Sunday/ out and about in Hong Kong

It was very warm out today .. the public service banner does not say Beware of heat stroke for nothing !  (Isn’t the dog with the flapping ears cute?)  It is so humid along with the heat.    My camera malfunctioned on Saturday – the shutter started firing uncontrollably as soon as I switched the camera on.     Today the problem was gone, but I read in the Sunday newspaper this morning that many iPhone users in Hong Kong have reported problems related to the 95%+ humidity in the city.

The self-picture is from the MTR station at Wan Chai,  and there is a guy on the  on-coming tram  taking a picture of me taking a picture of him : ).

Saturday/ HKCCF 2010

Here are a few pictures from the Hong Kong Computer and Communication Festival 2010 at the Hong Kong Exhibition Center this weekend.    The exhibition center is in Wan Chai district on Hong Kong Island.    It was quite crowded, even though it’s not too apparent from the pictures I posted here.

Most of the major hardware and software vendors seemed to be there – Lenovo,  Dell, Toshiba, HP, Samsung, Microsoft, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Brother, Epson – as well as lots of resellers that had little stalls selling cameras, keyboards, mice,  flash cards, portable hard drives, gadgets and gear.   Apple Computer was notably absent.   Some of the vendors that we don’t really know about in the USA were BenQ (notebook computers),  ASK Computer Technology (Google andriod smart pads and cell phones) and Hanvon Corp. (e-book readers, tablet PCs).

I was very intrigued by the ASK 711 SP Smart Pad that runs on Google’s Android system (picture below, website http://www.uthk.com), but the screen was not nearly as nice and as clear as Apple’s iPad’s and I wasn’t sure what processor they used.   It only cost US $200.   The green ice cream picture is just for fun – it’s from Google’s Android website at android.com.

Friday night/ restaurant Felix

My colleague Will and I arrived in Hong Kong again last night with the Daya Bay shuttle,  and after checking into the Marriott Courtyard, made our way to the Peninsula hotel where the restaurant Felix is.   The restaurant is on the 28th floor.  (The second picture is the view as one approaches the restaurant from the elevators).   I started with a lychee martini to go with the appetizers we ordered –  grilled foie gras and pear,  and scallops.     My main course was Tasmanian salmon with caviar, with some pinot grigio.    The food was very good.   They had some background piano music, and the restaurant offered nice views of the city and the harbor.   But the best view is actually provided in the men’s room while one is doing one’s thing in a free standing urn while you peruse the Kowloon city scenery below through the floor-to-ceiling window!

Thursday/ forty-nine

So, here we are at August 19, 2010 and it’s my 49th birthday.    Yes, I’m going for it! – the big five-oh.   There’s no stopping me! : ).

But first today’s stop at 49.  The card in my hand shows 七七  qī ​qī​  seven sevens  (equals  49),  written in simplified Mandarin.     I don’t have a cake here in China, but I plan to go to Hong Kong for the weekend tomorrow.  It  just happened that three of us from work made have plans to go to the fancy Felix restaurant on top of the Peninsula Hotel.  So we will have a toast for my birthday there.

And since I love numbers,  here are some references to the number 49 that I like :

* 49 is the square of 7 and is therefore the fourth squared prime number.
* It is the atomic number of indium.
* It is the number of strings on a harp.
* The 49th parallel runs between Canada and the USA.
* The 49th State of the USA is Alaska.
* The term 49er is the moniker of one who participated in the 1849 California Gold Rush, as well as the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.

Wednesday/ extra dark chocolate and Shakespeare

Wednesday – from the Middle English Wednes dei, before that from Old English Wōdnesdæg, the day of the English god Woden.   To the Germans it’s Mittwoch middle of the week and to the Chinese 星期三  xīng qī​ sān the third day of the planets or 周三   zhōu​ sān Zhou dynasty & the third day.

In any event, it’s downhill to the weekend now, and allow me to show off my chunk of chocolate I got last weekend in Oliver’s grocery store in Hong Kong : extra dark chocolate from New Zealand made from Ghanian cocoa beans.   Bittersweet, the way life is.   Did not Juliet tell Romeo ‘parting is such sweet sorrow‘ ?  meaning saying goodbye, at the same time starts up her anticipation of seeing him again, giving the sad emotion a pleasant tingle.

Tuesday/ fly Kulula Air!

I posted pictures of the proposed livery for airplanes of the merger between Continental and United Airlines about a week ago.

Then yesterday I got pictures from a friend showing the livery for Kulula Air’s airplanes.  (Kulula is  South Africa’s low fare airline).    The pictures are all from their website at kulula.com.   It shows their route map, the flying 101 plane, the camo plane, the daylight savings time plane (the airline is campaigning for daylight saving time in South Africa), the jet setter plane and the this way up plane.

Monday/ Lay’s chips and Simba chips

Here is a can of Lay’s Cool and Refreshing/ Little Tomato flavor chips I spotted on someone’s desk here at work.

