The Award Winner

Photography

Roses

This trip would not exist if it was not the HK Food & Culture book I participated in the making. The book was selected among 5 others nominees in the Asian Cuisine under Asia Region at an important cook books Oscar. We were invited to join at the award ceremony in Yantai, China. Together with our author and translator/coordinator, we flew over to the northeast part of Mainland. There were hiccups in miscommunications here and there. In the end, we were able to got over it. Not only we knew nothing about the city and surroundings, we did not believe there’s any place that we thought it’d be fun for us. It’s truly a trip of a kind for us.

Pavilion

The location we stayed at was the Development District in Yantai, about an hour drive to the downtown. The district was mostly a property developing zone with hotels by the promenade along the infinite coast. The entire time at the hotel I saw South Koreans. I learned that Yantai is one of the closest travel destinations for them. It was not what I intended to be seeing at a zone without a lot of nearby attractions. The district can be stranded on its own.

Malt Sugar Doll Master

The beauty at their scattered tourist attractions, such as the Ancient Penglai Pavilion, the long Golden Coast, mesmerising Tianma Bridge are just so underrated. And the tourists map was misleading as if the places were in manageable walking distance. They’re just taxi rides away and basically hire for half a day.

Penglai

As I sat on a taxi looking out the window, I was amazed by a series of things their highways are now very well built, totally reminds me of the States. Real flowers are just too real not to be fake at the Penglai Pavilion park. Structures at the promenade looked more advanced and modern than ours in Hong Kong. All these made me questioned when our city dynamo (the government and elected legislators) will wake up and look around what needs to be done in order to catch up. In many areas, we’re just doing an average job by not improving the hardware. If our city continues to divide, all of us will suffer the consequence.

Flowers

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Mom and Son Statue

And the winner goes to … our book! That’s right, even I was shocked for a brief moment as I walked from all the way back to the stage. We all went up to the stage and received the certificate, as well as providing a brief thank you speech. I said “Hong Kong is such a tiny place in the world, it’s such an honor stand on the stage in front of all of you guys from around the world.” We received hugs, handshakes and congratulations from the people we had met over there. I was overwhelmed by all these respect and recognition even I was just a photographer for the book.

Lead the way

This event was a nice gathering with all the food related professionals on earth. We met writers from France, Portugal, Sweden, Japan, South Africa and more. Maybe at times, the common English we used were slightly broken; we got to connect to one another by a bit more patience and listening.

Calligraphy

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Mom and Son

“Excuse me, I can’t put these 3 rolls in the X-ray scanner.” The conversation between me and the Chinese custom officials went on for a few short minutes. The scanner has labelled ‘film safe’, I totally got fooled by it and the officials. I wish there’s a form I could fill out for manual inspection. 

Random Playground

It’s the last thing I want to see, that is to mess up my few days of travelogue. And this is what exactly happened. These cine films looked like expired polaroids. Not sure if it’s too good of a thing? 

Our Origin

Photography

It’s been a calling to me that I got to know more about our motherland – China.
RMBThe Feed
the PickThe Eggs
The Animal ProductChina could do amazing things and the world only sees the best and the worst under heavy filtering from someone’s eyes, mouths and words. Their views could be biased, unbiased, honest, prejudiced, whatever the case might be. One thing that can’t change is to realistically find out yourself. I would not waste any opportunity to look around to see China when I get a chance, even just less than a single day to Tier 3 City Jiangmen. It’s plenty to me, plenty to impact on how I adjust my preconceived view to them. My recent trip to Guangzhou – China had brought me yet another perspective to a Tier 1 city. Just across our northern border, it’s already Shenzhen. A fine example of what it’s all about. It’s all about the city developments, the infrastructures, the population, the skyscrapers, the wealthiness and the average income of the people. It’s known to me the bigger the city, the more people from different province would flock into it. This is how the game goes – More people, more jobs, more dollars. It happens all around the world with the exception of how densely populated these Chinese city downtowns and suburbs can get. The Mommy Time
Card GameHistory
Living HistoryI’ve seen pictures of Guangzhou, but to actually set foot on the modern GZ this was my first time. It’s about a 2-hour train ride to leave home from HK and get to GZ. An hour to Shenzhen, another to GZ. The speedy train goes out every 15 mins between SZ and GZ, a lot more frequent than I thought at first. The hotels/serviced apartments near the Pazhou exhibition center that I stayed at with my family on this trip reminded me of Chicago. Everything looked sharp and spot on, including the landscaping details.

I could not wait to see what’s coming.

