Sunday, December 12, 2010

Back to Hong Kong

So I am headed back to Hong Kong in a few days. My main reason is to see Andy Lau in concert again and to re-connect with the many friends I have met through my fandom with him. The first time I did this was his last concert tour in 2007-08. It was my first trip to Hong Kong and I was frantically trying to see the major sites between concerts and get-togethers with other fans. Who knew when/if I would return?

Now this is my third trip so I will be more relaxed. There are still places I have yet to see and places I want to go back to but I think I want to just wander around in my free time. Pick an area and just explore. We'll see how that goes.

Ironically, I haven't had much time to study Cantonese lately and my tutoring session on Friday proved just how quickly I can lose my vocabulary and syntax. I was so frustrated. And I probably won't get back into form before my trip. It is too bad, I had been doing really well, but I will get back into form again. If not on my trip, then afterward.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee would have been 70 years old today if he had lived.

I often wonder about the iconic people who die young, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John, Robert and John Jr. of the Kennedy family. Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee. How would their lives have turned out if they had lived? Greater accomplishments or disgrace? Or maybe after the flame of youth and/or power flickered out they finished their lives much as the rest of us live them. Of course there is no knowing.

I think, especially in Bruce's case, we just need to be happy he lived for as long he did and was able to make an impact in such a short period of time. Long live the memory of Bruce Lee.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

That Time of Year

This is the time of year where I justify my existence at my job by submitting my professional portfolio. Every year I find this portfolio harder to do on an emotional level. I know I am not doing everything that is desired to get tenure so I feel somewhat inadequate when I am updating the "research agenda" prong. However, my work and service areas I think are quite satisfactory. I am running out of time, I have two years before I have to submit that last final portfolio. But here is where the emotional part comes in, I don't want to do the research agenda. I have long thought, even before I became a librarian, the tenure track resulted in a lot of crap articles written by folks for the sole purpose of putting in their portfolio, to get those "golden handcuffs." So there is a part of me that feels like a hypocrite being a part of this process. When I was applying for jobs (except for this place, where I was already working) I didn't apply to any institution that had the tenure system.

If you don't submit a portfolio, you are effectively resigning and in this economy who dares to do that without something already lined up? This job has its downsides but the benefits are excellent. I have been able to travel more these past couple of years as well as finally have some savings. That is hard to let go of, even if there is something one thinks would be more fulfilling in other ways. If I didn't submit a portfolio, I would be out of a job as of August 31st 2011, submitting my portfolio (assuming its approval) buys me another year.

But this portfolio has other benefits for me. It reminds me time is passing and if I do want to make a change in my life, I had better start making some decisions and working towards them. In some ways I have been doing that, in others not. One thing is that in this past year I have been learning more about myself as a teacher. I teach college students about the library databases at work and I am teaching Chinese immigrants English. Every time I teach it is a learning opportunity for me but the most telling thing is that even though there is always "performance anxiety" I really enjoy it.

I will continue doing my job and I will continue the research agenda I have set up for myself but it is time to stop fantasizing about the future and start doing something about it. It is time to start planning the future-switching to a teaching career, preferably in Hong Kong.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Teaching & Learning

Last night was the third week of my adventures in teaching ESL in Chinatown. The students go to class on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There are six teachers, 3 for each evening and we rotate as lead teacher. I teach on Wednesdays. I taught the class last week. I wouldn't say I did a great job, I floundered most when it came to getting them to participate, they may have known the answers but hesitated to respond. Not a unique problem for teachers in general from what I understand.

I try to be a good assistant teacher when I am not teaching, making sure the students are on the right page, checking their answers in their workbooks, I don't just sit in the back of the room until it is time for group work. My Cantonese has helped a little, last night M. spoke too softly for them and I understood them when they said they couldn't hear her, later they were saying that she was going too fast. It was M.'s first teaching experience and I thought she took the criticisms well and adapted. Afterward she was asking me about this and that, I reassured her the best that I could. I have found that even experienced teachers question themselves after a class, it seems to be endemic to the profession.

I am teaching the Beginner class but they know a certain amount of English already, they can read along in the book, most of the time their pronunciation is understandable and they seem to know much of the grammar and a fair amount of vocabulary. As soon as the teaching strays from the book however, they are lost it seems. They struggle holding a simple conversation. When we read a passage from the book and the teacher asks why did this person do this or how could he have handled that situation differently they either don't understand or can't articulate the answer in English.