My comments – 1.  Two flavors at once?  What’s going on?  2.  Presumably the tomato is little, and not the flavor. Simba chips in South Africa, with a lion character as its mascot-marketer and the tag line chips that roarrr with flavor would have a problem with a ‘little’ flavor.    I have fond memories of Simba chips.  Can someone tell them to change the garish green color on the package shown in the picture I found on-line, though?

Here’s more information from Wikipedia.    Simba is a popular potato chip manufacturer and has been producing its products in South Africa since 1956, when it was established by the Greyvenstein family.  Having successfully marketed Ouma’s Rusks in the 1940s and 1950s, by 1955 the Greyvenstein family were looking for ways to diversify their family business.    In that year, Leon Greyvenstein travelled to a food fair in Germany in search of ideas and met a man called Herman Lay – the co-founder of Frito-Lay, the largest chip company in the world.   The two men struck up a friendship, and Leon travelled on to the USA where he saw a potato chip factory in action.

Sunday in Hong Kong

These pictures from Saturday .. the trams on Hong Kong Island are always fun to watch, all of them decked out in attractive artwork.    I thought this next one was a martial arts picture but no, it’s the billboard for Step Up 3D, a dance flick.  The giant cutie pie doll is from a Japanese store window in Harbour City shopping mall.  Basketball player Yao Ming left big shoes to fill –  this is in a sporting goods store in the same mall, as is the Tag Heuer watch.    I drooled at it inside the store, but it is too expensive to buy! – about US$3,000.

While I was checking out at the Marriott hotel on Sunday, the giant touch screen’s headline ‘Hooker advances in pole vault‘ made me look twice.  (Hooker is an Australian athlete).    Next one – we accidentally found our own company’s offices in Hong Kong’s Central district in a building where we stopped for lunch.

The final three pictures are artwork from Times Square mall in Causeway Bay.   No, I didn’t upload the picture with the bronze figures with distorted pixel dimensions.   I’m really not sure how the artist made real three dimensional figures with distorted proportions.   Same for the girl at the mailbox – it is as if her image was distorted by a curved mirror.   Finally, check out the very very creative use this artist put rubber tire shreds to.     A mean muscular black rhinoceros!

Saturday morning in Hong Kong

I had a late night out last night after checking into the Marriott Courtyard Hotel here in Hong Kong.  My colleague Will and I went to the Harbour City Mall on the Kowloon side, billed as the biggest mall in the city.   It’s a very nice place – upscale but not filled with designer Versace and Gucci and Louis Vuitton stores.  So one can actually hang out there and enjoy food at the restaurants and check out the offerings in electronic stores and the like.

The first picture is of a gorgeous dome skylight in the mall.  The next one shows a place where we picked up the specialty dish octopus balls to go.  (Maybe further explanation is in order? Balls of light fried batter with cooked octopus pieces inside!).   After that we went to Dan Ryan’s Chicago Grill, a classic beer and burgers place that offers lots of other American food on the menu.     (We craved some ‘American’ food).

The spider crab offered for US$60 is from a Whole Foods-like (a reference for my American readers) grocery store in the mall – scary, the crab!   And the final picture is from my hotel room on the 26th floor this morning.

It’s warm outside but not unbearably so.  But of course I will report back later about the rest of the weekend.

Friday the 13th

I’m going to Hong Kong for the weekend.    So is Friday the 13th unlucky in China as well?   I don’t really care since I’m not a triskaidekaphobe, but according to Chinese and Cantonese  superstition I would do well to steer clear of the numbers FOUR and FOURTEEN.  Bad news.

Some of the information here is from Wikipedia :

Number 4 (四 sì) is considered an unlucky number in Chinese,  Korean, and Japanese cultures because it is nearly homophonous to the word death (死 sǐ).    Due to that,  many numbered product lines skip the 4  such as Nokia’s cell phones (there is no series beginning with a 4),  and the Canon PowerShot camera G series (after G3 comes G5).  The Marriott Hotel where I stay in Hong Kong does not have a 4th floor.   Some high-rise residential buildings there literally miss all floor numbers with 4,   such as 4, 14, 24, 34 and all 40–49 floors !   As a result,  a building whose highest floor is number 50 may actually have only 36 physical floors.

Then there is number 14 – considered to be one of the unluckiest numbers.   Although 14 is usually said in Mandarin as 十四 shí sì,  which sounds like 十死 ten die, it can also be said as 一四 yī sì or 么四 yāo sì,  literally one four which sounds like want to die (要死).      In Cantonese, 14 sounds like certainly die (實死).    Not all Chinese people consider it to be an unlucky number as the pronunciation differs among the various dialects.

Thursday/ keep good company

Walking home after a bite at the ‘corner’ restaurant as we call it,  I noticed a new office front – for the Shenzhen Century Gamay Design Decoration Engineering Ltd company.

Quite a title and I couldn’t quite make out what the company really does.   But it reminded me of the song Good Company from A Night at the Opera (1975) by Queen.   What a great song!  It starts with Take good care of what you’ve got .. and ends with  I ponder on the lesson of my life’s insanity/ take care of those you call your own and keep good company.

