A Travellerspoint blog

Night Vision.

Normality? Not quite.

overcast

I follow what's happening in the UK on the news and I'm beginning to feel Hong Kong and the UK are complete opposites as far as covid goes. We had a bad covid outbreak here before it became an issue in Europe. Our situation improved just as Europe's first covid wave broke out. Europe got a bit better in the summer, but summer here was very bad - we called it our third wave. We had to wear a mask every time we went inside a public building, and later also every time we went outside and this included whilst exercising. Also in the summer it was illegal to be in a group of more than two people and restaurants closed at 7pm. Gyms, swimming pools, beaches, cinemas, libraries, karaoke bars were all closed. Now life is a little bit more normal here, just as covid starts to get worse in the UK again. Schools have reopened here for half days, so I'm now teaching real kids rather than zooming them. We can be in a group of four in a public place. Restaurants open till latish and, glory be to God, swimming pools are open. Swimming is my main exercise and I am so so so fat after not being able to do it all summer.

Last week was a long weekend here due to National Day and Mid Autumn Festival. I ate out a couple of times, swam in our pool and, because I am missing it very much, took photos to put in my travel blog.

Let's start with our pool. Obviously it's not exactly our pool. It's a sports club we are members of that has beautiful indoor and outdoor pools as well as other facilities. I try to swim there as much as I can.

Pool at our sports club by day.

Pool at our sports club by day.

Pool at our sports club by day.

Pool at our sports club by day.

Pool at our sports club at night.

Pool at our sports club at night.

Pool at our sports club by night.

Pool at our sports club by night.

Pool by night.

Pool by night.

Pool by night.

Pool by night.

The other sports club pool.

The other sports club pool.

The other sports club pool.

The other sports club pool.

In the restaurant at the club.

In the restaurant at the club.

View from the restaurant at Club Sienna.

View from the restaurant at Club Sienna.

Enjoying a beer at Club Sienna.

Enjoying a beer at Club Sienna.

Singapore vermicelli noodles at Club Sienna.

Singapore vermicelli noodles at Club Sienna.

I only took my camera to the pool to take photos of the beautiful Mid- Autumn Festival lanterns which were on display there, but being me I forgot to photo them. I'll add a photo from previous years instead.

Mid-Autumn Lanterns. - Hong Kong

Mid-Autumn Lanterns. - Hong Kong

On my walk home I decided to take some photos of Hong Kong at night to make up for my earlier forgetfulness. These are photos in my local area rather than the famous Hong Kong skyline, but I feel the area I live in is very pretty when it is lit up in the evenings.

Looking out across the water.

Looking out across the water.

View over the North Plaza, Discovery Bay.

View over the North Plaza, Discovery Bay.

View over the North Plaza Discovery Bay.

View over the North Plaza Discovery Bay.

Night lights.

Night lights.

Night lights.

Night lights.

Secret Paths.

Secret Paths.

Secret Paths.

Secret Paths.

Illuminated plants.

Illuminated plants.

Illuminated plants.

Illuminated plants.

Typical Hong Kong night scenery on a residential estate.

Typical Hong Kong night scenery on a residential estate.

Typical Hong Kong night scenery on a residential estate.

Typical Hong Kong night scenery on a residential estate.

Typical Hong Kong night scenery on a residential estate.

Typical Hong Kong night scenery on a residential estate.

Typical Hong Kong night scenery on a residential estate.

Typical Hong Kong night scenery on a residential estate.

Looking over the main plaza.

Looking over the main plaza.

Unfortunately waiting for me in our buildings lift were all the reminders about wearing face masks. They are not coming down any time soon as experts here predict we will soon be on our fourth covid wave.

Facemask posters.

Facemask posters.

Facemask posters.

Facemask posters.

It's not just covid that is abnormal here at the moment. After an extremely hot nearly dry summer here which is unusual as summer is normally rainy season, we have finally reached a cooler autumn - our dry season and we've had so many severe rain storms :- amber, red and black, plus terrible thunder storms.

