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Old 06-07-2012, 12:42 AM   #1021
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Birds of a Feather – Yuen Po Street Bird Garden



Flower Market Road does a dog-leg turn into Yuen Po Street. And just like that….you’ll come to the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden.









We entered from the Prince Edward Road West entrance….





…. into what was a Chinese-style garden.





In the 1960's, a dim sum restaurant on Shanghai Street in Mongkok became a popular venue for bird lovers who took along their caged birds and listened to the birds singing, whilst dining. Before long, hawkers selling bird feed set up stalls by the restaurant. When the restaurant was demolished the hawkers moved to a nearby side street, Hong Lok Street, and the number of hawker stalls grew to over 80. The street was later named Bird Street and became a popular tourist attraction. In December 1997, owing to urban renewal, the hawkers on Bird Street were relocated to the new Bird Garden on Yuen Po Street. Seems much more civilised especially when the garden has a variety of seats that the bird owners could sit and rest on.









There were also stands and poles from where the birds could be hung and displayed in their cages.









And those hawkers now trade out of stalls or shops; selling birds and bird accessories around the courtyard.









There are quite a number of stalls selling birds!









….of all kinds.










I loved the garden “artwork”.





They all had a bird theme.





These carvings all had different birds on them and there were heaps of these everywhere!





At the other end of the garden, you’ll find the entry from Boundary Road.





There is a second level to the bird garden.





We almost didn’t head up the stairs; but I figured that it would be a while before we came back this way. I was really glad we did.





It gave me a view of Flower Market Street.





And more bird trade!





And we got to rest our feet for a bit in a very tranquil part of the garden.





I suspect that the outbreak of Bird 'Flu might have muted the number of tourists coming to visit the garden. DH and I did debate about whether we come or not; but there had not been any major reports of Bird Flu when we were there. We did take care not to touch any birds and we did carry and use sanitizing solution liberally after the visit.


Despite it all, all 3 of us loved the time we spent in the Bird Garden. What can I say? We just love our fine feathered friends!




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Old 06-07-2012, 12:44 AM   #1022
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More Birds at the Delicious Café



It was lunchtime when we finished exploring the Bird Garden and whilst we were walking back down Prince Edward Road West, I noticed this shop.





Anyone else notice the birds in the window? I certainly did! And even better…..there were quite a number of people inside….eating.


This was one time that I completely disregarded the Pesky Vegetarian and quickly pushed both boys inside. I think one of them might have been happier to step in the café than the other.





You might have noticed that our table was NOT dressed in the manner we had become accustomed to for dinner.


We were obviously dining in a different establishment class…and our cutlery was to be found in the drawer at the table!





The standard practice in Hong Kong was to bring your bill to the table immediately after one orders the meal but before the food arrives. As I don’t read characters, the bill was still all Chinese to me.

We ordered two of these…Hainanese Chicken Rice. They cost about HK$45 (about $6 in our money) and it was a little more expensive because I ordered the de-boned version.





Hainanese Chicken is poached in a stock or broth and the beauty of this dish stems from the strength and flavour of the poaching liquor as well as how tenderly the chicken has been poached or cooked to. It did originally come from the Hainan region in China; but was taken to new heights in the South East Asian countries of Malaysia and Singapore. In these countries, the dish was further developed so that the rice that is served with the poached chicken is also flavoured. You use chicken stock, oil and caramelized onion to flavour the rice during the cooking process. So aside from how well the chicken is cooked, how tasty the rice is also contributes to the overall taste sensation of this dish. Two condiments are usually served with this dish – chili and ginger. Given that we were in Hong Kong, we only got the ginger; no chili.


DH found that the café served a stir fry vegetable and tofu dish. At a cost of HK $25, this was ridiculously cheap when you realize that it converted to about $3 in our money.





I got a picture of lemon tea in my set and cannot remember if we paid for this or if it came inclusive with the chicken rice. DS ordered lemonade with this meal and I think that was the other charge of HK $3 on the bill.





The food was tasty enough. For me, the chicken was about average on my scale but it was a little on the dry side for me.

The benefit of this meal? I think this was the first time we realised that DS chopstick skills had significantly improved!













Yes….he might be a little Aussie. But at least I’ve managed to teach him some of his Chinese heritage! He had fun eating the chicken and rice with chopsticks…and DH and I had a great time watching him do so.


I don’t know about you….but I find that these moments in our lives give me family memories to cherish when we come home. So glad I had my camera with me on this day.



