Birds of the New Territories in Hong Kong

16 11 2012

I went out around the various wetland areas of Hong Kong’s New Territories. I was surprised to find a variety of birds other than just the Herons and Egrets…

1. Great Egret with a Fish

Great Egret (Ardea alba) with a fish by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

2. A collection of Egrets and Herons resting on the mudflats

Great Egrets and Grey Herons at rest by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

3. Grey Heron in flight

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) in flight by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

4. Great Egret Fishing

Great Egret (Ardea alba) by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

5. Red Whiskered Bulbul

Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus) by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

6. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum) by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

7. My favourite from the day, the Common Kingfisher

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by DragonSpeed, on Flickr

The whole set from the day, including some butterflies can be found at my Flickr set:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragons…th/8190179179/

I hope you enjoy them!





Hong Kong 2011-11-26

20 12 2011
An old friendAn old friendAn old friendCanton RoadWow!Crowds in Tsim Sha Tsui
Dan TatDan TatFrom Kowloon to Hong KongCruisingFrom Kowloon to Hong KongCruising
From Kowloon to Hong KongCentral SkylineOne IFC and The CenterThe Big AppleSay What?Dining in Stanley
Dining in StanleyDining in StanleyThe Murray BuildingLive entertainment at Stanley Plaza

Hong Kong 2011-11-26, a set on Flickr.

Our last full day in Hong Kong – spent connecting wth a friend from long ago and with family. The 27th we would be flying home.





Hong Kong 2011-11-25

16 12 2011
ZoieEntrance FountainEntrance FountainEntrance FountainThe entrance!Jump for Christmas
Hong Kong Disneyland Christmas TreeHerbert and Mrs DChristmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas Parade
Christmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas Parade
Christmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas ParadeChristmas Parade

Hong Kong 2011-11-25, a set on Flickr.

The Day was spent at Hong Kong Disneyland mostly… For a small place, there’s an awful lot of things see and do 🙂 Hope you enjoy these pictures.  There’s over 100 shots from Disney!





3 days in Guangzhou

16 11 2011
Muk Muk and Duck Duck Travel in styleGuangzhou's "New City" by nightGuangzhou's "New City" by nightGuangzhou's "New City" by nightGuangzhou's "New City" by nightLittle bushman?
Yum Cha at the New Century HotelMuk Muk and Duck Duck have Dim Sum in HuaduFred Flintstone Ribs!Pepsi Sports???All the Tea in ChinaAll the Tea in China
Dates, fruits, nuts.... MarketplaceSome of my colleaguesOrdering lunch... FRESHLai Liu HaDiscussions over what seafood to have...Duck Duck and Muk Muk visit the office
Tea discsDuck Duck and Muk Muk at the hotelDim sumApartments as far as the eye can see..Mrs Dragonspeed - enjoying a cold one.Ahhhh...

Hong Kong 2011-11-14-16, a set on Flickr.

Sorry – fell behind while we were in China. We spent Monday-Wed in Guangzhou/Huadu. I had a chance to show Mrs Dragonspeed the office that I helped get setup when I visited 5 years ago. We also got to visit with our niece and nephew. A fun, but somewhat dusty and smoggy visit. Enjoy the photos 🙂





Overreaction?

22 01 2009

2 People were sentenced to execution in China for their part in the tainted milk scandal.

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/01/22/melamine-china.html?ref=rss

Seems a bit harsh. 

I’m glad I’m Canadian!

 

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Lanzhou Panorama

2 10 2008

I finally managed to stitch together a pano that I shot in Lanzhou from my hotel room.

The composite image is composed of 13 frames taken in manual exposure mode and rotated handheld.  Missing sky was cloned in and there’s some duplication in the bottom right corner 😉

Here’s the 2.5MP larger version and the 65MP REALLY HUGE 12.8MB one





A quick picture from our night outing to downtown Lanzhou

29 09 2008

There’s more to write about and tell, but I thought you’d enjoy this picture from our Friday outing to downtown Lanzhou, before our Saturday a.m. departure..

Hot Stuff!

While walking the downtown streets of Lanzhou, China we came across a side street full of food vendors selling all kinds of Chinese delicacies. Many involved oil and the resultant show was very interesting:

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Wet, Rainy Lanzhou

25 09 2008

We had a day off yesterday (Thursday) while waiting for some parts.  We headed downtown and up to “White Pagoda Moutain”.  I think it probably hovered around 13C in the downtown and around 10C up on the mountain.  It was NOT tourism weather.