Lone cyclist battling through a red rain storm.

Lone cyclist battling through a red rain storm.

Sunrise from my window.

Sunrise from my window.

Sunrise from my window.

Sunrise from my window.

Posted by irenevt 03:27 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (22)

Night out.

Celebrating getting through a very difficult year.

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Sunrise on my way to work.

Sunrise on my way to work.

It's coming up to summer holiday time. At my school we have just one more week to work ( Thank you, God). It's not like other years. This summer none of us expect to be going anywhere or having too much fun. I'll have a seven week holiday and will spend most of it tidying out drawers (oh great joy!!!!), swimming, eating and drinking. The most exciting it might get is possibly having a staycation in a Hong Kong hotel.

Recently we have been having an extremely busy time at work with lots of things that were postponed during closure needing to be done since we got back. To cheer ourselves up last week we decided to have a year group night out.

Leaving school.

Leaving school.

We started out by going to Queens Road in Central where we headed to Ichu. This is a Peruvian bar and restaurant located on the third floor of the H Queen's Building. We sat outside on the terrace and enjoyed some beers, pisco and wine between us. We also tried their sweet potato fries which were deep purple in colour and had a rather strange flavour. According to Ichu's website, this restaurant is the first Asian venture of Chef Martínez who is the chef at the world's sixth best restaurant ‘Central’ in Lima, Peru.

In Ichu.

In Ichu.

In Ichu.

In Ichu.

In Ichu.

In Ichu.

In Ichu.

In Ichu.

In Ichu.

In Ichu.

Afterwards we took the lift to the top floor of H Queen’s to look at Piqniq by Le Comptoir. This is a roof top open air restaurant with great views. Apparently one of its claims to fame is its plastic mushroom. It takes all sorts, I guess. We were cheeky and just took photos without buying a drink but I'd go back and drink there now I know where it is.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

Piqniq.

After our photo session, we walked to escalator street and headed up towards Mid-levels. The escalator was closed at one point so we had to go through the former police station, magistracy and prison compound which is now a restaurant and entertainment venue known as Tai Kwun. We decided it made a good backdrop for another photo.

Escalator street.

Escalator street.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Tai Kwun.

Finally, we reached our destination for our meal which was Santorini, a Greek restaurant on Elgin Street. We ordered a souvlaki platter, a tuna fish souvlaki and a roasted vegetables.

In Santorini.

In Santorini.

In Santorini.

In Santorini.

In Santorini.

In Santorini.

In Santorini.

In Santorini.

At the end of the meal they brought us a digestive - an aniseed flavoured liqueur on the house.

Posted by irenevt 06:08 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (15)

On the up and up.

sunny

I restarted doing Zoom lessons on Tuesday and while they don't take all day, I had planning and marking to do as well so I did not go out at all on Tuesday or Wednesday. I noticed by Wednesday night that I was feeling even more unfit than I have been recently. My normal exercise is swimming; thanks to coronavirus more recently it's been beer and wine drinking!!!! I'm very out of condition. So today after my lesson I decided to go out for a walk.

Unfortunately, by the time I had finished the lesson it was after one o'clock and already very very hot. I had intended to climb to the top of a hill for views. I did not quite make it to the top, but at least, I came pretty close. I took my photos. I could feel my skin burning despite putting on factor 30 sun screen. I stupidly had not brought any water. The walk up the hill involves climbing hundreds of very uneven stairs. It's not easy to get up and it's necessary to come down carefully as well so you don't trip.

Uneven steps.

Uneven steps.

More uneven steps.

More uneven steps.

And more steps.

And more steps.

And more steps.

And more steps.

I took pictures of some ferns next to the path which gave me a good excuse to stop for a rest, while pretending I was doing something. Haha!

Ferns.

Ferns.

Ferns.

Ferns.