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Old 06-07-2012, 02:33 AM   #1023
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Ì love the flowers. They are so beautiful. It is not often that you see roses that color. The mosaics of the birds are lovely. Crap cannot use chopsticks, so your DS is already ahead of him. His Grandpa always jokes that I should teach him. If he has not gotten it by now, he may never get it. He gets frustrated (and hungry) and always reverts to the fork. Xander is still a little young, and still is unsteady with a fork. He may take after Crap.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:44 AM   #1024
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Nice update, love all the colors in the flowers and the birds...

yes, I did see the birds in window, actually that is my favorite kind of bird, not as messy....

Glad you had your camera to see DS working his magic! Memory for a lifetime!
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Old 06-08-2012, 06:13 PM   #1025
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmedina View Post
Ì love the flowers. They are so beautiful. It is not often that you see roses that color. The mosaics of the birds are lovely. Crap cannot use chopsticks, so your DS is already ahead of him. His Grandpa always jokes that I should teach him. If he has not gotten it by now, he may never get it. He gets frustrated (and hungry) and always reverts to the fork. Xander is still a little young, and still is unsteady with a fork. He may take after Crap.
Does Crap have Asian heritage? How great!

I think that the blue roses are dyed. Someone would have put cut white roses into a bucket of water with blue dye in it for a little bit. But you're right. Rather unusual colour.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dgbg100106 View Post
Nice update, love all the colors in the flowers and the birds...

yes, I did see the birds in window, actually that is my favorite kind of bird, not as messy....

Glad you had your camera to see DS working his magic! Memory for a lifetime!
I was pleased to see that the menu included the option to have the chicken on the bone or deboned. I'm a lazy eater where chicken is concerned; so if someone else is going to debone it for me, I'll do that by preference. The boned version cost HK$33; which is less than $5 in our money. So, the difference wasn't that much more.

BTW - For anyone staying in HKDL, you will be able to find Hainanese Chicken Rice on the menu inside the park. Naturally, it will cost more.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:49 PM   #1026
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Does Crap have Asian heritage? How great!
He's Filipino, so my boys are half. Hopefully, they use chopsticks better than their Dad.
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:20 PM   #1027
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My impressions of Macau? I thought it was definitely worth the trip out. The A Ma Temple, Fort Guia, the Historic Centre and the Portuguese Tarts were amazing experiences for me and I would be happy for a repeat visit. The Portuguese influence was clearly visible – from the architecture of the buildings and food. If I’m ever out this way again, I would stay over in Macau and explore the Historic Centre more, at my leisure.



I agree. Unfortunately for us, it was pouring rain and we were on foot, so we didn't get to see half as much of Macau as you did (and we did stay overnight!).

On the ferry over I had re-read the Macau section of my Lonely Planet and had a general idea of what we wanted to see and had planned to follow one or two of their walking tours. On arrival, we caught the shuttle to The Venetian where a very helpful bellboy quickly scurried away with our luggage and told us to come back after 3pm for check in. Unfortunately, my LP was in one of the bags that he took off with, so we didn't have our walking tour guides. We got a cab to the Grand Prix Museum as that was top of the site seeing list for my DH and DSs, but were disappointed to find out it was closed that day . So we walked down to the Grand Lisboa and on to the Sofitel to the Michael Jackson Gallery, then back up to the Ruins of St Paul, the Fortress, the Macau Museum (which was an awesome little museum) and Senado Square. Then back to the Venetian for dinner and on the ferry back to HK and Disneyland after breakfast. So we didn't get to see half of what we wanted too and the rain really made it quite miserable. I didn't even get to eat an egg tart! So I would definitely like to go back one day, but I would not stay at The Venetian (or any casino really) again.
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Old 06-09-2012, 01:47 AM   #1028
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmedina View Post
He's Filipino, so my boys are half. Hopefully, they use chopsticks better than their Dad.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ehsmum View Post
I agree. Unfortunately for us, it was pouring rain and we were on foot, so we didn't get to see half as much of Macau as you did (and we did stay overnight!).

