Saturday, December 24, 2011

Surprise and Lights (This week's Photo Hunt themes)

To those Photo Hunters (be you taking part in Sandi's or Gattina's memes): surprise, I have indeed taken up the challenge of putting up a two-in-one entry that fits both the memes' themes for this week! In order to do so, I had to go back almost a year in my photo archive -- and with that, here's what may come as another surprise: in that these not particularly festive-looking photographs actually were taken on Christmas Day last year!

This time last year, my mother was here visiting. Now I'm not sure that I've mentioned it before but my mother likes going on long bus rides when she's here in Hong Kong. (The way she puts it, it's akin to touring Hong Kong -- only at a much more bargain price, especially since she's entitled to senior citizen discounts on buses, among other things, here!) Thus it was that on Christmas Day last year, my present to her involved taking her on buses from where I live all the way to the Chek Lap Kok Airport area, then from there on another route across the territory to Tseung Kwan O, from where we caught another bus that took us to Sai Kung town.

Upon reaching Sai Kung, we decided to go for a wander around town and then have dinner. Considering it was a public holiday, we were surprised to find the place relatively uncrowded and unadorned by festive lights. This is not to say that our mood was dimmed by this state of affairs though -- in fact, it was actually nice to not have to wade through crowds, especially when it came time to sit down for a meal!

At the waterfront, my mother and I had enjoyed looking at the variety of sea creatures -- displayed in tanks in front of the seafood restaurants lining the waterfront promenade and, also, in shallow plastic containers on boats floating in the water near the pier --being offered up as food options. Not surprisingly, the shutterbug part of me also couldn't resist taking photos that I reckon turn out pretty cool when the lights (and their reflections) combine with the water along with the creatures themselves to form interesting patterns!

Rather than follow this up by eating some of these creatures, however, my mother and I ended up going for vegetarian options that evening! Some people may be surprised but we found ourselves more attracted to the wares being hawked on the promenade by a seller of chestnuts. (There's something about the smell as well as taste of chestnuts outdoors on a cold day...) Then, to top of the evening, we went over to the original branch of Honeymoon Dessert (now an international chain with outlets in Singapore and Indonesia as well as Mainland China and other parts of Hong Kong) to have some of the fruit and nut concoctions that these dessert specialists are famous for.

And yes, although it may not have been a conventional way to spend Christmas... but I think I can safely say that we both had a good time that day. And the fact that I remember the day so clearly one year on bears testimony that it actually was a pretty memorable one even though it may seem like we did nothing absolutely special at any point throughout! :)


Trekcapri said...

HI YTSL, Great photos and I love your multi theme take on Gattina's and Sandi's PH for the week. Your third photo is a really cool shot. Such a variety of seafood to choose from.

Thank you so much for sharing your photos and moments shared with your mother. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Holidays!

magiceye said...

wow that is so cool!

eastcoastlife said...

I heard so much about Sai Kung but have not visited it when I was in HK.
I'm curious about the senior citizens' discounts on buses, though I am not eligible for it. :D

What is the price the seniors pay and is it a fixed amount to any destination? Does it extend to tourists?

Have a merry Christmas!

YTSL said...

Hi Trekcapri --

You're welcome re my sharing and thanks for appreciating and visiting over the holiday period. :)

Hi magiceye --

So... you like it all? ;b

Hi EastCoastLife --

As I understand it, most days, seniors pay half price for their bus rides but certain days (e.g., Sundays and public holidays -- though apparently not public holidays that fall on Sundays!), it's just HK$2 a ride. And yes, it extends to tourists (though it's true enough that my parents have never been asked if they are!) -- especially if they have a senior Octopus card of their own. :)

Gattina said...

Very special and creative !
We are off to Amsterdam now, for Christmas !

CherryPie said...

Not conventional as you say, but it sounds like a wonderful way to spend Christmas :-)

Susan Demeter said...

Happy holidays! Love your double take on the themes :)

Annie said...

I really liked the way you merged the themes. Happy Holidays to you!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

That looks like dinner to me :-)
Thanks for joining the new Saturday PhotoHunt site.
I hope we can all 'gather' next Saturday!

A. @ A Changing Life said...

I decided it would be a good time to rejoin the Photo Hunt, only to find there are now two! I followed your example and combined the two though the lights were a bit of an afterthought.

I love the sound of the trip you made with your mother, and the pictures too, especially all those containers on the boat. It must have been a pleasure a well as a surprise that there weren't too many people. My tolerance of crowds is diminishing all the time.

YTSL said...

Hi Gattina --

Thanks for visiting here before you head(ed) off to Amsterdam for Christmas! :)

Hi Cherry Pie --

Yeah, it was a nice Christmas to remember. :)

Hi Sue --

Thank you and happy holidays to you too! :)

Hi Annie --

It was quite the challenge to produce an entry that fit both themes. Let's see how long I can keep this going!

