Monday, 28 September 2015

Travel Log: The Mid-Autumn Festival (Hong Kong, Gold Coast Piazza)

Building up to today I've been bombarded by sales people and shop assistants selling lanterns and moon cakes. Moon cakes are especially connected to the festival and are made using lotus seed paste and salted duck egg, not that I tried one, they smelled sickly to me. This travel log is about the festivities of the festival around the Gold Coast Piazza. I'm staying at the Gold Coast marina with my gran so it's where I've mainly been based this month - side note - less than one week until I go home and back to work!

So this Moon Festival meant a little more than most years as this year it was a 'Super Moon Eclipse' so the moon was the closest to earth and it was brighter than usual. Apparently the next one will be in 2033 so it's quite a long wait until that! Of course, the Mid-Autumn Festival is yearly but it won't be quite so bright and prominent until then.

The piazza was set up with lots of things for kids to do, all the way along the coast the spaceship inflatable was advertised and sign posted. I also spotted a ball pit, various other inflatable play sets and games to win prizes. It's very much like a gala or a fair back in the UK only this one goes all the way through the night - many people stay on the beach overnight. 

Lanterns, glow sticks and lights were on sale all over the place so I guess it was a fantastic festival for consumerism. The stalls were fairly busy too once it got later on and the festival was up and running in full swing. On the other hand, I also saw kids with lights in noodle pots so it really just worked both ways. I thought that the noodle pot idea was clever, my gran thought it was cheap... Oh well!

It was pretty much pitch black by the time things got busy and crowded, it was all still quite chilled and relaxed. It was more of a friendly bustle than a free for all so that was quite pleasant. I was especially in awe of the floating inflatable moon that was lit up centrally above a shed like structure used to sell treats. I had wondered why they had drained the fountain, they used it to keep lights and weight down the moon inflatable.

I actually love the glow that I captured in the image to the left, it almost looks supernatural. I mean, I could have done without the glow from the building but the inflatable looks pretty fab. I'm sure the many kids playing nearby were just as in awe of the inflatable as I was, then again, it doesn't take much to amuse me.

Proof of my easily amusement is this picture of dogs wearing glow sticks, they were so adorable! Lots of people here are obsessed with making their pets look cute so it really didn't shock me that this couple has used glow sticks as necklaces for their dogs. 

Don't worry though, no harm was made to the dogs in that photo! The glow sticks weren't tightly fastened around their necks. I probably saw kids wearing more glow stick than those two dogs, haha! Some people looked like they had bought out a whole shop of the things! Lanterns were also popular, as they usually are during Chinese festivals. I've received many photos taken of lanterns during the various celebrations and festivals that have taken place around here.

This is an image of the beach from last night, people made camps decorated with glow sticks and lanterns for as far as the eye could see. I was particularly interested in this mini camp site because it was so ordered and bright. People pitched tents for their overnight celebrations and kids ran around playing games - it was really something! The glow sticks made swirling trails across the sand and, even though it's difficult to tell from that image, the neon lit up the path by the beach.

BBQ's were quite common along the designated BBQ pits as well as on the boats in the marina, I had a BBQ back at my grans boat. Yummy! As for the BBQ pits, they're dotted all over the place in Hong Kong - they're even in the mountains! I noticed that all the ones on the beach were utterly full, I'm not sure about the ones in the mountains though.

One thing I just had to try before my departure at the end of this week was Dragons Beard candy, my gran has been talking about this traditional Chinese sugar candy for weeks now. It's a sugary pulled kind of candy that's almost like cotton candy only it sticks together like toffee when chewed. I actually thought it tasted like soapy peanuts but, hey, each to their own!

Well, that was my experience with the Mid-Autumn festivities at the Gold Coast, I hope you guys have enjoyed it. I'm sorry for posting so many times within one day, I needed to play catchup and keep this post relevant! 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Travel Log: The Temple Of The 10,000 Buddhas (I REALLY NEED TO JOIN THE GYM!)

This travel log is, despite the name, more about the temple than my lack of physical fitness. Though, checking out the Temple of the 10,000 Buddhas on Po Fook Hill does involve a whole lot of stairs and walking. I wouldn't recommend this spot to someone with mobility issues, I'm 19 years old and I felt like collapsing by the time I got to the top. I will say, though, it is worth it for the view and the experience up being up at the temple.

