Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eventful Sunday

Hong Kong Marathon runners jog through Central
past the Legislative Council building and the Cenotaph
along a special lane closed to -- but alongside -- traffic

This afternoon, I took duriandave -- here in Hong Kong for a flying visit -- on an easy (but still pretty nice) hike from Wong Nai Chung Gap to Repulse Bay Gap via the Tsz Lo Lan Shan Path that skirts the edge of Tai Tam Country Park and then through the heart of Tai Tam Country Park along a path that offers up great views of a couple of the Tai Tam Reservoirs.

Originally, I had more ambitiously sought to take him to the scenic area around Repulse Bay Gap by way of Violet Hill but two events combined to put paid to my plans by way of tiring me out even before he and I met up to go hiking. The first is the Hong Kong International Film Festival -- which doesn't officially get going until March 21st but for which online and postal bookings began today; hence my staying up until past 3 o'clock this morning going through the programme guide to figure out what I wanted to see and fill out the necessary forms to book my tickets -- followed by waking up early to go to Hong Kong City Hall to drop off my forms at the collection box there.

And because tickets for screenings at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre are not sold through URBTIX, I had to go elsewhere to buy them. Only, because of the Hong Kong Marathon that took place today, buses that normally stopped outside Hong Kong City Hall were re-routed; necessitating my using other means of transport to get me to the outlet in Causeway Bay that was selling these tickets today.

In any event, I sincerely hope that my attempt to get tickets for 20 screenings at this year's Hong Kong International Film Festival are successful. And if you think twenty's a lot, here's pointing out that these don't include the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre screenings *and* the fact that I am due to catch three films that will be officially premiering in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong International Film Festival before the fest's official first day. (So, yes, even while I actually wouldn't say that this year is a banner year in terms of fest offerings, it's still one that is offering up quite a bit for the film fan. ;b )

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Daily (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

Chalk it to my being an ex-convent schoolgirl but, in all honesty, when I saw this week's Photo Hunt theme, the very first thing that came to mind was the line from The Lord's Prayer: to wit, "Give us this day our daily bread.." So here's offering up views this week of St. John's Cathedral, whose home is the oldest surviving Western ecclesiastical building in Hong Kong -- and is open daily from 7am to 6pm, as stated on its website, "for quiet prayer and meditation".

An Anglican establishment which opened for service in 1849, it has a fine central location, albeit one which sees it physically overshadowed by many a taller, larger and way less godly as well as newer structure. (For the record, I took the second photo while passing by on a bus -- hence that shot containing some reflections in it.)

More than incidentally, the Cathedral occasionally is the venue for classical music concerts. I haven't made it to one yet -- because these tend to take place on weekday evenings and my office is located closer to Shenzhen than Central! -- but hope to do so one of these days as I can imagine that it is a pretty fine setting for such events.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clear Water Bay Peninsula excursion (Photo-essay)

"Never hike alone." That's an injunction that I find in more than one of my Hong Kong hiking books. And after I discovered that there are sections of the Big Lychee where there is no mobile phone reception, and hiking trails which can be unexpectedly perilous, I've generally obeyed that rule. But what, then, is one to do on a hot but clear summer's day, when I have the itch to go for a countryside walk but can find no one to go on it with?

In the case of one such day last July, I took myself to the Clear Water Bay Peninsula for a stroll along its relatively traffic-free main road from the bus terminus near the Clear Water Bay beaches down to the Tin Hau temple at Joss House Bay (AKA Tai Miu Wan) that is considered to be one of Hong Kong's oldest, if not the very oldest... only to find upon getting there that that ancient temple was undergoing major renovation (that I happily found to have been completed on my most recent visit to the area)!

Still, after seeing the following photos, I think you will agree with me that the excursion wasn't completely fruitless. Also, while it was not rugged enough to be considered a true hike, the walk still made for enough of a sweaty exercise on a day that was largely hot and sunny to make me feel like some good effort had been put into the whole affair. (And although storm clouds appeared near the end of my excursion, they fortunately turned out to only produce a few minutes worth of showers and thus weren't enough to rain on my parade!)

Bright blue skies and an open road to follow
spells bliss for me on a free Sunday!

