January 29, 2005

posting spree

I posted about 60 new pics of Elephant Trunk Hill National Park and Reed Flute Cave. I took over 100 pics of these 2 places but I chose to only post my favourite pics. Elephant Trunk Hill and Reed Flute Cave are located in Guilin, Guangxi Province, China.
The river you will see is the Li river.
It's really time consuming posting these pics so I hope my efforts to bring a small part of China to you are appreciated, heh. I still have about 200 more pics in queue to post.
Oh to see all the new pics, click on January archives, otherwise you'll just see the latest 20 I posted.

Posted by Christine at 07:56 PM | Comments (3)

Elephant Trunk Hill National Park 44


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Elephant Trunk Hill National Park 43


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can you see why its called Elephant Trunk Hill ?

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Elephant Trunk Hill National Park 23


one of 2 Buddhist images I found in my short visit to China.

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Chinese writing stone carving


I don't think this is *that* old since it appears to me not to be early Chinese writing but there was no signs around to say how long ago this was done.

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neat rock at Elephant Hill Park


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bamboo forest at Elephant Trunk Hill Park


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Elephant Trunk Hill National Park 1


Posted by Christine at 07:06 PM

Guilin, GuangXi, China 2


The following 20 pictures were taken in the Reed Flute Cave National Park. I took about 50 cave pics but decided on my posting just my favourite 20 :-) The cave had some unnatural lighting and I thought it looked really pretty. I took some pics without the flash to capture the unnatural lighting.

Posted by Christine at 06:21 PM

Guilin, GuangXi, China


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Reed Flute Cave 18


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Reed Flute Cave 16


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Reed Flute Cave 15


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Reed Flute Cave 14


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Reed Flute Cave 12


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Reed Flute Cave 11


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Reed Flute Cave 10


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Reed Flute Cave 9


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Reed Flute Cave 5


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Reed Flute Cave 4


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Reed Flute Cave 3


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Reed Flute Cave 2


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Reed Flute Cave 1


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January 25, 2005

Alive in China

okay, this is just a quick post to let everyone know I made it into China okay and so far things are going well in Guilin. Except for the weather- its been rainy and 13 C- brrr. When I left HK, it was sunny and 20 C.
China is really different from Hong Kong and its been an experience so far to say the least. Ive been taking lots of pictures but those will have to wait until I get back. I cut my trip by one day so I ought to be back in HK on Friday. Guilin and Yangshuo are interesting but there isn't that much to do and I really miss the weather and comforts of HK, heh.

Posted by Christine at 08:57 PM

January 22, 2005

some Sha Tin private homes


I'd love to live in a place like that and I bet the cost isn't much more than a typical 1 family house in NYC. Mainly because Sha Tin is in the New Territories and the real estate is cheaper there since it is relatively far from where the jobs are (like a 40 min bus ride away). Most people are in public housing which has a 3 year wait list, according to the TV program I saw. Public housing is much much nicer in HK (generally) than the projects in NYC or Chicago.

Posted by Christine at 06:57 PM

Sha Tin public library from afar


There are lots of public libraries in HK but 99% of what is available to borrow is in Chinese. I still want to get a HK library card but I must wait until I get my work visa.

Posted by Christine at 06:52 PM

Snoopy land


In a Sha Tin shopping mall. This is a mock Peanuts village, kind of cool if you're into that sort of thing. I didn't see any booth for 10 cent psychiatric help though ;-)

Posted by Christine at 06:50 PM

coolest playground ever


in Sha Tin park. wow, I wish I had a playground like this when I was a child :-)

Posted by Christine at 06:48 PM

SARS mural


Sha Tin park has an artist section which I thought was cool. I love this mural, esp the mosquito syringes :-)

BTW, the housing project I work at was ground zero for HK's SARS outbreak, heh.

Posted by Christine at 06:46 PM

just married


haha, I thought this was cute :-)

Posted by Christine at 06:44 PM

bridal party?


