Thursday, December 16, 2010

View from a Ding Ding

Ding Ding at Wanchai

The Ding Ding is the oldest double decker trolley system in the world. It is a trolley system that runs from one end of HK island (Kennedy Town) to other (Up past Taikoo). It was built in 1904 as HK's first form of public transit and it has been running ever since! For 2HK (Amazing price!) you can go from one end to the other in what would normally cost you 6HK on the bus or 5-6HK on the MTR. The Ding Ding was also featured in a recent episode of the Amazing Race in a challenge where they had to search for signage.

In honor of that episode I have taken a long ding ding ride and taken shots of HK on my journey.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trecking through Taiwan

My first backpacking experience happened last chinese year. A pile of my girlfriends and I decided to backpack through Taiwan from top to bottom over four days. We started Taiwan at Taipei with a night in The Eight Elephant Hostel. This is THE BEST hostel to stay at in Taipei. It is quirky, it feels like home and the people are lovely. It is conveniently located by the night market in Taipei where we had yummy food and lindsey bought a sweater because she was FREEZING! It was surprisingly cold in Taiwan for that chinese new year and it rained the whole bloody weekend. I'm surprised Lindsey didn't turn blue at somepoint during the trip.

This is the trip where I met, Juno! Juno has since become my Korean sister. I talk to her about everything. I have gone to visit her in Korea and she has come to visit me in HK. I am eternally grateful to Taiwan for giving me Juno.

At 101

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Solo Travel Guide 2010

I am going to a wedding this christmas in France. I am very excited but nervous about attending a very fancy wedding in a foreign country. What if I make some huge faux pas? The french already supposedly hate Americans! What if I set American/French relations back 50 years by eating with the wrong fork or insulting the escargot! I am all for new experiences but this wedding experience is making me excited and nervous. I have never been to such a fancy wedding before and certainly not in a castle in france!

I just bought my train tickets today and my plane tickets were bought earlier this month. The itinerary is getting solidified. Here is a rough outline for those of you excited in the trip. I will also take all travel advice!

Day 17th
Arrive in Paris travel to Strasbourg
Day 18th
See Strasbourg, attend the wedding
Day 19th
Take a bus 1 hour to Basel, Swisserland. Eat some chocolate, see some mountains, see this really cool museum in Basel dedicated to this cool kinetic artist. Spend the night
Day 20th
Take the bus back to Strasbourg
Take the train to Paris
Transfer trains to London. See my friend Sarah from Hong Kong.
Day 21st.
See more of London
Stay with Sarah again.
Day 22nd
Travel to Paris. Transfer trains to Amsterdam. See the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, the Canals. Find a hostel with as little pot as possible.
Day 23rd.
Travel to Bruges.
Day 24th
See more of Bruges
Day 25th
Day 26th- 29th
this will include side trips to Versailles, the Louvre, The Musee Rodin, Sacre Cour and as much avant guarde french theatre as I can stand.

I would also like to see Brussels and Dijon on this trip. If I have time I will try to fit these two places in. My train pass allows unlimited travel in France and Benelux. I am spending extra on the bus to Swiss and the train to London but I figure the free place to stay in London will make up for the money spent and I just want to see Swisserland.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Top 5 Eggs Benedicts in Hong Kong

I have eaten Eggs Benedict at twenty resteraunts in Hong Kong. It is a serious passion of mine to find the perfect eggs benedict. Something about this dish gives me mad cravings for it; other Eggs Benedict fans have explained to me that it is a perfect dish. I kind of agree it is salty and creamy and has bread so it fills you up properly and most importantly.... soft poached eggs.

The Benedict Blog

1. Brunch Club, Peel St., SOHO, Hong Kong
4/5 Eggs
Time served: ALL DAY!
Brunch club gives you three options for their benedict which is great if you're veggie but love hollandaise or in the mood to try something different. I tried the traditional which I had heard wonderful things about. Cooking time is slower due to the fact that Brunch club is basically two stove tops and an oven. Herb Focatia is used instead of the traditional muffin and gives a great flavor and texture boost the the benedict.
Eggs were perfectly cooked, Bacon was smoky and thick. But I would have wished their hollandaise was thicker.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The 5 worst things I ever ate!


I am a wanderer and foodie. Put me in a new place and I'll try anything! I have a nut allergy which prevents me from something but NOT others! Through my adventures in food I have discovered some amazing things. Oyster omelets in Taiwan, Pickled Radishes in Korea, Blood Pudding, Sweet Breads at a french resteraunt, escargot, kangaroo, Crocodile (Although these things are gross sounding they don't taste so bad.)

1. Betel Nut- Taiwan
Spotted in a street cart during last year's chinese new year. Juno and I happened upon these. Seeing they were popular with the locals we each got one. HORRIBLE! It tastes like the inside of cigarette and grass. We later found out Betel nuts were precursors to cigarettes in Taiwan, are highly addictive like tobacco, can ruin your teeth and gums and are illegal in some countries. I can see WHY!
What betel nuts can do to you teeth! EW!
Betel Nuts! RUN!

