you press one button before you use ‘the head’ to fill it and press another button afterward to empty it. Also, instead of the waste going into a sewer or septic tank, a boat comes by once a day and pumps out the hold.

The pump-out boat

The pump-out boat

Floors: Unlike a normal house where floors are flat, in a boat the floors are cambered (curved and slope toward the outside walls) to give structural integrity to the boat. It is something that needs getting used to because the sloping floor can make you feel like you are walking drunk if you are near the walls.

Appliances: Mostly normal, but our toaster and microwave have some interesting settings. Instead of the bagel setting, there is one for crumpets. On the microwave the four special buttons are for steamed fish, dumplings, roast ribs and meat skewers.

Transportation: Living on an island, in a city on the water, means that ferries are a main mode of transportation. I can’t even count the number of gangplanks that I have walked this trip. Ferries range from old/open topped/diesel fumey beaters to comfy/padded seats/ air conditioned people movers. If you have any more interest in Hong Kong ferries, check out this blog post from last year.

People going down the gangplank

Boarding the ferry

Humidity: Hong Kong can get WAY humid. Which means it takes things forever to dry. A recently discovered must-have for living in this climate is a towel heater. Sounds like an unnecessary extravagance but it is the only way to guarantee a that your towel dries in between showers.

Quick Story

I went to the washroom at a mall today (not because I was shopping at the mall but because if one needs to find a washroom in a part of HK that they don’t know well it is best to find a mall because they are usually cleaner and are almost guaranteed to have toilet paper), and when I when to go wash my hands, all but one of the sinks were being used . . . by women washing lettuce!

Needless to say, I did not get the salad for lunch in the food court.

Strays

There are many stray cats and dogs here in Hong Kong and in Penang. The cats are most seen in market type areas because they are important for controlling the rodent population. I’d much rather see cats than rats in the city that’s for sure. Stray dogs are mostly seen on Lantau Island and are referred  to as ‘Village Dogs’ or ‘tong gau’. The dogs are usually very placid, when you see them they are usually napping in the shade and don’t bother passing people at all. The only exception to this was on one hike to Mui Wo when at medium sized black dog with red eyes came up and started barking at us. We all ran up the stairs on the trail quick quick and were happy it didn’t follow us.

The village dogs are such a stark contrast to many of the fancy breed dogs that are also seen here. Bulldogs, hilariously trimmed poodles and little yappy lap dogs seem so sissy next to the local dogs.

The good news for the stray dogs on Lantau is that there is an organization that looks out for them and gets them veterinary help and adopts them out. The dogs up for adoption are all so cute.

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IMG_8213 cats and dogs (6)

Public Health

On this trip I have been keeping my eyes peeled for different signs and things in the city related to public health. Here is what I’ve seen:

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Random Pictures

I have collected quite a few random pictures from this trip, ranging from mildly amusing to downright bizarre. Enjoy!

At almost all bakeries and 7-Elevens here in Hong Kong you can find pastries with hot dogs in them. Tuna fish buns are also common.

Hot Dog Pastries

 

This lady was on a Sunday outing with her mother and her daughter. And decided to pull this sweater on for the occasion.

 

F&#$ you

 

I guess Brian was dragged onto the hiking trail against his will.

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Carved into a rockface along the hiking trail to Mui Wo

 

In West Kowloon right before the road goes under the harbour to the Hong Kong-side. So many lanes of traffic! I think I counted over 20.

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So many lanes!

 

Bananananananana tree!

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Camouflaged bananas

 

Scrawled onto the seat back of one of the seats on the Lamma Island Ferry. I really don’t think the author knew the real definition of cockblock.

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One phone that won’t be ringing off the hook

 

The tiny alleyway shoe store where I got my disco shoes.

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Feet hurt in HK? No problem, there will likely be a shoe store conveniently placed in an alley nearby.

 

This sign made me giggle.

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And cherish I did.

 

Bamboo scaffolding is still extremely common here. Note the barbed wire wrapped around the first rung to keep people from climbing it for fun.

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Bamboo Scaffolding

 

Such a smart way to reuse an old water jug!

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Reduce, reuse, recycle!

 

Butterflies. I have a feeling they weren’t just keeping each other warm . . .

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Butterflies