Most Tin Hau Temples are built on hills overlooking the sea. This one was built in 1865 by local fishermen in 1865 and was moved here in 1876.
This little fellow is Boji, who lives in the temple.
The older streets of Hong Kong can be found in areas like Prince Edward, Mong Kong, and Jordan.
To come back to Hong Kong, we just get back on the boat.
Little miniature orange trees are popular. The orange is yang and bright like the sun and considered auspicious, happy, and a symbol of abundance.
The largest is Lantau Island. Though it actually has a relatively small population, it has a really unusual mix of things on it..
Largo do Senado, Senado Square.
We had met professionally, online, when I was writing Shanghai Passion. See Creative -- Unpublished
Though people just call it "The TST Clock Tower," it is official called the Former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower, built in 1915, it is all that is left of the former Kowloon Train Station.
I arrived in Hong Kong doing work for Changan Ford and its outsourced PR firms (see About - Life in Asia China).
Macao actually gets its name from this temple, believed to have been originally built during the Ming Dynasty. When the Portuguese arrived, they asked for the name of the place and the locals replied, "Maa-gok or A-maa-gok," which means, "The Pavilion of the Mother," so the sailors named the land "Macao."
...and now its cosy and comfortable.
This museum does a good job of telling the story of Macao from a seafaring point of view..
It can get a bit smoky in here from all the incense..
Besides visiting the historic sites, by venturing onto the streets outside the tourist areas you can experience the real Macao. You can find small shops and cafes, some traditional, some trendy.
The Offerings of the Six Devas, music, flowers, incense, a lamp, ointment, and fruit, symbolising The Six Perfections humans must seek.
Amy found a block of offices being built on a floor in a factory building.
In front of the temple is Largo de Barra, Barra Square.
I can't recall seeing this before Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. It is Solanum mammosum also known as "nipple fruit" and "titty fruit" (really) and is a popular, non-edible decoration for the holiday. In Chinese it is called 五代同堂 - wu dai tong tang, meaning Five Generations Living Harmoniously Under One Roof.They are also popular in Taiwan.
When my office was being built...
As many times as I have seen the Hong Kong light show every night at 8 pm. from TST I still love it!
Like most of Hong Kong, Tsuen Wan is quite pedestrian-friendly, with overhead walkways.
Macao has lots of yummy street food.
The two biggest are Tin Hau and Kwan Yam.
To read about my consulting business, CLICK HERE.
I had been to Hong Kong several times when I was living in Japan and enjoyed it very much.
Starting a small business in Hong Kong is easy -- from the official side of registering the business. The procedures are simple and the forms very short. Hong Kong government offices are staffed by helpful people -- even the security guards will help you! There is a sign on the wall that says it takes 30 minutes to get your BR (Business Registration certificate)!
W live in Tsuen Wan (荃灣) in the New Territories. It was originally an old village, settled by Hakka people. The Sam Tung Uk Museum is an original walled village built in 1786 during the Qing Dynasty.
But it has a cool name, Superluck Industrial Centre (Phase 2).
There is no place like home!
Right across the Square is another spot we really like, The Macao Maritime Museum.
The fog in this photo detracts a bit, but you get the idea.
The chapel is quite lovely and peaceful on the inside. No pictures are allowed.
A tragic day for Hong Kong was November 11 of 2006 when the classic Streamline Moderne Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier was demolished, despite major protests. Unfortunately, Hong Kong has a horrible record at historic preservation, largely due to overdevelopment of shopping malls
The really important trip was in December of 2013 when I living in Korea (see Korea) and came to Hong Kong to ask Amy to marry me.
Repulse Bay also has another surprise. At the southeastern end you will come upon the Kwun Yam Shrine.
I first saw the hanging spiral incense at the Man Mo Temple, which is on Hollywood Road in Central. This was the first temple I visited in Hong Kong and despite all of the tourists snapping photos, it still is a warm place for me.
One of my favourite Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong is in Yau Ma Tei. This area now seems pretty far from the sea, but at one time was a shallow bay, so a temple was built here in 1800.
People sometimes ask me if Hong Kong has beaches. Repulse Bay on Hong Kong Island has a nice beach. Though the story does not seem to have any historical proof behind it, the name is said to have come from the British kicking the local pirates out of here.
A somewhat less traditional holiday celebration can be found for Christmas Eve in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong's party district.
I had always dreamed of that skyline and never imagined that I would be living there.
Guia Fortress is enjoyable on many levels.
There are several very large outdoor flower markets set up in various places in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year. Open until midnight, they can be VERY crowded.
Bo lo bao.
The three "Bun Mountains" (包山). Part of the festival involves contestants climbing up and filling bags with the buns
Guia Lighthouse was the first lighthouse on the Chinese coast when it was built in 1865.
Though Hong Kong has lots of shopping malls, it is the markets, shops and restaurants on the old streets that make it a wonderful place. Amy and I love to walk around Tsuen Wan and try local restaurants.