View of Clear Water Bay and, in the far distance,
Tai Leng Tun -- the 291 meter high hill
I had hiked up some months back

View of the Clear Water Bay Peninsula that includes
its most recognizable hill/mountain-top: High Junk Peak
("one of the three treacherous peaks in Hong Kong")

Looking seawards, one sees a tamer sight:
a fishing village on Po Toi O and part of the greens
of the Clear Water Bay Golf and Country Club

Proof positive that not every building
in Hong Kong is a high rise ;b

It may not look like much, even up close, but
this rock inscription actually dates back to 1274
and is the oldest dated inscription in Hong Kong

I frankly found these rock formations on the edge
of Joss House Bay that were fashioned by nature
to be far more visually impressive

I got a pretty impressive view of the gathering storms
from the Tin Hau Temple at Joss House Bay
which I'd like to visit again on at least one
Birthday of Tin Hau Festival

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good times for Hong Kong cinema

A sight to cherish -- not least for its rarity:
nothing but local movies screening
multiple times at this Hong Kong cinema

"Hong Kong cinema is one of the success stories of film history. For about twenty years, this city-state of around six million people had one of the most robust cinema industries in the world. In number of films released, it regularl surpassed nearly all Western countries. In export it was second only to the United States... Not until the fateful year 1997 did Hollywood edge out the local product [in Hong Kong], claiming slightly over half of the admission receipts..."

The above words are to found on the first page of the first chapter of David Bordwell's Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment (Harvard University Press, 2000). And although they seem to belie it, their author did in fact realize full well even then -- and increasingly in the 21st century -- that "the Hong Kong film industry is struggling to survive" (like he wrote in the same now sadly out of print book's Preface).

As I implied a few weeks ago, 2009 was by no means a banner year for Hong Kong cinema. But if this cinema is dying, it's not going to go down without a fight. And most notably during the Chinese New Year period which, this year, sees way more Hong Kong movies released than has been the case in a good long while.

Before a bout of flu temporarily laid waste to me, I managed to catch and enjoy 72 Tenants of Prosperity (directed by Eric Tsang and starring him, Jacky Cheung, Anita Yuen and a whole host of others), All's Well Ends Well 2010 (Raymond Wong back to his Chinese New Year comedy antics -- this time sharing helming duties with Herman Yau and screen time with Louis Koo, Sandra Ng and Angelababy among others) and Hot Summer Days (more Valentine's Day than Chinese New Year fare but since they both fell on the same day this year, I'm counting it among the festive fare).

And although a friend has managed to convince me not to go and see 14 Blades, he and Christine To still can't totally combat my curiosity to see how bad True Legend is (together with my hope that a movie directed by Yuen Wo Ping and starring Chiu Man Cheuk and Zhou Xun can't be completely bad). In fact, I have a date with another friend to see it some time in the next few days now that I seem to have slowly but surely recovered from my bout of flu! Oh, and call me a masochist but yeah, I'll probably go and watch Jackie Chan's latest too -- no, not that Hollywood monstrosity I've been hearing about but, rather, Little Big Soldier) when it is released in cinemas next week.

Actually, maybe it's more like paying some dues. As yes, amidst it all, I can never forget that if it weren't for its cinema, I would never have come to love Hong Kong so much -- to the point that I made it my ambition to be able to find a job that would enable me to move and live here... So while I have a chance to support it, I will.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cuddly (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

To many college students, art history courses -- often disparagingly referred to as "art in the dark" because many of them seem like nothing more than slide shows accompanied by droning commentary -- are looked upon as "gut" courses that hold little attraction other than the prospect of an easy pass or even A. But this was far from the case with the art history classes I took at Beloit College with the then department chair, Debra N. Mancoff.

A professor with real passion for her chosen field of study and, also, a real ability to impart ideas to her students, she often infused her lessons with unorthodox methods -- including one which required us to imagine what objects and people in paintings and that had been sculptured were supposed to feel like: e.g., soft, hard, cold, warm, smooth, rough, etc.

To this day, when looking at works of art, I find myself trying out some of the "tricks" Debra taught us to appreciate what one usually can only see but not touch. And in the case of master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (known as just Ponyo when shown in the US with an English dub), the word cuddly immediately springs to mind as readily as cute and kawaii when I behold the title character (particularly in her original fish form).

