Apartment in the buzz of Sai Ying Pun.Hong Kong, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong2 bedroomed apartment. Western kitchen and bathroom. Very convenient for MTR and buses for transport to the rest of Hong Kong. Very interesting area with new bars and trendy restaurants a short ...
Ok Ok I know I know, this is for kids right? Well, bugger that! Me and my other psudo-child friend had an absolute ball in this place. We fully embraced the experience and went selfie bananas at every possibly opportunity.
It's from Korea
The Trick Eye Museum is a Korean concept where many fantastic, vibrant murals are all over the floors and walls affording you the opportunity of posing within the art work. It seems a little strange at first but there are photos on the walls to give you an idea what the end result will look like. Believe me, you look much better in the photo than in real life!
The best way to explain it is to show you some photographs from the day.
How to get there.
You can do the tourist thing by getting the Peak Tram which has it's own waaaaa moments. Or you can get the Number 15 double decker bus No. 15 bus route. which does take about an hour, also has it's waaaaa moments if you sit in the front seats.
Go and have some fun and get your selfie on at the Trick Eye Museum!
Address: Shop 215, 2/F, Nob Hill Square, 8 King Lai Path, Mei Foo, Kowloon Telephone: 2310 0833 (General) / 2891 0438 (Group Booking) / 2310 8610 (Birthday in the Dark / Special event)
Mei Foo MTR Exit C - 5 -7 minutes walk
I pre booked an experiential tour in the dark for 22 people. Their website booking system was a little too restricting for my dates and times but after some very helpful email exchanges I managed to book what I really wanted.
This is a very unique experience for adults and children alike. You'll be outside of your comfort zone and that is something we should all do from time to time. The basic point of the tour is to experience what it's like to navigate yourself around a busy city (Hong Kong) and all the challenges that involves as a visually impaired person using a white stick.
90 Minutes in the Dark
After some instruction about how to hold a white stick, in small groups of eight, we were lead by our visually impaired guide for 90 minutes in complete darkness. When I say dark, I mean complete and utter blackness for the whole time. There was no time that my eyes made an adjustment to the environment. There was no time that I had any idea what the environment looked like or where my guide was. Although I knew I was with seven other people, there was no time I knew how many where in front or behind me. However, our guide used his voice in the most comforting way. He gave clear instructions about which direction to walk and when.
The route took us through various places which we had to feel with our feet, hands and stick as we walked slowly, with trepidation, through the space. Within the dark dark space a recreation of a wooded area with leaves to feel and a gravel floor to a street scene and even boarding a ferry has been constructed to give sighted people the disarming experience of beginning to know what it's like to be without the sense of sight. I say beginning to know, because I feel sure that living without sight has many more restrictions than the 90 minutes can ever tell us, but at the same time gave our group an appreciation of the skills required. It also gave us an idea that our guide was much much more perceptive in the dark than any of us. He was so aware of us and where we were, remembering our names and guiding, directing and giving us confidence to know where to go, we began to think he was actually wearing night vision goggles. HE WASN'T.
Back in the Light
Once we were back out into the light and our white sticks returned is when we could see our guide for the first time. He has been visually impaired since birth. It was most humbling to meet him and have the opportunity of having a Q&A session with him. We also had a go at writing braille and using a special plastic device to work out which bank note is which. There are many gadgets and techniques to help visually impaired people to cope in many different areas of life.
Dialogue in the Dark offers many options where, if you are brave enough, you can celebrate your birthday with a party in the dark and musical concerts in the dark. Instruction can be in English or Cantonese.
Mushroom Bakery has opened a new branch in Sai Ying Pun. I am totally and utterly happy about this. I have bought my 'good' bread from them in Sai Kung for over 15 years and of all the things I have missed since I've moved out of Sai Kung, proper bread has been one of them.
Flourish of Cornets - hooray!
345A Queens Road West
Sai Ying Pun
tel 9580 9168
Now I can buy my freshly baked rye loaf, sliced at request!
I made these using gel pens on black paper, two of my first attempts. I particularly like the white pens on black paper.
a circular figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism.