I doubt it but I think their outfits are neat looking :-)

Posted by Christine at 06:43 PM

wedding bells


The Sha Tin justice of the peace is located in the park so lots of brides and grooms to be seen at the park on a Sunday. I only saw Western style white wedding dresses but in Tsim Sha Tsui, near me in Kowloon, I've seen lots of shops with Chinese style wedding dresses. Those dresses are also quite poofy and elaborate but are in bright colours like red.
Wedding photographer studios offer a fun thing... taking pics at their studio for the bride and groom with different kinds of costumes and backgrounds. It is kind of silly but a lot more fun I think than the Western style ;-)

Posted by Christine at 06:41 PM

more of Sha Tin park


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another of Sha Tin park


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Sha Tin park


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pedestrian bridge


in Sha Tin, taken mid December

Posted by Christine at 06:30 PM

impromptu jam


okay, this is from my day of biking in Sha Tin... yeah I am that far behind in posting pics, in case any of you recall how long ago that mini trip was ;-)
I did go a little out of sequence and posted some NYE pics in Sha Tin which follow this entry (the nighttime pics) but anyway, I am digressing...

earlier in the day, this area was fairly empty of people. I return 3 hours later to return the bicycle and now it is filled with people. Chinese musicians were underneath the bridge playing tunes and lots of old people were standing around singing and cheering. Other people were sitting around, reading a paper or playing mahjong. I like how the old people are so social together and hang out in the parks all the time. Kind of reminds me of the old Italian shuffleboard and bocce players in Juniper Valley Park.

Posted by Christine at 06:28 PM

the drummers take the stage


this was my favourite act of the night.

Posted by Christine at 06:05 PM

little kids on stage

For the last act, the drummers invited some little kids on stage. They were very cute as they had no clue what to do but seemed happy to be on stage nonetheless :-)

Posted by Christine at 06:04 PM

dance and drumming stage


I liked the design of backdrop for this stage.

Posted by Christine at 06:02 PM

hip hop style dancing


There were other performance with b-boys and the whole thing was a little weird for me but fun. The crowd had no idea how to react to the call and responses or the breakdancing, heh.

Posted by Christine at 06:00 PM

Sha Tin park, holiday night


There are pics of this park posted before but taken in the day time. Normally, I am anti-light displays (light pollution/wasting electricity) I have to admit, the park looked even nicer all lit up in the festive lights.

Posted by Christine at 05:58 PM

I like the Chinese phrasing of things sometimes


heh, Airy Fairy corner= mini bouncy castle

Posted by Christine at 05:56 PM

pretty riverfront lights


This is right by the bike trail I took pictures from last month.

Posted by Christine at 05:54 PM

piano man


The only other gweilo at the festival besides me, heh.
I rarely see white people and when I do it is in the tourist sections of HK. I've been thinking a lot about why that is and I think it's because work visas are hard to come by in Hong Kong, due to the economy here- 6% are unemployed. There are very few teaching English jobs here in HK, I guess because the British were here before and enough Hong Kong people learned English proficently to be able to teach it. So really the only white people who work here, as far as I can tell, are business men who make tons and tons of money and hang out in places I couldn't afford to go.
I'm fine with being the minority as it does have its advantages at times. First of all, I don't have to be around white people- haha, just kidding ;-)
Anyway, people always recognize and remember my name, especially the instructors at the gym. I get treated in a friendly way, I guess because I am such a novelty to them. They also like to show off or practice English with me. It's like being a semi celebrity :-) I'm sure I get overcharged for stuff at times but probably I get allowances for other things I am not aware of, as it's assumed I don't know any better. Generally, I don't stand out too much so I don't get stared or laughed at. And I am polite, respectful and open minded so I like to think I am on a goodwill mission to show them that not all Americans are bad ;-) Most people are surprised to learn I am from the states.

Posted by Christine at 05:52 PM



This is from the NYE festival in Sha Tin I went to. The acrobats did some cool stuff, too bad they blend into the background so you can't see them too well in the pic.

Posted by Christine at 05:39 PM


Guilin is a city in Guangxi Province, mainland China. It is where I will be spending next week. I need to leave Hong Kong to get my visitor visa extended, until all the work visa stuff gets sorted out. So my boss said he'd pay for me to take a trip to China. I'm limited to where I can go because he didn't give me too much money nor can I be away for that long. So I am limited to Southern China. I didn't want to go to Guangzhou because I've heard it's not so safe there and it's a big city. It's probably a lot like where I work since most of the people around there are from Guangzhou.
Guilin is a small city and very touristy but it does have a lot of natural beauty and it's further northwest than Guangzhou. It'll take me about 10-11 hours by bus from Shenzhen (45 min train ride from Kowloon) as opposed to a 3 hour bus ride to Guangzhou but I think it'll be worth it.
I still have about 100 HK pics to upload. And then I am sure I'll be taking tons of pics in Guilin. I guess tonight I'll upload more HK pics.
I posted my address sometime in January so just scroll through the entries if you need it. I don't have the time to email it to everyone that asks, sorry. I think scrolling only lets you go back about 20 entries so just click on January archives to see the earlier January posts.