And so much so that I came away from my viewing of the movie pining to have a cuddly Ponyo of my very own. So one evening, when I came across cute, cuddly Ponyo plushies being hawked on a street, I of course couldn't help but get myself one. And while having one soft Ponyo plush is great, having two is really verrrrry nice indeed -- especially since my second Ponyo plush (the larger one in the photo of the two plushies at the top of this Photo Hunt entry) came all the way from Japan where a friend had gone to visit. :b

Friday, February 19, 2010


Hello Kitty -- and winter -- in Hong Kong

A few months ago, the columns in a much traversed section of Hong Kong's Admiralty MTR station were plastered with graphics of Hello Kitty, Japan's Tourism Ambassador to China and Hong Kong, having winter fun that were meant to attract visitors to the Land of the Rising Sun as part of its Yokoso Japan campaign. But even while I couldn't help but stop short and ooh and aah at the kawaii sight of it all, the truth of the matter is that those ads didn't do much in terms of getting me to want to visit Japan in winter.

This is because, having spent my college years in Wisconsin (AKA the Siberia of America -- where, it is said, winter comes with the Halloween ghost and leaves with the Easter Bunny!), I feel like I've seen more than my fair share of snow (and know that it doesn't always look as pretty as this even while always feeling pretty cold). Heck, right now, even snow-less Hong Kong -- which is currently going through a cold spell (during which the cold weather warning has been in effect) -- can feel too cold for my liking!

Adding to the miserableness of it all is that I've come down with a bad case of the flu. And while it's true enough that viruses -- not the cold per se -- cause colds and flu, it also has been proven that cold weather really does spread the flu... So keep warm and stay healthy, people! (And in the "thank goodness for small mercies" department: I went and checked with the doctor -- and at least I've got regular, not swine, flu!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

From Wong Nai Chung Gap to Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir (Photo-essay)

Ten days after I went on a hike in Tai Tam Country Park one hot July day, I was back there again -- this time with two hiking companions rather than just one. This time around, the weather also was quite different. Indeed, this is a hike that I've come to think of as particularly memorable because of the weather we encountered on it.

For as we rode the bus to near where the hike would start, the rain began absolutely pelting down. But as we neared the stop that we needed to get off at, the rain suddenly stopped. At certain points during our hike, it would do the same again (i.e., suddenly pour with rain, then just as suddenly stop). At other times, we encountered strong winds. At other times, the weather would seem fine -- complete with beautiful blue skies.

So, all in all, we concluded at hike's end that this had been a nice conclusion... only to discover upon returning home and doing such as checking the weather forecast on the Hong Kong Observatory's website that Typhoon Signal Number 3 was in place (and had been for at least part of the time that we had been happily hiking)!!!

Gray skies over Wong Nai Chung Gap and the
Wong Nai Chung Gap Reservoir Park (a reservoir
turned artificial lake equipped with recreational facilities

The closest thing in my Hong Kong flower books
that these resemble is the Cork-leaved Snow-bell

Water pouring from the Tai Tam Upper Reservoir
into the
Tai Tam Byewash Reservoir

Scenic view of the Tai Tam Upper Reservoir's
and the surrounding greenery

Blue skies overhead as we walked southwards
along Tai Tam Reservoir Road

One of the many mountain streams whose waters
flow into the Tai Tam Reservoirs

Why a wooden statue of a cross-eyed bird
should signify that a barbecue site is nearby

is something only the park authorities know! ;D

As this picture shows, July is a time of the year when
Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir is pretty full with water

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Enter the tiger year! :)

Festive display at the APM mall in Kwun Tong

Hooray, hooray, it's a holi-holiday! Happy Chinese New Year of the tiger to this blog's visitors. Or, if you prefer a more traditional greeting, Kung Hei Fat Choi (Cantonese)/Kiong Hee Huat Chai (Hokkien)/Congratulations and wishing you prosperity! :)

And to further emphasize the Big Lychee's Movie Mecca status, here's pointing out the existence of an article -- in the British Independent, no less! -- entitled New Year in Hong Kong means time for films with local flavor (And wow too that the last word isn't spelled as "flavour" in a British newspaper!) ;O

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Broken (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

Less than three decades ago, the 31,000 square meter (330,000 square foot for those still not in tune with the metric system!) area that has been home to the Kowloon Walled City Park since 1995 was estimated to be home to around 33,000 people. The Kowloon Walled City arose out of -- and was -- a historical anomaly; and was an infamously lawless, densely-populated makeshift city right in the heart of urban Hong Kong controlled more by Triads than either the British colonial or Chinese governments for much of the 20th century.

Little, if anything, remains from that era of the site's history though -- for the area that was Kowloon Walled City was cleared and an early Qing Dynasty-style Kowloon Walled City Park erected in its place during the late 20th century. Surprisingly, however, some relics from an earlier part of its history are to be found within the park's walls.