Last November I attended a weekend of Mandala making. Having hardly ever embarked upon anything arty for many years it was with some trepidation that I arrived at Kadoorie Farm and met the most creative and confidence giving Katie Flowers and Claire Kirk.
Over the past two years I have become a yogi. I go to yoga A LOT. I am stronger and more flexible and am hooked on the routine and discipline it offers. Yoga isn't just about the physical workout as there is a prominent spiritual aspect to where meditation is part of the session. I have tried meditation. I understand that during guided meditation my mind and body can 'stop' and there is talk of enlightenment. I have laid on a mat in the dark with my eyes closed. I have Ommed. I have hummed. I have stared at a candle flame and I have dozed off. But I have never really understood what is supposed to happen...not so far anyway.
Now I find that drawing mandalas is perfect for switching off my mind and fully concentrating on the eight point repeated pattern that it follows. I have produced piles and piles of different sizes and designs and colours and am in constant look out for more pens, paints and paper so that I can start new ones. This is meditation.
Plethora of colour and repeated pattern.
You tube is full of tutorial videos 'How to..." do anything and everything you could possibly imagine, and many you had never imagined no doubt. I find this all a bit overwhelming. My introduction to this technique by Katie and Claire was exactly what I needed, clear and simple. Now I am on a mission to find repeated pattern and use many and various sources for my own work. I use Pintrest and have a collection of Mandala ideas there. I constantly have my camera ready and now take photos of pattern that takes my eye where ever I happen to be and that could be Tory Burch, H n M or the pavement or someone's make-up bag. I see pattern everywhere and am adapting it into my own work. Sometimes I go wild and do something that isn't a circle, I know!
They really are very like an actual theatre experience and a most enjoyable evening out. There is usually a 20 minute interval, just like an actual performance, where everyone can make use of the bar, have a leg stretch and a toilet break.
The most recent one I attended was last weekend at The One, 100 Nathan Road, when I saw the marvellous Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet. It was spectacular. He was spectacular. The staging was spectacular. I was particularly taken with the costumes which were, for the most part, 1940s style apart from Hamlet, Horacio and Ophelia who wore modern casual clothes, hoodies and jeans. After the 'play with-in the play' scene Cumberbatch wore a long military tail coat with the words 'KING' crudely painted across his back which was quite amusing and under the coat a Ziggy Stardust t-shirt. I doubt it had any significance to the recent and shocking death of David Bowie as it would have been recorded months ago in London, but it did make me think - why Ziggy?
I wasn't standing up when the news of David Bowie's death came to me yesterday. It was something I didn't want to believe was true. An icon of my youth, now dead, makes me think dark thoughts about my own mortality.
I am deeply shocked and saddened by his death, 69 is just too young especially for someone we expected so much more from. Tributes are all over the news and social media and come from thousands of people who he meant so much to for many different reasons. His reinventions and changes of persona over time mean he has a vast amount of fans.
Top of the Pops
My first exposure to him was obviously on Top of the Pops in his Ziggy Stardust days when my grandma questioned whether he was girl or a boy! He did make us ask questions we'd never asked before. I was a fan of many glam rock stars during the 70s, some with very questionable talent. I knew in my heart that Bowie was different and the best. We had Bowie LPs and I listened to them with the arm back on my record player, so that they would repeat over and over and they became ingrained in my brain so that I, not only knew all the words to a song, I also knew how long the silence was until the next track and could sing that one too.
My-going-to-see-David Bowie Story
During my teenage years we had no telephone in the house, there was no internet and I had no knowledge of banks, cheque books or credit cards. If I wanted a ticket to see a band I had to travel to the venue box office, buy the ticket in advance and travel home again. News of who was on and where was in The Northern Echo or New Musical Express which I sometimes bought but not regularly.
I don't remember exactly where I saw the advert that David Bowie was going to be on at Newcastle City Hall but I do remember me and my friend deciding we could afford it if we saved our pocket money and that we desperately wanted to go. But we couldn't afford the bus fare to Newcastle which was over an hour away and anyway my mother wouldn't let me go on the bus alone!
