Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review- The Threepenny Opera- Robert Wilson

The Brothel Scene in Act Two, The red boards continued to rise over the course of 10 minutes.
This week I saw the greatest show I have ever seen and I didn't understand a single word of it. My roomie Michael and I went and saw Robert Wilson's The Threepenny Opera at HK Arts Festival. Performed by the Berliner Ensemble, uncut, in the original German it was one of the most visually stunning productions I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.  The only negative thing about it was it took two hours for the first intermission to come and I really had to pee by the end of it! Some audience members simply didn't have the stamina for a 3 1/2 hours of German, avant guarde theatre and left! We stuck it out though and were rewarded with an experience theatrically we will never forget!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

HK Arts Festival

Hk Arts festival happens every year in Hong Kong. It is my favorite time of year because I can see brilliant productions in many languages and expose myself to as many different types of theatre as I can in a month.

Are any of you going to the Arts Festival in Hong Kong?
Or do you hit a theatre festival every year?

This Year's Productions
1. Robert Wilson's "Three Penny" SOOOO Excited!
2. Pina Bausch production
3. A Kung Fu/ Hip Hop Fusion piece
4. Belaruz Avant Guarde Theatre
5. Beijing Ballet
6. Powerplant Visual Art production- more performance art which I typically hate but I'm going to try again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


For my fellow travellers and artists who are in on the social media thang (mispelled on purpose). Runaway Juno finally convinced me to join Twitter.
So Twat me, Fools!
@mmcgurgan on twitter

Monday, February 21, 2011

5 Things That Defined Growing Up McGurgan

I love my family. My mother was an incredible woman with amazing strength, patience and love to be able to raise three girls the way she did under the odds she did. My Mom is tough and made me like and respect being the presence of strong women. Growing up in the McGurgan house is something I look back fondly to. I was never lonely as a child because I always had my sisters around. I never felt unloved by my mom and therefore never felt that desire to rage against the machine as so many teenagers like to do so. We are not your typical Southern American home by any standards. Not a single one of us played soccer (the closest we got to sports in our house was my little sister doing competitive gymnastics and my older sister being a JV cheerleader. I never even got close to anything competitive other than public speaking and debate. I'm probably one of the least coordinated, least sports enthused people in the universe! Our house was a place of art and international culture. And in a tiny town like Griffin: it made growing up McGurgan a pretty unique thing.

Mouse Shaped Food and Fun

My friend Juno had never been to Hong Kong Disneyland before. This as an American child was shocking to me, Disney world vacations went hand in hand with my childhood memories. I remember fondly going to both the California Park and the Florida Park on several occasions. Florida is superior because it has Epcot and my family is an Epcot family. But I know some families aren't...
Juno enjoying her ride in a space ship in Tomorrow Land!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

5 Reasons to Work Abroad

One of the best decisions I ever made as an artist was deciding to work abroad, I had originally made this decision strictly because it offered me more money and health insurance. (BONUS!) But as I come upon my third year in Hong Kong as a teacher I have found that living and working abroad has shaped me as an artist as much as university did. I miss my mother and my sisters every day; and I wish I could be closer to them but taking this step to work independantly and create art in a culture completely different then my own was one of my best decisions.

5 Things I Miss About America

Cue the music from West Side story! It's true I am one of those crazy Americans who admits that some countries are superior to us in some ways. But I do love my home nation, and some times I miss things about it! Mainly, I miss my mother but she's only a phone call a way. Here is a list of things that this expat misses about the "home of the free and home of the brave".

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Traveling with Medical Needs

I am not your average backpacker who feels this need to live off the land. I don't go into the wilderness with a bag, a sleeping bag and two pairs of underwear. I tend to over pack, this is due to a constant nagging I was given having to do with my many medical conditions as a child. Don't do this, you'll hurt your this! Don't do this, you might die because of this! I have an increased chance of dying because of many of these things but I try not to let them hold me back or have them lessen my experiences in foreign countries. If the worst thing to come from my travel with my illnesses is an over packed bag and a sore back then I think I'll be okay.