One of these is an actual building -- the 19th century Yamen (headquarters) of Qing officials (in front of which stand a couple of trees and also a detailed, metal scale model sculpture of the 20th century Kowloon Walled City (See this Photo Hunt entry's upper photo.) Additionally, close by, towards the southeast, lies the ruins of the Old South Gate that include a couple of broken granite plaques with Chinese characters for "South Gate" and "Kowloon (Nine Dragon) Walled City" (the latter interestingly meant to be read from right to left -- as was the case in the olden days -- rather than left to right -- as it is now).

And yes, they may be visually modest but if those walls -- and plaques -- could talk, the tales these particular ones could tell...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tai Tam hike sights (Photo-essay)

Although I am but a novice hiker compared to some people I know here in Hong Kong (including two friends who I think of -- and have described to others -- as the demon and mad hiker respectively!), I nonetheless think it's fair to state that I've been on my share of hikes in the Big Lychee since moving here -- and, in the process, covered quite a bit of country in the territory.

As it so happens, the Hong Kong country park I feel I know best is Tai Tam Country Park. And several hikes on in the area, including the one that is the focus of this photo-essay and the previous one, I think I will have to conclude that it's also that which I love most... and would be most readily inclined to take visitors into to give them a taste of "wild" Hong Kong.

Should you wish to have an advance taste of what you'd be seeing if you were to go on a hike in the area with me, go ahead and scroll down... ;b

A caveat: Alas, I can't guarantee blooming flowers
at all times of the year

I also was surprised to see tiny turtles, koi
and other fish happily swimming
in the waters
of the Tai Tam Byewash Reservoir

Alternatively, enough water and a clear blue sky is
about all it takes to guarantee this beautiful area sight

To the south of that reservoir is a building whose
entry ways
have been strangely bricked up -- leaving
my hiking companion
and I to wonder what it was
previously used for
(a park warden's residence, maybe?)
and why it doesn't
serve a practical purpose any more

A stone bridge standing amidst lots of greenery

A smaller, more natural body of water than the
reservoirs with which Tai Tam Country Park
shares its
name (one which translates into English
as "Big Pond")

A place along the trail that's so idyllic
I think it's worth a second photo
albeit from a slightly different angle :)

To conclude: spider in the sky! (And yes,
this was a hike where we saw our share of spiders!!) ;o

Sunday, February 7, 2010

What I had for lunch this weekend... ;b

Polo char siu pau = a combination of two famous
Hong Kong food items = a really special kind of bun

Tofu that's spiced and crusty on the outside
and creamily soft inside

The climate in Hong Kong is classified as sub-tropical. Generally speaking, this seems to translate into the Big Lychee having months that are cool and dry or hot and humid -- with not much of what would be considered a transitional autumn or spring in between. And while it's not unheard of for there to be several days that are superhot and humid but not truly wet, it's not all that usual for cool winter days to also be stormy.

Unfortunately for my hiking plans this weekend, however, this Sunday (the day I usually go hiking) has been one that's seen a lot of rain. So rather than have one foodie lunch this weekend (as is usually the case), I ended up having two!

More specifically, for lunch yesterday, I went and tried out Ten Jaku, a Japanese sushi restaurant in Causeway Bay that is considered a good middle-range bet for sushi in Hong Kong, with a major foodie friend. Then, although our stomachs were quite satisfactorily satiated (and I was personally pretty pleased with the quality toro (fatty tuna) and ikura (salmon roe) that had been included in my sushi set), she insisted on taking me to her favorite durian dessert place nearby -- whereby we proceeded to happily polish off a ice cream concoction that strongly smelt as well as tasted of that which Malaysians think of as the king of fruits!

But although Saturday's lunch may sound like a feast, it pales in comparison to what I had today with an uncle and aunt visiting from Penang: dim sum at Victoria City Seafood Restaurant that included the two dishes in the photos at the top of this entry -- the top most of which is has an exterior that's like the sweet po lo pau (pineapple bun -- so called because its crunchy top has patterns that look like a pineapple's to Hong Kongers) in taste and texture but has the bonus of having chunks of char siew (roast pork) inside it.