We made the best of it and had fun just getting to a different part of the city. 

I’ve added a LOT of pictures from the outing to my Lanzhou album on my Fotothing.  Check it out and enjoy the virtual visit.  Remember – the photos start from the beginning of my trip… go to the next page to see more recent shots! http://www.fotothing.com/albums.php?action=viewphotos&albumid=3111

Here’s the Zhongshan Bridge over the Yellow River with downtown Lanzhou in the background





Spending Time in China continued

21 09 2008

After a tortuous night, Monday morning gratefully arrived.  I had woken up at around 0300 and realized that I didn’t feel so great.  Cold sweats, nausea – It seems that something in that curry didn’t agree with me.  The four hours between 0300 and 0700 were punctuated by trying to keep my temperature regulated, trying to make sure I was close enough to the washroom and trying to sleep. In short, I had been to hell. Thankfully by 0800 I was ready to go, albeit a bit weak-legged.  I decided that I desperately needed some breakfast… some congee perhaps.

We went down for breakfast and there wasn’t much being offered.  We chose some beef noodles (Lanzhou is ALL over the beef noodle thing) and some steamed bread twists.  I only ate a bit.

Our colleague came to get us at 0900 and we took a taxi to the office. We got to the office and started unpacking various bits and got to our tasks.  Things looked like they were going to go pretty well.  Lunch was one of the first signs that it could be a long visit.  We had gone to a restaurant near the office and it was PACKED.  There were 3 large ( >10 ) tables and others.  They squeezed us in and my seat was milk crate – Oi Vey!  The smoke was so thick you could taste it in every breath.  I had forgotten that you could smoke anywhere, anytime in China.  They REALLY need to work on that.  We had a meal of fish (with chillis), Potato slices (with chillis), Chinese cabbage (with chillis) and I think something else (with chillis – do you see the trend?)  Way too much food ordered.  We took some back with the idea that we could reheat it at the office if hungry later.

Other than the fact that I basically smoked about a dozen cigarettes sitting in the restaurant, lunch was good (and SPICY).  The rest of the day went pretty unremarkably (wrong outlet for UPS etc, but nothing life shattering)

I took a few pictures on the way home and we went to the Chinese restaurant for dinner this time.  The food was more along the lines of what I am accustomed to in Vancouver. I mean… in the middle of China are you going to go looking for a good hamburger or some serious Chinese food?

That’s all for Monday… perhaps I’ll keep getting caught up as I go along.

Thanks for reading!





Spending time in China

21 09 2008

I’m in China again for work.  I arrived here back on Sunday.  The next few posts will be a bit of a journal.

Saturday/Sunday:

I flew out on AC029 on Saturday.  I particularly chose that flight as Air Canada has put seat back Video on Demand and seat back power into some of their planes and AC029 was one of those planes.  The plane was about 50% full only so I ended up with an aisle seat next to an empty window seat.  Perfect.  I turned the little area into my own little space.  I had my laptop set up on the tray next to me, while being able to eat and view video on my own tray/seat.  The flight was about 11 hours to get to Beijing.  During that time I watched “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “88 minutes”.  Both movies were quite good.  The earphones I had brought for listening, unfortunately, had one not working.  It turned out alright as I let my head rest on the right side with the earbud in my left ear.  Sort of half listening/half sleeping.

I arrived in Beijing at the International arrivals.  They shuttle you to your luggage via a train.  Once there, I picked up my bags and cleared customs, happy that I had no visa grief.  My next challenge was to find my way to the domestic terminal and get checked into my flight with China East Airlines to Lanzhou.   The airport staff were very helpful and professional, directing me to my shuttle bus.  The bus ride over to the domestic terminal actually took about 10-15 minutes – I’m glad I wasn’t trying to connect to a tight flight connection!  I got to the check in desk for China Eastern and felt a bit comfortable as I recognized it from when we traveled from Beijing to HK a couple of years ago.  Finally, something recognizable.  First roadblock… English at the counter.  I wanted to know if my colleague had checked in yet.  I asked in English and was met with a blank stare and a bunch of Mandarin.  She did, however find a coworker who could help me and we determined that he checked in and that I could get a seat next to him – Good.  I walked down through security and was grilled a bit about my name (go figure) and then let pass. It was weird.  Upon making my way to the lounge, it was pretty obvious who my Australian colleague was…. the BIG white guy.  He stands 6’4” tall.  Hard to miss in a crowd of Asians.