Posted by Christine at 12:52 PM

January 15, 2005

surprise festival

So this morning in my apartment, I heard some noise coming from Canton Rd. I looked out the window and sure they were setting up for a festival. I've been feeling sick the past few days and it turns out it is allergy/sinus related now rather than it being a cold so I figured it'd be good for me to head out. Several days ago, I discovered my heater does work (it just takes 15 mins or so to get going) but I am thinking using it was the cause of my allergy/sinus attack.
Anyway, I head outside to the festivities. I see 2 huge slabs of what I think is jadeite. It could be jade but these slabs were like 2-3 meters high, 1 meter deep, 1 to 2 meters across. Also, they were whitish/grey green in colour and if I recall right, true jade is green. In any case, very cool to see in the middle of my street.
There were some jade vendors in kiosks with many beautiful carved jade pieces. At one end of the block was a stage playing some Canto-pop. The other end of the street, for only about 45 mins was some old people playing Chinese folk music. There was one guy who played an instrument like a violin but it sat on his knee and was even smaller than a violin. Another guy played a wooden flute, harmonica or he used wood sticks to hit ceramic bowls in front of him filled with varying levels on water in them. There was a microphone being passed around the old people though on some songs someone would sing lead. The singing is really high pitched which I know isn't every Westerner's cup of tea but I really enjoy the sound when it is performed live. The old people danced around and sang together, it was very touching for me to witness. Eventually the Canto pop drowned them out so they stopped but maybe they were just getting tired.
I went to eat some breakfast. I wanted to get congee which is spiced rice gruel with fish and this is my favourite Chinese dish. But I decided to try something different so I went to my usual place that has a Chinese menu with English translation right on the table. I'm always hestitant to eat at places with a separate English menu because I suspect they leave some of the more interesting stuff off and probably raise the prices.
This place's menu has a lot of weird English... like the appetizers section is called "Strong Introduction" and it claims the restaurants bean products promote health and "dainty". What's even funnier with that is if you do order some tofu from them, the way they prepare it is really unhealthy- the amount of oil they use. One of the congees they have is called "beef shiver", I have no idea what that is, I usually just go for the fish slice one.
Anyway today, I went to try something different. I got a weekend special where you choose a type of noodle, " the driver noodle" and then "tie in" 2 or 3 other selections of meat and/or veggies. The cost for this meal is between 15 to 20 HKD, which is about 2.50-$3.00 USD. I chose the big deal noodle (which turned out to be ramen noodles, heh, snake butter (which turned out to be what I know as Chinese mushrooms, and very hot fish (which was just fish balls with black pepper in a broth that had lots of hot sesame oil in it). So I did feel a bit let down but I ate it.

Posted by Christine at 01:04 PM | Comments (1)

January 09, 2005

KCR East Rail


The train in the lower righthand corner is the rail to go to Mainland China or back to where I live. People ride it to commute but I don't use this one, I use the MTR.

Posted by Christine at 10:15 PM

Museum of HK heritage


no, I did go in it yet. Museums are very affordable to go to in HK- only like $2-$3 USD for each one or you can buy a weekly pass to see 6 different museums for only like $5.00 USD.

Posted by Christine at 10:12 PM

Sha Tin station


Here you can catch the train to go back to around where I live or get to Mainland China.

Posted by Christine at 10:10 PM

old village


Posted by Christine at 10:08 PM

power structure


I love how these things look.

Posted by Christine at 10:07 PM

oldest surviving village in Sha Tin


I think it dates back to the mid 1800s.

Posted by Christine at 10:06 PM

pretty section of the bike trail


taken while I was riding my bike for the day.

Posted by Christine at 10:05 PM

someone fishing


Check out the next 2 pics for a close up of the water this dude is fishing in.
The cool building in the background is a fancy floating restaurant. Later on you'll see pics of the floating place I wound up eating at.