Having lived in China, the extravaganza of Chinese New Year was not new to me..
Little Bobo is a very friendly Macao resident.
On the other side of Victoria Harbor from Central on Hong Kong Island is Tsim She Tsui, Kowloon. This is where the Peninsula Hotel is located (see above).
We had a civil ceremony in a government office--which was surprisingly nice--witnessed by her family and my dear friend Mr. Tung.
You can take the tram out to Happy Valley for another of Hong Kong's hybrid culture traditions: horse racing.
Gon Chaau Ngau Ho, (干炒牛河) stir fried beef noodles.
The eastern entrance to Victoria Harbor is is a narrow channel from Junk Bay, which connects to the South China Sea. The Kowloon side was originally a stone-cutting village supplying Canton (Guangzhou). As Hong Kong grew under British rule into a major port, this village, called Lei Yue Mun, evolved into a seafood bazaar with restaurants to cook the wares bought in the market.
Robert Badal, A Writer in Hong Kong
Thought the Peninsula Hotel, built in 1928, is famous for Rolls Royces, you can still enjoy the afternoon tea without being a millionaire..
It is famous (and crowded) once a year for the "Bun Festival," which is correctly called the Cheung Chau Da Jui Festival (長洲太平清醮), which is a Taoist festival that is also celebrated in Taiwan and South China. The eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which coincides with Buddha's Birthday. The festival has special meaning on Cheung Chau because legend has it that in the 18th century, the island was threatened by both plague and pirates until an image of the Taoist God of the Sea, Pak Tai, was paraded through the streets.
Directly across from my office building is a "wet market," which sells meat, fish, poultry, and produce.
But while the government business registration is easy, the rest is difficult. Hong Kong has a huge problem with predatory rent practices. Commercial rents are artificially high and are not market based.
Though it is mostly referred to simply (and accurately) as "The Big Buddha" (it is over 10 stories tall), its real name is the Tian Tan Buddha because its base is a recreation of the Alter of Heaven at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, which I love very much (see About -- Life in Asia China .
My life in Hong Kong began in the middle of the protests about democracy. On TV, most Westerners probably only saw the confrontations with police. Up close, the protestors did not seem very violent. Many of them were students.
Macau's most famous casual food is Choapa Bao, or pork chop bun..
Amy and I don't bet, but its a nice way to get together with friends on a warm night..
The top level offers a wonderful view and the trams rolling along the street add a priceless ambiance to Hong Kong.
For me, two of the greatest pleasures of living in Hong Kong are simple: taking the Star Ferry across the harbor to Central and taking the tram. Both offer lovely views and a slightly slower take on transportation and both are symbols of Hong Kong's unique hybrid British/South China cultural identity.
Amy and I have a YouTube channel called Romancing Hong Kong and Macao. It's about some of the history and special places of Hong Kong and Macao. You can visit it by CLICKING HERE.
I have Pinterest boards about Hong Kong food, Delicious Hong Kong Food -- Neighborhood Restaurants. Check it out by CLICKING HERE..
Gai daan jai
When I was writing my mystery novel, Shanghai Passion, my friend Matt Lai took me to many of the seedier part of Hong Kong to hang out and get a feel for where the bad boys (and girls) hand out. You can read some of the details on the Creative -- Unpublished page by CLICKING HERE.
This courtly gentleman has been a waiter here for 60 years!.
The wedding party was several months later in the lovely harbor-view Parklane Hotel in Causeway Bay.
Besides the street food sellers and local shops and restaurants, a big part of the unique feeling of Hong Kong's older streets are the classic neon signs. The look of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner was inspired by Hong Kong's neon-lit streets.
...and tunnels for the soldiers.
Another thing that is special about Hong Kong is the street food...
Using edible dye, the buns are stamped with Ping An the Chinese character for peace.
Man Mo Temple was built in 1847 for god of literature and civil service Man Tai (文帝) and Mo Tai (武帝) / Kwan Tai (關帝), best known as Guan Yu. Students come here to pray for good marks on tests.
A signature dish: African chicken.
Tin Hau is worshipped in China (mostly Southern China), Japan, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia--and Hong Kong and Macao--mostly in places that make their livelihoods from the sea. There are over a hundred Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong, including in Lei Yue Mun (see above) and Cheung Chau (see below). Surprisingly, there are about 200 million total devotee worldwide.
Victoria Peak is the 2nd highest mountain in Hong Kong (highest on Hong Kong Island) at 552 m (1,811 ft). Because of its view of the harbour, it has always been a choice of residency for the wealthy. On May 28 of 1888 (a very lucky date by Chinese reckoning), governor Sir George William des Voeux (for whom the road is named) opened the Peak Tram, which was an engineering marvel in its day, a funicular railway that makes its way up the steep slope to the top. It is actually owned by the same company that owns the Peninsula. At the top there are lots of shops and restaurants.
An island we especially like is Cheung Chau (長洲, "Long Island"), which has been inhabited for a long time and has a decidedly non-urban feel.
