Showing posts with the label Travel

Hong Kong's Hidden Gems #4 -- Tai Hang Fire Dragon Heritage Centre

Mid-Autumn Festival is a festival that is widely celebrated in China.  It gives families a reason to get together for dinner and enjoy some mooncakes under a full moon.  This year, the festival lines up nicely with National Day to give the working class some extra R&R.  For those visiting Hong Kong during this time, I highly recommend going to Tai Hang and check out their festivities.   Tai Hang is a gem in itself, as it is a quiet corner next to Causeway Bay, Hong Kong's bustling commercial and shopping district.  The quiet neighbourhood is home to various specialty restaurants, offering cuisines from China and around the world.  There are also plenty of non-franchised premium coffee shops for locals and tourists alike.  In my eyes, Tai Hang is a sleepy child most of the year offering tranquillity to those wanting to escape from the buzz of Hong Kong.   This quiet corner comes to life during Mid-Autumn however, as a series of celebrations take place.  The premier event is the

Hong Kong's Hidden Gems #3 -- Hong Kong News Expo

As Hong Kong is now fully re-opened to travellers, it is time to introduce yet another hidden gem in the city.  Hong Kong News Expo  (HKNE) is located in a unique neighbourhood in Mid-Levels .  It is a multimedia exhibition that showcases the history, evolution and current state of Hong Kong's news media. The establishment features a wide range of interactive exhibits, historical artifacts, and multimedia presentations.  It is a great niche gem for those interested in the news industry and the role it plays in shaping the city.  The exhibition is divided into several sections, each focusing on different aspects of Hong Kong's news media. For instance, one section is dedicated to the history of newspapers in Hong Kong, featuring how they have evolved over the years -- from the early days of colonial rule to the present day. Visitors can also learn about the development of radio and television news, as well as the rise of digital media and social media platforms.    It is interes

Hong Kong's Hidden Gems #2 -- Hong Kong Jockey Club Central Stanley Street Shop

The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) owns all government approved sports betting and lottery stations in Hong Kong.  These establishments normally offer few reasons for me to visit.  But I recently ventured into one HKJC venue.  This Stanley Street branch in busy Central has won the title of the luckiest (or most unlucky if you are the HKJC) betting site in recent years.  Quite a few have won the grand prize in lottery, known locally as Mark Six, from this premise.  The shop has recently undergone a major facelift.  It now houses two restaurants, various horse racing and lottery artefacts, along with fun facts showcases.  Upon entry, there is an unexpected caravan setting that provides a homey feel for visitors.   A real lottery ball drum machine is also on display.  Opposite it is a historical wall detailing the evolution of Mark 6 over the years.  Did you know that the lottery went from thirty-six numbers in 1976 to forty-nine in 2002?  This made your already low odds of winning much w

Hong Kong's Hidden Gems #1 - Hong Kong Monetary Authority Information Centre

COVID-19 has certainly taken much lustre out of Hong Kong's star on the world stage.  Travelers into the city still require a 3-day compulsory hotel quarantine at the time of writing, leaving many holding off on a trip to the Asian hub.  Shame! In view of this, I have decided to use this blog to occasionally showcase Hong Kong to the world.  Feel free to use these posts as a guide to plan your future travel here.  Even if you don't have plans to come, my hope is the introduction of these sights will offer unique perspectives on the buzzing city.   To start us off, we have a boutique but interesting information centre in Hong Kong's Central Bank.  The Hong Kong Monetary Authority ( HKMA ) Information Centre is one of a kind.  It is located in Two IFC , arguably the most iconic skyscrapper in town.  That said, it is certainly off the beaten path and not very well known to even the locals. Visitors information can be found here . This gallery can probably be explored within a

Earthquake in New Zealand

New Zealand is still dear to my heart since my visit in April.  Therefore, it was shock to see in the news that a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Christchurch early this morning.  Miraculously, no fatalities or injuries were reported so that is great news! Hope the residents there can get back on their feet quickly and rebuild the city. -PTS

Hagglunds - The Antarctic Ride

When visiting International Antarctic Centre in New Zealand, I came across the Hagglund.  It was the designated land vehicle for exploration of the ice-covered continent. I was impressed by the joy ride that they offered at the centre and did a little more research upon returning. What is a Hagglund? Hagglunds are all terrain vehicles (ATV) that are used for special navigation purposes. They are often utilized in unusual or hazardous terrains. Their uses are widespread, ranging from military load carriers, emergency medical services, firefighting, territorial exploration, wilderness search and rescue. It can also operate in extreme weather conditions like those in Antarctica.   Structure Hagglunds consist of two track-driven cars with fibreglass reinforced bodies, coupled to each other by an articulated steering joint. It can traverse across a wide range of terrains including paved roads, muddy swamps, snow- or ice-covered fields, mountainous slopes, and bodies of water (semi-sub

Walking on Glaciers

New Zealand was a joy to visit as it offers many scenic natural wonders!  In fact, much of its beauty seem to have something to do with glaciers.  For one, the scenic Milford Sound and its surrounding cousins in South Island were carved by glaciers long ago. As you travel northwards from the sounds, you will be met by two actual glaciers in Fox and Franz Josef .  We joined a walking tour on Franz Josef, the bigger of the two brothers.  The tour was an intriguing experience and I decided to do some research upon returning. What Are Glaciers?  Glaciers are perennial masses of ice that moves over land. They form when precipitation accumulates faster than it disappears on the surface of a terrain (a.k.a. ablation). As layers of ice and snow build upon each other, the granular ice at the bottom fuses to form firn.  Glacial Types Alpine glaciers - form on mountain slopes.  Those that form on valleys are called  valley glaciers . Franz Josef is an alpine glacier. Ice sheets - are ice

New Zealand Trip Ahead

Life is taking a hectic spin these days as the 9 to 5 is creeping past the 5!  Needless to say, part time blogging has taken a suffering.  It's not all bad, however.  I have a vacation coming up in New Zealand in two weeks.  Besides breathtaking sceneries, New Zealand's South Island is internationally renowned for its adrenalin inducing activities, such as jet boating, bungy jumping, sky diving, and the list goes on.  I have my eyes set on a few choices to get the juices flowing. To top it off, I will also squeeze in a glacier hike and may be a LOTR tour. The good news is we will be living out of a camper van so we have great flexibility on the itinerary; the bad news is we only have 8 days to do everything my wife and I wanted.  Time to plan it all out! -PTS

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex

Happy New Year! This is my first post in 2010, after a brief hiatus celebrating year end festivities. Apart from watching the magnificent NYE fireworks in Sydney, I managed to do some sightseeing in Canberra and stumbled into the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex (CDSCC). This place was a godsend as I have always had a deep obsession in astronomy. The CDSCC is part of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) and only one of three facilities around the world. The other two are in Goldstone, California and Madrid, Spain. There are four giant radio antennas in this complex.  Each are referred to by a "Deep Space Station" or DSS number. These "dishes" are enormous. The largest one, DSS-43, is 70m in diameter, and is a whopping 23 stories tall when standing on one end. It is the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Owing to high security, i.e. fences,  I could not get a close-up shot to do its monstrous size justice. Operating 24/7, the antennas provid

Relocating to Down Under

I have agreed to a job in Australia starting May. No, it's not the coveted dream caretaker gig in the Great Barrier Reefs. Instead, I will be going to Sydney, which is not a bad choice. Regardless, this means I will be extremely busy over the next few months. Time to start packing.... -PTS