Hong Kong & Taiwan 2017

   December 2017

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Lantau

Saturday December 2nd 2017

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I'd been to Hong Kong once before and thought it was awesome. It was great to be back again, but whereas previously I'd arrived by train from Shanghai, accustomed to being in Asia after some travelling in China, this time I arrived by plane and was ruined by jetlag. I was staying at Discovery Bay on Lantau, and on a warm winter night I went for a tired walk around, looking across the water to Hong Kong Island.

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Man Mo

Sunday December 3rd 2017

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On a rainy Sunday, I wasted most of the day being incapacitated by tiredness. But eventually I dragged myself sleepily out and got a ferry to Central. Wandering randomly, I passed the Man Mo temple. I'd been here ten years ago and thought it was awesome, the air thick and choking with incense ash, a strange different world enclaved in the busy city. So I went in again, for as long as I could hold my breath. How the temple maintainers stand to be in there day after day, I do not know.

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Central

Sunday December 3rd 2017

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Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any other city, and walking around Central always feels like being in a forest.

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Big Buddha

Wednesday December 6th 2017

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A lot of the biggest statues in the world represent Buddha. I'd heard that the big Buddha of Lantau was worth visiting, but a lot of other people have heard that too so it was pretty crowded. It looked pretty epic from a distance towering over the surroundings.

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Tai O

Wednesday December 6th 2017

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Tai O is a fishing village built on stilts over tidal flats.

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Kowloon

Saturday December 9th 2017

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I spend a couple of days in Kowloon. Nathan Road is not like anywhere else in the world that I've been to, with rabbit-warren buildings containing hostels, shops selling everything you could possibly want, restaurants, banks and everything in cities within the city.

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Market

Saturday December 9th 2017

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A street market in one of the narrow streets between towering skyscrapers in Central.

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Fok Cheong Building

Saturday December 9th 2017

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I'd seen some photographs of awesome residential buildings in Hong Kong. One of the common images was of the Fok Cheong Building in Quarry Bay, so I headed over there one evening, timing my trip to get some nice twilight light.

I found the building and went into the courtyard, feeling a little bit self-conscious to be there just to take photos. But far from being conspicuous, I was one of about a dozen photographers milling around taking pictures as the sky darkened. Clearly the Fok Cheong Building is no secret.

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Chungking Mansions

Saturday December 9th 2017

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Chungking Mansions is the most famous of the city-within-a-city tower blocks of Kowloon. I'd stayed in a couple of places there when I was here before but this time I was trying out different parts of Kowloon. I passed by and resisted the efforts of touts to get me to stay there again.

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Early morning at the harbour

Sunday December 10th 2017

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I was jetlagged the whole time I was in Hong Kong, so I mostly got up hours before dawn. I went down to the southern tip of Kowloon one morning to see the sunrise over Hong Kong Island.

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The forest

Sunday December 10th 2017

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Central has an amazing mixture of little old colonial buildings buried in amongst the towering glass skyscrapers.

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Demonstration

Sunday December 10th 2017

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I was wandering around Central when I reached a street that was closed off. I could hear music in the distance, and soon a parade appeared. It was a Falun Gong demonstration, and lining its route were counter-demonstrations. The Falun Gong people marched, some looking defiant, some looking indifferent, some of the young children in the march looking like they'd rather be anywhere else in the world. The counter-demonstrators booed and gave thumbs down gestures as the demonstrators passed by.

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Hong Kong night

Sunday December 10th 2017

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The south end of Kowloon is busy every night as night falls over the city. The views are pretty spectacular but it can get a bit wearing pushing through the crowds to get around.

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Crowds disperse

Sunday December 10th 2017

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They do a light show every night at 8pm, with all the skyscrapers on the island shining lasers into the sky. I thought a photo of it would look good, but it was too busy and I couldn't find a spot with any kind of view. So I hung around until the crowds thinned out a bit and took photos of a laser-free skyline.

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Taipei

Wednesday December 13th 2017

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After Hong Kong I went to Taipei for a few days for work. I always love it there, even if I didn't have time to see much except the physics department of the university this time.

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City view

Wednesday December 13th 2017

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Even if I spent most of my time in the physics department, at least they have great views from their offices on the 14th floor of the building.

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