Sadly, however, the Shanghai crabs season looks to be over. So unlike the last time I had dim sum there, I couldn't have one of the restaurant's pieces de resistance: xiao long bao with Shanghai crab roe inside. Instead, I had to "settle" for just the regular xiao long bao along with six other dishes -- a major benefit to not dining alone or just with one other person but, instead, two people. And being fellow Penangites to boot, of course they love their food too and thus were happy to partake of a real variety of dim sum delights... ;b

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Average (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

In 2009, Hong Kong, a territory with a total population of slightly over 7 million and land mass of 989 square kilometers (382 square miles), played host to some 29.6 million tourists. The vast majority of these visitors will have taken the ride across Victoria Harbour on the Star Ferry and/or gazed across the harbour and looked at the northern Hong Kong Island skyline from the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront promenade (sometime during the day and/or night). They also will have bunched around certain parts of the territory even while largely leaving other areas to the locals.

To be sure, there are large, often incredibly scenic, swathes of Hong Kong that are accessible only to hikers and their ilk. But for one reason or other, some fairly easily accessible (albeit not by MTR train) areas of Hong Kong -- including the two areas where this Photo Hunt entry's photos were taken -- have been deemed unworthy of a visit.

Granted that what they offer may seem on the average side in that it can seem not all the spectacular, exciting or particularly exotic. But I like Siu Sai Wan's long and clean harbor-side promenade and the different, less built-up and calmer views of Victoria Harbour from those featured in tourist literature that it offers up; and that Kennedy Town's view of the same body of water emphasizes that it really still is used as a commercial waterway by some.

Additionally, for those who like to get beyond the tourist veneer and get a sense of what average life is like in Hong Kong, I figure that a quiet stroll around these opposite ends of northern Hong Kong Island would be a pretty good and rather pleasant way to start; and, at the very least, take one temporarily away from the madding -- and sometimes potentially maddening -- crowd!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My top ten 2009 Hong Kong movies list

The subject and star of my favorite Hong Kong movie of 2009

The year that I moved to Hong Kong, I watched 30 Hong Kong movies released that year. The previous year, I had watched 27 Hong Kong movies released in 2006; last year (2008), I watched 37 of that year's Hong Kong releases! So the 26 local releases I watched last year in the year that they were released really is the fewest I've viewed in four years.

It thus seems to me that it might seem a bit rich to make a top ten list that would consequently include a little less than 20% of the eligible movies (and more than one month after 2009 ended). Still, I figure I might as well continue a "best of" list-making tradition that I began close to a decade ago now on Brian's Hong Kong Cinema: View from the Brooklyn Bridge and also has served as a Hong Kong cinema companion to the overall top ten movie lists for each year that I've assembled for the Mobius Home Video Forum's annual poll.

So here -- better late than never -- are the 2009 Hong Kong movies that get my top ten vote (albeit with succinct comments this time around for numbers 6 to 10 on the list):-

1) KJ
In a city where it's considered a success for a local film to last two weeks in cinemas and any film to have a theatrical run of three weeks or more, this Chueng King-wai documentary about a music prodigy named Wong Ka-Jeng has been screening for several months. Granted that it has largely been shown in just one cinema (the Broadway Cinematheque) throughout. Nonetheless, the length of the triple Golden Horse awards-winner's theatrical run gives but a hint of how special is this absorbing work whose subject and main personality is shown to be an interestingly precocious human being as well as a talented musician whose personal and professional future promises much and good.

2) Bodyguards and Assassins
The sneak trailer for this Teddy Chen directed (and Peter Chan Ho Sun produced) film that is equal parts period drama and kick-ass actioner got me all pumped up to see it; its regular length trailer even more so. A rare much hyped, big budget (by Asian standards!), star-studded movie that doesn't disappoint, this film about an honorable Chinese man and the motley crew he assembled to protect an important political figure (Sun Yat Sen, the man who history has come to know as the father of modern China) when he visited Hong Kong against imperial Qing Dynasty assassins benefits greatly from having an excellent cast, quality production values and that quintessential Hong Kong cinema willingness to kill characters played by big name stars early in -- as well as late into -- a movie! ;b

3) Red Cliff 2
Is John Woo a has been? Not in my opinion after having viewed this historical epic that was preceded by a lesser first part in 2008 but one that I do feel is necessary to view to help one better appreciate this cinematic rendering of certain historical events that have been written about the Chinese literary masterpiece that is The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. And although top-billed Tony Leung Chiu Wai is on the disappointing side, Zhang Fengyi is extremely watchable as the arch-villain, Takeshi Kaneshiro is winningly charismatic in a non-action role and Vicki Zhao Wei's warrior princess is by far the best as well as most spunky female character in a John Woo movie that I've seen to date!

