Monday, September 29, 2014

The Weekend: Ukulele Festival

On one of the hottest days of the Fall, steps away from the Pro-Democratic Student Movement, a Ukulele Festival was setting up its booths and sound checking.  

The Ukulele Festival was held at the Central Harbourfront Event Space on Saturday from 3 - about 9 pm.  It was a great international festival with local ukulele artists and ukulele players from Taiwan, Shenzhen, Japan, the States, and more.

Ryo Natoyama sound checking.

Lang Lang chilling with his ukulele.

Give & Take practicing backstage.

Hong Kong International Hula Association booth and hula dancers.

At the end of the night, while a lot of the crowed started dispersing and heading over to support the student movement, there was a sort of bittersweet feeling in the air.  The Harbour was to our right, the lights of the surrounding buildings were twinkling magically, and the organizers were saying their final notes of was all truly romantic, but then you could see the police cars lining up along the streets creating road blockades and the students starting to march in Tamar makes me wonder what this city will be like when I wake up tomorrow morning.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Forsgate Conservatory

Up on the hill in Hong Kong Park sits the Forsgate Conservatory.  The Conservatory is open daily from 9am -  5pm and the admission is free.  

In my humble opinion, this Conservatory is what makes Hong Kong Park so special to visit.  It's like how visiting the orangutans at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens gives me a special sentimental feeling.  Or how riding the Trams gives me a special sentimental feeling.  I guess it's just nice to see how I can revisit my past and hopefully take my children to see these same places in the future.

It's nice to have some consistency in this every changing/updating city.

The entry way

The first area is known as the Display Plant House.  Here are displayed orchids, anthuriums, and little terrariums.  The theme for this early Fall was Aquatic Plants, but I feel like the flower displays were more prominent than the thematic exhibition of the season.

For the plant lovers, all the plants in the Conservatory are labeled, so it's quite interesting to learn the names of some of the local plants.  If you have someone who can read Chinese, it's even better to spend the afternoon with them comparing the English/Chinese names of the plants.

Plant displays

The second area is known as the Dry Plant House, where you can find cactus and a very arid climate.  Throughout the Conservatory, you'll be able to see the giant temperature/environment controlling apparatuses in each area (below).  These are a wonderment in themselves.  Before these were invented, I really am curious to find out how conservatories regulated their climates.

Climate control apparatuses on the right of the image

The third section (which is my favorite area of the Conservatory) is the Humid Plant House.  Just walking into this place reminds me of going to a tropical island.  In this space, I found a lot of plants that I could find in Hawaii:  Bird of paradise, ginger plants, banana trees, and even rubber trees...And the ferns!  It was just such a wonderfully landscaped space.

Hopefully, when I get older and wiser, this place will still be around.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Strolling Hong Kong Park

I used to really be into Jane Austen novels when I was a kid.  And when the Pride and Prejudice mini-series came out, the one with Colin Firth, all the women in my family were glued to the television set.  AAAND when the DVD came out, we bought it.  AAAAANNNND I have since watched this mini-series a handful of times.  

One impression that Austen novels left on me was the fact that everyone strolls.  Elizabeth strolls the gardens with her sisters.  She strolls a sitting room with Mr. Bingley.   And she strolls around Mr. Darcy's grounds.  

I bring this up because, I'm quite the stroller.  We used to take walks all over the Islands when I was younger, which is probably why I also am into hiking.  

Hong Kong has many a great hiking trails and also many a great places to stroll.  I thought I would snap some shots of our stroll through Hong Kong Park. 

Museum of Teaware


Lippo Centre

Coy pond

Hippo topiaries

Giraffe topiary

Turtle pond

Frog falls!!!

HSBC building through the waterfall
I cannot emphasize how amazing the weather in the Hong Kong autumn is!  The weather is cooler in the evenings and the humidity has dropped severely.  The season is about to change and I am ready for some layering and more strolls outdoors.

I hope you enjoyed the walking mini tour.