On the way up there the walls are lined with golden Buddhas, all of which are different and are based on real figures. Some are being repaired and repainted so not all are there but I was told that whilst it is called the Temple of the 10,000 Buddhas, there are actually more like 12,000 so the sheer mass of these figures is amazing. 

Unfortunately I seem to have picked up the habit of posing like this with statues, I did feel the need to take a picture with the elephant though. Elephants seem to be quite prominent at these Chinese temples, not quite as much as dragons and lions but I've seen plenty of Elephant statues and paintings. I have about a million pairs of shorts and trousers with elephant prints on so the image kind of felt necessary. To be fair, I kind of used posing as an excuse to take a break whilst walking up to the temple. I was kind of embarrassed about all of these old Chinese men practically running up the steps whilst I huffed and puffed my way up. My new catchphrase or something for my blog should probably be 'I REALLY NEED TO JOIN THE GYM!' as I just feel so unfit compared to everyone else. It's ridiculous, really.

As I said, though, it really is worth it to see everything from the top. It's a really peaceful atmosphere as expected being that it's a temple but it was a nice place to be after the physical activity of walking all the way up there. It's all very grand and detailed so it's definitely not a boring place to visit.

I found the story of Reverend Yuet Kai quite interesting, though, I didn't take a picture of his gold covered corpse as I wasn't sure it would be respectful. It's called 'The Diamond Indestructible Body of Yuexi' on signs in the monastery. Apparently his body was exhumed only to find that his pody was perfectly preserved to he was painted gold, clothed and placed in a lotus position. Pretty bizarre, right?

It's quite the landmark, the giant pagoda is actually on banknotes so it's something worth checking out. It has nine floors and you can go inside to climb to the stairs and get a higher view of Sha Tin. It's also lined with Buddhas, just as pretty much everything up there is. I think it would be appreciated on a whole other level by a Buddhist because they would understand the meaning and the history behind it all more than the average tourist. That's not to say that I didn't appreciate the experience, I'm just making the point that it's a very deep and meaningful place for the right people.

Well, thanks for reading yet another travel log. My next one will be about the Mid-Autumn Festival or rather the Moon Festival, more specifically about the celebrations that occurred on the Gold Coast. Cheers!

Travel Log: My Day In Shenzen And My Autumn Nails

After a rather stressful morning getting a single day VISA for China, I had the chance to visit the Lo Wu shopping centre in Shenzen. The process itself is simple but because I over thought it so much, I actually blanked out passing the border and getting the VISA sorted - I actually can't remember a thing about getting from Hong Kong to China.

So if you haven't guessed yet, this travel log is based on China rather than Hong Kong. The main reason I went is for the cheap beauty treatments but I did do a bit of shopping and, well, a bit of eating. I started off at a Chinese restaurant and I'm quite picky so I tried the crispy hoisin duck. Apparently the carving up of the duck is quite an important thing in China. Long story short - I didn't like it but to be fair, everyone else did so blame my pickyness! 

My next stop was in one on the nail salons to get a manicure and pedicure. I had both been looking forward to it and dreading it because I wanted my nails done but I HATE people touching my feet. I chose a gel polish so it would last a while but I would be able to get rid of it myself as Shellac wouldn't have that flexibility. Since it's Autumn I went for this gorgeous redish brown colour to match up with all of the rustic tones worn over the season. It was either going to be this or a bold purple for Halloween but I decided against it when I spotted this one so I'm pleased with my choice. I'm also happy to finally have all of my nails the same shape, usually I have two rounded nails on each hand and three squared one but I had them all rounded off. What colours are you guys loving this Autumn? I'm also loving mustard yellow, I didn't spot one in the nail shop though.

After getting a mani-pedi and doing a spot of shopping - I bought shoes, converses - I ended up at the facial and hair salon. I chose the Facial Detoxification as I have problem skin so I was anxious to see the results. It was certainly something I needed, I enjoyed having that time to relax. 

I also had my eyebrows done which was a relief because I was starting to look like Frida Kahlo. Overgrown brows may have been 'in' but mine were taking the cake. To finish off in the salon I had a blow dry because the oils used in the facial made my hair feel a little greasy as the facial included a head massage. I'm not sure I like how the hair stylist did my hair, it was kind of a helmet as he used that much hair spray. Anyway, the image to the left is me and my gran looking all fresh-faced and healthy after being pampered. 

Thanks for reading my China travel log, the rest will be back in Hong Kong until the end of the month. One week left! 