4) Night and Fog
Ann Hui's second film about the "City of Sadness" that is Tin Shui Wai bears an unfortunate title -- one that also belongs to Alain Resnais' 1955 documentary about the Holocaust. Knowing how knowledgable is its director, however, one can't think but the title is meant to be a reference to the horror and inhumanity that humans are capable of. As dark and depressing as the previous year's The Way We Are is full of humanity, kindness and goodness, this drama that puts the spotlight on domestic abuse (specifically a case involving an older Hong Kong man and the younger Mainland Chinese female whose mother thinks that wife-beating is a common and normal practice) is sad and chilling... yet rings all too true -- thanks in no small part to the very convincing performances of Simon Yam (who serves a reminder of how scary he can be as a menacing male) and Zhang Jingchu (adding to her reputation as one of the top Mainland Chinese actresses of her generation) as the movie's main couple.

5) Poker King
Those who hated La Lingerie and my decision to put it in my top ten 2008 Hong Kong movies list had better look away now because Poker King is yet another movie co-helmed by Chan Hing-Kar and Janet Chun that I happen to have enjoyed watching. The kind of unpretentious Hong Kong film that I have long liked (only it's set in Macau), this gambling movie re-unites Lau Ching Wan and Louis Koo as a lead pair and throws in au courant local entertainment flavors like Stephy Tang along with a lot more actresses than one usually sees populating a single Hong Kong movie these days is full of silliness but also comedy and "heart". And although his is a small, arguably throwaway part, I'd wager that few people will be able to watch Lam Suet's appearance in this work and not laugh! lb

And rounding up the top ten are:-

6) Rebellion - old style crime drama with a welcome mix of new and old faces - Herman Yau, director

7) Claustrophobia - art house drama that contains more to admire than outright like - Ivy Ho, director

8) All's Well Ends Well 2009 - Chinese New Year comedy with guffaw-inducing sight gags - Vincent Kok, director

9) Permanent Residence - gay romantic drama cum loose auto-biography that is involving when not too indulgent - Scud, director

10) Overheard - thriller-crime/cop drama that shows the bad that can happen when fundamentally decent men bow to temptation - Alan Mak and Felix Chong, co-directors

(And for those who are wondering: if it counted, Ashes of Time Redux would definitely top this list but not only did the original film come up in 1994 but the Redux version actually was first released -- albeit in Cannes, rather than Hong Kong -- back in 2008... :S)

Addendum: The Mobius "Best of 2009..." poll results are out. Interested others can go there to the relevant page via the embedded link to check out my overall Top Ten Films of 2009 list over there (and should feel free to comment on it over here!).

Monday, February 1, 2010

From Quarry Bay heading towards Tai Tam (Photo-essay)

As I write this blog entry, the temperature outside is a balmy 20-21 degrees Celsius -- quite a bit warmer than your average Hong Kong winter temperature but still considerably cooler than the day back in early July that I went on a Hong Kong Island hike with a friend; one that began with us meeting at Quarry Bay MTR station and walking eastwards along King's Road, then up Mount Parker Road to Quarry Gap and along Stage 6 of the Hong Kong Trail down to the Tai Tam Reservoirs and Tai Tam Road.

Many serious Hong Kong hikers -- who can be identified by their being the kind of folks who don't carry cameras and aren't all that inclined to stop to do such as take photos and admire the scenery while out in the wilds of the Big Lychee! -- stop hiking during the summer months because its hot and humid weather really can drain as well as get one sweating buckets. For my part, I am disinclined to do this -- not least because the summer skies are often clearer and more beautifully blue than is usual for Hong Kong. Instead, I try to find easier hikes and/or ones that have quite a bit of tree cover and then go out and enjoy sights such as the following:-

A view of cloud-filled but blue skies
Quarry Bay as one ascends
Mount Parker Road from its northern end

High density urban and natural areas
super close to each other

Beautiful butterfly atop a bright yellow flower

A flower that blossoms in summer --
the Glorybower (AKA Ghost Lantern!)

As can be expected of someone whose blog name has
the word "webs" in it, I am fascinated by the sight
webs -- and the spiders that weave them... ;b

Deep inside Tai Tam Country Park
looking southwards towards Red Hill,
Tai Tam Tuk Reservoir and beyond

Sunlight reflected on the gently rippling water...

...of Tai Tam Upper Reservoir --a place where
I like to pause and take time to drink in the scenery

each time I pass through and/or by!

(To be continued... of course! ;b)