On the ferry over I had re-read the Macau section of my Lonely Planet and had a general idea of what we wanted to see and had planned to follow one or two of their walking tours. On arrival, we caught the shuttle to The Venetian where a very helpful bellboy quickly scurried away with our luggage and told us to come back after 3pm for check in. Unfortunately, my LP was in one of the bags that he took off with, so we didn't have our walking tour guides. We got a cab to the Grand Prix Museum as that was top of the site seeing list for my DH and DSs, but were disappointed to find out it was closed that day . So we walked down to the Grand Lisboa and on to the Sofitel to the Michael Jackson Gallery, then back up to the Ruins of St Paul, the Fortress, the Macau Museum (which was an awesome little museum) and Senado Square. Then back to the Venetian for dinner and on the ferry back to HK and Disneyland after breakfast. So we didn't get to see half of what we wanted too and the rain really made it quite miserable. I didn't even get to eat an egg tart! So I would definitely like to go back one day, but I would not stay at The Venetian (or any casino really) again.
Thanks for sharing! Such a pity that you had the rain. I wondered that if we had been on foot and not on "tour" if we would have seen more. I suspect we would have seen more of the historic centre and less of the rest. I had really wanted to go to the Fortress and the Macau museum...next time. And no casino hotel stay for me either!
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Old 06-09-2012, 01:55 AM   #1029
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Fruits of our non-labour down Fa Yuen Street



After we finished our chicken lunch, we crossed Prince Edward Road West.





We were heading towards Fa Yuen Street.





This street is also known as Sportswear Street where you can find all types of sports shoes, clothes and accessories. We would explore the Sporting Goods side of the street on day 9.


However, at this North end, we found a wonderful fresh produce and hawkers market that runs from Prince Edward Road West to close on Argyle Street in the Mong Kok area. (franandaj - take a look at the lady with the fold-up wheel chair. It was to be the only sign that Disability Access did exist in in Hong Kong!)





We found some clothes, toys and bags at this end of the street in between the fresh produce stalls. There are a lot of locals shopping here; so I figured the price must be good. I did take a look. Whilst I wasn’t sure about the quality of the goods, I thought that the prices were as low as or even slightly lower than what I saw at Temple Street Market the other night.





I was more taken up with the fruit and vegies on display.


The round purple fruit at the bottom of the picture is mangosteen. It looks and feels like a passionfruit (without the wrinkles) and you peel it like a passionfruit. The inside contains a white flesh with a tangy taste. The flesh is segmented like an orange.





The pinky fruit with the spiky green bits at the top of the picture is Dragonfruit. You’ve already seen pictures of the flesh in some of the complimentary fruit plates from the dinners I’ve shared. The fruit comes from cactus plants!


And this fruit is the “King of Fruits”….the durian. You might recall that Mrs Angel bought some to share on the night we were at Sogo.





If you are around some of the street markets in Hong Kong, you might see shops like this one.





They will sell a variety of juices and some of them even serve ‘snacks’. Take a look at the pictures above the fruit juice machines. There is a picture of what seems to be waffles and a bubble wrap type roll. Keep it in mind.
By this time, it was close on time for us to head back to the hotel to meet up with my parents. I had enjoyed our leisurely, non-labour intensive stroll this morning through the Flower Market, the Bird Garden and slow walk down the top end of Fa Yuen Street market.


The Goldfish market is around here as well, all of one block across. We didn’t make it out there as we were rather tight with time….but there are a lot of markets in this side of town. Well worth a trip out and if you combine them all and can cope with so much shopping time, it will occupy you for the better part of a full day.


One other thing - we made our way to MongKok East MTR station. This station has an exit/entry located at Grand Century Place. GCP is a shopping mall, with a wide selection of shops and name brands….yet another reason to allocate additional time to this part of the Hong Kong!





Mongkok East station is located on the light blue line. We caught the line out to Hung Hom station, all of one station and 4 minutes away! Wish I had known that this morning when we set out. It would have given us more time in the area.



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Old 06-09-2012, 01:58 AM   #1030
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On the Buses



When we got back to the hotel, my parents were waiting for us in the hotel lobby. After a quick stop at the hotel concierge, we headed out to Stanley.

The hotel concierge suggested that we catch the 973 bus from Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. The bus stop is opposite the Harbour City shopping mall. This mall is huge; so if you’re after name brand shopping, this is another one to check out.





The bus stop isn’t far from Salisbury Road and the TST Star Ferry terminal and Clock Tower.





The trip on the 973 takes us across the harbour and around the Mid-Levels in Hong Kong Island before heading out towards Aberdeen.

The trip was familiar as we headed to Ocean Park. Once past, we were in Repulse Bay.





I thought Repulse Bay looked like a very upmarket place to live….





…and a nice place to head to the beach with a picnic. Something for next time.





The road got incredibly windy and narrow after Repulse Bay and everything seemed really close.





Especially the buses in the opposite direction!