The flight from Beijing to Lanzhou was VERY bumpy.  I think we had turbulence for about 90% of the trip.  This compounded the fact that China Eastern doesn’t exactly have much leg room – nothing like being strapped in and not able to stretch out.  We arrived a bit early (perhaps it was a tail wind that made it so bumpy?) at 1930 and our Lanzhou colleague was there to meet us.  We grabbed a cab and headed into the hotel on a ride that would take about an hour and take us through mountains, along deserted expressways and onto bumpy roads under construction that made you long for the turbulence of the plane.   

Upon arrival at the hotel, we got our rooms and settled the deposit.  They wanted a small fortune for a deposit.  Almost CAD1000 preauth on a credit card.  We settled into our rooms and went down to the Chinese restaurant for dinner.  No love.  It was closed already.  We headed down to the cafe and had a very tasty curried beef… We were tired… Off to bed.





The Poker Game

20 09 2008

A common sidewalk activity for the senior men is playing poker using a chinese domino deck of cards.  While it may be a bit intense, it certainly becomes a group affair pretty quickly with everyone pitching in ideas as to what the players should have done.

Here’s a game that I felt had some real characters playing





Lanzhou Market Photos

20 09 2008

My apologies to those of you with a slow link, but there’s not to much to write about day to day (I’ll probably come up with some sort of summary though)  I carry my camera around whenever I go walking with the hope that I’ll keep catching the day to day life in Lanzhou.

Chestnuts roasting at the market

An old lady selling apples along the road – she gratefully posed for me

Sidewalk poker game (you can see the curiosity of the two guys in the very back – wondering why two white guys would be photographing a card game)

Squash vendor picking a good one for his client
 

After seeing me shoot the squash vendor, this watermelon vendor was more than happy to pose with his wares

This tofu vendor was encouraged to smile by the other vendors around him.  He was shy at first but then opened up with a big bright smile
 

Farmer negotiating prices with a prospective client

 

My entire Lanzhou photo album can be seen at: http://www.fotothing.com/albums.php?action=viewphotos&albumid=3111

 

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Some more photos from Lanzhou

19 09 2008

Well, I managed to get out and shoot a few more scenes…

Seeds for sale at the market tonight

All the tea in China?

These trucks are near our office.  One of them isn’t likely to be travelling any time soon 🙂

A canal in Lanzhou.  It hasn’t seen water for a years. I’m guessing it’s because they’ve been drawing water from the yellow river for agriculture to the point where the water levels are too low to flow in the canals anymore 😦

Open air night eateries are common around the area.   I’m not quite brave enough to try the food, but it is interesting.  EVERYTHING is cooked over coal bricks, adding to the haze and smog of the city.. Yuck.

Tomorrow I’m going to try to wander the market during the day. Hopefully I’ll get better crowd action scenes (if someone doesn’t chase me out of there 😉 )

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Pop Quiz

19 09 2008

What country has 2 bills with the same number on them that have different values?

 

…..

 

Give up?  China! 

 

I went to one of the local bakery stands tonight to buy some buns for tomorrow.  The four buns came to 4RMB, so I took out a 5 and  handed it to the girl.  She wouldn’t take it.  I pushed it forward again… still no action.  Then I turn to my colleague who is with me and he says,

“You are offering her 50 cents.”

Ouch!!! I turn red and apologize profusely while fumbling for my 5RMB note.

The 50 cent bill and the 5 RMB bill both have 5 as the number on them.  The 50 cent one is smaller. 

Hopefully this will help someone out there avoid the embarrassment I just had .

You may continue with your regular scheduled programming….  😉

 

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Some Pictures from Lanzhou

16 09 2008

I’m in Lanzhou China for work for a couple of weeks.  It’s a very interesting city.

 

Here are some pics from my first couple of days in town:

The view from my hotel room

Chilies drying on the line near where I work

I’m always fascinated by the creative ways people find to transport things here

Some delicious sichuan style pork ribs that we had for lunch at a local restaurant

My colleague, me and the restaurant owner
   

The last picture has an interesting story…  We came into the restaurant to eat lunch and since the owner saw me with my camera, he wanted a picture with us… what the heck…sure.  We took the picture and then continued with lunch.  After lunch I went to pay the bill and he indicates that there is no charge…  So, I guess my photography skills are paying off finally 🙂

Cheers from Lanzhou!





Lanzhou, China

14 07 2008

My work is sending me to Lanzhou China in a couple of weeks.  I’ve never been there, but have been reading up what I can.  If any of you gentle readers have "been there, done that, bought the T-shirt" I’d appreciate any suggestions you might have for things to do, things to watch out for, and the good, the bad and the ugly.

