Saturday, October 26, 2013

the Hong Kong - Kowloon Star Ferry

so on day two we headed to the Ferry to ride across the harbor to Kowloon.  the ferry fare is still amazingly cheap - less than a single US dollar- and the ride is fun- atmospheric- historical and timeless. 

below- note the red brick building in the background with the opening for the dragon (feng shui) so as to not bring back luck to the owners-

all size vessels on the Harbor waters-

we walked around the tip of Kowloon and did some window shopping. 

they didn't look too appetizing but they smelled wonderful!

Then we looked for a lunch place and ended up in the basement of a small mall on Nathan Road where we had sushi from a conveyor belt.  It was fresh and fabulous! and good thing it was conveyor as there was not much English on the menu-

shoes for sale in the store next to the lunch place- quite dapper don't you think?

for dinner we had a reservation at Man Wah (another highly rated Chinese restaurant that we had been to before and were looking forward to another visit)


we have an early morning tomorrow as we are off to Guangzhou on Mainland China and our drive is coming at 7:15!  The train ride is two hours and then we have a border crossing at the station when we arrive-

OK - so Hong Kong...

after an amazing delay in take off from Chicago (first day of government shut down- 50+ planes in line to be released- waits up to two hours or more) we arrived in SFO for our connection late and sat on the runway there for another 1/2 hour to get a gate. Not exactly an auspicious start- however the gate was the first at the concourse and the international one was also the first at that concourse so a walk at a good clip had us arriving just as they had begun boarding. 

we had flown via SFO because that was all that was available for the business class upgrade and because they fly 747s (my favorite plane) from there to HKG,  We were upstairs (nice and quiet) and had a lovely crew and an uneventful flight.  We arrived around 7 PM, went through passport control in less than ten minutes, picked up our bags and headed to the train to Central in HKG.  There was a moderate delay waiting for a cab but then the ride was short and cheap to the hotel where we checked in with no issues. 

while at the front desk we made a dinner reservation for the fish place on property (kind of a ritual at this point as we always eat there the first night and then crash)  the place is outdoors and casual - by the pool and has an open charcoal grill for the fish and seafood and is a perfect way to kick off our fourth or fifth HKG visit since 2002. 

the view from our room (of the pool at the Conrad next door and other buildings in the Admiralty/Central border where we are staying.)

the next morning we went to the club room for a lovely breakfast - full buffet but smaller table area for the club floor rooms - incredible view over HKG harbor and the environs of Admiralty. then we were off for a walk to the escalators to the mid levels... HKG is connected by a series of walkways and escalators - keeping the pedestrians out of the spaghetti maze that are the roads for car traffic (many of which have NO sidewalk whatsoever)

we walk through Hong Kong Park and Cheung Kong Park on the way to the pedestrian level walkway-

from the key to the map above- LOL

leaving the park and heading over the city on the level above- through various buildings along the way-

this stained glass struck me- the temple of the internet or can you just attend your regular service via cyber space?

a Saturday morning - so not much traffic in the CBD they call Central-

we do stop the photograph the HSBC building where our Danish friend Poul once worked for three years-

further along we spied the connection to the mid levels via the escalators

the escalators are very busy this morning- we surmise it is because it is nearing the end of the Chinese National Holiday which falls the first week of October-

we took a brief rest at the Peak Café on the way and had a drink- then when we got to the very top level we walked along the road and headed for the Hong Kong Zoo.

we thought we would walk through and on the way back toward the hotel take the peak tram up to the Peak and round out our day with views of the Harbor from above.. the morning had been hazy so we thought maybe waiting for some of it to burn off would give us better views - LOL- so did ten thousand other tourists.  So after our walk through the zoo we headed back to the hotel for a light lunch by the pool and a nap before dinner.  we had booked at the top rated (per Zagat) Chinese place in HKG, called One Harbor Road. 

Tomorrow - the plan is the Star Ferry and lunch in Kowloon...

Friday, October 25, 2013

north china lover- a MUST see!

last night we saw the North China Lover at the Lookingglass Theater at Water Tower.

here is the blurb that caught my attention-

some publicity photos from the brochure-

the play- was outstanding-

it opens with an older woman at a desk typing- and she begins to narrate the action which takes place on the stage in a sparsely decorated set.  she sets the stage with her words which are evocative of steamy Saigon and surrounding areas in the 1930s when French ruled what was then called Indochine- now Viet Nam.

she paints a vivid word picture of the scenes and action and the actors have very little dialogue as they embody her words through their actions.  the story evolves over 90 minutes with no intermission (which would have thoroughly disrupted the atmosphere set by narration and the players.)  a precocious impoverished school girl and a Chinese immigrant whose family fled Sun Yat Sen's China from the Manchuria Province in North China and established themselves in Saigon creating great wealth take each other as lovers.  as the story unfolds she reveals a past family history of abuse (on various levels) and her family basically extorts money from the North China lover's family in exchange for the affair with the girl.

a haunting story and incredibly effective production- this one is put in my highest category of review- if there is any way you can get there before the 11/10 end of the run - it is a MUST see.... elegiac in the truest sense of the word (expressing sorrow for that which is irrecoverably past) - the lovers part- their lives go on- but they are forever tied to each other, the love never dying....

really fabulous evening of great theater - not since The City and The City have I been so moved by a play - this one is worth your time.