Little Trouble in Big China

I have a more rebellious take on life. This comes from many years of practice. Not always following tradition, rules or codes. I follow my heart and internal guidance, which seems to steer me in the direction I need to go. My inner intellect knows, you could call it good intuition. China is no exception. To some this may sound foolish, to me, well, it pushes my envelope.

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HONG KONG:

The flight from Tokyo was a breeze in comparison to the flight to Japan. I’ve met some memorable people in my life on planes, trains and automobiles. Surprisingly it seems to comfortably in an awkward yet social way, help one to open up. I’ve found that these connections on PT&A are brilliant and ones that somehow create new destined paths.

Here’s what I did with two and half days in Hong Kong:

Kowloon:

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The side of Hong Kong I was staying in at the Hyatt, which was so luxurious. Needless to say, a little exploring goes a long way. The Kowloon side is busy and the roads criss cross a lot in a non linear fashion, making it easy to get lost. Never fear, there’s always a map, dear. Use one. I have learned to always have one handy. It’s easy to get lost meandering in and out of stores from jewelry to shoes to herbs to food. Especially when directionally challenged as I sometimes am. There’s always a way to get back though, that’s sometimes the fun of getting lost, is it not?

Hong Kong Island:

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Taking the ferry to the other side it’s visibly more busy, modern, think Wall Street with some of the lovely British charm still intact. I visited pubs while also eating dumplings and Chinese. Even though in a big city, the hills give it a cozy feeling. Hong Kong is quite international and most people speak english well. If I was to compare this to an American city, I think San Francisco would be the easiest comparison. Hong Kong is much smaller than Tokyo.

Ladies Market:

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Visiting the ladies market. It’s worth it to see this market at night, to get lost in the rows after rows of cheap knock offs, clothes, little gadgets and some amazingly good finds. “Here, you like this?” is asked at almost every stall stopped in. If you’re not prepared to say no, then you may spend a lot more than you bargained for. I give less than half of what they’re asking and then see. It’s ok to walk away if you don’t like what you hear.

Tian Tan Buddha:

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I was hesitant to see another Buddha since my time was so short in Hong Kong. Yet I am always allured by the spiritual principles of any practice and religion. I find truths within all of them that connect to the core of being human. The trip to Lantau Island is definitely worth it. Even after an hour and a half wait to go through luscious mountains by cable car. This twenty-five minute cable car ride is stunningly beautiful, once over several mountain tops you can see the Buddha from many kilometers away, it is a sight to behold, in an illusory way. Once there, walking through the shops to embark upon a staircase of hundreds of steps. Walking up the Buddha is larger than life, before him are the six devas, each with their offerings of flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha. Symbolic of the six perfections which include generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation and wisdom, all necessary for enlightenment.

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Indonesian 1968:

I met with friends I met on the plane and had dinner at Indonesian1968, which also has a Michelin star. Our scrumptious dinner of tasty satay was mouthwatering and savory with different sauces to entice the palate. Along with a bowl of yummy rice and curry with the spicy, warming and distinct flavors. What an incredible ambience this authentic Indonesian restaurant has, the owner came to our table and explained how his parents started the restaurant in 1968, now it’s quite epic.

After eating, why not go party a bit and see what the nightlife has to offer in Hong Kong?  Playing pool, posh lounges, watching craziness ensue in Lan Kwai Fong and Wyndham St area of Hong Kong. Fun, wild why not? I’m on a trip.

Thanksgiving:

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I wanted to experience the North American traditional holiday overseas and I was impressively inspired with my day of thanks. Before eating I went strolling and shopping in the local boutiques. Stopping to peek in at local art galleries. For this special dinner I chose Lily and Bloom, after reading article below. Lily and Bloom caters to those wanting to experience this western holiday as authentically as possible. I was treated with exceptional friendliness by the staff, noting it was the holiday and I was alone, which I purposely liked to experience a new sensation of breaking out of my comfort zone. The chef there hails from Chicago and prepares the menu and holiday meal in a meticulously, well-thought out manner. Everything was locally sourced. The flavors were extraordinary. Turkey perfectly moist, stuffing just right. Mashed potatoes and gravy with a unique twist of herbs and distinct flavorings. I even had pumpkin pie! It felt oh so homey.

I wish I would’ve had a bit more time to spend in Hong Kong, especially to have seen Victoria’s Peak which I didn’t make the time to do. Alas, the two days I was there were amazingly packed with juicy experiences that I’m super happy about. My impression of Hong Kong: Magnetizing.