Hi Sandi --

Something tells me you like seafood! ;b

Hi A --

Welcome back to Photo Hunting! Re crowds: one has to tolerate them for the most part if one lives in Hong Kong -- but there are times and pockets when the crowds do seem to vanish... and it is bliss! :)

peppylady (Dora) said...

Those to me look like giant sea creatures. Not sure how would one prepare them to eat but I bet there mouth watering.

Merry Christmas and the coffee is still on.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

What are those on the first photo?

Today, we had a different Xmas lunch. The husband is overseas, so my daughter suggested we went to a Chinese Dim Sum. The crayfish was $160 a kg, no way was I going to buy one.

The frozen chicken was some sort of a secret santa, because the party was an impromptu surprise party, and all the shops here close of Christmas, we (students) just grab what we could find. But this guy just went to the freezer. ( Not that we had a lot of chicken) It was the best secret santa gift in terms of producing LOL.

Student life when we are abroad can be lots of fun. This year, I found on Facebook my flat mates when I was in Canada. 35 years ago, we are still catching up.

YTSL said...

Hi peppylady --

I'm sure there are many ways to prepare those sea creatures -- many of them delicious! :)

Hi Ann --

If memory serves me right, the creatures in the first photo are squid (or something in that family!).

Dimsum for Christmas may not be traditional but it'd suit me fine! I just returned from a Thai dinner in Kowloon City with a friend. Again, not traditional -- but delicious and enjoyable all the same. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi YTSL, following your blog (by accident) behind scene for quite a while (actually just about less two months), I really like your posts (whether they're movies' reviews or critique of food and architecture or hiking events etc.) that are always found very facinating, interesting and informative to a great extent. Always knew that you were an intelligent and knowledgeable girl in the past, and still are, but never realized your expertise on food and movie besides anthropology! And it's SURPRISED that you live and work in HK now with a wonderful and enjoyable life. It seems no more 'Simpson' episode or simple dinner with just broccoli sprouts and noodle in your life. Well, re the theme of this post, it would be a great SURPRISE for me that I could find someone in a virtual space whom I knew in the past and haven't contacted her for a very long time ago! In this festive season, wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous,peaceful and joyful new year!!
All the best,
A lost friend

YTSL said...

Hi there "lost friend" --

Thanks for following my blog and now also commenting and getting back in touch after all these years! Your Simpsons and brussel sprouts comments make me think that you're a fellow former denizen of the house at 409. Care to drop any more clues as to who you are? ;b

And yeah, you're right -- it's been a very long time since I watched "The Simpsons" *and* cooked my Brussels sprouts and spaghetti (and mushrooms, onions, etc. -- to be fair now!) concoction. But I actually still do love Brussels sprouts, believe it or not. ;b

Anonymous said...

Hi YTSL, according to your initial response, I am sure that you never expect someone from nowhere. Well, I was not your classmate but had been one of your housemates sharing the same house in Philly. I still have a vivid recollection of our every interesting conversation eventhough it was almost 20 years ago. And do you remember our last meeting -- having a dinner together with our other housemate (Richard?, another anthropologist) in an Italian restaurant!!
Have a nice day! Yvonne
Lost friend

Anonymous said...

Looks like a wonderful spot for s visit. In my book it is a happy surprise to not have to cope with huge crowds . . . as much as I like people I have no love of being surrounded by them and being hindered in seeing things I want to see or even moving freely for that matter. LOL

YTSL said...

Hi again --

If you're the person I think you are (i.e., the friend from Hong Kong!), then I'm truly glad to re-connect with you after all these years! Are you in Hong Kong, Taiwan or somewhere else? If in Hong Kong, we really should meet up some time soon... :)

Hi JDeQ --

I don't often visit Sai Kung town for its own sake, actually. Rather, it's where I go to get a bus or mini-bus that takes me to the start of a Sai Kung country park hike -- and also where my hiking companions and I stop and have drinks and dinner post-hike.

And yeah, agree with me that going to a place you'll think will be crowded and finding that it's not can feel like a real bonus indeed. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Yes, I am very glad that you still remember me. I would really love to see you again! Well, if I knew you were in HK three months ago, I wouldn't miss a chance to meet you over there when I travelled back to see my family. So I need to wait for the next time and really look forward to seeing you soon in HK! Please keep in touch with me at
Happy New Year!
All the best
CN xxx

YTSL said...

Hi there no longer lost friend(!) --

Of course I still remember you. Have sent you an e-mail. Hope you get it and happy 2012 (and what remains of 2011) to you. :)