Tag Archives: travel

Pebbles

What do u want your memories to be?

I was stopping through Portugal for a few days on the way home from a “Backpacking” trip through the Basque Country, and a friend decided to take me to an island right off the coast. The island itself seemed to be a common tourist destination, as there were people from all over the world getting off boats and swimming around the dock, and there was a place you could hike to that hosted thousands of seagull nests, but along the southern edge of the island was an old fort and a stone bridge that stood about 25 feet off the water. Now, there was this girl I had a thing for with us, and when she saw people jumping off of it, she asked if anyone else would do it. Of course I would!

I have a dreadful fear of heights.

So I got up on top of this bridge and stood there for maybe 45 minutes, just staring off the edge, trying to get myself to jump. People from every corner of the globe would come up, cheer me on, and then leave disappointed. The girl wasn’t even really paying attention to me anymore, but the struggle had become much more than that for me. I was going to cure this fear, damnit!

Well, just as I was about to give up, an old man came along who, swear to god, was the living, breathing embodiment of Ernest Hemingway. He had the beard, the serious look, the belly… were it not for his Portuguese accent, he could have easily passed for Hemingway. “I do not believe you are going to jump.” I was baffled. Everyone up to that point had told me I could do it. “What?” “You won’t. Here.” He reached down and plucked this old pebble off the bridge. “Keep this. You’ll look at it and remember the day you didn’t jump.” I took the pebble from him and looked at it. He shook his head at me. And then, I don’t even know what came over me, I just shouted, “Fuck that!” and threw it at the water. As I jumped from the bridge, he was still laughing in this deep, jolly tone. Long story short, another man who had been watching the entire time helped pull me out of the water and offered to buy me a beer, but as I was standing there, with all of what had just happened sinking in, Hemingway came down the steps to the water’s edge and handed me another rock. “You’ll remember this one as the day you jumped.”

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Teaching China to Drive on the Right Side of the Road

This is the first step to allowing China mainlanders to drive into Hong Kong.

In March, HK drivers without Mainland China licences will get special permits for one day trips into China, called “自駕遊” (traveling by driving yourself, zi gaa yau). It is the first stage to allow drivers from both sides of the border to cross freely. Does anyone see a problem with this?! I see no mention of supplementary driving education or test to verify drivers understand the regulations on the other side. Speaking of the other side, Hong Kong and China drive on opposite sides of the road!

Now to put it into a social and current context, visitors without cars are already blamed for the tension between the mainland and the special administrative region (link to my previous post). And more blame on pregnant mothers being parasites to the Hong Kong welfare system. Tourists on foot loiter in random areas on Hong Kong’s narrow sidewalks. What will you get with drivers in petrol-fueled machines who usually drive on the opposite side of the road, who are not used to Hong Kong’s narrow roads and relatively stricter regulations? It also poses a higher challenge for border staff to filter out pregnant mothers and deny access, which was the solution proposed by the government and York Chow (Health department). Henry Tang, which mainland Chinese merchants are you pleasing by signing this? I didn’t need more convincing to not vote for you, now I’m registering just to vote against you. (Disclaimer: this is not a political endorsement.) Continue reading

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Terror

CBS reporter Lara Logan assaulted in Egypt: CBS News

This was the first news I heard this morning and it really disturbed me. I usually wake up to Hong Kong’s local news but I switched to TVB Pearl for CBS late night news for international reporting and I find that American journalism is much more graphic. The segment on Lara Logan was a short statement – which I respected and found had a greater impact than the teary-eyed testimonies that followed of female soldiers being sexually assaulted on duty by male colleagues and the army turning a blind eye. I lived in the bubble of HK and Canadian media and four years of Comm studies could not compare to the three minutes that made me fully recognize the American Terror Tactic.

There are more issues to discuss, but back to work in my shallow, commercial city…

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Macarons and Japanese cakes

La Bamboche – A chef combines Eastern flavours with Western desserts

Lemon Macaron. I love citrusy stuff – it was sooooo good. Not too sweet, and still fresh from a 30 min commute.


Half eaten Lemon Macaron, with its travel companion Vanilla Macaron. I usually don’t have a preference for vanilla or regular cream pastries, but this was really good too. The vanilla scent was very rich and not artificial at all.

Inside the box…

Three pieces of cake!


Actually, 2 pieces of cake and one half eaten eclair, lol. The eclair was heavenly. This was the best eclair filling I’ve ever had. The chocolate flavour was rich, and not too sweet nor fatty.

Next to it is the Green Tea and Sesame mousse cake with crunchy base. Again, key word — rich. You can taste the matcha and black sesame flavours individually. The base was a graham cracker like base, only crunchier. I wonder what exactly it is!


Last of all, the Strawberry Lavendar mousse cake. This was quite special. I’ve only tried lavendar teas and Taiwanese lavender milk-tea drinks before, never a cake. The top layer was slightly sour & tarty, but in the good way. There were actually chunks of mushy strawberries , which I guess are preserved ones, like the type you find in jam. The lavendar layer tasted very unique. The two flavours accompanied each other really well. My sister speculated that the piece of twig on top is thyme, and that it was probably mixed into the lavendar mousse. The base was made of fluffy brown cake.

I would like to try the red wine and sake macarons if I get the chance!

Conclusion: La Bamboche – Pricey at $4-$5 per piece (around the size of a ring box), but you are paying for quality organic ingredients, culinary school technique and presentation, and rich flavours in special combinations. Go there when you deserve a treat :)

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H1N1 in Hong Kong

Metropark Hotel in Wanchai is sealed off after a Mexican tourist is confirmed to have H1N1

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong confirmed Asia’s first case of the new H1N1 flu virus in a Mexican traveler on Friday, prompting authorities to seal off the hotel where the 25-year old man had been staying.

…Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang told reporters the man arrived on a China Eastern flight on Thursday afternoon after a stopover in Shanghai.

He had a fever and went to Ruttonjee Hospital for help on Thursday evening, Tsang said. The Mexican is now in hospital in a stable condition.

… “He didn’t leave the hotel (except to go to hospital) because he was feeling sick,” Health Minister York Chow told a news conference.

… The affluent financial hub on the south coast of China is widely seen as one of the best-prepared Asian cities to deal with the new H1N1 flu virus, given its experience in handling sporadic outbreaks of H5N1 avian flu, as well as SARS in 2003 which killed 299 people. >>

What is with Hong Kong’s luck with animal flus? I’m glad that HK has learned from H5N1 and acclaimed to be the most experienced with how to deal with the situation. I hope this really would control the situation.
My heart still sinks everytime I remember how SARS killed so many people. Even though I was in such proximity to the whole ordeal, my memory of it is very vauge. Classes were suspended, but I don’t even remember what I did during that time. My dad would still travel to and from China and completely wanted to shove my sister off when she urged him to wear masks and use sanitizer gels.

Why do I have such terrible memory? It seems like if I don’t write it down, nothng is worth remembering. Yet I remember so much trivial info — my semantic memory (aka encyclopedic memory) is much stronger than my episodic memory (aka autobigraphical memory). Suppression much?

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ZOMG! Swine flu = Zombies!!!!!

In the latest developments:

  • The Netherlands confirms its first case of zombie swine flu, in a three-year-old boy recently returned from Mexico. After passing away early this morning, he rose from the dead and lunged at his mother.

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