Occupying Pier 8 in Central, The Hong Kong Maritime Museum is quite cool and super easy to access, because it right near where the Star Ferry comes in from TST. It has lots of models and stories of HK history--and some fun interactive gizmos, like this computer simulation of a giant cargo loader. The best one is a room-sized simulation of the bridge of a cargo ship. The images in the windows move just like you were on a real ship and you can see what it would be like to actually pilot one into Hong Kong.
We stayed together in Crowne Plaza Kowloon East.
Fortunately, I had super Amy to help.
One of the first souvenirs I bought on my first trip to Hong Kong was a tiny model of the Star Ferry, .
It has a very special MTR train to get there.
It is nicknamed dumbbell island (啞鈴島) because of its shape and actually has a decent beach on one side.
There are lots of outdoor restaurants along the waterfront.
Hong Kong has 263 islands, with Hong Kong Island being the most developed. The one nearest to where we live is Park Island.
Besides its street life, the other thing that makes Hong Kong special is its unique Sino-British culture.
There is a lot of greenery...
At around 6 stories tall, this statue of Guanyin standing atop lotus leaves is one of the tallest in the world.
Though Macau is famous for gambling and casinos, that is not what makes it a special place.
Macao has a wonderful local Portuguese/Chinese culture and history that is on display in the historic places, such as the oft-photographed Ruins of St. Paul's (which was never a cathedral, but is still erroneously referred to as such). It was, however, one of the largest churches in Asia when it was completed in 1640 by the Jesuits and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The shop where Amy buys her calligraphy supplies has been family owned for more than 40 years.
Originally built in 1845 and rebuilt in 1995 into its present-day 55,000 seat, 7-story extravaganza form, the Happy Valley Racecourse is one of two operated by the famous Hong Kong Jockey Club .
Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest of the Disney theme parks--but that is actually a blessing, as you don't feel like you are completely drained by the experience.
National Geographic called the Hong Kong Star Ferry one of the "fifty places of a lifetime," crossing Victoria Harbor between Central on Hong Kong Island to Tsim She Tsui on the Kowloon side.
Some of it is quite rural with lots of cows.
Macao isn't an island, but we take a boat to get there....
A-Ma is Tin Hau in Cantonese and Mazu to Mandarin speakers. Besides her global and regional reverence as protector of people who make their living on the sea, in Macao local lore, the goddess saved a ship from a a violent storm and returned to heaven from the spot where the temple was built.
I call it a "trolly," but in Hong Kong, they call it a "tram." Either way, I love it. Started in 1904, and running 13 km between Shau Kei Wan and Kennedy Town, it is a delightful bargain at only $2.3 HK (about 30 cents US) ,
During the Festival, even the McDonald's follows Buddhist traditions and does not serve meat.
I made a musical tribute video about Hong Kong's classic neon using a classic old Canto song. It's called Neon Love Song and you can watch it by CLICKING HERE.
Egg tarts, or daahn tāat (蛋撻), are actually derived from Portuguese pastel de nata found in both Canton (Guangzhou) and Macao (see below for Macao).
A good example of more traditional Macao is Fat Sui Lao, opened in 1903, now with four locations serving Macau cuisine.
Amy and I have a tumblir blog called East West Dreams about the blending of Asian and Western culture, with lots of photos. You can check it out by CLICKING HERE.
Another culture hybrid unique to Hong Kong is Hong Kong style-milk tea (港式奶茶) which evolved from British afternoon tea and is quite different from Chinese tea. Residents drink 900,000,000 glasses a year.
Park Island is actually called Ma Wan Island. It is mostly housing development, but does have a tiny, but nice beach with restaurants right on the sand.
Kwun Yam is the Cantonese name for the Chinese Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, Avalokitasvara, who is called Kannon in Japan. See About: Life in Asia Japan.
It doesn't look like much on the outside...
Wet markets are a Hong Kong tradition and are a lot more fun than supermarkets.
....and it really is a fort, built between 1622 and 1638
And local specialties, such as dried fish..
The Pak Tai Temple, built in 1783.
The high rents suck the life out of the city and have made it less competitive. It is especially hard on small start-ups. But, former factory buildings with some floors converted to tiny offices are providing a means for entrepreneurs to have offices with affordable rents, so...
They come in three different fillings: sesame, lotus, and red bean paste.
Type your paragraph here.
...and has freight elevators...
Near my office is a classic "local" Hong Kong restaurant, Koon Tsuen..
St. Dominic's Church, originally built in 1587.
Amy really liked this clothing store, with its minimalist exterior and cool style, operated by a young Macau entrepreneur.
It is extremely colourful and seems to have mosaic statues to just about every Chinese diety, though it is actually a Taoist shrine
I also teach writing workshops for the Phd Science and Communication students at Hong Kong Baptist University
And I have gotten involved in local education issues.
Bak Chit Gai (白切雞), poached chicken and rice