John Harvey Photo

Hong Kong 9Go to
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This Time with Lots of Guests!


This is my ninth trip to Hong Kong and I'm still finding new things to do.  My parents (who are retired) were going to New Zealand around the same time and decided to make a stop over at Hong Kong to see us.  After my parents signed up to join us, some of their friends (Ann and Rick) decided to tag a long as well.  And then their Ann and Rick's son and girlfriend realized the dates worked for them so they joined us.  My wife had some friends in Taiwan and they figured they were free around the same time.  So it was us and nine friends for an adventure in Hong Kong!

Peak in Central

At The Star Ferry Terminal

Day one.  My Parents, Ann and Rick, Alex and Aty arrived in Hong Kong in the morning.  After a check in at the hotel, we figured we would cross the number one tourist destination off the list - visit the peak!  We took the bus to the Star Ferry terminal, the Star Ferry to Central and then got stuck.  Turns out the Occupy Central protest (also called the special incident, or the umbrella revolution) had made a mess of the bus routes and taxi's were really reluctant to take us to the tram station because we had to go around two different protest zones and the traffic was horrible.  My wife found some taxis that took pity on us and half an hour later, we get to the tram.


Peak Tram Coming Into The Station Mom Riding Up The Tram
Traveling with people really is the best way to understand them.  When I traveled with my wife, it was Chinese food pretty much every meal for the whole stay in Hong Kong.  Traveling with my parents generation, they wanted a lot more western food.  At the top of the peak tram is a building with a Forest Gump themed restaurant - exactly what my parents generation wanted for lunch.  At least it had a nice view!


After lunch we made it to the top of the building and took in the view.  It was a bit overcast so we couldn't see that far.

Grandparents And Grandkids At The PeakView From The Peak

The itinerary had Man Mo temple on it after the peak, but the people from a far away time zone were just too tired so we all went home for naps. 

Lamma Island

My Parents In A Gondola

Day two - We have nearly everyone (One of Helen's friends had to return to Taiwan) and this was our big day together.  We decided to do the second most popular tourist thing - see the Big Buddha.  We took the MTR out to the outlets (people were happy we would end the day there) and got on the gondola to ride up to the big Buddha.

Rising Over The AirportAngela And Linda And My Parents


I'm a bit sensitive about visiting temples.  If someone walked into a church while it was in service and started taking photos, it wouldn't be well received.  Buddhist temples don't have "services" - it's more of a continuous process - always in service.  This temple complex is pretty cosmopolitan (read - full of tourists) but that doesn't mean there aren't people here who are sensitive to the behavior of others.  We didn't dwell for a long time in the temple complex proper - we basically headed straight up to the Big Buddha.  I do have photos of the temple from a previous trip I did with Mark.

Family In Front Of Giant BuddhaDad At The Giant Buddha 
Corner Of ATempleNara And Helen Climbing The StairsKids Playing Under The Giant Buddha

After the big Buddha, we took the bus down to Tai O village.  We wanted to visit a new place for lunch - the Tai O Heritage Hotel restaurant.  You can either walk there (20 minutes) or take a water taxi (10 Hong Kong dollars - less than a dollar fifty each).  Claira really enjoyed the boat ride - possibility her first, but shortly after the ride she fell asleep in my arms.

Helen Hails ABoatClaira Peaking Over The Edge Of The BoatTai OHeritage Hotel From The Water

Everyone At Tai OHeritage Hotel 

Riding Under The Village Bridge

After lunch, we had to take the ferry back to Tai O.  That was 10 Hong Kong Dollars per person.  If we splurged and extra 15 Hong Kong Dollars we would get village tour and dolphin watching tour.  The village tour was brief (the tide was out so we basically couldn't go anywhere) but we did get to see dolphins!  Considering I paid something like 700 Hong Kong Dollars for a day trip dolphin tour, this was quite the deal!

Chinese Dolphin With Bridge Construction Behind Two Dorsal Fins


Temple Roof

From Bridge

It was getting late in the day and we had to be back home for dinner so we didn't stay long. 

Fish Drying In ABasketGrandma And Claira On Pedestrian BridgeHelen Linda And Angela In Tai O
 

Shopping at Causeway Bay

This morning the rest of Helen's friends flew out.  When we built our itinerary, we tried to alternate light and heavy activity days - today was a light day so we went shopping.  We went to causeway bay and went shopping at Sogo and Time Square.  Hong Kong has many strata of shopping - everything from super high end designer to cheaper than Walmart.  Causeway Bay shopping is high end enough that it surpasses general shopping in Canada but not so high end that it's completely unaffordable.  There isn't much point in bringing a camera.