 

SHANGHAI

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Shanghai immediately felt much different than Hong Kong. Busier, faster. Like NY if I had to compare it to an American city. Staying at the Marriott City center. Comfortable, business, international with a an array of a buffet that suited my every taste. The cab there from the airport was about 50 dollars. Around the city, cabs are relatively cheap.

Walking through Shanghai it’s like a glittery, colorful wonderland. Stimulation overload, very modern, futuristic almost. Someone said perfectly it’s like back to the future. In mainland China, be prepared to not use Google, including Gmail, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Unless you have access to a separate server, which I wasn’t able to finagle in the short time I was there. At first it was disconcerting. Then it felt like a break so my mind could be present to the trip.

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The pollution is obvious. This isn’t just Shanghai, it’s happening to major cities all over the world. It has hit hazardous levels in Delhi according to the BBC. I had a vision while in Shanghai of these little drone type like machines, like street sweepers. Maybe something like that could be invented? Ones that are filled with filtration and go around and clean the air? Just an idea. It really made me think about our reliance on fossil fuels and how it affects us. The monopoly on it is advantageous to those who win (money? really?) from it, but at the cost of earth and earthlings? To that I say F off and let the minds that create new technologies be allowed to create their masterpieces on our planet. Hong Kong has major stimulus if people buy electric. Fantastic. How about The Venus Project and several others who are in the (healthy) futuristic agenda? Why don’t we hear more about these types of ideas? For us all to then decide upon. Why isn’t there more collaboration happening on a global scale for a more sustainable resource based future? Why is there not more talk about this in our upcoming elections in America? It’s all of our future and planet. Do you think that’s fair? To all of us? To our planet?

I think the Paris Agreement is a start.

We have time to remedy it, I hope. Sorry to go off topic, just pondering.

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What I did with a few days in Shanghai:

Silk Museum

For many millennia, China has been known for it silk production and the silk museum highlights that. Fascinating little stop to see how silk is made. The lady who showed us was so nice and she briefly touch on the history of how silk came about, going so far as to show the silk worms in their cocoons and how the fibers are created. It’s so very silky.

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Unico to Le Chapeau (Mansion)

I went From Unico, a more upscale high energy club to the mysterious Mansion, which isn’t that easy to find. Once inside it’s like a maze of people and different rooms and crazy, unique spaces that have music ranging from EDM, minimal to trance and all the in betweens. It was packed and felt like a head spin going up and down the spiral stairs where each room had a different vibe, music, decor and it’s own element of eclectic debauchery. A very international and local group of people. If you can find it, and like to dance and take in an eccentric space, I’d highly recommend it.

Ziajiajiang

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Again firing off my navigating skills, I headed on the trains out of the city by myself, to visit a water town on the outskirts. It took about an hour and 10 minutes to get out to this preserved old city. Once there it is busy, occupied with people moving in little alleyways with ducks hanging, meats cooking, veggies boiling, selling and bartering in all the little shops one can go in. There are gardens and waterways with gondolas. It has a historically preserved history amongst the modern buildup of more industrialized Shanghai. Beautiful in an authentic Chinese way. It was tranquil and peaceful walking through the gardens.

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KTV

A trip to Asia would not be complete without trying KTV. Otherwise known as Karaoke. It’s very popular. In Shanghai I finally got a taste with a group of European friends I met. The bedazzled hallways, with mirrors and carpet makes one marvel, it’s almost decadent in a fun way. There are separate rooms that groups rent out to sing in. We sang many, many songs, most of them 90’s to now. I was belting out to Oasis. By the time I was done I felt like a superstar. Even though I probably sounded like a dying cat, it was still a blast.

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My take on Shanghai: Busy and fun, cool and weird all in one.

On that note,

I like to think of myself as adaptable, my roots aren’t always grounded in a  particular tradition, label or convention. I strive to enjoy the culture of anywhere I visit. Letting normal dispositions dissipate as I venture, to integrate and understand what is around me.

Traveling isn’t always easy and sometimes pushes me out of my comfort zone. It challenges my perceptions by expanding my horizons.Which I love.

I’m grateful to have traveled so far in my life. I know that what lies next is just a new now version of life intricately overlaying itself with mind blowing experiences.

I no longer believe in the old cliche Too good to be true, for I believe the best comes to those who are true to themselves.

xo,

Nicole

http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/food-drink/article/1882088/lets-talk-turkey-eight-places-go-hong-kong-thanksgiving-feast

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