Walking with Buddha

In Hong Kong is the world's largest bronze sittig Buddha. He was completed in 1993 after a long construction that began in the Victorian era!!!
His base was sitting there unoccupied by anything all through WW2. Through generous donations he was completed and is now one of the biggest symbols of Hong Kong and one of our biggest tourist destinations.
Some people avoid taking visitors to the buddha due to the crowds but I believe he is something you CANNOT miss if you visit HK.

You can get to the buddha by two ways.
1) The Ngong Ping cabel car. A glass cable car will carry you over the mountains and straight to the buddha. This is the fastest and most scenic way of reaching the Buddha. However, lines can get pretty long so book ahead or go early in the morning to avoid the crowds. COST- 60-100HK a person
2) The Tai Wo Beach Bus. Located at the Bus station at Tung Chung a bus can take you to the Buddha for MUCH cheaper than the cable car. This trip can take up to 50 minutes and has some of the scariest roads in HK. Not for the easily car sick. This bus is also the way to reach Tai Wo beach which is excellent for camping, dolphin watching and sun bathing! COST- 10

Ngong Ping Cable Car and Tung Chung
Avoid Foggy Days at the Buddha or you will have no visibility.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Theatre Superstitions 101

A worked in opera professionally, for a short period. It totally counts! I had lunch with John Moriarty, twice!
Opera means different things to different cultures. Most people associate Opera with the Italian Operas. I am planning on seeing the Italian company of La Boheme this weekend. Italian Opera is known for a few things: Tragic story telling (normally ending in somone killing themselves), grand scale design work, singing in group chorale and presented solos which is distinctly different to the more modern musical theatre where the the solos are worked into the story rather than the songs being presented.


Break a leg is a famous theatre saying taken from Shakespeare's days. Back in those days you could only appear in the downstage below the 1st leg if you were presenting a solo piece to the audience in a opera or a monologue. Back then, they would step forward and present the speech then step backward into the piece to kill their wife. (Makes no sense in story telling, but those were the days!) You would tell an actor to break a leg in order for them to get their chance to show their stuff. If you were chorus back then you were stuck in the upstage which at that time was tilted at 45 degree angle like a ramp to help with visibility. (Hence, Upstage.)

 The Drury lane theatre, 1675, one of the best examples of a raked stage. Also look at KA's stage for Cirque.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The mysterious Patrick

I have this "friend" named Patrick. I met him backpacking in Taiwan and he's a perfectly friendly guy. He's nice, has an interesting sense of humor, australian (so he has the accent thing), and he gets my star wars references. Why would this guy get his OWN blog entry. Because meeting and getting to know Patrick cemented the way I meet/talk to people when I travel...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Staycation planning!

My good friend Juno came to visit me!
So I am making plans to show her my city. Luckily she will be here during the best festival in all of Hong Kong.
Bun Festival.

The plan is still in the works but this is what I have so far.

1. Juno arrives
2. Quick/cheap lunch
3. HK Disneyland. (She's never been to any disneyland before!)
4. Food and Sleep!!!

The cost of theatre in Hong Kong

I recently did a theatre production in Hong Kong which cost 2,000 dollars to produce. I only took donations at the door and provided wine and cupcakes to the audience for extra spare change. I made a profit of 1500 dollars. Most people gave 50 to 100 dollars. We had two very generous people who gave more. It makes me think: why do some theatre shows in Hong Kong cost 300 to 400 dollars for amateur productions? Some of them are not even that good. Recently, Chicago toured through Hong Kong- it was a professional tour from australia. The cheapest tickets were 480 dollars. Why on earth would anybody pay that? I paid 250 dollars for my Lady Gaga tickets last year...

Space rentals in Hong Kong are ridiculous. If you want the McKauley theatre at the Shousan in WanChai you are going to be paying a minimum of 6,000 dollars for a 3 night run. That does not include nights the space reserves for you for tech runs, those are extra. The MK has a maximum amount of 80 people I believe, so at three nights you're going to have to charge a minimum of 200-300 a ticket just to break even if you sell half the house. And some shows don't.

Top 5 things to do in Seoul!

I travelled to Korea last easter and had an amazing time! I went there to visit my friend Juno who I met back packing through southern Taiwan over Chinese New Year. Korea is an amazing place to visit. Although it is cold ass place to live- I think it's perfect to visit! (As long as you have a nice warm jacket!!!)

Here are my top 5 things you MUST do in Seoul

The biggest Jenga puzzle ever

Chi Lin Nunnery in Hong Kong is built in a style of interlocking pieces. It is set up in what I describe as a Jenga puzzle. Pull one piece out and you destroy the stability of the structure. Located at Diamond Hill MTR, it is one of the very few serene places in Hong Kong. Take Exit C out of Diamond Hill, take a left and it is across the street. You can't really miss it.

Chi Lin Nunnery began construction in 817 AD but was not completed until 1997. It was opened to the public in 2000 and is one of the few temples in HK where it is not over crowded by tourists. I highly recommend this temple for it's beautiful lotus gardens, subtle construction and beautiful landscaping.

Interesting fact, behind Chi Lin are some beautiful rainbow painted apartment complexes. This is rainbow city. Despite it's colorful persona it has one of the highest suicide rates in HK and has suicide nets attached to the building to catch people/objects as they are tossed off the roof. It is an interesting juxtaposition to the beauty and serenity of Chi Lin.