I cut out the coupon from The Northern Echo, filled in the necessary details and bought a postal order to cover the price of two tickets from the village Post Office. We waited. I checked the letter box on an hourly basis to see if the stamped addressed envelope I had dutifully enclosed was returned with the tickets.
I was disappointed, obviously, when it was returned, rejected with SOLD OUT printed on the coupon. Crestfallen I had to relay the news to my friend. We would not be going to see David Bowie.
So It's not a happy ending and I regret not being more forceful and getting myself off to Newcastle on the bus to buy those bloody tickets. Ah well...
The happy part is that I did eventually see him live, once, here in Hong Kong in 2004. He was cool and played all the material that I longed to hear, but it wasn't his hey day or mine, I wasn't a teenager and I no longer had glitter make-up, high waisted flares and platforms. I can say I saw him and that's a wonderful thing.
I am about to listen to his latest work and get to know it and the beautiful thing about recorded music is that it lives on forever. I will be searching for his music and remembering tracks I've forgotten and the joy will remain with us.
As an informative, responsible blogger I want to make sure all potential visitors to Sai Kung Town and Sai Kung Country Park know what it's really like.
Essential Information for Visitors
If you are an overseas visitor to Hong Kong or a long time resident and considering a trip to Sai Kung, then you need to be aware of the following:-
Sai Kung has no shops of any interest unless you want BBQ items. Sometimes, and only for short periods, a creative person comes along and spends money on fancy shop fittings and interesting stock; such as speciality chocolate (for humans not dogs), New World wine, beautifully scented candles, original art or hand crafted furniture. These are usually doomed to failure and in the blink of an eye disappear again. They are subsequently gutted, presumably to help with the landfill crisis. Once that happens no one can remember what the hell was there before when it returns to a concrete shell with random concrete gap in the street.
Once gutted these well appointed shops are then replaced by shops who don't bother with actual fittings but prefer to have piles of tat for sale, sometimes no attempt at display at all, certainly no name or customer service training.
One explanation of such open-and-quickly-closed shops is usually greedy landlords who see a business doing well, put the rent up to a painfully high rate, forcing the business to move somewhere else or close down completely. Another explanation is that no market research was carried out to see if the residents or visitors to Sai Kung have an interest in a particular product. The other is that visitors to Sai Kung never actually spend any money and merely come to hog the pavements. I suspect it's a mixture of all these things.
I am constantly perplexed by the amount of visitors filling the pavements on weekends and pubic holidays. Perhaps they merely stroll around, presumably enjoying pavement life, and never buying anything as their their dollar makes little difference. Businesses still disappear in the night.
Restaurants and Coffee Shops
A similar fate happens to restaurants and hot beverage vendors. They come and go all the time in the same way as the shops. Money is spent on new decor, nice tables and chairs. Menus are printed and ingredients are brought in from far away exotic places. They then disappear and a sterile white tiled atmosphereless noodle place appears and subsequently seems to do a roaring trade throwing food at their customers who get to sit on plastic stools at formica tables with toilet rolls provided instead of napkins.
Obviously, this never happens to the big corporate coffee vendors or toiletry/pharmacies or the shop that opens in the morning and stays open til way past everyone's bed time OK! They continue to trade and pay their rent to their greedy landlord who might actually be one in the same person.
Alfresco is a crime
Even though eating outside in nice weather is extremely popular all over the world and is in fact a particular attraction to many tourists in, say, Paris or Florence, it is not allowed in Sai Kung. Well, when I say it's not allowed, it is allowed some of the time and outside some of the eating places but depending upon the mood of the Fun Police, sometimes it is totally forbidden and tickets and fines can be issued. Again I am perplexed by this pavement activity and why it is a heinous crime.