Travel Log: Ocean Park

Hello everyone! Today's travel log is based on my trip to Ocean Park, I chose to go there because it's part of most of the tour guides and it comes quite highly recommended. I did check it all out before I went and the website boasts a way of getting closer to animals, supporting conservation efforts and new experiences so before I went I had quite high expectations. 

For a start, a lot of the promotional content and the signs dotted around the park are angled towards the environment and educational snippets of relevant information. It's a terrific place to learn, whether you're a child or an adult it's quite interesting. Though, it's a mainly child friendly attraction so it does have quite a fun and cheery atmosphere and a few of the attractions are marketed more towards children. I, personally, used it as more of a zoo than a theme park because I'm not really into rides like roller coasters. I did go on The Rapids though because I wanted to cool down a little and the ride involves getting utterly soaked. Little tip - DON'T WEAR DENIM! It would be so uncomfortable to walk around in wet denim until it dries.

Anyway, the main reason tourists visit the park is their panda feeding shows, I actually missed the one that I was there for but I did manage to get a picture of one snoozing near the back of the enclosure... It was a shame that I missed the feeding but I guess just getting to see a real life panda was enough for me, it's always fascinating to see something new. Apparently there is a way to visit the enclosure from the inside and learn about the pandas habits but it does seem to be more geared towards children. For obvious reasons the participants of the activity don't make contact with a panda but they will get to see where they live, what they do and what their feeding habits are. So yeah, yet again, it's all very educating and interesting! I suppose it would make a fantastic gift for someone who loves animals and has a genuine interest in handling and caring for animals. 

One of the shows that I did catch was the Sea Lion Fun Time Show which was an almost slapstick walk through of a sea lions training routine. I mean, I enjoyed it but to be fair, I laugh about nearly everything. The sea lion roared in a kids face as part of the routine and the kid looked happy... I would have cried and hid behind someone. 

I also saw the Ocean Wonders show which involved bottle nosed dolphins and sea lions performing with their four or five trainers. I couldn't get an image because the sun made it difficult to get a clear image without a flash (flash photography was not allowed!). It was worth seeing though because the dynamics between the trainers and the dolphins was something quite special - it was probably better than the one I saw at Aqua Land at Tenerife.

One downfall of my trip to Ocean Park was the fact that everything was set up for Halloween but it was all closed except for VIP guests. I would have loved to have checked out The Walking Dead attraction but unfortunately I won't be in the country when it opens for regular guests. It did all look fantastic though, it was very much like the prison set from the previous seasons. 

Then again, all of the Halloween attractions and decorations looked great - the attention to detail was spectacular! It really is a shame that I won't see it all up and running but I'm not going to let that darken my experience. I loved everything I saw from the decorations in the aquarium fish tanks to the modifications they made to the regular attractions. My main focus was actually on the animals that resided in the park rather than the theme though so I'm not too upset.

By night the park was really quite spectacular, the buildings lit up and the water was more or less a show. The fountains and shoots were lit up as the buildings were, the lights changed colours rather than staying blue or red or even yellow and it was a great way to end the experience. I enjoyed my visit to Ocean Park and I would recommend it to most people, though, the hot weather can be a little intense during the time used to walk from attraction to attraction. I took refuge in the Polar attractions where everything was chilled and cool.

So yeah, if you're in Hong Kong for a holiday or even if you already live here - check it out. It's a great experience to have and it's a fab day out, even if you're not a big fan of rides! Thanks for reading my most recent post, I appreciate it. I hope you enjoyed it enough to return!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Travel Log: Sweet Tooth (Tuen Mun)

Today's travel log is a yummy one because I want to share with you guys my experience at Sweet Tooth in Tuen Mun. This, of course, came straight after my visit to Tuen Mun park as I needed a mini break from all of the sun and the walking. Also, I'm known to have a bit of a sweet tooth myself so what better place to go than the Sweet Tooth café? Apparently there's a Sweet Tooth in TST too so it must be a chain of cafés.

So I actually went to Sweet Tooth because Starbucks was full but I'm actually glad that it was as it was so nice inside the café. Well, that and the fact that the dessert menu was full of yummy things like the Tiramisu Banana Waffles that I ordered. To be honest, I struggled to choose because there was so much choice - including the fairly recent addition of their matcha series. I chose what I did because I love tiramisu and I was interested to see how it would taste along with waffles and bananas. For the record, it's a good mix actually and each part of the dessert really compliments the rest of it.