Junk Tour in Sai Kung

This is a new thing for me.  Hong Kong has some amazing columnar basalt formations in Sai Kung.  I actually had no idea they were there, but one year I saw the winning entry from the Hong Kong Photo contest with what looked like the Giant's Causeway in Ireland.  I had to figure out if I could go there.  When I asked Helen's family, they said you don't hike there because illegal immigrant mainlanders will rob you, take your clothes and leave you tied to a tree.

Boarding In Sai Kung
Turns out that's not quite true (there aren't any trees) but I figured a boat trip is the easier way to do it.  Finding a boat tour is no easy feat though - the web sites are thin on the ground and we had to get some help to make a reservation in advance.  I did find an english website, but it turns out they didn't want the business (the mostly work around Hong Kong Island so they asked 10K HKD.  Helen found a place with a chinese only website that was 4.5K HKD, but they were a little too sketchy.  Finally our woman in Hong Kong found a place for the same price that wasn't sketchy - even came with a guide and lunch.


 
Claira Climbing To Upper Floor Nara Passed Out On The Upper Deck
The water around Sai Kung is pretty protected so the first hour was spent driving out to where we could see the columnar basalt.  Turns out even a bit of waves was enough to make Nara sick so she went to hide in her tent.  As we left the protection of the islands around Sai Kung and found the open water Claira also decided it was nap time.

Ann Watching The Cliffs Go By
 
  Fisheries Boat Crashing Through The Waves
When we made it to the open ocean where we could see the cliffs the waves were coming in steady and hard.  The boat was fine but we were getting pushed around a lot - standing didn't seem like a very good idea.  We made it out far enough that we could see the cliffs but couldn't get close because of the waves.  There is only so much seasickness you can put up with to see some rocks, so we turned around and headed back into the protected islands area.  The captain said we missed calm water by only a few weeks - in the summer this area is quite calm.  Oh well.



  Columnar Basalt Cliffs

Kayakers Entering Sea Arch
As we tucked behind the islands, we got used to flatter travel and had some lunch.  Lunch was simple but filling and there was lots of beer and drinks.  We found a group of kayakers going around the islands and poked around a few caves.  We saw the iconic Black-eared Kites riding the thermals and shore birds in near the water. 



Black Eared Kite

Setting Anchor
The beach (on Kau Sai Chau) was a real eye opener for me.  This is boat accessible beach - weekdays it has almost no visitors.  There were garbage cans at the high tide point for people to put garbage in and it seems like people were cleaning the floating trash off the beach.  There were shells - good shells - littering the beach. 

Nara Flying Down The BeachThe Boat Grandma And Nara And Claira Looking Back

Ghost Crab Burrow
Most impressive to me were the ghost crabs - first apparent by their burrows, but later visible by the high speed dash to the ocean. The burrows were up high on the beach - well above the splash zone and near to where vegetation started to encroach.  I figured one walk down the beach would have swept all the crabs into the ocean (I never saw them return), but sure enough, walking back I saw more.  If you didn't know they were crabs, you would swear it was a leaf blown by a strong gust of wind.

Ocypode Cordimana Flying Down The Beach




Fish Market Sai Kung
All good things.  A little waving and the small motor boat came back and picked us up.  There was a fresh water shower on the wet deck at the back of the boat - kids first and then dad.  The day was getting late so we headed back to shore.   As we got closer to Sai Kung, the traffic and buildings filled in an we were soon back to the bustle of the city.  Sai Kung has a large number of seafood restaurants on the peer - if my wife knew how close and fresh they were, I'm sure we would be visiting more often.

Fisherman Pulling Up Net
Around The Breakwater

Claira And Nara Looking At Fishing Boats

Mai Po Marshes

I visited the Mai Po Marshes on my first trip and then the Hong Kong Wetland Park on a later trip.  I quite enjoyed the Mai Po Marshes trip (with a guide) so I thought I would sign up again.  Turns out the program has changed - what used to be an all day trip is now a half day event. What used to run just once a month now runs almost every weekend. 
 
Photographers In A BlindGrey Herons On Gei WaiKingfisher On A Branch


Our guide was a volunteer - a post doc studying ecology at Hong Kong University - and definitely a birder.  He apparently guides once a month and he knew every species we saw at a glance.  He had lots of background on the black face spoonbill - the star of the day.  It's endangered - only a few thousand left.  It mostly summers in North Korea and winters in this part of the world. 

Marsh Sandpiper WadingBlack Face SpoonbillCormorant Flying By
 
We spent a lot of time poking around the ponds looks at smaller birds until we got to the large blind.  As a group we really wanted to see kingfishers (I think we spotted Kingfishers in four different locations).  After the large blind we took a break at the info center.

