Hong Kong – Hotel Views

At last I have come to the last destination on my 21 day tour of China. Hong Kong was less smoggy than anywhere else we had been, though there was a haze as the day heated up.

The hotel as seen from a lovely park which we crossed on our way to the subway station.

The hotel as seen from a lovely park which we crossed on our way to the subway station.

We stayed at l’Hotel Nina et Convention Centre in the New Territories, not on Hong Kong Island, nor in Kowloon, which lies between the New Territories and Hong Kong Island. Our fellow tour-ists also stayed there and ate breakfast there, but we were free to tour Hong Kong on our own time and according to our own tastes.

The hotel consisted of two towers, with a bridge at the 51st floor. I think we were either just below or just above that floor.

The hotel consisted of two towers, with a bridge at the 51st floor. I think we were either just below or just above that floor.

Half way up the rise to our room, we had to change elevators – somewhere around the 44th floor. The elevator lobby at that height looked westward and southwest towards sea lanes and shipping. Most of the following photos were taken out of windows so you will see reflections in some of the corners.

Looking west towards Lantau Island and HK airport.

Looking west towards Lantau Island and HK airport.

The land to the right of the bridge is called Tsing Yi

The land to the right of the bridge is called Tsing Yi

Looking southwest past Gin Drinkers' Bay and towards Rambler Channel. (Don't you believe everything on Google Maps?)

Looking southwest past Gin Drinkers’ Bay and towards Rambler Channel. (Don’t you believe everything on Google Maps?)

This photo was taken at ground level while walking to the subway and it shows another section of the highway which appears in the lower left of the two previous photos.

This photo was taken at ground level while walking to the subway and it shows another section of the highway which appears in the lower left of the two previous photos.

From the same elevator lobby you could also see south towards a densely populated city where building was going on everywhere.

The building on the left is the same one as on the right of  the second photo

The building on the left is the same one as on the right of the second photo

From our room we could see south and eastwards towards the mountains of the New Territories.

The New Territories.

The New Territories.

The New Territories.

The New Territories.

Looking down, you could see the hotel’s amenities, but we never went!

Expensive real estate for a pool and tennis courts.

Expensive real estate for a pool and tennis courts.

This dining table seats at least 25. We breakfast buffet clients didn’t get to sit there!

Longer than my house is wide!

Longer than my house is wide!

Next Hong Kong post: Victoria Peak

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Macau – Street Scenes

Below St. Paul's facade

Below St. Paul’s facade

The photo above gives some idea of the tourist traffic in and around St. Paul’s facade.

The following two photos are of the narrow street leading from the remaining facade of St. Paul’s to Senado Square.

On the tourist route between St. Paul's and Senado square.

On the tourist route between St. Paul’s and Senado square.

On the tourist route between St. Paul's and Sedano square.

On the tourist route between St. Paul’s and Sedano square.

The layout of the tiles in Senado Square, in the middle of the touristy area of Macau, gave a tromp d’oeil feeling of an uneven plaza.  The ground is perfectly level but even the pictures are deceiving.  I don’t know if the phone holder is taking a ‘selfie’ or a shot of the plaza.

Senado Square

Senado Square

Senado Square

Senado Square

 

This next “street photo” was taken in Zhuhai near the Fisher Girl, similar to a photo from a couple of posts ago, except that a beggar has been added to the scene.  We did see beggars at some tourist sites, but not very many.

 

Zhuahai

Zhuahai

The following photo is an orphan, not having any relatives in any other post.  We thought the red jacket might have belonged to Mao (?)

In Coloane between our hotel and Taipa. This building may have been part of the "City of Dreams" but there didn't seem to be much life around it.

In Coloane between our hotel and Taipa. This building may have been part of the “City of Dreams” but there didn’t seem to be much life around it.

And finally, a shot of an ad for a CANADIAN English language school. It was a bit of a surprise to me to learn recently that in Prince Edward Island, Canada, where I live, the most-spoken language after English and French is Chinese. After thinking about it for a while, I’m not really surprised at all!

In the 'city' of Taipa in the northern half of the island which makes up the bottom half of Macau.

In the ‘city’ of Taipa in the northern half of the island which makes up the bottom half of Macau.

Canton, now Guangzhou

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Day 19.  We flew from Guilin to Guangzhou (Canton! Who knew!) in the morning and were taken to visit the sculpture which seems to be the City’s symbol.  If you Google ‘five goats Guangzhou’ you will get many interpretations of the story behind the statue which was originally carved in 1959. The statue is not on the list of the top ten things to see in Guanzhou, but it is symbolic of the triumph of rice and good harvests over starvation.

Another view of the hill top park and some of my traveling companions:

Guahngzhou-9974

 

In Beijing we had seen people doing exercise, often a form of line dancing or synchronized movements to music.  Here it is again on a hot day in south China.

Even the pre-schooler is getting in on the act.

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And finally, a stolen shot as we headed down the hill from the goats.

Another beautiful baby with a proud grandmother.

Another beautiful baby with a proud grandmother.

Next three Chinese posts will be from the Chen Family Ancestral Temple in Guangzhou.

