Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hong Kong and Macau

Well, we discovered we had enough British Air miles to buy a short-ish flight during a non-peak time, and T had mid-term break in October, so Hong Kong it was--discount Malindo Air there and free British Air Business class on the way back :-).

It turned out to be magnificent timing, in between monsoons and missing most of the dire "Black rain" warning times.  Though raining quite heavily our first day there, T talked me into following the planned itinerary, and we set off for The Peak, which ordinarily would have offered fabulous views of Hong Kong Island and beyond.  This day on the trail that goes all the way around the top, views of water cascading down the hillside.

And this!

Seen in a Hong Kong supermarket:
And in a subway station:
And the airport:

The next day, day two of two, we decided to go for Macau, an hour's boat ride away.  Portuguese colony of history and gambling paradise of today, it manages to retain considerable character and feels quite unlike Hong Kong or mainland China, which is virtually a stone's throw away. 

Balancing map and umbrella, trying to find our bearings soon after stepping off one of the many free casino buses from port to town, a kind man offers to help.  Portuguese speaking kind man!

We meander through the historic city center:

making our way to the must-see tourist spot, the 16th Century ruins of St. Paul:
maybe she's praying
Failed selfie...:

T says he was only halfway into it

Up the hill from there, some good views:

ready, aim.... Not the casino!!

A Nepalese guard at the top removes his shoes to demonstrate how to enjoy a little reflexology:

Yeow! No way

Our very brief tour at an end, we catch the catamaran back:
And find that Hong Kong is under a rare Black Rain warning--the most severe.  
We have been most fortunate to miss most of the bad weather.  For Black Rain, people are advised not to walk, but it isn't bad where we are and we are able to walk to dinner and view the ferry traffic to and from Kowloon: 

Alas, time to return to Penang.  We confess to going a but early to the airport to enjoy the free lounge access that comes with our Business Class [free] flight...

Bye Hong Kong 


Back in Penang:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Singapore Revisited

In August just before school started we slipped in another, likely last, trip to Singapore, with an aim to exploring parts of the island we had not seen before.  It made us appreciate the country even more,  while realizing the shocking upheaval and sacrifice it took to make it what it is: modern, efficient, comfortable.

Here, recycle bins at world's #1 airport:
And night scene from our hotel balcony:

They managed to retain/create many parks, and bits of greenery are evident in every area.  We visited the large Botanic Gardens. 
Tom, plotting our course

Every park needs giant lizards

And gentle heroes

On public transport, as everywhere in Singapore, we are told how to behave:

As part of our hotel deal we get a trip on the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Some shots from the bus:

We traveled to the northern coast of the island, to Sembawang Park, and saw a big ship refurbishing operation.

More exploration on foot.  We set out for Henderson Waves, a 275 meter (900 foot) pedestrian bridge along the  9 km (5.6 mile) Southern Ridges Trail, which connects three different Singapore parks. Wonderful for an urban place!

 K sporting umbrella and monkey-scaring stick
 Henderson Waves:

Back at the hotel, we have splurged on a Club Room and enjoy free cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, over a game of Scrabble 
The next day we enjoy touring the neighborhood of Katong where the hotel is located. A great neighborhood--loads of restaurants and small shops. We pass small gardens along high rise apartment buildings.
Papaya tree, in the shadow of a high rise building

Banana tree

T walking along the garden-lined walkway between buildings
In a small neighborhood park:

And at a local market:

the essentials

In a public toilet: