Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

This week’s photo challenge is The Golden Hour! Their description is this:

In photography, the “golden hour” is the first and last hour of sunlight of the day. Photographers venture out on sunrise hikes or sunset treks to capture a magical shot, due to the quality of the light during that time of day.”

The chances of me ever catching the first hour of sunlight is close to impossible since I love sitting in bed even if I wake up before the sun rises.  Another reason is that ever since I was little, my mom has injected thoughts that make me feel like I live in a horror movie and if I were to go out in those crazy hours, what happens to those morning joggers in Criminal Minds will possibly happen to me.  Well, better to be safe than sorry, right? One day, I’ll gather one or two friends and do the sunrise shots.  For now, the closest I get is capturing the 2nd to 3rd hour after sunrise when we head out to dragonboat festivals/races. Last Sunday, I did not participate but I did wake up early to catch the very first race which my team did their 2km final at 9am.

As we were driving there at 7:30am-ish, the sky had streams of light peaking through the clouds.

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Now, if we talk about the sunsets.  That last hour of sunlight before it gets all dark.  Well, I’ve done that before after a hike in Hong Kong last November on Lamma Island.  It possibly had one of the best shooting experiences of my life 🙂

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Lamma Island on the docks preparing to get on the ferry

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Leaving on the Lamma Island ferry to go back to Central

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The Lamma Island scenery from the ferry as the sun disappears behind the mountains…

As much as my morning shot wasn’t very golden, it did have golden streaks which aren’t very apparent in my shot but it does get a bit closer to “The Golden Hour” and having  a special quality of light in those sunsets shot! 🙂

A very special Weekly Photo Challenge this week! Check it out HERE and join in if you have some shots showing The Golden Hour!

A Word A Week Challenge: Metallic

Sue`s A Word A Week Challenge is to open her dictionary and choose a random word. This week`s word is METALLIC.  The first thought I had when I read this is exactly what I`m posting about after a whole week of thinking about it.

If you all don`t know, I love jewelry.  Other than summer dresses and romantic comedies, its probably what makes me quite girlish.  However, I don`t like any kind of jewelry.  I`m actually not into super fancy bling types but rather very metallic ones.

Every year at the Montreal Arts and Crafts show right around Christmas time, I always reward myself with a little something or if I don`t, I always make a stop at my favorite handcrafted jewelry store called Christophe Poly.  The designs are just super awesome and its pretty inexpensive.  I`m not trying to promote for them.  Just thats the style I love!

Metallic bracelet

Metallic bracelet

Thats one of my newest additions and one of my absolute faves.

Another type of jewelry I totally love is those ones where its DIY and you have to buy the pieces one by one.  As much as I`d like the real thing from Pandora (or whichever), my boyfriend went with me to Walmart and we got similar gems and put together a necklace that I love and make use of it for all sorts of events to match my clothes 🙂 The focus is on the main charm which he chose as a metallic key!

My own Charms necklace!

My own Charms necklace!

I also have this weird love for hair accessories, and it goes along with an occasional desire to be young and cute.  Last year in Hong Kong at Ladies Market, I got this one with a little bow on the side and its one of the few that have a metallic lining on the bottom for support. I love the background I used with one of my favorite quotes!

Hair bands

Hair bands

On top of that, I love little handcrafted decorations. When I was in Hong Kong last year visiting Lamma Island, an elderly woman was selling her beautiful fishes made with simple material that you would never guess.  It all had different colors and lined with colorful metallic wire tails.

Metallic tails on hand crafted goldfish

Metallic tails on hand crafted goldfish

Last showcase is a last minute addition I thought about right before bed, the model is my cat and her beautiful collar that she has two of that are similar but not the same because she keeps losing one and then we find the other one somewhere else and then exchange it on her neck.  As much as I want her to be free and it does make her even prettier than she already is, its more of an alarm to know when she`s going to pop out of nowhere and jump on me.  She`s playful but sometimes she forgets that her claws actually do hurt.  I mean, last time she already left permanent light claw marks on my shoulder.

Metallic bell on my cat`s collar

Metallic bell on my cat`s collar

Whats does the word Metallic remind you of?

A Word A Week Photo Challenge: Industrial

This week’s Sue has chosen the word INDUSTRIAL! I spent a whole week taking forever to get this post up…hoping that I would get a chance to walk around Montreal and snap some pictures.  However, work still seems to have rules my life.  At least, I have a long weekend, so what can I complain about?