It's the type of place that I would generally catch up with friends, it's picturesque and almost like a dolls house. The interior of Sweet Tooth is definitely a good mixture between contemporary design and vintage chic, I particularly like the clean cut yet mismatched vibe that it has. It's very different to Starbucks, anyway! I like the approach that they had with the design, it really made it feel cosy and welcoming. It's a great alternative to the more professional and dark looking coffee shops that are dotted around Hong Kong and everywhere else for that matter. It's a shame that most coffee places sway towards cold, office like and almost clinical looking aesthetics. There's not much variety when it comes to coffee shops these days - Starbucks, Costa, Café Nero... I feel like they only really differ slightly in price rather than what they offer and the vibe that they give out. Though, I will say that Starbucks can be quite diverse in what they offer from time to time. I, just as many people do, really like their Pumpkin Spice Latte that is a returning flavour due to popularity. Autumn and Winter tend to have nicer flavours in my experience.

I'm not really sure about what Sweet Tooth may or may not offer seasonally, though I'm fairly sure it's a new set of branches. As I mentioned earlier, though, they have just brought out a healthier menu full of matcha options. Not that I'm overly concerned about health right now, I'm on my holiday so I'm just taking things as the come.

Either way, I enjoyed my visit to the Sweet Tooth café. Yummy. I'm pleased I went anyway because it was a pleasant little place. So yeah, thanks for reading today's travel log!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Travel Log: Tuen Mun Park And The Reptiles

Hello everyone! So today's travel log is about my trip to Tuen Mun Park, I know, I've visited quite a few parks but most have something to it - like this one had a reptile house. 

Links to the other blog posts based in parks:
Anyway, the day was supposed to be more of a mountain trail hike but I ended up wandering around Tuen Mun afterwards. After the obligatory walk through the Town Plaza I came out of the shopping complex to find the park, I had heard about the reptile house there so I was quite intrigued. It was a pleasant park anyway, there was a dance class and a public singing area that I found some amusement from. The guy who was singing at the time was a cheery soul, he waved and enjoyed the attention he was getting. Though, I couldn't imagine him getting a call from Simon Cowell anytime soon.

It really is a lovely park, it was unexpected really because I didn't think Tuen Mun would have such an open and airy park. It even had one of those pebble trails for reflexology or something along those lines, I didn't find it very relaxing, it kind of hurt actually. Oh well! It was an experience anyway, even if it was just walking without shoes over pebbles... 

I think the main thing I'm getting at is the fact that it's a varied park and it's more interesting to visit than the run of the mill general park dotted around in the UK. Then again, when it's bad in Hong Kong it's really bad and when it's good in Hong Kong it's AMAZING. There's really no inbetween in my opinion, it's either or. Parks in the UK can be very basic, sometimes quite broken down and more often than anything else - they can be full of headcases. 

Moving on... I met this little guy when I went to the reptile house, it kind of made me appreciate the graphics that was used to make Smaug in The Hobbit. I think they got the posture and the movement just so right. Also, the lizard had quite a devious look about it - check out that cheeky smile! I think this paragraph really just sums up how weird and nerdy I am. Not that I'm bothered, even then I have to say, I do prefer reptiles, lizards and amphibians to cuddly fluffy creatures, as weird as that might be! I think one of these guys would make a great pet, lizards seem fairly docile unless they're harassed. There was a lizard by the pool the other day and when the lifeguard caught it the lizard just froze and didn't cause any bother. Actually, I've seen quite a few lizards around Hong Kong so far, none quite as exotic looking as the ones in the reptile house but lizards nonetheless! 

I loved visiting the reptile house, it was certainly the highlight of my trip to Tuen Mun Park. I mean, look at this turtle, have you ever seen something so bizarre looking? Me not included of course, haha! To be honest, I'm fairly sure you guys are sick of seeing pictures of turtles because I take a picture of them everytime I spot them - which is quite often!

So I hope you've all enjoyed my latest travel log, Tomorrow I should be posting about the Sweet Tooth café and following that will be my post about Ocean Park. It's all go here! You can follow my travels in a more up to date fashion over on Instagram here

Monday, 21 September 2015

Travel Log: Colourful Lanterns And The Light Show (Tsim Sha Tsui)

Hello! Sorry about the delay, I've had a chilled few days so I haven't really done any blog prep. I am very happy to be back online and blogging though. 

So today's travel log is a continuation of the day I went to Kowloon Park and the Avenue Of Comic Stars, rest assured though, I do actually still remember what happened! It was beautiful but, perhaps, not quite as big as the commentary let on.

