In a twist on yesterday’s events, I was last awake today, and everyone else had apparently already been out for a morning walk and breakfast. We’d leave the house around 10ish to head to Tai Po to meet a family friend for ‘yum cha’ – basically the chinese word for ‘Dim Sum Lunch’, not to be confused with the awful DragonballZ character of similar name.
The Dim Sum restaurant we went to seemed fairly posh, but the prices were reasonably cheap. We had an assortment of traditional dim sum dishes, and some less common ones as well (such as Date Jelly). The best one here was probably the BBQ Pork ‘Pineapple Bun’, a small crispy bread bun filled with sweet sauce and thin slices of honey cooked pork. It was hard to take any proper pictures as all of the dishes come out as soon as they are ready, oh well.
Lunch was followed by a quick walk around the local adjoined mall, and then a walk around Tai Po Market – a 3 floor indoor market with large sections of specialized fresh food stalls. The fish and seafood stalls were teeming with live flapping fish and shellfish still squirting water about, staff would stand by and rather cruelly bash the fresh fish in the head with a small rolling pin, in hope that they stop flapping about and splashing water on potential customers. It’s kind of a sad sight seeing these still living fish, crustacea and even frogs treated in similar fashion, just crammed into the smallest container possible and left to flop about until it comes their time to die, but sadly this is the nature of the asian style food market, where freshness of ingredient is king. Amongst the other floors and sections were stalls filled with fresh fruit, veg, clothes, and meat and bone suspended from hooks. The top floor of course was a food court, where the chefs can easily pop downstairs if they need to procure more ingredients – the usual culprits were here, though we didn’t really eat as we lunch was less than an hour ago.
Next on the agenda was Diamond Hill, home to both the Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery. The gardens were only a short walk away from the station, a lovely scenic path which cuts through the busy metropolis which is Hong Kong. The garden path winds around in a large circuit, with a few exhibits along the way – Photos are prohibited inside all of the exhibits but I managed to sneak a couple. The centrepiece of the garden is the large golden monument in the middle of the pond, not unlike the one in Japan but significantly smaller in size, still makes for some nice photos though.
Directly attached via a bridge is the Chi Lin Nunnery, a pretty large Buddhist temple built with traditional chinese techniques and architecture. There are two main parts, the inner temple which is filled with pillars and the main building (and totally looks like somewhere you’d want to film a fight involving katanas), and the outside plaza area filled with ponds containing koi, fountains, and more bonzai trees. Shortly after arriving and taking photos of the plaza, the sky began to fall. They say asian rain hits hard and fast, and that’s pretty much exactly what this was, a small pitter-patter turned full on rainstorm which lasted only 5 minutes or so, enough to take some dramatic photos and cool us down, but not enough to really impede on our sightseeing.
We’d head back to Plaza Hollywood, yet another mall, for a spot of shopping and some rest before heading back to our accommodation to drop off our shopping. Short rest later, and we would find ourselves in Tsim Sha Tsui for the waterfront show at 8pm. The view from the waterfront was fantastic, and as we arrived quite early we had a fantastic unobscured view of the iconic skyline. There was some form of public karaoke party occuring on a stage behind us, so there was that to keep us company while we were waiting, as well as obviously playing around with my camera trying to take some nice shots of the HK Skyline at night – as usual though, no tripod meant I was pretty limited in terms of shutter times and ISO configurations, eventually settling in at around 1/30 and 800/1600 respectively. A traditional red chinese boat was flitting up and down the water, and made for some pretty good shots.
8pm arrived and the show began… clearly we have been completely spoiled by other countries – singapore in particular, as the light show was completely underwhelming, a far cry from the water, mist and lazer show that we were treated to last year. This show was some quiet and tinny music being played from loudspeakers in the distance, partnered with about 5 of the buildings on the other side of the water changing colour in time with music. We left part way through and walked down to the avenue of stars which is also along the waterfront, this is HK’s version of the Hollywood walk of fame, with handprints of famous chinese celebrities in the floor. Bruce lee deserves a special mention, with both a plaque and a massive statue, I took a photo here which I thought looks pretty damn good, though it’s hard to say until I blow it up on the big screen I suppose.
We’d round off our day by walking a little around the main roads of Tsim Sha Tsui, which are filled with jewellery and designer shops – their air-conditioning blasting through every doorway so strong that you can feel it from the street while you sweat away.
We had to hunt around for it a little bit using google maps, but eventually we arrived at our destination for Dinner, ‘Din Tai Fung’ – a shanghai dumpling specialist restaurant which we were well familiar with by now thanks to it’s branches in other countries. Being 9pm or so now, we ordered up a storm and polished the lot off, the Xiao long Bao were exquisite as always, just as well we ordered 3 steamers of them.
Tomorrow we are getting on the ferry to asian Vegas for two days, my first time visiting Macau so I’m pretty excited.