My body clock is finally back to normal after a recent 11- day trip to China and Hong Kong, with a stop in the Philippines on my way back to Seattle – just in time for Daylight Savings Time (insert grumpy face…).
It was a trip for my J-O-B and not a vacation, but I did have a chance to get out one day in Hong Kong and an afternoon and one evening in the Manila. I took my GoPro with me and I carried it around as I walked the streets of Hong Kong and during my entire Junk ride. I am working on putting together a small film about the ride and the boat.
I spent 7 days in the southern city of Dongguan. It is a vast web of medium to heavy industrial firms that build all manner of parts. My employer manufactures aircraft and medical cable assemblies there, but there are hudres of machine shops, PCB board houses, mold makers, and the Apple production site is in the area as well. The trip to the factory every morning was eye-opening: traffic hazards, Grade-A people watching, construction, etc… I rolled up to an intersection on my last day there just as the motocart got t-boned by a mini van. Red lights are really just suggestions in China.
When I arrived in Hong Kong, my hotel room that had been reserved had been given away to another party. before I could even ask, I was swiftly upgraded and put in a “Tower Suite” with 3 rooms and a view of the harbor that was sunning. Probably the 2nd or 3rd nicest room I have ever stayed in my entire live – my suite a few years ago in Shanghai was stunning (no view though) and huge the suite in the Riad l’Aziza in Marrakesh is #1. The only thing that would have made it better is if Stamps-With-Foot could have been there to enjoy the room and view with me. Below are a few shots of the harbor view from my window.
The one day that I had off, I had a leisurely breakfast and then headed out early in a light drizzling rain through Kowloon Park to the Metro and on to a tourist market and a street on Kowloon Island that deals in very high priced antiques – window shopping for me, thank you very much.
After a little market stall bargaining, I made my way to the docks to get a few shots of the harbor and tour the maritime center. I happened to be taking pictures when a Chinese Junk boat glided into the frame and docked 50 feet from where I was posted up. Luck would have it that it was a tour boat and I signed right up and paid the nice lady standing by the gang plank my money as I hopped on board.
The boat is called the Duk Ling and is that last surviving original sailing junk left in Hong Kong. There used to be 1000’s of them. They were ubiquitous and feature prominently in 70s era Kung Fu movies shot around HK. I am told that they were casualites of the 1999 hand over and modernization of the harbor.
Built in the 1950, and rescued from a watery grave after a monsoon in 2004, The Duk Ling sails Victoria harbor as a floating time capsule. I took a harbor tour aboard from Kowloon Island to Kowloon and I smiled the whole way.
My room in Manila, where I spent three nights, was not as swanky as the Honk Kong suite, but the view was just as sweet.
I was in the Conrad – Pasay , which is connected to The SM Mall of Asia. I was told proudly by the hotel staff that it is the 11th largest mall in the world, but that is, to date, an unverified claim. Regardless, it was huge and had a whole section that was grouped with music and instrument shops. I may have bought another ukulele… IF that happened, that would make three. There were two stores here that only had ukes and uke related items for sale. OK, I admit it… I picked up a little pineapple shaped mahogany Kala. I couldn’t help myself. Iit was retail and even in Manila it wasn’t a great deal, but it was about 10% cheaper than I can find online in the US AND I have a cool souvenir from the Philippines.
The Jeepney bus is still everywhere in Manila. As an owner/caretaker of a 1986 CJ7, it makes my heart happy to see the pride that some of the owners take in keeping their vehicles in immaculate shape. It sounds as if they too will soon be a victim of the modern world: while I was there, it was announced that there was going to be a government crack down and all the old Jeepneys would have to be retired – pollution and safety issues. The owners got super pissed and held a protest and a day long strike. I hope that they remain a fixture of the city in some way or form..
When I made it home from Asia, it was really nice to see/know that my sweet wife and Truffle missed me. Truffle demanded my time and attention for hours after I walked in the door. I spent a little time in the sunshine, serenading her with a little ukulele while she napped on my lap – we were both happy.