Wednesday/ an ‘Indian’ buffet

A few of us went to the King Key* Palace Hotel’s restaurant for dinner tonight, and here is the billboard in the lobby that advertises the Indian cuisine buffet dinner on Fridays.   It’s not cheap at RMB 228 ($US33.65).   And without the benefit of the billboard, one could be forgiven for expecting to find tandoori chicken at the buffet instead of hamburgers and T-bone steak!

*say it slowly :  King. Key. : )

Tuesday/ what to wear

I woke up really early – so early that I even had time to take a snap of my outfit for the day.  The blue Burberry shirt is new and has just enough punch without being too flashy.  The knight in armor logo stitched in on the right is ready to kill an imaginary dragon.   Let’s go!

Monday night/ in Dameisha

We arrived early at Hong Kong airport and the driver did a great job getting me through customs and Shenzhen evening traffic to get me to Dameisha in under two hours.    The first picture is of the Hong Kong-mainland China border crossing just at sunset.

At the apartment I had to run out to get some milk, ended up buying some jasmine tea and iron buddha tea.  (I will need it to perk me up tomorrow).    The brand of the tea is Lipton.    I thought Lipton was an American brand, but I see  Lipton  was created at the end of the 19th century by Sir Thomas Lipton in Glasgow, Scotland.   His enterprise soon flourished and he established a chain of grocers, first across Glasgow, then the rest of Scotland, until finally he had stores throughout Britain.  Today the brand belongs to Unilever.

Sunday morning/ at Seatac airport

Yes, here he is, all smiles, the globe trotter waiting for his flight to San Francisco.  My flight to San Francisco is delayed slightly, but I should still be able to make my connection to Hong Kong.

Tip to summer travelers : allow one more hour to get through security.    The clock ticks and those screaming babies in their strollers and those first-time travelers with liquids hidden inside their maximum-size carry-on bags WILL trip you up and make you miss your flight.    What is going on up there? Why are they so slow? the people behind me kept asking.  Well – you are asking the wrong question, I thought.  Why did you get here so late?

Saturday/ packing for trip #7

Yes, I’m counting them !   I’m flying a familiar route on United, down to San Francisco and then out due west to the Far East, across the International Dateline.    The picture is from www.flightstats.com and I just punched in the flight number –  the same one I will be on tomorrow.

So it’s a hive of one-man activity here, up and down the stairs to get the laundry, then out the door to run an errand, and start packing my bag.   I have a checklist for the small roller bag, a check list for the computer bag and an out-the-door checklist for tomorrow morning.    Yes sir! it helps to calm me down.

Here’s the out-the-door check list :

  • Adjust thermostat
  • Windows, doors closed, LOCKED
  • Lava lamp OFF
  • Clothes iron OFF
  • TV, Computer UNPLUGGED
  • Garage LOCKED
  • Fridge perishables OUT
  • Garbage OUT
  • Inside Lights ON
  • House alarm SET

Friday/ the Elysian Brewing Co

Friday evenings finds me at the Elysian Brewing Co more often than not, with Bryan and Gary, drinking some Zephyrus Pilsner if it is available, or any other of the 16 beers they have on tap.  It is brewed on the property.   Constructed in a 1919-era Packard storage building, the pub embdies the classic American brewpub feel with large exposed timbers, high ceilings, concrete floor and a full wall of brewery tanks.

And where does the name come from?  In Greek mythology, Elysium was a section of the Underworld.  (Hence the Ionic column in the picture, a greek architectural classic).  The Elysian Fields, or the Elysian Plains, were the final resting places of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous.

Thursday/ you can still get your Starbucks

.. on Olive Way, that is.    The Starbucks coffee shop is being remodeled (it looked perfectly fine inside to me – it’s the wooden structure to the left of the van in the background), and now they are serving coffee from a Starbucks van.    It was getting dark and the van was closing down by the time I got there to take the picture so the van was closing up shop.   First time I have seen a Starbucks van, though.   And check out the makeshift deck in the foreground where you can sit and have your coffee while you watch the world go by!   : )

Wednesday/ put your thinking cap on

Actually, your thinking hat – and pick a color.

The training course I attended at work today, meant to sharpen up our thinking, mentioned Edward de Bono’s six hats.  Six different ways to think about a problem, that is.   Which one is your favorite way of thinking?

White hat – Facts & Information
Red hat – Feelings & Emotions
Black hat – Negatives
Yellow hat – Positives
Green hat – New Ideas
Blue hat – The Big Picture .. P.S. and click the picture below to make it bigger !

Tuesday night/ more of Capitol Hill

Pictures from tonight’s walkabout .. a black kitty kat that must have stepped in white paint : ),  an update on the artwork on John and 11th, want to join the Revolutionary Communist Party of the USA? Sign up! and the neon sign on the Broadway Rite Aid pharmacy.

I have to get up early to go to the office for a long day of training.