So after a long day wandering around Kowloon Park and doing a spot of shopping I went down by the Avenue Of Stars to watch the light show. Just by the stairs to the viewing deck was a large display of lanterns, presumably for the mid-Autumn festival, that had only recently been turned on. Obviously a lot of care and effort was put into the creation of the display, every inch of it was perfect, not a single area looked broken, faded or put together incorrectly. 

It's immensely difficult to catch a clear image of the display as you really can't shake when taking a photo of lights - especially when all you have to hand is a phone! I did. Anyway, the lantern display is set of a shallow pool and that really adds to the effect of the lights, it's beautiful. Like really, it's not like anything I've ever seen - the UK doesn't make such an effort with festivals or events other than Christmas or possibly Halloween. 

I've seen images of past displays, ones for other events, and I think that the current one is the best so far. Then again, this one is the only one that I've seen in real life so I'm likely to think that. I really do love the details that the people put into their celebrations, I've spotted many other displays too. The shopping plazas are strewn with mini lanterns and advertisements about the mid-Autumn festival, apparently it's not as large as some of the other events in the Chinese calendar.

Whilst the scale of the light show is very large, I was more in awe of the lanterns. It just seemed as though the commentator built it up to be much bigger than it really was. I got quite bored as it was done in a sequence to very generic music, though, that's not to say that it wasn't beautiful. It just... wasn't spectacular. Though, the sheer amount of buildings and companies that participated in the show (not without credit!) was quite impressive. The amount of work that must go into the light maintenance and the choreography of it all must cost a good amount. 

So yeah, the laser show was an anti-climatic experience but the lanterns are amazing, or rather intricate. I'm sorry if this seems a little critical, I did enjoy every moment of it, I just want to be truthful about all of my experiences here. Thank you very much for reading, let me know if you've seen the show and and you agree or disagree. 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Travel Log: Kowloon Park And The Avenue Of Comic Stars

Today's travel log is based on my trip to Kowloon park, it was really more of a stepping stone to get to the viewing area for the laser show. I did, however, end up enjoying Kowloon park and discovering a few little hidden gems! 

The first little surprise for me was the fact that they had a 'Bird Lake' full of flamingos. The graceful pink birds were closer to the shallow end and just getting on with their business but I'd never seen one so close up. They are pretty cute, I think it's the pinkish colour of them, really. Most of my blog and social media posts have mentioned random animals I've been in awe of, to be honest, back in the UK I'm not a big fan of animals. My sister adores them though so there's quite a contrast in what we like, I liked Disney and princesses when I was a kid and she likes animals and fnaf.

I also came across this random guy that seemed to be chatting to his doll, stroking its hair and posing it for photographs. It certainly was an oddity! People were walking past him just baffled about what he was doing, some people actually just stopped in their tracks and stared. To be honest, I've seen people do all sorts of bizarre things since I arrived here, at this point I could probably create a new blogging series starring the random locals that baffle me here. Something a lot of people here do is, and you won't expect this, spit. They hack and spit all over the place, apparently it's worse over in China! I usually connect spitting with llamas. I'm getting off topic as usual, sorry. It was weird to see a grown man play with a doll in the middle of a park in broad daylight. Oh well...

Once I passed the doll guy I came across the Avenue of Comic Stars, I had no idea it was there but it was interesting to see all of the dedications to Asian comic book stars. A lot of them were fighting characters, though, I did spot the odd really cute one. It's quite similar to the Avenue Of Stars, the main differences being the amount of character likenesses and the slightly more hidden location - the Avenue Of Stars is right on the front. To say that it was an unintentional visit, I really enjoyed checking it out. I literally just found it as I was trying to get out of Kowloon park. To be fair, it's closer to the other entrance. I went there straight from the subway station, it's not THAT far. Saying that, if you take a wrong turn it's quite difficult to get back to it. I'm not good with directions as it is, all of the back alleys and random malls can be quite confusing when trying to navigate towards a certain place.

It was a pleasant walk through Kowloon park, I was very glad I stopped by. There was all sorts of eye catching things that I passed - the Avenue, the man with the doll, the flamingos, monument, art sculptures - it was just a really mixed and diverse place. It was very interesting! Then again, everything here is. I'm having lots of fun here in Hong Kong, I'm experiencing so many new things and I feel incredibly relaxed. I would definitely recommend adding it to your travel bucket list, Hong Kong is a must see.