My Parents At Mai Po   Lotus Flower At Sunset
With little time left, we headed back via the fresh water pond.  This pond has an amazing selection of Lotus flowers.  After the flowers, we took a walk through a small mangrove forest and then headed to the door.  Just at sunset there were huge yellow butterflies dancing across the tops of the mangroves - try as I might, I couldn't get a single photo.

Lotus Flower Close Up

We were back at the gate by 5:30.  Turns out this is the worst time to try and get a taxi - it's shift change.  The front desk kindly called, but no taxi company would answer.  We started the 20 minute walk out to the highway to try and flag one down - we were lucky to find a taxi heading back to town.  Taxi, KCR, KCR and we were back in high density Kowloon - the complete opposite of the quite countryside.

Alan And Kat At Shanghai Min
Jennie kindly organized dinner with her son and fiancĂ© at a trendy restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui.  Shanghai Min serves Shanghai-nese food from the 10th floor was a grand view of the harbour and evening lightshow.  The lightshow was on my parents "to do" list, but we really came for the food.
 
Laser Lightshow From Restaurant
 
 
Spicy Green Beans With Orchid
Vancouver is blessed with huge selection of Chinese food - Shanghai-nese being one of them.  It was nice to see the crossover with southern Chinese and see some elements in common - Hairy Mitt crab for instance.  Amazingly, there were several vegetarian dishes and our "just from the marshes" look wasn't frowned upon too badly (but we were under dressed).

Mitten Crabs Lined UpShanghai Min Steamers

Claira Riding The Escalator Bountiful Christmas Tree In Hong Kong
The restaurant is in one of the posh buildings (1 Peking Road) in Tsim Sha Tsui.  There were just getting their Christmas tree decorate when we left - most other retailers are fully decked out in Christmas by now.

Life in Hong Kong

  Claira And Her Great Grandmother
The reason we go to Hong Kong is to visit Helen's family, primarily here Grandparents, Aunt and family.  We usually wind up doing some house work or working through problems.  This time we found the fridge is doing poorly - turns out it needed a thorough defrost.  I brought an extra loud phone and a Pocket Talker to help improve grandpa's communications, but the telephone system in Hong Kong required a little adapting to work with a North American phone.

Nara And Her Great GrandfatherGreat Grandparents At Dim SumGreat Grandma Winding Up Toy

We have breakfast and dinner with family most nights and I hope that seeing the great grand children brings a bit of youth to their lives. 

Happy Birthday Cake Claira Also Having AGreat Time Nara With Flare On Zebra Sprongy

Hong Kong Banyan Tree Helen With A Mr. Softee
Hong Kong is full of so many great photo opportunities, not all of them fit into a narrative.  Helen and I sometimes got time away in the evenings while the kids slept and family was around to watch them. 

Ferry Terminal In Kowloon


Other nights we took the kids out.  Close to Helen's Grandparent's house is Sai Yeung Choi Street - a commercial street that is mostly closed to vehicles every night.  Many of the shops target mainlanders - the bus terminal and travel service is few blocks away.  The rent is high and the shops are constantly changing.  You don't see a lot of kids out at night and it might be because this area is dominated by tourists who left their kids at home.

Goldfish Market

Some of the most beautiful things I have seen in my life, I have seen in the Goldfish Market and the tank had a "No Photos" sign on it.  The goldfish market is really a bit of a challenge to photograph.  First - it's very easy to take photos of the objects and loose the sense of place - you have a photo of a fish that could be in any tank anywhere.  Some of the more compelling things I've seen are kids watching things in tanks and thankfully, I have two kids! 

Claira And Gold FishClaira With TortisesNara With Finding Nemo Fish

Nara With Bagged FishBoth Kids With Crabs

Trying to get a photo of someone looking at something, and the thing they are looking at is a bit of a challenge.  The low light meant I used my 50f1.4 - not exactly a wide lens.  The tight quarters don't help either.  If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Bird Market

Helen's Grandparents live about a 15 minute walk from the bird market.  I've been lots - as far as I can tell, the best day to go is on the weekend because people bring their own birds out to socialize.  This time I decided to focus on those large birds. 

Claira With The Big BirdsClaira Trying To Feed Her Fingers To ABird

Blue-frontedAmazon PairSulphur-crestedCockatoo Having ShowerClaira Looking At Eclectus Parrot
 
I looked them up online - most of the birds are in the "not good as pets" category - require almost constant attention, chews on things and have really loud calls.  Those warnings made me think of my own kids. 

