Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stanley Markets on a Sunday

Sunday we were joined by our friends Janet and Michele for a trip to Stanley Market. We took the number 6 bus which takes the more scenic route up over the mountain. From the upper deck of the bus the views are wonderful even if you feel like ducking tree branches on the narrow roads.

We arrived in Stanley and headed for the market complex. It is a rabbit warren of small shops and stalls that intertwine with each other and offer almost anything you can think of. Since this was Ken and I's fourth visit, we have found our favorite spots and managed to find most of the items on our list. Janet and Michele were quite successful as well.

When we first arrived we were given a huge treat. The Stanley Lion Dancing Team was there performing a lion dance to bring good fortune throughout the new year. The costumes were colorful and the percussion team very good and LOUD! They beat out the timing for the dancers with a large drum and cymbals.

Along with the intertwined stalls and shops, there are also some shops set up along the waterfront.

Also along the waterfront is a series of restaurants offering a wide range of food and libations. We finally found our absolute favorite place located in a charming blue home called the Boathouse.

They make a nice sangria but I tried a sparkling peach cooler made with white wine and filled with ice and peaches. It was fantastic. We also had a great dining partner at a nearby table.

Don't you love the sporty sweater?

Ever since our first visit to Stanley, there has been construction on a new part of the plaza. It has finally opened. This section is filled with more established stores and services including a grocery, a salon, more restaurants (and the obligatory Starbucks and McDonalds) and a selection of upper end shops. The plaza itself is spacious and definitely a gathering place for locals and tourists alike.

I even found another budding photographer to trade notes with.

We had such a great time shopping and dining that we have made plans to return in two weeks. That peach cooler is calling to me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pretty, Pretty

Even though the big celebrations for the New Year have ended, the decorations still shine and smaller local celebrations continue. As we were wandering in search of socks for Ken, we visited two of the malls whose decorations were at the opposite ends of the spectrum. 

Langham Place in Mong Kok took its inspiration from the flamingos. The mall was a vision in pink from its entrance...

...to its escalators...

...to its center court Dragon display.

Even the transport was wearing pink.

In contrast, IFC Mall near our apartment replicated a calm and serene Chinese garden complete with lanterns, waterfall and bridge.

Nearby, members of a Chinese Orchestra were playing beautiful music on the erhu and other traditional instruments.

Who knows what we will find at the Stanley Markets tomorrow?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Year Fireworks

The second day of the new year was marked by a party and fireworks. Our friend Janet and her daughters Catie and Michele hosted a New Year's gathering for us and the Herredia family. So we gathered up our party fare and because the temps had cooled down so much I got to wear my new Hong Kong jacket and scarf.

While in Guangzhou I found a great centerpiece for the table...


Janet and the girls are fostering a puppy till she is old enough to be adopted. The puppy loved Ken and the Herredia girls who were commissioned to tire her out so she would sleep through the night.

There was lots of great food and great company.

While in Kuala Lumpur Ken participated in a Malaysian Chinese tradition where several ingredients (pickled ginger, dried yam, nuts, etc.) are placed on a plate along with some fish (we used salmon) and then sprinkled with sauce.

Once the platter is ready everyone takes chopsticks and tosses the ingredients while saying "good fortune." The higher the items are tossed the more good fortune you will have.

As time for the fireworks grew closer, puppy grew tired.

While she slept we all went up to the roof deck for the firework extravaganza. The buildings were all alight. ICC  and all the other buildings had their own light show going on.

The little ones were anxious.

The harbor was filled with boats ready to watch from their great vantage point.

And with a loud boom we were in full swing. Insert pops, bangs, oohs and aahs as you view the following. 

And now the Year of the Dragon has officially arrived.