Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pictures and Random Observations

I have nothing coherent to write today. Just thought I'd post a few pictures that relate to interesting facets of life here.

I never thought I'd use an umbrella as a parasol. I now have.

Subway trains are clean, efficient and smooth. They are also ridiculously long, and when the train straightens out and it's fairly empty, the view inside is eerie. It's kind of like what you get when you point a video camera at the screen showing its signal and you get infinite regress. This picture doesn't really do it justice, but you get the idea.

Napa Valley seems like a perfectly appropriate name for a Hong Kong high rise, right? To get back to the Towers of Babel issue, it's remarkable how much English one sees despite the fact that virtually no one uses it, especially up here in the New Territories (where one finds Napa Valley). This British legacy is really convenient for "gweilos" (foreign devils) like us, but seems a lot like a vestigial organ.

I think the most amazing thing I've seen so far is the bamboo scaffolding. This is universally used across Hong Kong. Any minor construction on the exterior of a building seems to merit a total encasement in bamboo and green netting. This is the case for small buildings, like the one in which are apartment is located, but also for huge skyscraper high-rises, like the one in the second picture below. They do use modern, super-strong plastic lashings to tie the junctions together, but everything else is organic. To be honest, I find the bamboo constructions to be more impressive than the buildings underneath!

When we visited the Peak last Sunday, we walked through Central, the major downtown commercial district, and were amazed to see thousands of women--and only women--camped out on cardboard or blankets in subway tunnels and in plazas and other open spaces. At first we thought they were homeless, but we noticed them chatting on cell phones, using laptops and wearing designer fashions. We could understand people getting out of their shoebox apartments to congregate, but where were all the men and children? Shannon then found the answer in a guide book: all the Filipino nannies, maids and waitresses who live alone and send their incomes back home to their families congregate on Sunday, their day off, to hang out.

When Chinese people pose for pictures, they invariably flash the V sign. We're just trying to fit in.


  1. This was a fun post to read & look at. Great pictures of you all.

    Intersting about the bamboo scaffolding! Can't imagine that in NYC.

    Aunt Trish

  2. I love your posts, even though I remain insanely jealous of your experience. Can't wait to show Tom the comments and pictures of the bamboo scaffolding. Keep posting!