I'm pretty sure I was close to the top when I decided I had had enough and that I was way too hot. I had taken views on the way up and they were pretty enough anyway so I decided just to come back down.

Lower Level Views.

Lower Level Views.

Lower Level Views.

Lower Level Views.

Lower Level Views.

Lower Level Views.

Getting higher.

Getting higher.

Getting higher.

Getting higher.

Getting higher.

Getting higher.

Getting higher.

Getting higher.

Going up.

Going up.

This is the top for me.

This is the top for me.

This is the top for me.

This is the top for me.

This is the top for me.

This is the top for me.

Views.

Views.

Views on the way back.

Views on the way back.

When I got back down, breathless and exhausted, I saw two people and a dog waiting for me to get down so they could go up. I staggered past them and turned round to see them start to jog effortlessly up the hill. They were probably at the top in five minutes!!!! Oh well, not to worry at least I got some exercise. Still found the energy to take some flower pictures on my way home.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Impatiens walleriana or Busy Lizzie.

Impatiens walleriana or Busy Lizzie.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

It's our day for meeting up with a friend and going out for dinner. This week is her birthday week so our turn to pay.

Arriving at the restaurant we should have a mask on, then we are temperature checked, given hand gel and have to sign a health declaration saying we have not left Hong Kong in the last two weeks and we feel well. There's a big tower of chairs behind us because tables and chairs can no longer be too close together and this means there are lots of extra ones with nowhere to go.

Peter and birthday girl.

Peter and birthday girl.

Birthday girl.

Birthday girl.

Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday.

Peter with the chair tower.

Peter with the chair tower.

Me with the chair tower.

Me with the chair tower.

After a very pleasant meal I took Peter to the bus. He has eyesight problems and can't see well at night, but I did not get on the bus. I walked home along the beach. The reverse of my walk to the shops. The beach is beautiful at night and very peaceful.

Beach by night.

Beach by night.

Beach by night.

Beach by night.

Beach by night.

Beach by night.

Beach by night.

Beach by night.

Posted by irenevt 05:49 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (10)

Going Shopping via the Beach.

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Today is Easter Monday. It's a public holiday here so I don't need to do any Zoom teaching. It's very hot like yesterday. It's only really in the last couple of days that the temperature has started to shoot up here.

Today I needed to go shopping for food and also to find a birthday present for one of my friends. It's actually her birthday today but we will celebrate with her on Thursday.

The walk to the shops takes me about twenty minutes. The first part is along a road but there are mountains behind it. Actually our flat faces onto these mountains. Once years ago we all had to be evacuated in the middle of the night when a hill fire went out of control there. As with yesterday's walk there are plenty of plants. I stop to look at a banyan tree with its aerial roots and some brightly coloured leafy plants.

Banyan Tree.

Banyan Tree.

I just found this plant pretty.

I just found this plant pretty.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Callistemon Bottle Brush Plants.

Callistemon Bottle Brush Plants.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Then I pass what is normally a busy playground but it's been surrounded by tape to keep people out and even the seating area is out of bounds.

Playgrounds and seating areas are taped off.

Playgrounds and seating areas are taped off.

Playgrounds and seating areas are taped off.

Playgrounds and seating areas are taped off.

Next I walk downhill through a small wood. I normally keep my eyes on the path so as not to trip on the rather irregular steps but today I'm busy looking around me and taking pictures. I think passersby think I'm a bit crazy.

Through the small wood.

Through the small wood.

Through the small wood.

Through the small wood.

Through the small wood.

Through the small wood.

Bamboo is plentiful here.

Bamboo is plentiful here.

Once at the bottom of the hill I have reached the beach. I deliberately go the wrong way to the far end where the boats are moored to take some pictures. Three people are in swimming. I'm pleased to see that. If it's hot tomorrow again I will swim, too once I've done my Zoom teaching. I don't normally swim in the sea here as the water is actually pretty dirty. We are not far from the ferry terminal. I usually swim three or four times a week in the sports club swimming pool, but as that's shut the sea will have to do. I'll worry about getting the oil off later !!!

