Well, it's my last week in Hong Kong and I don't think I've ever been so busy. I've been crossing a few more sights off my list and visiting with all my new friends before I go- not to mention trying to figure out how all my belongings will fit back into my luggage!
And it all started with a jam session I hosted at Peel Fresco, a venue that was first mentioned in one of my early blogs. They have a weekly Sunday evening jam, and I thought it would be a great way to kick off my final week in Hong Kong- indeed it was. Most of my new musician friends here in town stopped by to hear my amazing band in a more intimate setting- and they came through with a super-tight performance. Then everyone jammed and I got to hear samples from the many unique and talented musicians here in town. Here is one action shot captured by vocalist Jennifer Palor:
We had a couple of lovely sunny days this week (a rarity during Hong Kong summers) so I took the opportunity to cross another sight off my to-do list. This was just one view on the bus ride to Stanley, a village on the southern side of Hong Kong Island:
We passed by Repulse Bay Beach (which was documented in an earlier blog) and it's smaller neighbour, Deep Water Bay:
We also had a view of a theme park called Ocean Park which I had no idea even existed- it is isolated on a hill with a cable car system for access, and seems to be based on marine animal attractions from the North and South Poles. It also has several rides, including a large roller coaster which you might be able to make out here:
Stanley is one of the oldest village on Hong Kong Island, and was also the most populous at the time Britain took over in 1841. Here was my first view of Murray House, one of Hong Kong's oldest buildings and a former officer barracks- which was relocated (along with the also-visible cast-iron roof truss of the Blake Pier) from the Central area on the north side of the island:
Stanley Village itself has a quaint Main Street and Promenade along the waterfront, with many little restaurants and pubs- further inland there are also street markets selling the typical Hong Kong fare (souvenirs, apparel, jewelry, etc.):
Here is a view of Stanley from the other side of the promenade:
And the view from my table where I stopped to enjoy a refreshing beverage called a Limoncello Sunrise (you can see the Blake Pier on the upper right hand side):
Most Hong Kong children head back to school this week, however many students and parents attended protests regarding the new curriculum that the Chinese government is phasing in over the next few years- they call it something akin to "brainwashing". I happened upon one such demonstration as I was on my way to immigration for some business regarding my work visa:
I'm not often on the east side of the island, so I walked back to Central along the waterfront and snapped a view of the Kowloon (mainland) side:
I also spied a unique building, which is apparently the new offices for the Hong Kong government- two towers with a glass arch joining them:
My final sight-seeing duty was to take the Star Ferry, a Hong Kong institution that ferries people from the Island to Kowloon- it is perhaps somewhat outdated now that the subway also bridges the island with the mainland, however for just $2.50 (that's about 30 cents Canadian) you have upper deck access and a one-way ride that lasts maybe 5-10 minutes or so.
I did a round-trip journey- here was the view from the Kowloon side as I was returning to the Island. You can see Two IFC (International Finance Centre) dominating the skyline, along with it's baby brother One IFC- both towers anchor the IFC Mall, which I got to know quite well as it is adjacent to the Four Seasons Hotel:
The IFC mall houses the huge Apple store, until recently the only one in Hong Kong- and still the only one on the Island:
I also had the opportunity to do a last-minute gig at Gecko, which has great jazz on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings- and checked out a great vegan cafe with a bunch of new friends, all singers with regular gigs at the top local hotels. I'll save a special photo of that gathering for my next mailing list update, so please consider submitting your email address if you haven't already!
I'm already wondering what to blog about when I return to Toronto- and happy to take suggestions, please feel free to post them in the comments below! There may be a short gap in postings while I recover from what will surely be serious jetlag, but I promise you'll be hearing from me again very soon.
All the best and thank you to everyone in Hong Kong who made my stay so enjoyable,