Not your average bear...
I have more than one thing wrong with me. I'm a pretty defective model overall so I'll go through the list and how I cope with my quirks on the dusty road. My quirks make me who I am. I am proud to be flawed and interesting rather than perfect and boring.

Third Largest Painted Ceiling in the World

The Grand Gate at Versailles
One day trip that is highly recommended by all the guide books for Paris is the Palace of Versailles. I am a huge fan of that period in design and fashion. I loved the Marie Antoinette movie and was looking forward to seeing the Palace that Marie and Louis called home prior to the revolution. However, I had an experience at Versailles I would soon not forget and also learned a valuable lesson about hitting popular tourist spots in Winter.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Journies of a Foodie- Prt 4- Talking Turkey

Enjoying honey candy in Kaoshing! Delish!
The food of Taiwan is something very natural and organic. I would find it completely normal to travel there and simply eat my way across the country. The food just like the people are very warm and comforting and also tell you a lot about the part of the country in which you are in. Regional cuisines are very common in Taiwan. Seafood dishes in Kenting, Turkey Rice in Chiayi, Pork balls in Hsinchu, Coffin Cake in Tainan and Suncake in Taichung: just to name a few examples. You can go to a different city and enjoy a different dish in each one. The food is part of the people and they spend a large portion of their lives producing delicous food. Some things that they make are not so healthy for you and some things are fresh, straight off the farm. Street Food is a huge part of the Taiwanese culture, particularily at CNY when a lot of the main resteraunts are closed and in order to feed yourself you must hit the streets and hunt for food among the markets. Avoid the stinky tofu though! It's foul and you can smell it from a mile away!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sydney Harbor- New Horizons

Sydney Harbor Bridge, one of the icons of Australia
Last year at Christmas (2009) I went to spend the holiday with my relatives in Australia. My aunt and my two cousins live about an hour away from Sydney. I have been to Australia several times as a child but wanted to go back as an adult to appreciate it as part of my culture. My Father is from Australia and although I grew up loving/appreciating my Aussie heritage there were parts of the culture we weren't taught about or understood. Being from an Expat parent helped make my identity as a person; growing up in the American South people often have similar views on everything. Religion, Politics, Family Values, Food cultures: my home was very different and I liked that growing up! We never had Turkey at Thanksgiving, we had a roast lamb instead. I grew up eating a very different diet I feel, there was a complete lack of collard greens or potatoe salad at my mother's table. I love biscuits and fried chicken don't get me wrong, but my exposure to them as a Southerner is far different then a person whose parents are from the Atlanta area.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Top 5 Brunches in Hong Kong

I am huge fan of brunch! You all know about my obsession with eggs benedict but the thing about brunch is that it's the perfect meal. It's the perfect mix of sweet and salty and often comes with unlimited coffee. Sure, you can get booze but that's not really my thing I'm there for the food! I try to give a variety with this list from those who give unlimited brunch (like Top Deck in Aberdeen) to those who will give you a little something different in your Sunday Brunch.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunset and Surfing on the Pacific

Jalishue Beach, Taiwan. Right after our arrival.
I have just finished my trip to Taiwan last week. The first place we were determined to go to was Kenting, Taiwan. I felt a deep connection to Taiwan on my last trip but had felt that I had not spent enough time on the southern tip. My room mate Michael wanted to go surfing. So, we made our plans to do 2 nights in Kenting area.

We ended up staying in Jalishue, Taiwan which is slightly eastern of the town Kenting. It is located inside in the national Park area and has great hiking, views and is most famous for being the best surf spot on the whole island. We took a long distance cab to reach this place because NO buses really go to Jalishue. They will go to Hengchu which is about 15 minutes away by scooter but because Michael did not have a liscence and I have never driven car we could not rent scooters while we were there.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Picture Tells a Thousand Words

I am not a very good photographer at times. Often times things are super blurry or out of focus. I have been known to take off some heads frequently or amputate an arm or foot out of photo. But I enjoy taking pictures because I think they are a wonderful way to preserve and share the memories of the places I've been.
I am going to go through all the places I have recently been and choose one photo to represent that trip and coutry.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Day in Taipei: Kismet and the Karaoke Tower of Doom