The beach, on the other hand, is well-maintained and clean. There are only a few people on it today. On a public holiday and in the sunshine it would normally be really really busy. Some kids are building a sand castle. They've all got their little masks on. One guy is out in a canoe and his friend is filming him. There are a lot of shells lying around.

Boats.

Boats.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Beach.

Seashell.

Seashell.

Past the beach is one of our two plazas where all our shops and restaurants are. I stop to picture one of our rather odd murals. Instead of going straight to the supermarket I take a walk around the restaurants. Quite a lot of restaurants have closed here. Bars have been forced to close. If restaurants opt to stay open, they have to follow a new set of rules. The rules are actually quite vague and are being interpreted in different ways. Tables have to be at least 2m apart. Some places get round this by putting reserved signs on every second table as they've nowhere to move their tables to. Some turn every second table upside down and pile its chairs on top of it. There have been stories about policemen with measuring tapes raiding places and issuing fines if diners are too close together. A maximum of four people can occupy one table. We ate out last Thursday. We had to disinfectant ourselves with hand gel, pass a temperature check and fill in a health declaration form to get in. Then when we ordered we had to order food and drink at the same time as it's illegal now to just go out for a drink. I took pictures of the menus of some of the restaurants that are still open.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Mural.

Chinese Restaurant.

Chinese Restaurant.

Italian Restaurant.

Italian Restaurant.

Korean Barbecue Restaurant.

Korean Barbecue Restaurant.

For more exercise I stroll down to the ferry. I normally use this to get to work, but not recently as I'm working online. Then I wander along the seafront and cut up some steps into one of the fancier residential places here. It's more expensive than where I live. I'm on the tenth floor of a nineteen story high rise. This area is meant to look Italian with little statues and fountains scattered around everywhere. I find more trees with aerial roots, more leafy plants that I like and some bauhinia trees that are still in flower. The bauhinia is Hong Kong's national flower. It's on money and on the flag. It's at its loveliest a little bit earlier than now.

Our Ferry.

Our Ferry.

Our Ferry.

Our Ferry.

Aerial Roots.

Aerial Roots.

Swiss Cheese Plants.

Swiss Cheese Plants.

Leafy Plants.

Leafy Plants.

Fake Italian Look.

Fake Italian Look.

Fake Italian Look.

Fake Italian Look.

Fake Italian Look.

Fake Italian Look.

Fake Italian Look.

Fake Italian Look.

Bauhinia Tree.

Bauhinia Tree.

Bauhinia Tree.

Bauhinia Tree.

Finally, I go buy the birthday present, shop for food and take the bus home, not because it's far but because my shopping is heavy. As I near the centre of the plaza I put my mask on. Nearly everyone wears masks here. I put one on in shops and on public transport. People get a bit upset if you don't wear one. If you look at the people in my photos, most of them are wearing masks. The plaza looks so empty. It is normally a lot busier than this.

The Plaza.

The Plaza.

The Plaza.

The Plaza.

Posted by irenevt 02:16 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (10)

Life during the Pandemic - A Walk in the Park.

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Discovery Bay, Hong Kong.

Discovery Bay, Hong Kong.

Like all members of Travellers point, I'm missing travelling and missing taking photos. Here in Hong Kong we are not currently in lockdown, though we are discouraged from going out other than for shopping or exercise. We are also not allowed to be in groups of more than four people. Most days, in order to exercise and stay sane, I take a walk in the area where I live. I'm very fortunate as I live in part of Hong Kong that has open space, greenery and not too much in the way of crowds. Believe me this is not typical for here.

Each time I go walking, even in the pouring rain, I keep thinking how pretty it is and that I should take some photos around where I am and treat it as if I'm on holiday to cheer myself up, so today instead of just walking I took my phone with me and took some pictures.