It took close on 90 minutes to get to Stanley on the 973 and a lot of that time was spent in the Mid-Levels. If I had my time again, I would have caught the MTR to Central and taken the 6/6A/6X service out to Stanley from there. I suspect it would have been quicker and it only takes 45 - 50 minutes to get back to Central.


If you were coming from HKDL, make your way to the end of the Hong Kong line and walk towards Central station. You can catch buses from the Exchange Square Bus Terminal (Central Station exit B). Aside from the 6/6A/6X, there are a couple of other services that run to Stanley from there.

One other thing – when you’re on the bus, you will find that the bus will stop at Stanley Plaza. You could choose to get off here, check out the Plaza shops and walk down towards the Market. But if Stanley Market is your destination of choice, stay on the bus and keep going. Stanley Market bus stop is the last stop on the trip.




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Old 06-09-2012, 02:01 AM   #1031
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Stanley, I presume?



Stanley is named after Lord Stanley, a British Colonial Secretary for the Colonies in the 19th Century. However, in 1841 when the British took possession, there was already a fishing community living here. The Chinese name for Stanley is “Chek Chue”, which can be translated as red column, likely referring to the local red-flowered cotton tree.

Since the early 1970s, Stanley has gradually developed into a popular tourist destination. We were to find out why this was the case first hand. I guess we covered the primarily tourist sites and I do wish that I have picked up a map beforehand so that I would have spent more time on some of the more historic buildings and sites in Stanley.


Our first stop was the Stanley Market located in Stanley New Street. It is a short walk from where the bus let us out.





Stanley Market contains a number of small shops and street stalls…..





….that branched off in a number of sections.





We found souvenirs, artwork and handicrafts.





There was also fashion on offer.





Quite a large proportion of the Market seemed to be under cover. Something to consider for those wet, rainy days.









But there was also a portion of the Market open to the elements.





I found the selection was quite diverse and the quality seemed a little better than the markets in Kowloon.





Certainly the shopping experience and displays were better than in a street market.





I looked at the Chinese embroidered linen table cloths, costume jewellery, jade souvenirs, silk blouses, t-shirts and some of the bags. I did not find the starting price cheap.

I did buy some jade souvenirs from one of the shops. I was taken with the little jade pieces in the Chinese Zodiac, one for each of DH, DS and myself. The shopkeepers here were much pushier than in the markets in Kowloon. As soon as I was perceived to be looking at an item, I found myself completely overrun by one of them. Politely declining and saying no didn’t do the trick here and a number of the women ‘keepers linked their arms through mine; making it nearly impossible to escape. I don’t know if they did that because I was Asian but I didn’t see the same familiarity expressed with the Caucasian tourists.

In most instances, I kept my cool and managed to disentangle myself without purchase. The only exception was for the one shop where the woman ‘keeper looked about 7 months pregnant. I ended up buying the jade from her.

Her starting price was HK$57; about $8 in our money. As I had seen them at Temple Street and at Fa Yuen Street with a starting price around HK$20, I knew this was completely over the top. And there was still the Jade Market pricing to discover!
  • My first counter was HK$10.
  • She came down to HK$25.
  • I stuck with HK$10 for a bit but she wasn’t going for that price.
  • She came down to HK$20.
  • I then offered HK$15.

She IMMEDIATELY accepted…which meant that I should have stuck with HK$10. But the bargain was made at this point. I consoled myself with the thought that I was allowing a little premium for her unborn child and paid up. For about $2 our money, I was happy with the souvenir that now hangs off my camera bag.


We did look at the t-shirts but found the pricing to be OTT compared to the Kowloon markets. As a matter of principle, DH refused to partake in the sport…he figured he could still bargain in the Kowloon markets rather than to play the game with the Stanley shopkeepers, who he thought were being greedy!

We did have fun looking at the goods here in the market.




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Old 06-09-2012, 02:06 AM   #1032
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Stanley Promenade



At the bottom of the market, I continued along to the sea front and found the Stanley Promenade.





This is the view to the left and I wish I had explored this side of the promenade as well.





Because I didn't head left, I missed out on seeing a row of 8 small houses (Phat Kan Uk) that form part of the history of Stanley. They belong to residents of Stanley that were relocated when the government needed their land to develop barracks. If you are in the neighbourhood, take a picture for me.


I found a number of restaurants and eating establishments along the promenade.





My litmus test was the cost of a bottle of water. At HK$8 or $10, it was a about what I’d paid at Ocean Park or at Disney.





Seems like a very popular spot for tourists and locals alike!









