Monday, December 20, 2010

Hong Kong: Sights & Sounds

I've got something like 140 photos from this trip. So I'm trying to organize and figure out how to back-post my updates. I figure I'll just go city by city. So here goes, Part 1: Hong Kong.

Chaos. Crowded. Polluted. Tranquil. Calm.

Quite the oxymoron there, but I suppose it was an assault on all the senses all at once. And because we had early call times on our shoot there, we got to see the quiet side of the city, before it wakes up. Despite the utter chaos it grows into in the later part of the day, Hong Kong can seem really pretty and calm early in the morning.

The great thing about our shoot is so much of what we ended up shooting was perfect for us to go sight-seeing at the same time. We were travelling around town quite a bit and got to see lots of Hong Kong.

Street scene in Mongkok. This place looks like a set; It really looks like this, with all the signboards stacked on top of each other.

I have no idea what this is and how you drink it, but... Carrot-infused water, anyone?

A street market. I like how the market's enveloped by towering apartment blocks above it. This seems to be a typical Hong-Kong-living experience. I find it extremely claustrophobic.

I saw this poster on a wall, and these grotty aircon units on the back of decaying buildings is quite a typical sight. DIRTY!!

We were on a ferry too, and got to see both sides of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. That hazy sky gives the place a nice, romantic gauzy glow... Until you realize it's actually SMOG. Sic.

We were up on Victoria Peak, and saw a lady cleaning off her dog's paws after a walk. THIS DOG IS TOO CUUUUUUUUUTE! (it's like a naked Ewok!)

And here's Hong Kong from another vantage point: looking down from above. Pretty spectacular.

Here's a bit of a political poster I thought was quite brave of whichever group it is to put up. I mean, Hong Kong is after all a part of China now. And here are these people dissing the previous President? (And y'know... I don't need to remind you about how tightly controlled the C*mmies are, right?) (I'm using code for Arturo's benefit coz I don't want him to be reading this in China and getting blacklisted or something)

And here are more photos of Hong Kong at sunset. Looking back at these pictures now, I can't help but notice that hazy SMOG in every shot. At the time, it just seemed so "pretty" and romantic... Y'know... "Everything looks like a 1920s film, with a hazy glow about it!" But by the end of the day when you washed your face, you could really feel that oil-slick of dirt coating it.

On my last day there, I actually made it to the SUPER POSH ashtanga shala there. Remember, the one in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel I was telling you about? It's probably the MOST EXPENSIVE regular ashtanga class you'll do (I'm not talking about a workshop or visiting teacher, just a regular class)... I mean... the drop-in class was HK$260. About EUR€26 or US$33. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My jaw hit the floor when I found out the price. But I suppose... it's a class in a lah-dee-dah hotel spa (rated one of Asia's best spas to boot). What do you expect?! And they're not messing about either, they have TWO authorized teachers there, the only 2 in Hong Kong! I figured it would be an experience to remember and besides, wasn't I craving group energy and the touch of an experienced teacher? The other way I justified it too was that this was my first class in a while, so it's not like I've been spending that much money on EVERY, SINGLE CLASS. Or something like that...

I wasn't disappointed. Teacher A gave fabulous adjustments, and she watched me for a while during my seated Primary poses and suggested that from now on, I should try coming into Chaturanga without getting my chest too low to the floor. I'm still figuring this out and kinda sorta figure this involves pulling the shoulder blades down and back and lifting the sternum up higher (even as you're moving downwards to the floor).

I was only practicing Primary that day (Hello, I need complete grounding with all this travelling!), but told her I usually go up to Laghuvajrasana. Her take on it after watching me practice was that I need to start building up more tricep and upper body strength to prepare for the other asanas to come in Intermediate. She explained that while it was fine to bring your chest low to the ground initially, I need to start working on building more upper body strength by working my Chaturangas a little differently. YES! Madonna arms, here I come. :)

Here's a tip if you ever find yourself there: Make sure you give yourself the time to take a shower after class. It is the most GLORIOUS, I mean... LUXURIOUS spa shower ever. It's not just the rain shower from above, but also the spa jets on the walls that give you a body massage that are just RIDICULOUSLY DECADENT. OK, I'm glad to say I got my EUR€26 worth, including the after-class shower experience. HAHA.

So that was my 5 days in Hong Kong. Next stop: Cape Town. Followed by Brussels and Ivalo, so stay tuned. ;p



  1. Love the 'vomit bag' on the ferry? Hahahahaha! Looking at your pictures makes me miss Asia, but I honestly think it would be really hard for me to adjust to living in a densely-packed urban environment again with all the dirt and grime. Gorgeous pics and glad that you got your US$33 worth of spa yoga :)

  2. Yes, those are vomit bags! I'm impressed there are still bags left and that no Chinese aunties have stolen the free bags. Haha. Kowloon is even more packed with tower blocks of at least 40-50 stories, with windows looking into each others' homes. I can't fathom living like that. Singapore feels like it's movig in this direction too and once upon a time itdidnt faze me, but now I am grateful for space!

  3. PS. All photos taken on the iPhone4. I'm pretty impressed with it. All that's missing is a macro lens function now!

  4. Dear Jayme
    -cough- thanks, I'm reading this from Miami. As for the Mandarin I think it was once up to 45usd and went down to the reasonable-for-the-cost-of-soap 33, I mean reasonable for the economic changes. But speaking of soaps, those fab showers had great smelling fragrant soaps. I felt bad using the rain shower thinking of how much potable water is used in one, but hey, it was only once.

    Those ac units on the exterior are a problem in the mainland too. It does not seem to bother the Chinese aesthetic to have these on the outside. They're not always maintained either.


  5. Wooooow, I want one of those showers in my house!!!!!

  6. Hi Jaime!!
    So happy to be catching up with you- what a treat with all the photos and the hilarious descriptions!


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