Thursday, April 28, 2011

Becoming Familiar with Tsim Sha Tsui, HK

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." 
(Henry Miller)


We needed a change, we needed a break, we packed our bags and headed out of the country. To be a first-timer in Hongkong, a much needed preparation on where to go was on the agenda, how to go from point A to B was studied, and most of all the sights to see were researched. First thing that came to mind about Hongkong is that it is a shopping mecca, temples everywhere, authentic Chinese food, and many more. We intended to discover all these and more during our trip.

The moment you arrive in Hongkong, you don't have to fear how to go from one place to another. The country has one of the best transport system in the world. You can also find maps and bus schedule brochures upon exiting from the baggage carousel section in the airport. The airport signs are also very helpful. All you have to do is look for a "to City" and "Airbus" sign for directions. Upon exiting from the airport, you will see a big bulletin that lists the bus numbers and their routes. 

Our party was headed to Tsim Sha Tsui so we waited for an N21 overnight bus. The bus stop is at the area located at the back of the big bulletin. Looked for the N21 bus stop sign and waited in line.

Since we took a red-eye flight from Cebu to HK, we arrived past 1am at the HK International Airport. We alighted at the bus stop in Nathan road which is 2 blocks to the guesthouse. When we were in Nathan road, we looked for a temple to our right and a G2000 to our left so we will know our bus stop. The ride from the airport is like riding a roller coaster. Be sure to drink an anti-vertigo medicine (e.g. Bonamine) an hour before. From the bus stop we headed east and it took us 10 minutes or less to the guesthouse. We arrived at the Golden Crown Guesthouse at around 3am and took a much needed rest. The Golden Crown Guesthouse is located at the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui which for us is the most convenient location. It is very close to the East Tsim Sha Tsui metro train station, malls are very close by, and across the block is the bus stop. It's not a grand accommodation like a five-star hotel, but we were not there for a hotel vacation and we only needed a warm, safe, and affordable place to crash in for the night. The guesthouse was perfect for what we needed. 

We spent the first day walking around the vicinity. We headed east and walked along Nathan road. We checked out which shops sold what items so we could buy them later during the trip. We scouted for restaurants and made sure that these had english translations on their menu.We walked past the sky-rise buildings, the space museum, and the Peninsula Hotel, checked out the 1881 Heritage, and bought a very delicious wife cake at Wing Wah bakery which is located at the Star Ferry Terminal. We sat and rested our feet at the park overlooking the Victoria Harbor and near the Tsim Sha Tsui century old clock tower. We were amazed at the HK Museum of Art for its architecture. Lastly, we took a leisurely walk at the Avenue of Stars overlooking the Victoria Harbor before we proceeded to Nan Lian Garden. 

TIPS:
  • Bring a travel-size umbrella unless you are willing to buy it from HK. HK early spring weather is mostly overcast with a few rain showers throughout the day.
  • Bus drivers do not give out change; thus, be prepared for an exact change or an amount close to the bus fare. 
  • Buses have drop counters where you can place your fare. These are located near the driver. 
  • Most HK buses are double-deckers. The upper deck fare is twice the lower deck amount.
5/F Golden Crown Court, 66-70 Nathan Road, TsamShaTsui HongKong
TEL:(852) 2369 1782  FAX: (852) 2368 1740 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bok...Trying at Blogging

Hi there, I am Bok. I'm guest posting at my "tita's" blog. :-) 
I'm the cutest and most adorable furry friend of my human kins. 
I'm pampered and spoiled, but I am no brat. 
I am a toughie; I have a very loud bark; and I growl like mad, but it's all acting. 
Sshhh it's a secret between you and me.
 Wait a minute why am I here blogging? Oh I know, just to show off my latest photo. *wink*
Thanks to my mommi and tita for loving me. I wish others of my kind like the mutt dog Brownie has loving owners too. He seemed to have sad eyes as if pleading my tita to take him home with her. But my tita does not want to take home stray dogs or any dog for that matter because mommi and tita believe that I cannot socially adjust. That's what they think. Hhmmmppp! 
Well, so long Brownie. Take care of yourself. Bow!!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Now let the heavens be joyful,
Let earth her song begin:
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein;
Invisible and visible,
Their notes let all things blend,
For Christ the Lord is risen
Our joy that hath no end.
 
(Saint John of Damascus)
I hope you are all safe over the weekend while celebrating the culmination of the Lenten season. Easter is about Christ, but how does the bunny and the eggs come into the picture? We were pagans before Christianity or any religion converted our ancestors. It is said that the Easter bunny and eggs are remnants of our  ancestors' pagan practices. Here's a fun fact:

"The origin of the celebration -- and the Easter bunny -- can be traced back to 13th century, pre-Christian Germany, when people worshiped several gods and goddesses. The Teutonic deity Eostra was the goddess of spring and fertility, and feasts were held in her honor on the Vernal Equinox. Her symbol was the rabbit because of the animal’s high reproduction rate. Spring also symbolized new life and rebirth; eggs were an ancient symbol of fertility. According to History.com, Easter eggs represent Jesus' resurrection. However, this association came much later when Roman Catholicism became the dominant religion in Germany in the 15th century and merged with already ingrained pagan beliefs." (new.discovery.com)

Because bunnies are cute and chocolates are delicious, I can't help but join the fun. I made an origami bunny cup as holder for the colorfully-wrapped chocolates. Happy Easter everyone!