Elephant Trunk Hill

Elephant Trunk Hill.

Elephant Trunk Hill.

After two nights in Yangshuo we bussed back to Guilin for a relaxing walk around the waterfront park with its elephant trunk hill. Guilin – probably because it has an airport – is the home base for touring the Li River, though Yangshuo is where my tour was centred.

Around the corner from the  elephant trunk.

Around the corner from the elephant trunk.

An overview of the area around the park and hill.

An overview of the area around the park and hill.

Graceful arched bridge.

Graceful arched bridge.

Fellow travellers waving from the bridge.

Fellow travellers waving from the bridge.

Next Post: More from the waterfront park in Guilin – street photography.

Li River – Tourism

Waiting for the next tour group.

Waiting for the next tour group.

Taking foreign and Chinese tourists on the lovely River Li is a booming business for the town of Yangshuo and the neighbouring city of Guilin; the name of Guilin is probably more familiar to westerners than Yangshuo. Our boat was bigger (and uglier) than the colourful boats pictured here. There were about 40 of us (a combination of buses 2 and 3 from the Sinorama 21-day tours) so the smaller boats would not have been big enough.

Looking back towards the village of Yangshuo.

Looking back towards the village of Yangshuo.

Chinese tourists always waved at us.

Chinese tourists always waved at us.

A private boat, and photographer.

A private boat, and photographer.

Some boats put in to shop at vendors on the riverside. Ours did not!

Some boats put in to shop at vendors on the riverside. Ours did not!

Ghost City, Fengdu China

A beautiful entrance to the Ghost City proper.  It was very foggy/smoggy and humid.

A beautiful entrance to the Ghost City proper. It was very foggy/smoggy and humid.

It was a steamy and smoggy day when we were offered a ‘free’ tour of The Ghost City. In other words, this tour was included in our overall tour/cruise price. Fengdu is 170 Km downstream from Chongqing and it was our last excursion before we docked and debarked the next morning.  There was a considerable amount of uphill trekking to get to the site entrance. And considerably more to get to the more esoteric aspects of the ghostly city.

Another view of the entrance area.

Another view of the entrance area.

An interesting thing about Chinese floral displays was that they were not planted in the ground, but left in their pots.  Is there something to be learned by northern park designers from this?  There certainly didn't appear to be much vandalism - but then in China, in 'official' places you wouldn't expect any.

An interesting thing about Chinese floral displays was that they were not planted in the ground, but left in their pots. Is there something to be learned by northern park designers from this? There certainly didn’t appear to be much vandalism – but then in China, in ‘official’ places you wouldn’t expect any.

The city has been around for nearly 2,000 years, filling it with a spooky sense of the past. The story begins back in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE), when two officials decided to run away and live out their lives, where they eventually, the story goes, became immortal. Yin and Wang, the names of the officials, were combined during a later dynasty to mean “King of the Underworld.”There is background to be found here and here.

Superficially, Fengdu looked like a fairly typical older shrine.

Fairly typical Chinese architecture, roof lines and colour.

Fairly typical Chinese architecture, roof lines and colour.

Painting detail.

Painting detail.

Roof detail; mythical figures.

Roof detail; mythical figures.

A terrace for gathering and meditating on what one has seen?

A terrace for gathering and meditating on what one has seen?

 

The end of the tour - vendors selling all manner of spirited souvenirs.

The end of the tour – vendors selling all manner of spirited souvenirs.

There was a long set of stairs back down to the cruise ship.

Returning to the ship from Fengdu.

Returning to the ship from Fengdu.

That’s enough photos for one post, and a good storyteller leaves things hanging.
The next post will include the ghost-like aspect of Fengdu.

Gorgeous Gorges

Another sunrise-in-smog photo.

Another sunrise-in-smog photo.

On our second day on the Yangtze River cruise we boarded smaller boats and navigated upstream through narrow gorges that were inaccessible from the cruise ship. The cliffs were steep and some of the views spectacular. But we were not alone – there were tour boats of several shapes and sizes to keep us company.

gorgeous-3186

gorgeous-3187

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Temple, high above the current water levels.

Temple, high above the current water levels.

There were also private boats and speed boats on the narrower gorges so it is not unreasonable to think that wealthy Chinese might want to escape urban life and sail upriver to an idyllic spot like this.

This "road' seemed to lead to an out of the way vacations home - as seen in the next photo  There were private boats and speed boats keeping us company as we toured the narrower gorges so it is not unreasonable to think that a wealthy Chinese might want to escape urban life, drive to a boat dock and sail upriver to an idyllic spot like this.

This “road’ seemed to lead to an out of the way vacation home – as seen in the next photo

A small compound. Monks or a getaway?

A small compound. Monks or a getaway?

There was supposed to be some sort of coffin in a cave high up one of the cliffs. I thought it was this one, but - no coffin here!  If you go, listen for the legend and get the evidence!

There was supposed to be some sort of coffin in a cave high up one of the cliffs. I thought it was this one, but – no coffin here! If you go, listen for the legend and get the evidence!

Next post: Monkeys!