Anyway, I hope you guys are enjoying my slightly rambling posts about my travels in Hong Kong, is there anything you think I'm leaving out? Anything you want me to chat about? I might do a post about dressing for Hong Kong or a mini travel guide at some point so just let me know.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Travel Log: Pizza At Wildfire (The Peak)

Hey guys! As promised I'm blogging about my meal at the Wildfire restaurant, the one I had at the peak. Walking around all of the shops and the the observation decks during the day had me working up quite an appetite, I was certainly ready for food by the time I decided on Wildfire. 

Nearby there was also a noodle place, McDonald's, Burger King, a noodle bar and quite a list of other restaurants. I settled on Wildfire because it sounded like the nicer of the mix, that and the fact that I fancied pizza. As you can see I ordered the Classic Pepperoni which was a flame baked pizza topped with base sauce, cheese and pepperoni. I also fancied a few other options but the pictures of the pizza just looked so good and I thought it sounded the best out for me out of the pizza options.

As I waited for my pizza I was faced with this beautiful view, I happened to get there before the dinnertime rush. All of the restaurants with fantastic views fill up to the rafters once it gets to a certain time. In fact, all of the restaurants with a view are priced pretty high so they're obviously quite high in demand. I'd imagine that the rental prices for the mall plots are high, hence why the prices for the food and drink are so high!

Anyway, the wait was only about twenty minutes which is really good considering the fact that my meal came out the same time as my grans, she ordered a chicken kebab which was absolutely massive (and apparently very spicy!). I didn't really mind anyway, the view from up there was just simply beautiful and I could watch the eagles circling around the trees too which was quite interesting.

The pizza itself was yummy, it was cooked to perfection and the base was the perfect mix of crunchy and light because it was a thin crust. Nothing unnecessary was added and the cheese and pepperoni was melted together very nicely. Better than the standard takeaway pizza back home, I would say! 

By the time I left it was really quite dark, Wildfire was brightly lit up and very eye catching. It must be the perfect spot for a restaurant up there - fantastic views and right next to the tram station, too. It looked very Vegas, not that I've been to Vegas yet but it had that aura about it. Very Americanised. All in all, I don't have any bad word to say about the place. I enjoyed my break from walking around very much and the pizza was scrumptious! 

Thanks for reading this post, I appreciate that my posting behaviour is very erratic so please excuse the randomness of it all. I'll try to even everything out when I get back home in October, I promise! So the next post will most likely be about the laser show, that is if I decide to go tomorrow night. I'm still undecided. 

Travel Log: The Peak

Hello everyone! I know I intended to post this yesterday but by the time I got in and posted the first travel log it was just too late on over here. Sorry about that, by the way. I'll make up for it now with a continuation of yesterdays post - today's travel log is sort of the next step of that anyway.

So after the Hong Kong Gardens I made my way up to the peak, I got the tram up and I seemed to have gone at a good time. The tram wasn't packed and we only had to wait five or ten minutes to get on. The views on the way up were fantastic, it was quite a clear day so I got to see quite a lot of Hong Kong from up there. I will say though, I'm pretty scared of heights so I did spend half of my time on the tram thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Not that anything ever goes wrong on trams, I just panic over nothing. 

It was VERY hot so the picture to the right makes it look like I'm trying to wink. The sun was pretty intense, though, it was a nice day to be at the peak. It was bright and fairly clear, I spent a good while trying to figure out which building was what through the binoculars. There is actually a labelled picture in the middle of the rooftop viewing area - I went on the free viewing deck on top of the mall - it's quite fascinating. 

Unfortunately there's some work getting done at the side of the building so the view is partially obstructed but they've obviously put effort into minimising the amount that it's obstructing the view. There's also an observation deck around the other side of the building to see the other side. The other side has a more natural view and you can actually see Lamma Island and a reservoir quite clearly. 

To cool off I went into the mall and had some coconut bubble tea and a white chocolate dessert at Mini Desserts. My gran got some fruity things that I don't know the names of, hers tasted nicer than mine though, coconut bubble tea tastes like dishwater. To be honest, I had never tried bubble tea so I didn't know what to order. I know not to order the coconut stuff next time I try it out though, the fruity thing tasted much nicer and the bubbles burst in my mouth and tasted like passion fruit. Yummy. In case you haven't guessed, I ended up stealing my grans drink at times to get rid of the dishwater/coconut taste. 