Instead of Montreal, I bring in more Hong Kong pictures.  I took a lot of pictures so its turning out to be quite useful.  Hong Kong is quite an industrial place filled with industries because of its geographic location and it differs from where you are on the main island, or outlying islands.  The public transportation is very varied.  With the handover, the phenomenon I hate the most and probably could ramble on forever would be the land filling operations. In order to expand the economy, they only way for them to have more space is to fill in the ocean with land.  I extremely hate this.  Hong Kong is essentially a harbor, and what is the meaning of some day just closing up the water.  It wouldn’t be a harbor anymore, right? Anyways, enough of this rambling, it’ll just get me all worked up.

Here are the industrial Hong Kong pictures!

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Ocean side industry and plant

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Not the MTR but another form of train KMR…New Territories public transit

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Boats, cranes, water…My guess is they are filling the ocean…

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Preparing for business

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Fishing Boats (I think)

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Plant on outlying Lamma Island

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Double Decker Bus

Here we go! My interpretation of INDUSTRIAL.  Everything industrial has its good and its bad.  We just always have to hope that industrialization will bring more pros than cons to the society and all other elements involved.

Drop by Sue’s blog A Word in Your Ear to check out this challenge and other responses, or even join in this fun challenge right HERE!

A Word A Week Photo Challenge:Island

This week’s word from Sue at A Word In Your Ear’s dictionary is ISLAND.  It got me thinking about how many islands I have been on other than the one I live or should I say work on.  Montreal is an island which is why we are surrounded by close to crumbling bridges.  A problem that stresses me out since I live on the island.  But we are not talking about that, my point being, I have been quite a few islands.  They are all around the same areas in the world but still, here we go on a little Island adventure.  But before that, I’d like to urge you to go check out Sue’s beautiful challenge HERE.  If you’d like to take part in this challenge or see other wonderful entries, just click the link.

First up:

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Vancouver Island at Mile 0

Very beautiful view looking out onto from Mile 0! Canada is a beautiful country, full of hidden treasures.

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Vancouver :Granville Island

Technically, its not an island from what I heard.  Its just part of the name, but it is surrounded by water

taiwan

Taiwan

A beautiful location but I’m not exactly sure where this is..perhaps Fisherman’s Wharf?

Its been a long time and Taiwan is an island so its beautiful looking out any location

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On the surrounding waters of Hong Kong

I am not ON that boat but I am on another boat.

In 2009 when I went back, I went out to try to seeing the endangered pink dolphins and this was on the way.

Giant Buddha at Lantau Island

Giant Buddha at Lantau Island

Hong Kong is surrounded by outlying islands and this is a famous landmark on Lantau Island

Lamma Island

Lamma Island

I did an extensive post back in November on my Hong Kong trip and 3 parts dedicated to this wonderful Lamma Island

You can find here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Macau

Macau

Looking out on the waters of Macau at night was just beautiful.

My old camera didn’t do a great job at capturing its actual beauty but still, its amazing.

Montreal

Montreal

For the final stop, I take you back home to the island of Montreal, intertwined with the waterways of St. Lawrence River.

These waters are from exactly there looking out of Old Montreal.

 

 

 

Food Review: Hong Kong Desserts

Right after Lamma Island and looking at the nightview in Hong Kong and taking a stroll around busy Tsim Sha Tsui on Saturday night, my mom and I headed back home.  My mom had told me about how just around the corner, her and her best friend had discovered a lot of dessert shops.  Chinese dessert shops do not exist in Montreal.  I have been to one in Toronto before.  I love Chinese desserts and its amazing to eat it outside.  A lot of times it consists of pastes or sweet soups or made with glutinous rice or its with some sort of soy product like tofu.

We ended up going this one.  I saw a whole article on how it had won an award for being the best dessert place in 2011 or 2012.  I don’t remember exactly.  This dessert place didn’t have an english name though.

So for your reference, here is the actual link of the restaurant but its in chinese mostly.  I would deduct that perhaps its called Friends Dessert as the English name.

http://www.friendsdessert.com/aboutus.html

But for better reference, this link should give you the actual site of the restaurant that I went to and then the bottom one is the one that have all the other chains if it does interest you to try it out.

I went to this one: http://www.openrice.com/english/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=51597

This is where all the chains can be found: http://www.openrice.com/english/restaurant/sr1.htm?chain_id=10000675&region=0

The decor was pretty nice too.  The service was a bit not as good as expected.  This restaurant had a lousy group of waiters who seemed like they didn’t really want to be there in the first place.  But okay, we got service and we managed to get a decent spot and pretty quick service after that.

