Category Archives: Asia 2010

From kinda China to real China

Good bye Hong Kong. It’s been a great stay, we will miss you.
Hello Beijing, be nice to us, even though we will only stay for a few days.

That just to sum up half of the day, where we flew to Beijing. We even got an upgrade to a better airline, since the one we originally booked, canceled the flight. And this is a sincere wish going out to British Airways. Please talk to Air China regarding food, you can learn so much. Best thing would be you to that before we fly back to Germany with you. Thanks in advance.

In Beijing we soon discovered a very characteristic thing of the city… smog.

And the area where the taxi driver dropped us wasn’t very reassuring, looked like the most rundown part of the city (at least we thought that it looked like that, not knowing anything else of Beijing). The hostel on the other hand was great. Really a nice place that made us feel like we truly were in China. Very helpful too, since the first things we got along with our room key were a map of the city, as well as a guide for some recommended day trips. I wish every hostel would do that.

Pics will follow.

Peak, star ferry, night market

The rainy weather of the last two days/nights was helping to clear up the sky just in time for our visit to the Peak, the highest and somehow most touristy spot of Hong Kong. So, onto the Star Ferry, over to Hong Kong Island, taking a stroll around and then up the hills by cable car. Of course, this sounds easier than it is, because thousands of other people had the same idea, but we managed to get up. Continue reading Peak, star ferry, night market

Jade Junk to HK Island markets and Zoo Park with Light in Rain

Great title, we know. On Thursday we went early to the Jade Market. Quite an experience and we never knew that there were so many different kinds of jade. With every deal the experience in haggling grows, but even if you pay about a fourth or fifth of the asking price, you are somewhat sure that the seller is still making a good deal. Then again, coming from Germany, we were doing that as well. But unless one is a jade expert, I’d recommend to not even think about buying one of the finer, more expensive pieces.

After that was the trip around the harbour on the Duk Ling junk, which we booked the day before. Well, the junk was quite touristy, so just think of an usual tour ferry made of wood. The weather was still damp, so one couldn’t see the full distance, but still was a nice little trip.

We arrived on the “other side”, i.e. Hong Kong Island. Yey, we finally made it. Here you find even more malls, Starbucks and air conditioning. And yes, this is the modern Hong Kong you would usually think of. Exploring the island, we strolled over the flower and the bird market.

We made a long walk up to the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens (which wasn’t that thrilling, since they use double layered fences which block the view and the animals weren’t that active, probably due the weather). Our way back led through the park. Unfortunately we were to late to visit the aviary (which is walkable, unlike the one in the zoo), but still could enjoy our time there. They got a Fighting S.A.R.S. Memorial in the Tai Chi Garden there, to honor those who died in the struggle to fight the disease. And a 105 steps tower which gave us a great view of the area. Some local young artists used this tower as well to make some sketches of the area.

Since it was already getting late, we had to get back to Kowloon. At night we enjoyed the Symphony of Light at the Avenue of Stars there. Really a nice show, with good timing of sound and light. And then came the rain…

Photos will follow.


On Wednesdays you can get into most museums in Hong Kong for free. That was a nice start to our visit in HK. We visited the HK Museum of Art, where they have a great collection of classic and modern calligraphy. Also there was an exhibition of the late Wu Guanzhong, who was an exceptional Chinese painter.

It took a few pictures, but eventually I could adjust my view to the eastern way to analyze a picture. That was quite an interesting experience. To explain that: In western art, you usually analyze a picture from left to right, as this is the way we usually read. So the eye enters the image from the left and searches for an area with high contrast. From there on it usually follows some flows till it gets blocked or finds the area, that the artist originally wanted to show. This is a more or less basic rule to create an image. Once you start looking at pictures like that, it’ll be much more easy to figure out what an image is all about. Of course this is no perfect rule, as many artists don’t know that rule or don’t follow it intentionally.  But it helps. You’ll often find that in advertisements, where, for example, the curves of the model direct your view to the product it’s advertising.

Anyway, the point I was getting to is, that I couldn’t figure out some pictures of Wu Guanzhong, until I finally remembered how I was viewing the picture and just changed direction to right to left (since this is the way you read classic Chinese, as well as modern Chinese, as long as it’s written from the top to bottom). After that, I could enjoy the art even more. Also, this is the direction one should view an exhibition, especially with calligraphy, since you can the read the plaque first and view the art in the correct direction.

This is a nice and easy image to demonstrate the difference of western and eastern art. You see, in western art, it would’ve most likely been flipped horizontal. The people would be walking into the other direction as well. (Of course it will look odd when you just flip it, since other things would have to be adjusted as well to make it look good.)

In the museum shop they had a large copy of ‘Cranes in Dance’ by this artist. Well, I would’ve needed a few ten thousand HK$ more and some way to get it home, but if I had that I would surely hang it onto my wall… once I get rid of some furniture. Be sure to have a look at some of his paintings.

We had our first coffee in HK in the Museum Cafe. Well, that wasn’t something that would interest you, but for us, coffee is important!

Next stop was the Tourist Information Center. This was the most vital visit of the whole HK trip, since we got a map of the city here (as already said in another post, a truly epic item). We also book a trip on the Duk Ling junk for the next day.

After that, a short visit to the Space Museum, which was nice, but not too thrilling, even for someone who is into the topic. It was targeted too much towards kids and some of the information was a bit outdated.

Unfortunately we couldn’t visit more museums, as it was getting late. But already marked some of them for future trips to HK, like the Museum of History

Last thing to do was finding something to eat. Now, that was tough. Not finding something to eat in general, but something we would want to eat. Trying to find a good Chinese restaurant in Kowloon can be quite hard when being in the wrong area. Western style food everywhere, but Chinese? Well, we settled for overpriced mini burgers at McLovin’s Tavern out of desperation. Go us!

Beijing, here we come

… well, tomorrow (China time). Sad to leave Hong Kong already, since there’s so much left to do. But maybe we’ll be back someday. Till then, let’s pack our face masks, cause we’re heading for Beijing. (During lunch/dinner today we met someone from Britain who’s living in Beijing, who told us he was in Hong Kong to clear his lungs. Maybe we should buy a machete to cut the air. Still looking forward to the great city.)

Maybe we’ll find some time on the plane to write the missing entries. No promises, though. And it appears we might be already overloaded…