Down Town Taipei! Look Coffee!
On our recent trip to Taipei we decided to only spend one day in Taipei. Our flight was at 8pm so we decided to do our last day in Taipei to guarantee getting to the airport on time and because being from a big city like Hong Kong, all cities are somewhat similar. "OO.. Look a big building! Let's take a photo of it!" As you have read in previous entries, I have been to Taipei last Chinese New Year with my girlfriends but this was Michael's first trip and I wanted it to be nice for him. So we made some quick plans.

We arrived the night before after hopping a train from Chiayi. We only had a ticket to Taichung but stayed on and then paid for the rest of the journey when we got to Taipei. We had to sit in between the train cars for a while and also had to stand for a bit but we paid for our full tickets despite having a seat and got to Taipei around 8pm. I was still feeling sick due to my peanut incident. Michael being a man and always being hungry got a small snack from the Family Mart and the 7-11 next to our hostel. Our Hostel was called "The World Scholar House". We were staying in the private room for the price of the dorm because when I called and booked the room I asked if she had a room available she said yes. We got there and she realized she had given it to someone else so we got the private for the price of the dorm. A very happy accident and the private room had one of the most comfortable mattresses in the world!!! YEA! After sleeping on Tatami mats at the Winson House for two nights this was going to feel like HEAVEN! We snuggled into the hostel with our good tv and good bed and free internet and went to sleep.
The ditches in Beitou have steamy hot spring water in them!

Living like a local in Taiwan

A wild turkey in Taiwan. Very noisy!
I have just gotten back from Taiwan for my CNY vacation. I spent days going north and south. I had the most fun in a town called Chiayi. Chiayi is not mentioned a lot in the guide books. It is most famous for being the starting point of the Alishan Rail Way and for being a large bus port for several buses to several hot spots such as: Guaziling (hot springs) or Sun Moon Lake.

I was going to Chiayi to see my friend, Amanda. I met Amanda in Luxembourg after my 10 hour train ride on Christmas Eve. We bonded over a hatred of our Russian room mate and love of Taiwan. She invited me to come back to Taiwan and visit her and my room mate Michael and I took her up on the offer.
In Chiayi with friends!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Our Sister Site- Runaway Juno

Fireworks with Disney moment

For those of you that haven't checked out my Seoul sister Juno's site.
It's pretty awesome, but I'm biased because I get mentioned a lot in it!

Museums for a Museum Addict- A guide to Paris

The Louvre at night time
I love a good museum. My mother raised me taking me to great museums and really cheesy ones. I have appreciation for the super quirky and weird and the beautiful and well organized. The only thing I hate in a museum is badly planned, poorly designed and misinformed. The Hong Kong Museum Art despite being in a beautifully designed building is a perfect example of a badly misinformed museum. I have seen not one but two paintings hanging upside down in my visits there. I informed the curators that they were upside down. The staff now knows me and asks my opinions on the exhibits when I visit. If I am well informed in any subject other than theatre: it is art. (And everyone knows, pop culture.)

On my trip to Paris I went to many museums. Sometimes up to 3 a day. One because it's super cold in Paris at christmas and nothing warms the soul like a friendly Degas ballerina or a warm Monet. Also, because Paris is a renowned Art hub with some of the best known museums in the world. How can you go to Paris and not go to the museums?

Here's a breakdown of the best, the worst (although the worst is even better than the best of HK) and the quirky.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Journies of a Foodie- Prt 3- Seoul Food

One of the best parts of going to Korea last year was eating with my friend Juno! She has a passion for Korean street food and culture and I have a passion for eating! Despite ending up with pneumonia at the end of my trip I had a great time and left with a deep love and desire for great Korean food. Still have yet to find decent Korean food in HK, if you know of a good place let me know! I need some bim bim bop!

I coughed really badly after this photo was taken. I was not aware there was chinese mustard in my bean sprouts!