I ordered a Black Sesame Paste with Rice Balls with Peanut filling. What this is is Black sesame grinded into little bits and add a bit of sugar and you get black sesame paste, thats my general understanding of it at least.  It becomes a pasty liquid sweet soup. I love it! This tasted pretty good.  It wasn’t too sweet and the texture was smooth.

My mom ordered Beancurd with Gingko Sweet Soup with Rice Balls with Black Sesame Filling. Okay, let me say that again.  She ordered Rice Balls with Peanut filling but they mixed up the order and we didn’t bother to change it.  Nonetheless, she said that it tasted good.  So she didn’t complain about it, which is always a plus when she enjoys her food.

Then we shared a Mango Glutinous Rice Rolls. These rolls were okay.  The mango in the roll was sour as hell.  It was crazy sour, maybe its because I ate my sweet soup first.  Still, I love anything with glutinous rice and coconut shreds.

 

This place was quite good.  I’m not exactly sure if they have an award that this chain was the one they evaluated it with. The only downfall of this place was the service.  It was pretty nice to see the open kitchen next to us and the beautiful crystal lights lighting up the cozy restaurant.  The desserts had a lot of variety and some were pretty unique.  I stuck with the traditional though because I can’t get this in restaurants back home and they were delicious. I think its worth a try if you are ever in Hong Kong and walk past one of these.

Hong Kong: Lamma Island Part 3/3 Food

I am focused on baking and cooking so being on travel, I have to give you some coverage on food. You already know that since I already put up two food reviews.  Maybe I`ll start doing that once in a while if I find some good restaurants or some extremely bad ones, just to give out some warning.  Travelling and eating is something I love.  Lamma Island was awesome.  Unfortunately I didn`t end up having a crazy seafood meal.

Here`s what I had:

 

Say hi to my mom. She modeled for this one.  You know what that is? That is called Iced Pineapple. Its pretty much frozen pineapple to the point that when you bite in, it just gives you close to a brain freeze each time.  It was very good and refreshing when it was about 32C and hiking up a hill.  If you do this trail, remember to grab one of those.

We were hiking so restaurants on the mountains were not quite as abundant but we had about 45 mins till our boat left from Sok Kwu Wan.  That gave us enough time to eat a simple early dinner at this place.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: TONG KEE RESTAURANT

 

It is probably not the best restaurant but I didn’t have the English name of the restaurant so upon research on OpenRice.  Here’s the link for better reference: http://www.openrice.com/english/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=8241.  Just in case you do visit and want to eat there.  Although I’ve heard the more popular one is Rainbow Seafood.  I took a picture of it in the Seafood post.  They seem to have an extremely wide selection of fresh seafood.

Okay, so back to Tong Kee Restaurant.  We took noodles and drinks.  I apologize in advance because my mom and her friends beat me to one of the noodles before I could take a picture so I only have one of them.

To start, we had a nice icy drink:

This is one of my absolute FAVORITE drinks in Hong Kong called Ice Lemon Ribena.

For those who don’t know, Ribena is a blackcurrant juice.  They also make mixed berries and blackcurrant soft candies now.  Anyways, this is an amazing drink.  I’m simple, ok? I just love it because its fruity, a bit zesty and refreshing on a hot day.

Now for the main dish(es).

Chicken Chow Mein

I don’t understand why they decided to order chicken in a seafood area but its okay.  This place didn’t focus exactly on abundance of seafood.  So its alright.  This dish was rather delicious.  I thought it was a bit salty but it was done well texture-wise.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The second plate was (I think) a Beef Vermicelli dish.  I’m having a foggy memory of it.  You see why I take pictures now.  I ate so much in Hong Kong I don’t even remember what we ate.  It was an okay dish all in all.  Thats probably why I don’t remember much.

Tong Kee is a diner sort of restaurant so its not about seafood here. You usually would get a quick fix of noodles or fried rice at places like this.  We definitely had a filling early dinner and we were ready to set off back home. There is one last thing I’d like to mention about eating in Lamma Island in general, Tong Kee included.  You want to eat outside by the water. Its part of the whole experience.  You see fishing boats all over the place. If you dine there, you see the sunset.  I showed you the sunset in the Part 1 Trail post and wasn’t it gorgeous?

