Around The World 2

I am contuing posting some of my favorite photos for those of you who come here to get their “Paris Fix” but am also posting my diary from our Around the World Trip. We got the idea for this trip when we decided to go see the Australian Tennis Open. From there we wanted to go to Texas to be in time for the arrival of my newest grandchild. A look at the prices to do this were shocking and we found the One World Alliance of American Airlines to fit our needs although you forget about the cost of hotels and rental cars when you first start planning all of this.

I love this photo with the two men talking in front of the fountain. It’s just so French.

This is one of my favorite shots of the Eiffel Tower. It was right after a rainstorm and there was a big puddle in the right location to get a reflection. I wish I had had a wide angle lens with me so I could have gotten the entire tower, but I still like this one. It wasn’t even enhanced, color-wise, in photoshop.

January 5th

After a great night’s sleep, we were up at 7:30. We discovered that the Rose Bowl was on this morning so we spent some time in our room to watch it. Finally, we set off after watching UT beat USC! We took the metro down to the harbor with some more huge amount of walking to get to the metro train. Once on the train, they are great but many seem to be in the middle of (or bottom of) huge shopping complexes. We bought an octupus card to use on all city travel. We even used it on the ferry that we took across the harbor to Hong Kong Island which was a short five minute ride. I wanted to see Hollywood Road which has antiques up and down each side and an escalator that goes way up a hill that is a thirty minute ride. It turned out to be a series of escalators, not one long one, and it only went up, not down, but was fun. We ate a very late lunch-our inrernal clocks were still off-a big hamburger at an English bar- and then walked around in an area called SoHo and into some small, funky streets. I saw several things I liked but end up buying nothing. At the end of Hollywood Road was an interesting temple-Man Mo-full of many different statues with the temple filled with a thick cloud of incense smoke from incense sticks, both in front of the statues and what looked like possible containers of ashes of those who had passed on. Oranges were offered as well. People would buy a handful of incense sticks, light them in front of a god and leave one burning in sand. There were also rings of incense burning with tags attached, which I imagined were prayers. It was a very active temple. None of the gods were buddhas that I could tell and some were dressed. Another incredibly long walk underground to our metro train to return to our hotel.
After a rest, I walked to the nearby Ladies Market full of mostly junk, bought some pillow covers-got back with one I didn’t want as the guy who sold them switched them for some reason. I hope he made an honest mistake but I doubt it.
January 6th
This morning after an egg sandwich sort of thing at a “French” cafe in the food court, we took the metro across the bay to Hong Kong Island again, then after a long walk finally found the bus terminal. There was a really long bridge across lanes of traffic. I guess it is the easiest way to handle pedestrians. Bus number 6 took us across the island playing commercials on a TV on board passing a beautiful bay and some impressive homes and high rises to Stanley market. We finally found some postcards there-very few places have them so I guess it must be a western practice. The market was large and packed but mostly with tourist junk. There was a totally different ambience from yesterday. Some little school girls stopped us and asked us some questions while they taped it about how we liked Hon Kong. I assume it was a school project. They were cute and pretty much unable to understand our English. We took the bus back. I had a sandwich in the huge metro station, then back to the hotel for a jet lagged nap. On the spur of the moment we decided to go to a woman’s tennis exhibition. The metro was packed. We had to wait for three trains before we managed to squish into one. We missed two matches by the time we arrived. There is only one court and it was outside. It is rather chilly here, which is nice weather to play tennis in but not to sit and watch. At least it didn’t rain.
Maurice is really missing his French diet. There is little bread, we’ve had no wine and haven’t seen any cheese unless it was thinly sliced on a sandwich. Maurice doesn’t like chinese food anyway so he will probably be thin by the time we get to Australia. We don’t like the smells on the streets very much-very shrimpy/fishy and the things they are frying up in the little sidewalk places don’t appeal to me, probably because I have no idea what is being cooked. After reading an article in the Hong Kong paper that they found cat meat in some of the brochettes sold in Shanghai (and a sudden disappearance of local street cats) I’ve decided not to have meat. They mixed it with lamb so it tasted like lamb. Probably some dog meat as well.

Here is a view of the street right by our hotel. Lots of shopping and selling going on there.

The view from our hotel room. Hong Kong is a very crowded city-rather like NYC but with a Chinese population.

Here are the little girls that interviewed us. They also taped the interview so maybe their teacher will tell them what we were saying.