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Friday, April 22, 2011

Sun Flare

Sun rays oh sun rays
Never hide behind a cloud,
Sun rays all my days
That's what love's all about;
Give me no raining shower thought,
Nor glimpse of shadows I've caught. 
(Peter Quinn)

Sun flare/rays has become my friend. I chase after sunsets/sunrises before, but now I want to capture the perfect light coming from sun flares. The golden hour before sunset brings very nice light to photography, but I still have much to learn. I was giddy with joy when I saw the beautiful light streaming in the opening of the Timobo cave, Camotes. Just as if the Universe has conspired with me, the flickr world and several other blogsites I follow like Mortal Muses and Exploring With A Camera make the sun as a photo theme. Just my luck!
 
Timobo Cave, Guadalupe
Camotes, Cebu, Philippines
 www.travelcamotes.com
 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Summer Flowers

Summer is officially here at the tropics and with that it means BEACHES. Last weekend, I went for a company outing at Camotes. Camotes is an island which is part of Cebu, Philippines. Camotes is recently developed as a getaway from the busy city life. The island boasts white beaches and crystal clear waters. I was (and still am) mesmerized by the beautiful beaches, in fact, the first time I explored the island I captured a lot of its beaches.

This time around, I intentionally set my mind to find the details of the island especially the ones I missed the first time I was there. My eyes opened to appreciate the beauty in the flowers, the pathways, the trees, the insects, etc. In my quest for details, I found these bougainvillea flowers blooming everywhere in Camotes and in the beach resort we stayed at. The color is magenta which fits perfectly for the Project 64: Out of the Box; however, I took this shot using my digital SLR; I didn't have my camera phone with me at that time.

I noticed in most of my photos that I usually photograph a subject in close crop or tight shot. I seemed to like it that way so to eliminate any other distraction and just bring focus to the subject. As an out of the box challenge for me, I purposefully shot wide the photo above and I didn't succumb to the temptation of a close crop to the flowers. This is a sneak peak to that summer escapade; I'll be back with more after I sort the photos.




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Nan Lian Garden

"In the end there is nothing really important than taking care of the earth and letting it take care of you." (Charles Scott)

If you are into gardens; then, you should not miss out the Nan Lian Garden at Diamond Hill, Kowloon. This is a little bit far off from TST, HK, but fear not because it is just a few minutes ride via MTR.

At the East Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Customer Service, we bought an Octopus card for HKD 150.00 each. This card will get us covered for the entire trip in HK. Used the MTR guide to know which section to go. Tapped the card once; then, pushed the entry bars. We took the escalator downstairs for the subway train. We took the line that was headed to Mongkok. At the Mongkok station, we alighted; then, transferred to the other train that was headed to Diamond Hill. We exited from MTR and we looked for the Nan Lian sign which is to our right when facing the Diamond Hill Plaza escalators.

The Nan Lian Garden is a peaceful and serene place. There are beautiful rock formations, hybrid plants, big kois, and cool waterfalls and pond. Adjacent to the Nan Lian Garden is the Chi Lin Nunnery. Be sure to check out these two places. It's not enough to walk around the park once and especially by just looking at the big picture, there's so much details at this park which can overwhelm you. The garden was originally designed with the mountains serving as a natural backdrop. Nowadays, you will see skyscraper buildings as the background. I envy the occupants of these buildings, they must have a lovely view to the garden.

 
No. 60, Fung Tak Road, Diamond Hill, Kowloon.
 Hotline: (852) 2329 8811
   Fax: (852) 3658 9424
E-mail: info@nlgarden.org

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Morning Scene


“The Roots of Violence: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles” (Mahatma Gandhi)


Family mornings begin with a national and local broadsheet for a daily dose of news. Sadly, there barely is any good news. As such it reminds me of the a line in the movie, Fracture. The character of Anthony Hopkins said, "Knowledge is pain." It may be painful, but knowledge is still good. It is especially important to be aware of what's going on in your community, in the country, and in the world; because with awareness it is the first step to action. 


This week in Project 64 Out of the Box is burnt sienna. I was really having a hard time with this color. I just could not find anything interesting enough for this color. I almost gave up until I made up my mind to capture something from our day to day life. I also answered Brooke's challenge of a diptych. These are two photos that represent a morning scene with my family...coffee and newspaper.



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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Pre-Christening: baby CJ

Okay, I admit I have a thing for taking pictures of babies and their cute little feet, fingers, and chubby cheeks. That's just what happened when I took pictures of baby CJ who by the way is 2 weeks old. I am surprised that he can now open his eyes and really look at you. I don't think I'm imagining it, I think he really does! A newborn does not have clear eyesight yet, but it looks like baby CJ is not having problems with that or perhaps it can just be "muscle reflex" as what his mom claims it to be. Some "muscle reflexes" indeed because he can stretch his arms and legs like a big boy. He can let out a very BIG yawn. He can tap his fingers like a musician and by the way he's got long beautiful fingers for a baby. He should probably learn piano or guitar when he gets older. The most interesting though is he can do a half-opened one eye and uses it to tell you something like, "what are you doing with that big black thingy pointing at my bodily parts?". 


The next day is his christening/baptism. He's one lucky boy to have parents and grandparents who dote and adore him so much. Welcome baby CJ and make your parents proud! 

 

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Spring Hope

"I never read. I just look at pictures." 
(Andy Warhol)

Sometimes I am just at a lost with what to say. That is why I admire those who can easily paint with words their thoughts and feelings. However, let me try my best to summarize my thoughts in a few words: 

HOPE, LIFE, and SPRING
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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Group of Three


The photo above is a shabby chic arrangement of some daisies. I also took this shot for the Group of Three assignment at Kat Eye View of the World. I'm glad Ms. Kat featured this photo at her Share Your View series. I suggest you blog hop at Ms. Kat's site for more insights and inspiration. 

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