I headed towards the right, along where rather up-market buildings and restaurants were.





I loved the look of this building and next time….I might well choose to eat here.





The waterfront was very clean; and I guess this would explain why.





Incongruously, at the end of the upmarket buildings, I found this little temple; the Tai Wong temple. This temple is dedicated to Tai Wong or Hung Shing, a government official in the Tang Dynasty. I guess you might say he was a kind of a saint!









Remember I mentioned that you could get off the bus at Stanley Plaza? You’ll find it at the end of the Promenade, all of 100 m from the Market.





Looking at it from this level, I was really glad we had stayed on the bus and gotten off at the market. The Plaza looks like any other similar complexes in any other city.





It even had the ubiquitous fast food chains, so prevalent everywhere else.





I even found a reminder that Stanley was linked to the sea and fishing.







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Old 06-09-2012, 02:11 AM   #1033
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Stanley Tin Hau Temple



Also at the Stanley Plaza or right next to it, I found a Tin Hau Temple. This temple was first built in 1767.





I don’t know if the wall embellishments dated back to then, but I loved the look of them very much. Certainly, I don’t think that the existing temple was built in 1767 but rather a more recent building to replace previous temples on this site.





I also loved the carvings on the doors. These Spirit Guardians are normally shown as fierce, heavily armed soldiers holding a long-handled axe or sword and standing in a threatening pose. They stay on watch guarding against demons.









In case anyone is wondering…..





Near to where the above sign was, I found a tiger skin hanging on the wall. According to the story, a tiger roamed the Stanley countryside in 1942 during the Japanese Occupation. An Indian police officer, Rur Singh, shot the tiger and presented the skin to the villagers. Since then, it has been exhibited in the Tin Hau Temple for more than half a century. I thought it rather sad for the tiger; so I didn’t take a picture.



The Tin Hau Temple is, of course, a dedicated place of worship for the goddess of the sea.





The shrine for Tin Hau is to be found in the centre of the temple.





However, I have never seen so many other deities arranged on a bench around the walls.

















I counted at least 16 other deities in this temple and quite a few of them had dedicated shrines.









It was certainly an interesting visit from that perspective; even more enjoyable when you consider that I didn't have to worry about whether I was offending anyone by taking pictures.




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Old 06-09-2012, 02:14 AM   #1034
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Murray House and Blake Pier



When I had gotten to the seafront at Stanley, this was the view to the right side of the market.





That building?





Murray House was built in 1844 as officers' quarters of the Murray Barracks during the early years of British rule. It was named after Sir George Murray, the British Master-General of the Ordnance at the time of construction.





I walked in and was charmed by the passageways.





The Hong Kong Maritime Museum is located downstairs.





On the upper levels, there were a number of restaurants that offer different cuisines.





It really was like stepping back into another era. Take a look at the fans on the wall!





Murray House was originally built in the Central and Western District and dismantled to make way for the construction of the Bank of China in 1982 when its bricks were removed piece by piece for reconstruction here. More than 3,000 blocks of the building were stored for 15 years. It must have taken a great deal of effort to put those pieces back together again.





The view from Murray House back towards the promenade shows how gentrified this area has become. No wonder it is popular with tourists!






A little past Murray House, I found Blake Pier.





Blake was the 12th Governor of Hong Kong. As he was in office during the construction of the pier, it was named after him. In the 1960's, all new Governor of Hong Kong disembarked at Blake Pier to assume their office. For this reason the pier was also known as Royal Pier.

Blake Pier and Murray House have had similar paths of fate. Both were demolished to make way for new developments on their prime plots in Central.





In 2007, a new public pier was built at the waterfront outside Murray House.





The new pier was named “Blake Pier at Stanley” and the design made use of the old Blake Pier historic cast-iron roof truss removed from the decommissioned Blake Pier in Central District. I thought it a great recycling project, done very well!





At this stage, I got a call from our TA friend. She and the Angels had met up with my parents and there were plans afoot for dinner that night!




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Old 06-09-2012, 03:45 AM   #1035
kmedina
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You had another busy day. I am in awe of how much you got done. The lady pushing the wheelchair makes me wonder if access was a problem there, which is why she was out of the chair. Otherwise, why didn't she stay in it? Your bargaining skills are quite impressive. You got the price down to almost a fourth and were disappointed that you did not get it down to a sixth. Remind me to go shopping with you. I have never negotiated a price in my life. I cannot wait to read about why the waffle picture on the smoothie machine.
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