Things you see at the beach in HK

You’d think going to the beach is a pretty universal experience. While it generally is, certain Hong Kong beachgoers add a sprinkle of entertainment.

 

Facekini wearing women – this is not a joke, I’ve see it with my own eyes… multiple times. Don’t know what a facekini is? Google it, you won’t be disappointed.

Person completely slathered in tanning oil – to the point that they shine like a disco ball and refuse to move/touch anything in fear of smearing their sleek layer.

Stretching elderly gentlemen– warming up before they swim, just like they are preparing for the Olympics. Doing split lunges on the steps leading to the lifeguard office.

Sun avoiding young lady – sitting under the sun umbrella, with clothes on and never entering the water. ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun is finally out!

We’ve had pretty grim weather in the past few weeks in Hong Kong but finally the sun is back, the smog is (mostly) gone and the weather is just beautiful!

I’m not complaining about the heat and blazing sun because I know very well I won’t have them in the uk… that’s kinda sad.

 

I’ve been looking at Hong Kong skyline and I think I am really, really, REALLY going to miss this city…

 

Wan Chai Expo Promenade & moody Hong Kong

The weather has been quite gloomy (until very recently) and I was tired of waiting for blue sky to take pictures.

First, Hong Kong’s skies are often cloudy, so I thought I should capture this side of this city if I want to give an accurate depiction of it.

Secondly, fellow Olympus photographers have taught me that clear blue skies are boring and I should enjoy days where I can play around with the settings on my camera to capture the moody side of Hong Kong.

 

Since I have been to many of the accessible (= do not require a hike) sunset spots in the city, I browsed Google maps (as you do) until I stumbled across Wan Chai Promenade, just behind the Convention Center.

Once I got there, I was surprised at the number of Mainland Chinese tourists- who were all unloading from the nearby tour buses, but I was even more surprised at the lack of photographers… only  two other people were there.

 

I messed around for approx 1 hour and am quite happy with the results and the fact that I managed to get both sides of the harbour in the pictures!

 

 

 

 

Sai Wan Swimming Shed

I recently came across the photo of a place that didn’t look like Hong Kong… It looked like somewhere in Europe. As soon as I realised it was Hong Kong Island I was determined to go.

 

The Sai wan swimming shed (or rather jetty) on the west coast of Hong Kong Island is the last public swimming shed still in activity in the city. The swimming shed is still used by a few swimmers, but it has mainly become a big photography spot. It’s very popular with wedding photographers, Instagram keen teenagers and landscape photographers.

 

I waited several weeks until both the weather and the husband cooperated. I had been warned to avoid weekends as the spot is too crowded, so we ventured out on a Friday evening one hour before sunset.

I’d scouted out the exact location on Google Street view and I’m glad I did as it’s very easy to miss: an opening in the fence with a sign in Chinese, leading to steps going down into dense vegetation, a shed and finally the jetty.

 

Once we arrived, a couple in wedding attire were gingerly standing on the jetty while waves crashed around them and a wedding photographer tried to take some nice shots. Half a dozen other photographers & tripods were lined up on the platform anxiously waiting for the couple to get out of the way.

I realised another platform was available on the right hand side of the jetty and it was empty. I quickly ran and claimed the best spot – just seconds before a dozen teenagers turned up!

The whole purpose of this outing was to play around with long exposures and take some photos, objective reached – even though it was wind and so the trees are blurry.

 

The currents are pretty strong and waves regularly crash on the rocks… swimming here doesn’t look safe at all.

 

 

Hong Kong: the last 2 months

I knew it would happen, I wanted it to happen, but it happened much faster than I thought it would.

We are leaving Hong Kong at the end of July to return to the UK.

I love Hong Kong to bits, it’s such an amazing city full of contrasts and adventures, yet there are a few issues that mean it may not be the place where we settle.

These issues are:

  • The job market: simply put, I currently do not fit in.

I am a New Product Development Project Manager, but food companies with manufacturing operations in Hong Kong can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The few times I did see an offer, they regarded Chinese food, which I have no knowledge of…  Additionally, I do not speak, read or write Cantonese AND Mandarin fluently.

Mastering both Chinese languages is becoming increasingly mandatory and only a few sectors are exempt (banking being one of them).

 

  • Housing: renting a small apartment at high price doesn’t bother me too much. However, we want to eventually buy property, yet buying anything in Hong Kong seems unachievable. Not only is the price very high, the flats are tiny and the deposit is hefty. It simply isn’t achievable for us in the short/medium term.

 

  • Work culture: this one concerns Jeff rather than me. People at work are extremely competitive and do not hesitate to backstab colleagues and shoe-shine managers in order to get promoted. I’ve been told this behaviour is very common in certain industries/teams with local staff as it is instilled in people since kindergarten.

You see, there are only a handful of universities in Hong Kong, so parents put extreme pressure on their children to stand out from their classmates. This starts at a very young age with kids being enrolled in music, sport, arts & language classes, the only goal being to enter a prestigious primary school, then a prestigious high school and finally university. Children compete with one another on all aspects and this behaviour is carried over into their working lives.

 Hong Kong has so many good points: it’s safe, has easily reachable countryside, varied landscapes and no end of activities to try. Let’s not forget the food, central location for Asian holidays and warm weather.

 

I’ve learnt in the past seven years that no place is perfect and that it’s not about finding the place that ticks all the boxes, but the one that ticks the most important boxes…

I don’t know if England will tick the most important boxes (I’ll be honest and say I am concerned about safety)…but we thought we had to try, so when the opportunity came, we grabbed it.

 

We will try our best, but I would not be surprised if we eventually return to Hong Kong or try another country.

 

 

P.S: I do not plan on stopping the blog for now, even after I return to the UK

 

 

1960s Hong Kong style food court – TBG Mall

We recently made a small yet cute discovery.

 

While walking around TBG Mall in Kowloon Bay, we stumbled upon a newly opened retro food court designed to look like 1960s Hong Kong.

The food court features traditional Hong Kong style street food, such as cheese noodles, spicy noodles, grilled meat skewers, bubble tea and egg bubble waffle.

 

The corridor is filled with quaint green metallic gates behind which hide small stalls selling traditional candy, handmade soap and various bits and bobs.

The walls are lined with Mahjong tiles, abacuses, old movie posters and the food court features old style wooden shop fronts & signs.

According to my mother in law it is designed to look like the Dai Pai Dong (open-air food stalls) and Cha Chan Teng (HK Style cafés) that used to line the streets of Lower Ngau Tau Kok estate, demolished in 2010.

 

I’m really glad we discovered this little gem; I find Hong Kong doesn’t keep enough of its cultural monuments/buildings in the name of modernization. I simply love this kind of place that makes a point to remember the past, just like the Starbucks on Duddell Street.