I mainly walked around Sienna Park. I walk here so often, I pretty much take it for granted. I'm usually on my way to or from the swimming pool at Club Sienna, but, sadly, that is shut due to the Pandemic. I'm missing swimming as much as I miss travelling. On the plus side having nowhere to go is helping me appreciate what I do have.

First, I walked around the park's ponds and waterfalls. I suppose they are fairly artificial, but they are still pretty. There are several statues of birds here. Actually there are plenty of real birds here, too, but today they refused to play nice and pose. Maybe I will come back with my camera rather than my phone, that way I can take shots of the birds and the turtles that can always be found here.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Waterfalls.

Waterfalls.

Waterfalls.

Waterfalls.

Bird Statues.

Bird Statues.

Bird Statues.

Bird Statues.

Bird Statues.

Bird Statues.

Fountain with Bouganvilia.

Fountain with Bouganvilia.

Bouganvilia.

Bouganvilia.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Ponds.

Ponds.

After that I walked past the community garden. This is a sort of allotment. Not many people have gardens here and someone came up with the idea of letting people grow their own vegetables in a community garden. While allotments are pretty normal in the UK, they are quite unusual here. This year the tomato plants seem to be doing rather well. Glad something is.

Community Garden.

Community Garden.

Community Garden.

Community Garden.

Community Garden.

Community Garden.

Sienna Park is always filled with beautiful flowers. Bouganvilia is thriving at the moment, but there are lots of other plants, too.

Branches.

Branches.

Branches.

Branches.

Bamboo.

Bamboo.

Chinese Fan Palm Leaves.

Chinese Fan Palm Leaves.

Hawaiian ti plant Cordyline fruticosa.

Hawaiian ti plant Cordyline fruticosa.

Leaves.

Leaves.

Chinese Ixora Flowers.

Chinese Ixora Flowers.

Alpinia Nutans Flowers.

Alpinia Nutans Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

Macaranga tanarius Flowers.

Macaranga tanarius Flowers.

Bouganvilia.

Bouganvilia.

Bouganvilia.

Bouganvilia.

Bouganvilia.

Bouganvilia.

Bouganvilia.

Bouganvilia.

Next I took a walk along the massage path for the benefit of my feet and headed down to the sea. It's Easter Sunday. The sun is shining, skies are blue. I looked out towards Hong Kong Island in the distance. I normally travel there for work, but recently have been mainly working from home. I took a look at the coconut palms at the end of the empty swimming pool. Then looked further along the path towards our hotel. At one point I used to feel like I'd reached safety and escaped the virus when I came home here from work. That all changed after a wedding in that chapel building with the sloping roof which is on the hotel's ground. A wedding in the chapel led to a coronavirus outbreak here when one of the guests had the virus and passed it to many of the others who then passed it to their partners and children who weren't even at the wedding. I think thirteen people got ill from this one event, including the groom. Since then several more people have come down with coronavirus here from different sources.

Massage Path.

Massage Path.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.

Hong Kong Island in the distance.

Hong Kong Island in the distance.

Hong Kong Island in the distance.

Hong Kong Island in the distance.

Coconut Palms.

Coconut Palms.

Coconut Palms.

Coconut Palms.

The sloping chapel roof where the ill-fated wedding took place.

The sloping chapel roof where the ill-fated wedding took place.

I doubled back into the park where I noticed a different kind of palm tree. Then cut back onto the road where I walked past some very beautiful hibiscus plants. Finally, I reached one of the many closed down play areas which are dotted around here and a poster about the virus lest we forget all about it.

Palm trees in the park.

Palm trees in the park.

Palm trees in the park.

Palm trees in the park.

Leaves.

Leaves.

Leaves.

Leaves.

Garden Croton.

Garden Croton.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

Hibiscus.

Playgrounds are eerie without children.

Playgrounds are eerie without children.

Virus Poster.

Virus Poster.

Posted by irenevt 00:41 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (11)

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