Monday, June 30, 2014

Traveling Tuesday: Ma Wan Chung

Looking out at the Tung Chung Cable Cars sits a small fishing village called Ma Wan Chung.  The village still, partially, sits on stilts, like Tai O, which is due west of there.  It's quite quiet and remote, even though it sits so near the Yat Tung Estate of Tung Chung.

How to get to Ma Wan Chung:
1.  From Tung Chung MTR Exit B, hop on bus no. 38 (to the Yat Tung Estate)
2.  From there, walk towards the water

NOTE:  There are no clear directions.  My friend and I just GPSed it to the Ma Wan Chung Public Toilet.  We walked from Tung Chung MTR station instead of catching the bus.  On the walk, we passed the Tung Chung Battery, which made for a great photo session.  But, searching online, it seems like the easiest route would be to catch bus no. 38 to the Yat Tung Estate terminus and walk in the general direction of the seaside.

Ma Wan Chung Public Toilet area

The village is not a touristy village like Tai O.  There is a restaurant that sits on the pier, but this village is definitely on the path less traveled by.  It is a gem of a place to explore and glimpse into the lives of the local villagers.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Weekend: Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe

After waiting for over two hours, in the Hong Kong heat, we finally made it into the cafe of my childhood dreams!

I read in the South China Morning Post, last week, about the Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe opening up this past June.  The article said to expect a long wait.  Some people said the wait was four hours for them.  Knowing we would have to queue for AWHILE, we brought some water and our books to occupy our time.

Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe Info:
19 Ormsby Street
Tai Hang, Hong Kong
Tel. No. 2808 - 2868

How to get here:
1.  From Tin Hau MTR Station Exit B, look across the street and you should see a Wellcome supermarket
2.  Walk over to the Wellcome supermarket
3.  The road to the right of it should be Tung Lo Wan Road
4.  Walk up Tung Lo Wan Road for about 10 minutes
5.  When you see the intersecting Ormsby Street, turn left
6.  Walk for about 1 minute and you should see the cafe in front of you (on the left)

Though the wait was really long, the cafe staff brought us out little cups of water and peach tea.  The closer we got to being seated, we were able to sit down on benches and chars.  There was a moderately sized fan near the benches, which I was so grateful for.  We also got Hello Kitty Secret Garden Cafe paper fans to help cool us down.  

There was a good, simple selection of food and drink!

The food was all right.  I wasn't in the best of mindsets to judge because we were two hours past our lunch time...we were starving.  I just remember the salad really was refreshing, the burger was so savory, and the quiches were too salty for my tastebuds.  But, our meal definitely filled our bellies and our souls!
Mango and Pomelo Salad

Secret Garden Burger (Beef)

Salmon and Pumpkin Quiche

Fruit Cocktail

Ham and Cheese, with Vegetable Quiche

My last thoughts, I would love to go back with some of my girlfriends.  It makes a great afternoon tea spot.  My husband and I didn't order a dessert because we were too full, so, I have to sample a tart or cake my next time around.  But I might return after the summer...when the crowds and the heat die down.  

The wait was worth it!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

13 Dimensions of Hong Kong

The latest exhibit at the Hong Kong Museum of Art gathered thirteen artists whose works emanated the essence of Hong Kong.  The Museum's website says that these thirteen "not only reflect the inseparable relationship between Hong Kong artists and local culture, but also highlight the uniqueness of Hong Kong art in this globalized world."  

The exhibit was beautiful to walk through.  The first moment I entered the gallery, I was confronted with four chickens eyeing my every movement.  This was actually the chicken robot display, where these chickens were role-models of the perfect/well-behaved chickens that do not spread diseases.  They stood in front of the video the artist made, where he took a chicken robot and asked the general public to interact with it. 

Every morning, I see old women standing outside of the pharmacies or grocery stores asking for the cardboard boxes.  They cart their wagons around and make their rounds before dropping off their flattened boxes at the recycling center.  This is what I thought of when I saw the installations below, which were made of cardboard/scrap paper.  The artist plaque said that it was to commemorate the older people who collect scrap paper for a living. 

The photographs below were taken of Hong Kong rooftops.  These were just so beautiful to view and made me wonder what the rooftops of all the skyscrapers looked like.

Below is a patchwork umbrella made of umbrellas.  When I saw this, I laughed out loud because I have bought nearly an umbrella a year.  Most years, my umbrellas gave out during the monsoon season.  The winds just blew them inside out and sometimes they just snapped off.  I've bought a rain poncho for myself this year and an umbrella that claims to be wind resistant...whatever that means!  But, this installation, similar to a lot of the others in this gallery held a quirkiness that made me smile.

The installations below actually made me laugh for the third or fourth time (I laughed a lot at the humor in some of the exhibits installations!), as I made my rounds of the gallery.  All around the city, I always see vandalized political posters.  Usually, I see posters with eyes poked out or teeth blackened.  The thing that made me laugh was realizing that it could be a form of art!

There was also a little corner, where you could listen to some local people talking about normal things.  There are subtitles, but I just liked sitting and watching them talk.  I'm a people watching type of person.

This blog post was just a little glimpse of what this exhibit shared.  The exhibit is running until the 13th of July, 2014. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TST Wall Art: Subway Edition

Walking from Nathan Road to the Cultural Center of Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) was surprisingly inspiring!  Covering all of the walls were quotes about art, creativity, and opening your mind to the world.  

It made me think back to:

1.  my Chemistry teacher's TA used to put quotes on the chalkboard every week.  I remember he once wrote, "The grass is always greener on the other side because you failed to water your own lawn."

2.  my old co-worker used to keep a file on crazy things one of our other co-workers would say.  She also was frustrated once and blurted out, "Another day, another RMB." 