Sai Kung Specilizes in Big Queues
If it's queuing you're after then Sai Kung is the place for you. You have a myriad of choices when it comes to queuing. Queues to leave Sai Kung are particularly popular especially on Sunday afternoons or throughout the day on public holidays. If you really enjoy a good wait then come to Sai Kung during a hot weather warning. They really are the best days when the red or green taxi queue, the 101 mini bus to Hang Hau MTR or 1A mini bus to Choi Hung MTR queue are absolutely massive and generally shadeless.
If queuing is your thing you could also join the queue coming into Sai Kung down Hiram's Highway in your own car. During the hours spent in the queue you can be happy in the fact that you are entering the 'Back Garden of Hong Kong' where there are green hills and plenty of hiking trails. While you sit in your air conditioned car, moving at a snail's pace, gradually getting nearer and nearer your Country Park destination, you can contemplate your carbon footprint, disposable lunch boxes and plastic table cloths, which you can conveniently leave behind in the Country Park rather than take them home with you. Be aware that you won't be able to find a parking place in the tiny car park at the gates of Sai Kung Country Park any way and will probably have to illegally park on the pavement and end up with a ticket.
My theory is, therefore, that visitors to Sai Kung don't have time to go shopping because they are either in a car in a queue or they are standing in a queue waiting to leave Sai Kung and are afraid to leave the queue to go shopping fear of losing their place in the queue.
It's all about the money
Having lived in Sai Kung for almost 15 years I have become deaf to the wild talk of a new road which will ease the traffic jams. I no longer listen or read or sign anything to do with road widening, cycle lanes or permits for residents because I just don't believe anything will be improved. Apart from the constant building of more and more residential buildings, the powers that be have no incentive to improve or ease the congestion on the roads or on the pavements because they don't increase in value and cannot to be sold for a massive profit.
It has to stop
Something has to change. Short of building a large wall which can be seen from space (or has that been done before?) to keep out the marauding hordes, I can only suggest the residents of Sai Kung start putting the word out that it is a horrible place to go. It is full of snakes, mosquitoes, dangerous cows and wild dogs.
For the sake of your health and well being I urge you to stay away.
We are all aware of Robert Louis Stevenson's story, Dr Jekyll experiments with a substance and turns into a hideous monster at night. In Jonathan Holloway's version Dr. Jekyll is a woman.
The setting is still Victorian London with a magnificent stage set reflecting the fact that it is being performed in Hong Kong. Stunning red silk lanterns were hung above the gothic room. The cast, a mixture of Chinese and English actors, and if I say everyone had a hint of Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton on Halloween I'm sure you'll understand the general vibe.
Performed in English with Chinese and English subtitles, I always find that slightly distracting but I understand their reasons, with dialogue packed with euphemisms about sex. Are all euphemisms about sex? "Would you like to open the petals of my purple orchid?" "Will your stamen enter my flower while still lubricated by another?" I may not have those quotes completely accurate but that was the gist of the lines. There were rather a lot of references to sex in the whole production, while not explicit, we couldn't have that in conservative Hong Kong now could we (we were in Wan Chai!).
In this version we see Dr. Jekyll as a woman, yet a scientist, the ONLY woman doctor in London at that time struggling to break the stereotype placed upon her gender, rebelling against conformity of marriage and family life, choosing to experiment alone in her explorations of substances and what-do-you-know she is quite the temptress. We see shadowy scenes through the opaque bathroom door of two bodies together, items of clothes being removed and illicit pleasure being had.
And so when 'she' becomes Hyde she becomes a man. In this persona, which isn't revealed until much later in the play, she is a lout, a violent rapist and we have to presume a transexual because of the comments about his/her ability to rape. Olivia Winteringham who plays Jekyll and Hyde is a slight woman and when she appears as the man, Hyde, she has blood stained bandages around her chest area eluding to her having sliced off her breasts? Well this is what you get with gothic literature.
I do question the power of this play to shock though, we already know the story and to put a woman as Jekyll as a tool to twist the plot seemed not enough of a shock in our 21st Century transgender sexual equality world. Perhaps a man dressed as a woman playing a woman as a man and then turning into a man played by a woman as a man would have made us think more. Oh hang on, Shakespeare has already done that!