Considering how big the GZ city and its districts, I’d say we were grounded at first knowing the distances. However, the metro covers lots of area. We had no trouble sightseeing without a vehicle. The metro stations look so alike, a copycat to our system in HK, only not as consistent. I noticed some weird smell from time to time at some station lobby exits, as if someone just puked or pooped. In fact I did see parents allowed kids to urinate at the roadside sewage from time to time. Dated Modern Game
An Alive Old Toy - CrabsPreservation
ModernizationThis 3-day trip had covered lots of old and new areas, plenty of museums. The old includes the Yuenxiu Park that’s so huge that is 4.5 times bigger than our Victoria Park, the Huangpu Gugang Landscape Area, Shangxiajiu – a shopping avenue full of colonial style buildings reminded me of what I see from the HK early days although shops were very repetitive, LiWan Lake Park where I found a spectacular hangout of shuttlecock players in a garden. It’s a set back to the early days when I see lives around me back to binary. A very typical scene of how I’d imagine the old China.

The Guangzhou IconUndamaged Architectural HeritageMetro

Our modern day agenda included: a walk at the underground shopping avenue in downtown – where I learned they liked very loud music at their shops, copyright infringement can be a joke when a brand crosses over between Uniqlo and Muji, and awesome architectures are the winning trophies of a city. I’m still stunned with the World Expo alike structure – the Guangdong Museum. The Library and Opera House nearby were also something we HongKongese feel very far behind. They’re an art piece of its own. The hardware speaks a whole lot of how committed they want the city to represent China. The 4.8 mmile long cableless tram is another cool piece of hardware that guarantees tourists a memorable visit. It’s electric-powered and charges for half a minute on each stop. It runs between the hotel we stayed at and the GZ Tower. I’m sure the evening skyline that passengers see from this ride along the riverfront would keep you breathless. How about a bird-eye view from the top of GZ Tower?

New Faces, Old PlacesOld Faces, New Places
Back in timeComfort Food
Rock, Paper, ScissorThe shuttlecock masters

The entire trip I was curious enough to overhear what dialect people speak. As a native Cantonese speaker, it’s almost like seeing friends from back home when they speak our dialect. This is the origin of where it all started. Hong Kong was only where they fled to during wars. I do not know what’s the percentage mix of native Cantonese speakers still left in GZ, I do not wish to see it one day disappear up there. It means to us, also a part of living history to pass it on.

Modern GuangzhouPairs in Metro
Paddle boatsThe Market Street

Look Out the Window

Mobile Phone, Photography

If you’d been following the blog, you’d know I religiously document my ‘only’ trip out of Hong Kong, to Jiangmen, China at least once a year. Every year I visit, i notice changes. Villages and farms had turned into modern concrete town houses and apartments. What’s even more haunting is that the first time I see a real skyscraper in Jiangmen. It’s unprecedented besides the local TV tower. The Wanda Plaza opened last November. Phase I and II comprises of office suites, hotel and a gigantic shopping mall. I did not have time to visit the interior, but the brief drove-by to the underground garage told me it’s one ambitious landmark of the city. The size is nothing i’d even seen, i’d imagine the size of a stadium. This is what exactly the real estate tycoon ‘2nd richest men in China’ would do. It wowed me to see such shiny skyscrapers and the shopping avenue nearby. It also questioned me who are these occupants of those office suites. To my understanding, Jiangmen is not too much of a business hub. Transportation is not as well facilitated as the nearby GuongDong cities

Bicycles got replaced by motorbikes, now automobiles are replacing motorbikes. Things do improve, do evolve at a pace we do not know about. The husband-in-law I spoke with had said they do not make a lot of money, but the expenses are really nothing compare to Hong Kong. Properties are much cheap, you’d buy a place not even need to stress about renting it. He claimed the trade off is the lack of modern city life. He does not want to worry about politics and all. All he cares is he and his family is getting all the basic needs, stay healthy and get on be happy with a normal life. He said he got really fed up with the government manipulation on the TV programs from Hong Kong. Not that because he could not see what happen in Hong Kong, it gets really annoying; just like when seeing a movie in theatre a big guy walk in front of you the whole time (this parable comes from me). I told him how I admire with the choices out there with the CCTV network, lots more program to choose from than in Hong Kong even a free sports channel is available. A good way to inspire their people to become athletes?

This time we had an alternative water route passing thru the Maliuzhou Waterway. It’s our first time passing thru it. I got to see some of the infrastructural development along the waterway in HengQin. It’s almost like a piece of blank paper, up to however they want to use this piece of flat land. I already see a few top hotels built along the shore. They’re there to cater the tourism needed for the Chime-Long Ocean Kingdom opened in 2014. It’d probably the last time we’d be traveling back the Jiangmen by water. Sooner or later they’ll cut the service between here and there. The schedule will changed to some odd hours which we’d not be able to meet for a single-day trip. We traveled back to Hong Kong for 4 hours by bus with congestion halfway thru.

Through the windows
Through the abandoned brickhouses
The last bit of remaining village
Tree vs. Antenna
Younger generation lives on
HengQin Bridge in construction