Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sketches of South China

Today, our friend, Jeff Zenick, invited Mark to exhibit his sketches from our trip to South China, at his 12 Dreams Gallery at Railroad Square. So check them out at the next First Friday Gallery Hop (September 7, 2007) from 6--9 pm. You will see new work--plein air watercolor sketches of Macau and Zhaoqing City, Guandong Province.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

More Photos of Cultural Interest

Li Ping Kang, a visiting clay artist from Foshan, China, at the Mandarin Historical House in Macau

a visiting embroidery artist from China in Macau

land of scooters, primary mode of personal transportation--bicycles are not used much anymore

rice paste rolls for breakfast

a fellow hiker took off her heels during the hike at Mt Dinghu

a trash can shaped like a pine tree stump at Mt Dinghu

stainless steel seats (keep you cool) on an old local bus to Mt Dinghu in Zhaoqing City

pasta handmade on the premises of a shop in Macau

wooden bed with an 1-inch foam pad on top (improvement from last visit when there was no padding)

local hair salon in Macau--hair is washed/head massaged at the seat, then rinsed at the sink

salted fish drying on the side of the road in Macau

thin kitchen-like towels as bath towels

no dryer at grandma et al's apartment--clothes are dried outside the window (washing machine is in the kitchen now)

water heater in the apartment bathroom--5 liter tank--before we heated water in a kettle and bathed in a bucket

Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) August 4--7, 2007

On August 4, we rode the turbojet boat from Macau to Kowloon, Hong Kong. Ron Ana and Gigi traveled with us, along with mom, dad and uncle. We stayed at the Minden Hotel while the rest of the gang stayed at Marco Polo Prince. Once we arrived, we did our own sightseeing and met with the gang in the evening for fast food dining at one of the bizillion shopping centers in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, along the harbor area. According to the guide book, 7 million people live in the Hong Kong region while 500,000 people live in Macau (yes, only 28 sq km/about 10.5 sq mi!) We flew out of the Hong Kong airport on Lantau Island on August 7. The worst part of our trip was going through TSA/Homeland Security at Newark Liberty Airport. Lines were backed up and no organized consideration were given to passengers who had connecting flights. We had a 2-hour layover in Newark. It took us forever to 1) go through immigration 2) pick up our check-in luggage from the carousel 3) walk through customs to hand in our claim form (luckily they didn't check our bags) 4) re-check in our luggage for our domestic connecting flight and 5) go through TSA again! Why do we need to go through all this hassle in the name of "war on terror"? Needless to say while we were rushing to our gate, we heard the announcement that they were closing the gate on our flight to West Palm Beach in 3 minutes! We practically had to run to our gate! On top of that, when we arrived at PBI, one of our bags was lost so we had to go to Baggage Claim to file a claim. Poor Jessica had to drive around the airport for 30 min while waiting for us to come out of the airport. But all in all, we had a fun and interesting trip to China!

view from the front entrance of Hong Kong Wetland Park in the western part of New Territories

paper cut exhibit at Hong Kong Wetland Park

view of Hong Kong Wetland Park (Shenzhen, another Special Economic Zone, in the background)

another view of Hong Kong Wetland Park
waterfall at Sha Tin Park, a neighborhood park

Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin suburb

replica of studio of Chao Shao-An, famous Chinese painter who founded the Lingnan School of Painting in Guandong Province and Hong Kong

exhibit of paintings by Henry Wo (student of Chao Shao-An) who turned 80 this year

a Buddhist temple in Sha Tin suburb

lobby of Minden Hotel

our hotel room and the Courtney's dining room at the Minden Hotel

Hong Kong Museum of Art in Tsim Sha Tsui downtown district of Kowloon
Incidentally, the museum was having a blockbuster exhibit titled Pride of China. We had to get timed tickets for 8:00 pm entrance. A famous original scroll, Along the River after the Qingming Festival by Zhang Zeduan, from the Ming dynasty era, was on display. There were long, long lines to view this scroll and a museum guard held a timer in his hand while trying to move viewers along the scroll display case.
Hong Kong and Macau museums employ A LOT of security guards! We would never see so many guards at our American museums due to budget reasons. Their museums also have excellent facilities and high-end display designs, such as papering long walls with printed images from the exhibits and using 3-D lettering for exhibit titles.

at the harbor area next to the museum--background: view of Hong Kong Island business district

RAG in Macau

RAG (Ron, Ana, Gigi) arrived in Macau on August 2 from Guangzhou (capital of Guandong Province) via a 2.5 hr bus ride. Luckily they didn't have too much trouble crossing the border from Zhuhai (border city/Special Economic Zone), China into Macau. Yes, Hong Kong and Macau have returned to China's control since 1997 and 1999 yet residents still have to go through border crossing each time they want to travel. Why the heavy bureaucracy still?

Sightseeing the historical Portuguese homes on Taipa Island, south of Macau peninsula

visiting University of Macau, where cousin Ga Ming (George) is working on his masters thesis in engineering

Ana, mom, Gigi at grandma et al's apartment

Ron and Gigi at a local noodle shop for lunch after their arrival in Macau

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Zhaoqing City, Guandong Province, China: July 25--July 28, 2007

steps for going up and down a crag

view of crags at 7 Star Crags Park

inside a crag

buffet breakfast at our hotel, Star Lake Hotel (29th floor, La Rounda revolving restaurant)

lunch at Qingyun Temple vegetarian restaurant at Mt Dinghu

waterfall at Mt Dinghu

taking the boat across Lake Ding

a gigantic "ding"--tripod bronze vessel

view of lake from La Rounda restaurant

sunrise view of Zhaoqing City from our hotel room

More Scenes of Macau

Grandma and Aunt praying with incense at Kun Iam Temple

Mark and 4th Aunt at A-Ma Temple (patron temple of fishermen)

"launder"your money with holy water at A-Ma Temple to bring more prosperity!

historical street--former red light district

Yes, you too can get soft tofu ice cream at the Circle K!

4th Aunt (Aunt's sister-in-law and nephew, A-Hay)

Cousin Ga Ming (George) and his girlfriend, Florence

Grandma and mom

Sara at lotus pond of Lou Lim Iouc Garden

contemporary installation art, The Great Wall of Books, at Tap Seac Square: one member artist, Alex, climbed the wall while Mark drew him

meat market--butcher stall

Uncle, Mom, Grandma and Mark at fountain of Leal Senado

Leal Senado Square--see Starbucks in the background?

bronze statue of Kun Iam at the waterside

a police car

Mark at Luis de Camoes Park

the hotel part of Grand Lisboa being built, the casino part is already open. Macau has become Las Vegas of the East. Back in the 90s, Macau government broke open the monopoly of casino gambling that had been held by one guy since the 60s. The government allowed foreign investors/casino developers to come in and now famous Las Vegas casinos are here, such as Sands, Venetian, etc.

family lunch at a restaurant
shopping for jade