Anyway, thanks for reading yet another Hong Kong travel log. I'm loving every moment here, even the badly tasting ones! Check back for my next travel log which will be about my meal at the Wildfire restaurant. Pizza. Double yum!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Travel Log: Hong Kong Gardens

I spent this morning in the Hong Kong Gardens before taking the tram up to the peak so that's the base for today's travel logs. Today was much hotter than anticipated, I felt like I was melting at times! Thankfully I've half gotten used to my shorter hair now so I just pinned my fringe out of the way. 

The gardens were beautiful and that was before I got to the conservatory and the aviary. People who work near by visit the park for lunch and chill around the fountains, I imagine that I would love to take my breaks there if I worked in Hong Kong. It's quite convenient too because it's right by a quite large bank, to get there I actually walked through the building to find the gardens. Yet another way in which Hong Kong can be quite in contrast with itself. One minute you can be walking through the skyscrapers and the next you can be strolling through a garden or a trail.

There are little ponds filled with fish and turtles, I got pretty excited about seeing the turtles but apparently they aren't that rare over here. Is it just me or are turtles just animals seen in pet shops and zoos? I saw one just randomly wandering around at the Gold Coast last week. Well, enough of my turtle based rant, as weird as that is to say. 

It wasn't just turtles that lived in the ponds in the Hong Kong Gardens, quite large fish occupy them too. Though, I was obviously more interested in the abundance of turtles.
The conservatory was a more controlled environment for plants both native and otherwise. It was quite hot and dry in one part of it, quite different to the humidity outside! I quite like catci, I think I prefer them to actual flowers, though, I'm well aware that flowers can bloom from those too! I'm fairly certain I wouldn't like to fall on one of those, ouchy... Anyway, I also took quite a liking to a Milky Way plant though I didn't get a picture because the light was too bright in that part of the conservatory.


Once I passed the gardens and then the conservatory (full of cacti, too dry and hot!), I went into the aviary. Now, I'm not usually a big fan of birds - I'm actually pretty scared of them - but all of the different breeds and colours were eye catching. 

The fella to the right, I don't even know what breed it was but it was the easiest to catch on camera because he was a beautiful mix of colours. I also spotted some type of duck that could stay under water for minutes at a time, it was all very weird to observe. I can sort of see why my great-gran enjoys watching them, even if a few pairs did need some... uh... alone time.

Well, that's what I got up to in the Hong Kong Gardens. My next log will be about the peak, which I went to after the garden... So, stay tuned for more travel logs!


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Travel Log: Lab Made Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Factory (Repulse Bay Part 2)

Hello! So I was supposed to type this up last night but it just got too late on. Three posts in one night is a fairly unrealistic goal, especially when the internet keeps dropping off. Anyway, this travel log is a part two to yesterdays post as the Lab Made ice cream place is just along from the Tin Hau and Kwun Yum temple. It's a nice way to chill after observing the statues and walking along the bay. 

Of course, it's not the only place to sit and chill on the bay - there's a mix of cafés, restaurants and bars within the Pulse shopping centre. It is the only ice cream place though, apparently it's Hong Kong's first ever handmade liquid nitrogen ice cream factory - a mouthful, I know! It is pretty impressive when you sit back and think of their freezing process, besides, the ice cream there is yummy!

I'd always wanted to try liquid nitrogen ice cream, it's fascinating. I remember watching something that Heston Blumenthal did with liquid nitrogen, he always does things in such a bizarre way. It really interesting to watch them because they make everything fresh and use the liquid nitrogen right at the counter. The ice cream is frozen at -196℃ using the liquid nitrogen, it's done so just before serving so it's done to perfection.

Unfortunately, the shot slightly above was the best image I could get of them making it because of the sunlight streaming in from the windows. What you can see, however, is how ultra modern the interior of the place is. It just adds to that sheer scientific theme of the ice cream parlour. The staff even wore shirts that looked like lab jackets, which I thought was a really nice touch. Speaking of the staff, they were really friendly and didn't harass anyone like many people do when you sit down in their café.

I ordered one of their newest flavours - salted caramel and chocolate. It consisted of the most tasty and creamy ice cream (which I'm told they actually use less of because of the process), chocolate chips and broken pieces of salted crisps. It sounds weird but it was delicious! 

Thanks, yet again, for reading my most recent travel log. I hope you are all enjoying my discovery of Hong Kong as much as I am. This afternoons post will be about a flea market, if all goes to plan so until then... bye!