Posted by Christine at 10:03 PM

yuck part 1


People were fishing in this river- would you eat anything out of water that looked like that?!?

Posted by Christine at 10:01 PM

yuck part 2


Posted by Christine at 10:00 PM

interesting dwelling


I guess someone lives here. I found it under the "fly over" or what I know as a highway overpass.

Posted by Christine at 09:59 PM

police boat


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I like the boat with the rubber tires on it.

Posted by Christine at 09:55 PM

another pic of the floating greasy spoon joint


Posted by Christine at 09:54 PM

Floating HK "greasy spoon"


I found this place along the bike trail and I braved it. They sold snack food like fish balls in curry sauce and bunless hot dogs (which are called sausages here).
The cool thing about this place is that is in the water.

Posted by Christine at 09:52 PM

Sha Tin beach


nah, just kidding- I took this photo through a fence.

Posted by Christine at 09:49 PM

cool looking boat


I have no idea what a boat like this called.

Posted by Christine at 09:47 PM

construction site in Sha Tin


Posted by Christine at 09:46 PM

January 08, 2005

light switches


This pic shows not only some of my Hello Kitty magnet collection but also the light swtiches typical in HK. I ought to take some pics of the wierd outlets they have here too.

Posted by Christine at 07:05 PM

tiniest kitchen ever


It's taken some getting used to cooking with a rice cooker and hot plate, can't say that I like it all that much. I miss having an oven too.

Posted by Christine at 07:02 PM

bathroom sink


also check out the ceramic tiles on the wall, esp the flowered ones.
The floor is also ceramic tile throughout the place.

Posted by Christine at 07:00 PM

tiny bathroom


but it is Western style, I appreciate that.

Posted by Christine at 06:58 PM

dining room


Posted by Christine at 06:56 PM

other part of the bedroom side


As you can see, I have tons of space for clothes and stuff. Most of that space is unused though.

Posted by Christine at 06:55 PM

other part of the living room side


Posted by Christine at 06:53 PM



This is the other half of the big room.

Posted by Christine at 06:52 PM

the living room


well this is half of the main room which has a fold out futon. Usually, I keep it in "couch" position but for some reason in this pic, it is down.

Posted by Christine at 06:50 PM

January 06, 2005

my address

okay, I got a package at my home address (thanks Steven for the books and article :-) so I guess it is safe to send stuff there.

Today, after the gym I went for some kaiten zushi which is basically a sushi place where you sit on a stool around a conveyor belt which has plates of sushi, sashimi and Japanese salads going around. You take up your empty plates when you're done and pay your 10 HKD for each (unless you took a red dish, then its more).
There are TVs playing musical performances and one of them was a Chinese male trio singing "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel in Chinese, it was so strange. Later on a Chinese guy was singing "Careless Whisper" by Wham! That wasn't too strange as it was in English but there was a macho kind of construction worker guy sitting next to me and I could hear him very quietly singing along.
I did take some pics of the apartment today (finally) and will upload them over the weekend as the weather is getting warmer.

Posted by Christine at 07:25 PM

January 05, 2005

Happy New Year

I know, I suck as I haven't updated in ages. For the past 10 days or so, it's been too cold (like 10 C) in my place so my fingers were too numb to type much. As most places here, I have no indoor heater but I did break down and get a space heater. The cold snap of 8-12 C has ended so it's not too bad now. But I've been busy working out at the gym, which has been great for me. My mood has improved a lot now that I am getting some exercise. The air and traffic is too poor in quality here for me to ride a bicycle or jog. In the New Territories, it is okay but where I live in Kowloon is one of the most densely populated areas and very close to the business center of HK.
Also, I had to do a lot of thinking and on the first I emailed a letter to my bosses saying I am heavily considering resigning and I outlined why. I don't feel like getting all into it here, esp trying to type the complicated story. Today, I finally hear back from the boss and he said he'll reply later when he's had a chance to think about it. At work today, I found out some stuff which doesn't look good for the bosses' integrity so I feel even better about my decision. We'll see what happens, I hope everyone wishes good luck for me :-)
I got a cold today and I took some Chinese herbal medicine for it and I feel a lot better :-)

Posted by Christine at 09:38 PM