3.  Pacific Coffee (Starbuck's rival here in Hong Kong) also provides daily thoughtful quotes for customers to ponder about while they wait in line for coffee.  They say such things as:

Though it seemed a hodgepodge of quotes put together on the walls of the TST subway, they are nice to read as you walk through to the other side.

I thought you all might enjoy reading them as well!  It's a good start/end to the day to get a good quote.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Granville Road: Lung Shing Dispensary

A few years ago, one of my Peace Corps friends came to Hong Kong with a colleague from Guangzhou.  I remember her telling me of a pharmacy that was famous for stocking things that normal pharmacies didn't stock.  Years later, I totally forgot about this...until now.

This is my last post on Granville Road, so I thought I would walk off to another point of interest after this interesting find.  At first, this place looks like a shop with its clear glass windows covered with newspapers.  It actually looks like it's closed down, but it's really bustling with business inside.  It is one of the many hidden treasures on Granville Road:  Lung Shing Dispensary.  

Coming from the States, when I hear dispensary or pharmacy, I purely think of those places in drug stores that sell prescription medication.  But, moving here and also traveling around, I've learned that they carry a lot of other things beyond medicines.

There are always tourists crowded around, inside and outside of this place.  And poking around inside, I found such things as:

1.  OTC/Herbal Medicines
2.  A huge stock of BABY FORMULA 
3.  Cosmetics/Skincare (High End and Drug Store)
4.  Shampoos/Conditioners/Hair Care
5.  Body Lotions/Washes/Sunscreens


6.  Deodorant (sticks, sprays, and roll-ons)  -->finding stick deodorant is sometimes hard...difficult to do here, but I found OLD SPICE of all things in the Lung Shing Dispensary!


7.  Body Shop/Skin Foods/and the like products
8.  and other dispensary/pharmacy things.

Even though there is that NO PHOTOGRAPH (No Photo Taking) sign at the top, they let me take my photos.  The people down at the dispensary are really nice and helpful for everyone, it seems.  They were really nice to me whilst I was checking out.  Also, they definitely speak Mandarin, English, and the usual (Cantonese).

You can find a lot of international products here for such descent prices, which, at first, made me question the quality of the products I wanted to purchase.  I just bought some skincare, of which, I checked the expiration date and it was fine.  And, after opening up my package of goodies, the products I bought were also in good condition (sealed), just cheaper than buying them at Watsons or at the supermarket.

This dispensary shop is one of the places I HAVE to visit when I am down in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) and need to stock up on skincare!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Granville Road: Shopping Day

If you like to shop/window-shop, a fun place to spend an afternoon is Granville Road down in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST).  Here you can find a lot of trendy clothes, some outlet shops, your usual Nike/Adidas shops, optical shops, hair salons, cosmetic/skincare shops, accessory places, funky boutiques, trendy eateries, The One shopping mall, and the Granville Circuit (with more trendy/funky fashionable shops).  It's only a few blocks long, but it holds a lot of great shopping areas if you weave in and out of the alleys and side streets.

How to get here:
1.  From TST MTR Station Exit B1, you will find yourself on the corner of Cameron Road and Nathan Road 
2.  Turn right onto Nathan Road
3.  Walk to the next street and that should be Granville Road

The landmark to look for is The One shopping mall, which marks the beginning of Granville Road.  This street reminds me of Sai Yueng Choi street in Mong Kok...which has similar shops, but there are more local boutiques that you can find on Granville Road.

Pictured below, is one of the handful of outlet shops that you can find on Granville.  There are a number of brands that you can find in this one shop that have that funky, Hong Kong vibe.

One of my favorite shops/boutiques to visit is miner49er (pictured below).  They have some really awesome t-shirts, if you are into t-shirts.

Also, in one of the commercial buildings along Granville Road is Star Crossed Tattoo (pictured below).  If you are looking for tattoo parlors, most times the internet will direct you to the Tattoo Temple near Lan Kwai Fong, but here is an alternative for those on the Kowloon Side.  The rate here is around 1000 HKD/ matter the size or the difficulty.  If anyone has been here (please comment!)

Looking for essential oils or an alternative to LUSH?  You can find a few boutiques along Granville to test out the quality of things (pictured below).  Beyond these little boutiques, there are also the usual Sasa and Bonjour cosmetic shops that can be found here.  I thought the soaps made a great gift.  Each individual soap sold for around 50 HKD.

Lastly, for those looking for a good ole franchise, this Cotton On is one of my favorites (pictured below).  It has a great little homeware section on the ground floor.  It is one of the more crowded Cotton Ons, but it does SEEM to have a more attractive stock than some other smaller ones around the City.

Though TST has many more shopping areas (like Harbour City and Canton Road), Granville Road is a place to find random, funky, fun things.  It's a great area to explore!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Granville Road: Secondhand Shopping

Being from the Pacific Northwest, I love my secondhand shops.  Before we converted to Kindle, you could find my husband and I at Half Price Books stocking up on some good reads.  And anytime we're backpacking around the world, you can be sure to find us at the local Flea Market finding some gems.  

There are a few secondhand shops in Hong Kong, but one of my favorite ones is the Mee & Gee.  This particular one is located in Tsim Sha Tsui (71 Granville Road).  There are also shops in Mong Kok/Prince Edward, Wan Chai and Central.  

There are a lot of awesome things I always find in the racks.  And a lot of vintage pieces can be found here.  Some of the Mee & Gees in Mong Kok have a specific section for vintage items.  Mee & Gee's carry clothes for all seasons, shoes, handbags, and accessories for men and women (I am not sure if they have racks for children...).  Their prices are incredible...and if something doesn't fit, you can always get it altered at the local tailor shop!  But, definitely a great place to spend a few hours for those who love thrifting.