Reclamation Street 


Claira At The Brass StoreNara At The Brass StoreSign Maker Brazing Character Outlines
 

Shopping!

Black Eared Kite Perched
My mother kindly offered to take the kids for a day.  What do you do for a day without kids in Hong Kong?  Go shopping of course!  My wife read about a Prada outlet store in Aberdeen and an outlet mall within walking distance from that - off we went!  There isn't much to photograph inside an outlet store, but walking from one to the other, I spotted a black-eared Kite perched on a branch.  These big raptors and common in Hong Kong, but I have always seen them flying - never perched.  My wife and Jennie went to the next shop and I hung out and took some photos.

Black Eared Kite Turning

A surprise to me - the outlet mall (in Aberdeen) has Ferrari dealership.  There is also a nice one in Repulse Bay, and another in central - Ferrari is become very common in Hong Kong.

Shek O

Nara Owns The Beach
At this point my parents and all the friends had gone to the next destinations - it was just the immediate family.  With our two remaining days we had one day for Helen (shopping!) and one day for everyone else (beach!)  There aren't many photos from a shopping day, but the beach was a lot of fun.

Nara Sitting In WaveClaira And Nara In The Wet Zone

I went for a little walk along the beach while the kids were playing and found a photographer - wide angle lens on a big digital body.  He seemed a little lost for photos - obviously looking for a composition, camera in hand, but never really taking images.  Beach images really cry out of for people - the affix the scale and provide a way for the viewer to relate to the image.  I felt sorry for that lone photographer - he was going to have a tough time making that compelling image.

Claira Making Sand AngelsFamily In The WaterThe Girls At The Beach


While I was taking photos of my kids, two women in bikini's (white tourists) walked through.  I did feel a bit sheepish with my big lens on my big camera and them in the target zone, but they didn't seem to care.
 
 

 

 
 