I’m going to be bringing my camera with me.  Do you think I risk losing my 100-400 (to theft) if bring it with me?

I’m a little concerned because the city is so much further north that my little Cantonese knowledge will be useless.  It’s going to be a LOT of hand waving and pointing.  I don’t like not being able to communicate.

Thoughts and ideas welcomed!

 

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Catch up!

11 01 2008

I just realized that I missed linking to all the cool pics I took in Hong Kong/Shongsan/Guangzhou back in January of 2007

 

They start here: http://www.fotothing.com/DragonSpeed/photo/105/

and run until: http://www.fotothing.com/DragonSpeed/photo/115/

Enjoy

 





Finally got my old entries from My Hong Kong Trip back

10 01 2008

After “The Great Blog Loss”, I have been gradually working at recovering my old posts.  I have managed to resurrect my posts from my Hong Kong/China Trip back in January 2006, as well as my work trip to Monterrey Mexico in 2004.

Thank goodness. I was pretty crushed losing all that information!

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Blog down/no updates from HK Trip

28 02 2007

Some days you just can’t seem to win.  Technology has conspired against me.

First, my blog site was down for almost 2 weeks after I got home.  Tough to update the blog 😦

Second, I went to sync my HP IPaq 4150 with my new laptop, and “Poof!” there go all my nice point form notes that I took every day while we travelled.  Gone.

It seems that the last 12 days of my trip may never get published.

Too bad really – they were a fun time.

Sigh.

Did I mention that some days you just can’t seem to win?





Zhongshan – January 29, 2007

20 02 2007

2007-01-29 (Monday)

We were off on a tour today!

We were to meet down at the Hotel restaurant for breakfast at 0830.  Boy, I sure felt the late night from the night before.  I was getting ready to go, and had the laptop fired up and syncing when I got a knock on the door from Mr 7.  The others were already downstairs and waiting. What??? It was only 0815.  We got the rest of our stuff organized and headed downstairs.  We joined everyone in the restaurant and had a nice breakfast.

The van was waiting for us outside the hotel when we finished, and we all piled in.  This time I got to sit in the front.  Little did I realize that this was to make up for the endless hours of driving we had coming up.

We headed north.  We were headed to Foshan.  Why?  That got left out by my dear, loving translator.  As we travelled along the road I saw all the oddities that remind you you’re in China and that this isn’t Kansas anymore Toto.  We passed a flat bed truck with Ox head remains in a pile (Just the kind of thing you want to see first thing in the morning after breakfast) Of course I took a pic, but nobody thought I should post it.  We saw scooters with Mom, dad and baby all sandwiched together, we saw people with bikes carrying 20 foot long pipes, and moving piles of paper – beneath which somewhere was a person on a bicycle.  Cars wove in and out, using the lane markers as guidelines rather than delimiters.  At one point on the drive, we were following a cement truck on a two lane road.  Two cars each passed us and the truck on each side of the truck as well as a scooter.  At one point we had 4 vehicles abreast on our little two lane road.  Good Times!  Breath deep…relax.

We passed through an area where all the lighting shops congregate.  Indoor, outdoor, neon, flashing, Chandelier, display, day to day.  You name it. During that 10km stretch if you couldn’t find the type of light you were looking for then it isn’t made.  This would be interesting after sunset probably. Since we had been driving for about 2 hours at this point, it was washroom break time!  We stopped at a hotel and everyone took advantage of the break to head in and get rid of the morning’s breakfast coffee.  All 10 of us packed back into the van and away we went.   The next stage was pretty short.  Fairly soon we arrived at a Furniture supermall.  It was a good thing we got there when we did.  As we got into the “Furniture zone” the air had become much dustier and the diesel fumes were becoming much worse.  I was beginning to feel nauseated.  I welcomed the opportunity to get out of the vehicle and into an air conditioned mall.  It was only when I stepped into the building that I came to realize what a monstrosity it was.  Six floors and a square footage that rivals a football stadium, if not surpassing.  The place was HUGE.  Nope…  Huge doesn’t do it justice.  Here…. Look at this:

Full sized panorama (12MP) can be seen at: http://www.fotothing.com/photos/409/409511e3fdc2e1e5562b0897e8279193_b49.jpg

We walked around for about an hour while some of the members of our party were looking for furniture to furnish a potential home or to have shipped back to Vancouver.  Some of the furniture had some excellent pricing while others (the more stylish pieces) it would seem were likely to cost as much delivered to home as if we bought them in Vancouver.  There were deals to be had for the wise shopper.  Largely I just wandered in awe of the magnitude of the place and tried to breathe in as much fresh air as I could before being put in the diesel fumes again.  Time up… out we went to the van. Back to the fumes.  This time, we managed to get the driver to turn on the air conditioning.  What a great idea.  That helped significantly.  Apparently I was the only person who was suffering.  Everyone else just kept on with out really noticing.  Urgh!