Before I leave, let me remind you again:

The beauty of outlying islands is the more quiet lifestyle.  You get to escape the tall buildings, the immense crowds and the general lack of natural beauty.  For a day at Lamma Island, it was a day to relax from the bustling ways of the big city and get back in touch with the simple things in life.

Hong Kong: Lamma Island Part 2/3 Seafood, Animals & Flowers

In Part 1, I took you on a little hiking trail and it gives you a good idea of what Lamma Island looks like.  Its altogether a popular vacation area.  Aside from being that, it is also known as a fishing village so being an island, it has access to lots of fresh seafood.  I mentioned that in the last post and I didn’t forget but rather I wanted to have a post to show you the seafood: giant shrimps and lobsters and crabs.  Whether you are into seafood or not, its still quite eye-opening to see it all live in front of you.  Your trail in Lamma Island is pretty much starting and ending with seafood restaurants all over the place, nested right next to the harbour. My pictures will go from beginning to end of trail in order.

So tanks and tanks of seafood may be the focus of Lamma Island.  If you are there and have time, you definitely should arrange some sort of seafood meal.

Other than seafood, there were animals.  I mean (mostly) domesticated pets.  My mom told me that its normal for business owners in small regions like this to have pets because then it poses as protection and security so you see mostly dogs around.  Oddly enough, there was an animal shelter and thats where you see the cat below.  I`m guessing there is a serious amount of strays as well.  I sure hope that it will be kept under control.

Look at that! I even gave you a little something.  We even saw cranes.  There were about 5 around this area.  It was absolutely cool!

Last time for the A Word A Week Challenge: Flower, I gave you mostly flowers from this trail.  So I just have a few more of the natural beauties I found to share.

I know one of them are flowers but the other one is super pretty too, right? I think that it was a very original picture so I had to share it with everyone.  The tree was made up of strands and strands of these draping downwards.  It was a pretty nice sight!

I actually have a little extra that I would like to mention before I end this post.  There was one feature of the hiking trail that I really loved and its this:

That is right everyone.  Its a dog toilet.  No more poop bags and carrying it through the whole path.  Just let your puppy take care of business here.  There are about 3-5 on the trail from my recollection.  I think its the best to make hiking on a family trail dog friendly because after all, our pets are part of our family.  Don’t you think its a great idea?

One more part to go! I am a bit behind schedule, please forgive me.  I will try to get it done before I head off to bed.  Any ideas on what its about? No worries you will see soon.

Hong Kong: Lamma Island Part 1/3 Family Trail

One thing that many tourists should be made aware of is that Hong Kong is surrounded a whole bunch of islands as Hong Kong itself is an island.  There are a few that are most widely promoted as tourist attractions for its hiking or heritage or culture.  Whatever you’re into, it never fails to disappoint.  The most popular one being Lantau Island with the Giant Buddha and Po Lin Monastery and the cable car system called Ngong Ping 360 which gives a fabulous view.  But, I’m not here to talk to you about Lantau Island.  I go every time I head back to Hong Kong but this time, I decided to switch it up and go to another island, a smaller one.  I’ve always wanted to go to the 3 other smaller islands: Cheung Chau, Ping Chau and Lamma Island.

I chose Lamma Island because there was an easier hiking trail so it wouldn’t be too hard for my mom either.  Some may know Lamma Island, because it had a serious ferry collision last months ago which caused some people to die.  However, we still decided to go. The deal with Lamma Island is that you can get there from one bay and then the hiking trail ends at the other bay, so that way you can take the ferry from both sides.  We took the ferry from Aberdeen and headed out to Yung Shue Wan.

Along the way to Yung Shue Wan, it was just beautiful.  We chose the warmest day in the two weeks I was there to go.  When we got to the harbour, it was a beautiful path lined with bicycles on both side.

You walk past restaurants with lines and lines of fresh seafood in the tanks.  Then you walk further in and its markets with food, wine, decorations, accessories.

Right after a good chunk of this, we reach the beach.

Just after the beach, we start our hike when it starts getting into a lot of trees and just starts having a bit more of an uphill climb.  Here’s where its amazing.  Flowers, trees and a beautiful view from up in the mountain.  There were rarely any barriers on the path and we had a blazing sun on us.

When we finally reached the other side, this side is called Sok Kwu Wan where we took our ferry back to the Central.

I haven’t talked to you about Central just yet but no worries, its the next part after Lamma Island. As you see, this island has so many aspects worth mentioning so its getting just a bit more attention. Expect them by the rest of the evening! I’m working hard to condense then into two more parts.