Helen Linda And Angela In Tai O
Person: Helen
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira At The Brass Store
Person: Claira
Tai OHeritage Hotel From The Water
Altitude: 11m (36 feet)
Location: Go To...
Angela And Linda And My Parents
Person: Janet, Lloyd
Grey Herons On Gei Wai
Species: Ardea cinerea (Grey Heron)
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Mai Po Nature Reserve
Lotus Flower At Sunset
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Mai Po Nature Reserve
Nara At The Brass Store
Person: Nara
Altitude: 151m (495 feet)
Location: Go To...
Kids Playing Under The Giant Buddha
Dad At The Giant Buddha
Marsh Sandpiper Wading
Species: Tringa stagnatilis (Marsh Sandpiper)
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Mai Po Nature Reserve
Peak Tram Coming Into The Station
Tags: funicular
Nara Owns The Beach
Person: Nara
Tags: beach, Hong Kong, Shek O
Kayakers Entering Sea Arch
Location: Go To...
Tags: Hong Kong, kayaking
From Bridge
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: elevated home, Hong Kong, panorama, Tai O
Black Eared Kite Perched
Species: Milvus migrans lineatus (black-eared kite)
Altitude: 11m (36 feet)
Location: Go To...
Around The Breakwater
Ferry Terminal In Kowloon
Altitude: 26m (85 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara And Helen Climbing The Stairs
Person: Nara, Lloyd
Cormorant Flying By
Species: Phalacrocorax carbo (Great Cormorant)
Tags: bird in flight, Mai Po Nature Reserve
The Boat Grandma And Nara And Claira Looking Back
Person: Claira
Altitude: 19m (62 feet)
Location: Go To...
View From The Peak
Altitude: 450m (1476 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Hong Kong, vista
Claira And Her Great Grandmother
Person: Claira
Nara With Finding Nemo Fish
Person: Nara
Fish Market Sai Kung
Tags: boat, Hong Kong, market, seafood
Lotus Flower Close Up
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: flower, Mai Po Nature Reserve
Rising Over The Airport
Tags: cable car, Hong Kong
Riding Under The Village Bridge
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge, Hong Kong, Tai O
Columnar Basalt Cliffs
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: columnar basalt, Hong Kong
Fish Drying In ABasket
Altitude: 10m (32 feet)
Location: Go To...
Ocypode Cordimana Flying Down The Beach
Species: Ocypode cordimanus (smooth-handed ghost crab)
Altitude: 14m (45 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: triptych
Sign Maker Brazing Character Outlines
Altitude: 148m (485 feet)
Location: Go To...
Mitten Crabs Lined Up
Tags: food porn
Grandma And Claira On Pedestrian Bridge
Person: Janet, Claira
Tags: bridge, Hong Kong, Tai O
Grandparents And Grandkids At The Peak
Person: Claira, Nara, Lloyd, Janet
Altitude: 451m (1479 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Hong Kong
At The Star Ferry Terminal
Bountiful Christmas Tree In Hong Kong
Person: Claira, Helen, Janet, Jennie, Nara
Tags: christmas tree
Claira And Gold Fish
Person: Claira
Blue-frontedAmazon Pair
Altitude: 38m (124 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Nara Flying Down The Beach
Person: Nara
Altitude: 34m (111 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach, Hong Kong
Nara Sitting In Wave
Person: Nara
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach, wave
Shanghai Min Steamers
Tags: bamboo steamer, food porn, Hong Kong
Claira With Tortises
Person: Claira
Everyone At Tai OHeritage Hotel
Temple Roof
Location: Go To...
Tags: art, Hong Kong, roof, temple
Corner Of ATemple
Both Kids With Crabs
Person: Claira
Nara And Her Great Grandfather
Person: Nara, Great Grandfather Cheung
Fisheries Boat Crashing Through The Waves
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat, wave
Alan And Kat At Shanghai Min
Claira Trying To Feed Her Fingers To ABird
Person: Claira
Black Face Spoonbill
Species: Platalea minor (Black-faced Spoonbill)
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, Mai Po Nature Reserve
Mom Riding Up The Tram
Person: Janet
Laser Lightshow From Restaurant
Tags: Hong Kong, light show, night
Ghost Crab Burrow
Altitude: 20m (65 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira And Nara In The Wet Zone
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 7m (22 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach, Hong Kong, reflection, Shek O
Great Grandma Winding Up Toy
Person: Great Grandmother Yuen
Boarding In Sai Kung
Tags: boat
Family In The Water
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Family In Front Of Giant Buddha
Claira Riding The Escalator
Person: Claira, Nara
Helen Hails ABoat
Altitude: 14m (45 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat
Ann Watching The Cliffs Go By
Location: Go To...
Claira Climbing To Upper Floor
Person: Claira
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Kingfisher On A Branch
Species: Alcedo atthis (European Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher)
Altitude: 32m (104 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Mai Po Nature Reserve
Two Dorsal Fins
Species: Sousa chinensis (Chinese white dolphin, Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin)
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: dolphin, Hong Kong
Claira Also Having AGreat Time
Person: Claira
Altitude: 21m (68 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara With Flare On Zebra Sprongy
Person: Nara
Altitude: 21m (68 feet)
Location: Go To...
Happy Birthday Cake
Tags: birthday cake, candlelight, Hong Kong
Claira Making Sand Angels
Person: Claira
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach, Hong Kong, Shek O
Nara With Bagged Fish
Person: Nara
Hong Kong Banyan Tree
Altitude: 36m (118 feet)
Location: Go To...
The Girls At The Beach
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Hong Kong, Shek O
Nara Passed Out On The Upper Deck
Person: Nara
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira And Nara Looking At Fishing Boats
Chinese Dolphin With Bridge Construction Behind
Species: Sousa chinensis (Chinese white dolphin, Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin)
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: construction, dolphin, Hong Kong
Photographers In A Blind
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: camera gear, Mai Po Nature Reserve
My Parents At Mai Po
Person: Janet, Lloyd
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boardwalk, Mai Po Nature Reserve
Black Eared Kite
Species: Milvus migrans lineatus (black-eared kite)
Altitude: 1m (3 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, bird in flight, Hong Kong, triptych
Sulphur-crestedCockatoo Having Shower
Altitude: 38m (124 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Spicy Green Beans With Orchid
Tags: food porn
My Parents In A Gondola
Person: Janet, Lloyd
Tags: cable car, Hong Kong
Claira With The Big Birds
Altitude: 26m (85 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Fisherman Pulling Up Net
Altitude: 2m (6 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: fishing, Hong Kong
Setting Anchor
Altitude: 9m (29 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira Looking At Eclectus Parrot
Tags: Hong Kong, market
Claira Peaking Over The Edge Of The Boat
Person: Claira
Altitude: 11m (36 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boat
Great Grandparents At Dim Sum
Person: Great Grandfather Cheung, Great Grandmother Yuen
Helen With A Mr. Softee
Person: Helen
Black Eared Kite Turning
Species: Milvus migrans lineatus (black-eared kite)
Altitude: 19m (62 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, bird in flight, Hong Kong, triptych
Tags: Hong Kong(29), Mai Po Nature Reserve(9), bird(6), beach(5), market(5), boat(5)
People: Claira(17), Nara(15), Janet(7), Lloyd(5), Helen(3), Great Grandmother Yuen(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > Hong Kong 9

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