Travel Log: Tin Hau and Kwun Yum Statues (Repulse Bay Part 1)

After spending and hour or two in Aberdeen I went down to Repulse Bay. Once you get past all of the cafés, bars and restaurants there's an exquisite temple dedicated to Tin Hau and Kwun Yum. Tin Hau is the goddess of the sea, temples dedicated to her are all over the island. The one by the sea, the one this post is dedicated to, is supposed to keep guard of the fisherman and the surrounding village. It's all very interesting actually, most of the statues and blocks have little plaques with little snippets of information about when the Japanese tried to take over and facts about Tin Hau. I'm not going to sit here and pretend to be an amazingly intelligent and knowledgeable person - the information I just typed up was from the plaques and a tiny bit of Google.  It is all very fascinating though so it's worth reading up on if you get a chance, the Chinese are very spiritual!

I really enjoyed doing something different to shopping, don't get me wrong, I love shopping but it's nice to just take a step back and be appreciative about my surroundings. It's almost as regal the floating restaurant I mentioned in my last post, though, it does have a more religious/spiritual feel to it.  

I've felt much more relaxed since I arrived in Hong Kong actually, even though it can get pretty busy, some people are a little ignorant and it's hot all the time. That stuff is really easy to forget about when faced with such amazing views. Everything was so intricately made and some of the statues were hundreds of years old, it's like standing in an outdoor museum. Also, it's looking out onto the bay! It's a mix between man-made and natural beauty. I would wholly recommend Repulse Bay to any aspiring photographer, if you can capture both aspects it's very easy to shoot. 

Apparently you're supposed to throw coins at the Fish Of Prosperity statue for luck, I didn't because I didn't know at the time. I just thought it was a weird fish because there's a baby riding on the back of it...

Thanks for reading! I've had a busy day for content today so thanks for bearing with me, I've never been good at the type and schedule thing. Anyway, stay tuned for my post about liquid nitrogen ice cream at Repulse Bay! I'm sure I'll have more for this weekend, too. I'm just not sure what I'm doing tomorrow, it might be another market...

Travel Log: Aberdeen And The Floating Restaurant

My travel log for today, or rather one of my travel logs for today, is a very chilled one that I've been looking forward to. It's not often I get to just write about my observations about a such a cultured place without mentioning activities or food so here we go! Today I went to Aberdeen, not for any particular reason, I just had a wander. Luckily enough it's been quite a bit cooler so it was a nice comfortable walk along the promenade.

Along the promenade you can find a mixture of fishing statues just like the ones next to me in the image to the left. They are representative of the towns fishing heritage which is still very much at the heart of the towns culture. To be honest, I don't think I match up too well with these charming guys but they are an interesting way of, in a way, setting the scene and keeping up with the general theme of the town.

Much like anywhere else in Hong Kong, Aberdeen has many shopping Malls. Aberdeen Centre One has a beautiful entrance, it's all done in a very traditional looking style. Oriental is the general feel of it, it almost hid the fact that the sides are lined with modern shops with brands such as Adidas so it really just gets the balance between old and new just right. Many towns get this sort of thing wrong and go to far one way so it's either ultra modern or backtracking a few decades.

As a sort of side note about the image to the right - the guy in the blue vest saw I was taking photos and just casually lifted up his arm and casually posed. A lot of people do that here! Weird, though, it's not abnormal in Hong Kong. It's like people are just more conscious of what's going and they take a lot of photographs. It's selfie central here in Hong Kong!

So after trawling the shops and getting lost a few times, I went over to the Floating Restaurant (JUMBO). It's a place that the Queen of England visited once with Prince Philip so it was quite an interesting place to visit. Anyway, I had to get a little ferry over to it, no complaints though because it was free to get there. It's a pretty large structure, it just takes up a lot of space. In actual fact there are two of them so you can probably imagine the sheer scale of the place. I mean, I'm sure it's not the largest of places but I'm thinking about the fact that it's just right in the middle of the water.

It's yet another place that has been decorated beautifully, it all looks freshly painted and like something I'd generally expect to see in a photo shoot or a history book. Obviously a lot of care and attention to detail was required to decorate this place, even the plants and the plant pots compliment the look.

Thanks for reading yet another travel log, I'm having so much fun here and it's great to be able to share it with you all in this personal way. It means a lot to me that some of you have even been keeping up with my travels and my experiences in Hong Kong.