Having departed the furniture mall, I had managed to pry out information from my translator.  We were going to go have lunch and then after that go to an area where they sell ceramics by the boatload.  Oh joy!  We headed towards where the ceramics were and passed all manners of trucks piled high with furniture of all sorts.  Wooden chairs by the dozen stacked up high on a truck, tables and shelves all towering well above the height that any sane person would have stacked them.  These trucks still drove with the carefree abandon that characterizes the scene just before a huge car accident 🙂 After a couple of wrong turns and one little wrong direction in the traffic circle (Whoops!) we had found our way to the ceramic district.  If you needed new porcelain for the washroom, there was store upon store for you.  Pleasantly, all my washroom needs are presently accounted for in our house.

Since the area was foreign to all of us – including our driver, we asked for a good place for lunch.  We were directed to a restaurant which was apparently “THE” place to eat around there.  After parking and talking to the lady at the front, we were directed around a corner or two towards a distinctly dodgy place.  As we entered, there were pails with snakes, and cages with rabbits.  What really got me was that next to the rabbits was a cage with two cats.  Yup.. cats.  Felines. Felis Domestica.  I’m sure my heart sank a little bit when I saw them in the cage, listless and sullen.  Somebody’s lunch or dinner.  After a quick overall look at the place we vetoed it (of which I was pretty happy – I don’t really want to support a restaurant that serves cat or dog, even though I’m not going to tell someone else that they can’t if they don’t care)  We piled back into the van and drove a couple of blocks until we saw a hotel restaurant.  What a better choice that was!  As usual we ordered what seemed like a reasonable amount of food, only to end up with heaps upon heaps. I recall a plate of shrimp that was overflowing to the brim which I had to help finish off.  It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to do it 🙂

After our late lunch (1425) we headed over to the ceramic area.  They had all kinds of ceramic vases, horses, sculptures etc.  It was fairly interesting.  It became distinctly LESS interesting after passing by the 15th shop selling the exact same thing though.  I almost bought a vase with a really interesting modern pattern but I had visions of it coming home in little fragments so it remained unpurchased.  The day had been hot, and as the late afternoon came the temperature cooled a bit, making it a bit more pleasant to walk about.  Children were already playing with firecrackers around the area, and the rush hour traffic starting up was fun to watch from afar.  A couple of people purchased a few small items and we were ready to head back around 1700.

We were expecting the drive back to be simply long and monotonous.  Not so much.  When we got back to the lighting store area my earlier prediction proved out.  The lights were on and the area was a glitter with outdoor light displays and some beautiful chandeliers inside the stores.  Wow!  That’s got to cost a bit in electricity.  After stopping at the lighting area hotel for a pee break we headed off for the home stretch.  This is the part where you realize that the lack of signage in China is pretty evident.  As you drive down dark roads looking for the “obvious” turn you don’t get those handy little signs like we do at home telling you that the highway is right/left/straight ahead.  At one point we were in a town area, and had a chance to watch some locals shoot some hoops in an organized game, just before we ran out of paved road.  Ooops.  Turn around.  Try again.  We took a few different turns and asked more than a couple of locals before we found the unlit road that led us back to the highway with, surprisingly, our kidneys still intact.

It was pretty late by the time we got back to “Agile town”.  We went straight to dinner that night. It was a western style dinner.  Very nice ambience to the restaurant, and there was a live guitar player providing the tunes.  I had a very nice set menu as did Mrs. D.  It was a strange little island in the middle of Southern China. After dinner, there would be no wasting time.  It was massage time.  I caved.  This time I went for the massage.  It was an interesting experience.  I don’t think it’s something that I would want regularly, but at about 30RMB/hr it’s hard not to find a reason to lay around and have your muscles pounded and shaped.  It felt generally good, although I had to warn my masseuse about the various knee and shoulder injuries to avoid having her work them too hard.  It seemed that all my fellow massage recipients fell asleep while being plied.  I couldn’t.  When it was all done I felt pretty good.  We headed over to a little dessert place where I had tapioca in hot milk.  It was quite good.  That night we actually got to bed by midnight.  Imagine that!








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