I can seriously relate to my students because I too am learning a foreign language. I know a lot of Cantonese but struggle with expressing myself in the language. Even if I know all the words and know the proper syntax backwards and forwards, I have difficulty conversing casually. It is something I am working on more lately. My tutor and I are working on conversation, if I don't know a word in Cantonese I say it in English but then go right back to Cantonese. Later she teaches me the word I didn't know. She says I am doing well, I still think I speak too much in English but I do feel that I am progressing.

Another thing I am doing is drilling vocabulary and example sentences via the Anki flashcard system. I had heard about it on Sheik's forum but I didn't really understand how it worked until another Cantonese student shared his flashcard deck with me. Since then I have created two decks of my own, one is exclusive to what I have learned from my tutor and the other is a mix of things I have learned from various resources. I try to review each deck for 10 minutes a day, not necessarily all at once. Right now I am adding materials so I am spending even more time on this, depending on how much time I have. I am trying not to add just words but phrases and sentences that will reinforce grammar or syntax. However, there is no hurry to add more to my decks, the deck that was shared with me has almost 2500 cards, it will take me awhile to get through that.

Back to teaching-I do teach at my job as well. It isn't the main part of my job, but because we are continuously short staffed at my job I teach some of the bibliographic instruction classes. This is my 3rd semester doing this and I am finally feeling more confident in this role. I have gotten some nice compliments from the teaching faculty I have been working with and even had one of my colleagues ask to adapt one of my handouts for her class. She is a more experienced teacher and a very good one so that made my day. Then she told the head of the department about it and he commented about it to me, telling me to make sure I put it in my professional portfolio. That made my week.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Major Changes

Tuesday was a day of announcements that could really affect the quality of my life in the near future. First was the announcement of a new dean at my job. There has been much stress revolving this issue for months, it is quite a long and even a bit sordid of a story, but next week it will just another anecdote thankfully. I liked this candidate the best when we met the 3 candidates for dean last spring and was disappointed when she got passed over the first time around. But now she is coming and I am excited. We desperately need new leadership. How she will like me and what I am doing and what I am not doing (publishing) remains to be seen. She sounds like a real go-getter so she may not relate well to someone like me who is significantly less ambitious. Time will tell.

I have had a chronic leak in my bathroom for years, often little fixes are made and it stops it or slows it for awhile but I have rarely had a leak free ceiling. In fact the ceiling fell down several years ago. The water comes down in more than one place and at times it is like it is raining in there. The amount of water coming down has filled a bucket on some days lately so the time for excuses and delays is over. But the landlord and management company have been stalling, I pay one of the cheaper rents here and so does my upstairs neighbor so we tend to get 2nd citizen treatment.

So while doing laundry that evening I approached my Super again about this leak. He told me that the landlord had successfully sold our building after it being on the market for 3 years or so. This explains the most recent stalling by the landlord, he was on his way out. Again, how does this affect me? Well, rumor is that the new landlords are very good at building maintenance. And even "good" would be great right now. I live in a fairly nice area, but to look at my building out of this context, you'd think I lived in a ghetto.

One thing my Super said was that one of the first things the new landlord mentioned was that they are planning to install security cameras, at the front door, in the elevator. We had two burglaries during the daytime just a couple of weeks ago so this is very exciting news. This has given me a positive impression of the new landlord, that he isn't just going to sit back and collect the rent like the previous one.

It is interesting to be on this end of change. I have done nothing and yet I expect big changes to happen both at work and at home. I feel like I have less battles to wage in the near future. I wonder how long that feeling will last?

Ah, better not to ask that question but to enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Last year after finishing years of being in and out of school (2 masters degrees in 7 years) and losing my dog I found myself in need of doing something more meaningful than my first inclination of sitting home in front of the dvd player. A friend of mine suggested volunteering via NY Cares. I did a few projects last year, the main ones being Early Morning Reading (with grade school kids before their school day started) and English Conversation (with adults in the evenings). Both had their good points and bad points but they also left me wanting more structure, consistency and more of a connection. I wasn't so clear last year on what I wanted so it was easier to choose projects.

I have spent the past almost two months trying to decide what to do for my volunteering. Late August is when the longer term projects start organizing, more reading or maybe math with kids this time? Tutoring high school students for their SATs? I have signed up for projects, gone for the training or gone for the first day and decided it wasn't for me. The SAT project was appealing but I realized that I would be spending too much time trying to reconnect myself with math that I never learned well in the first place--how could I help someone else master it if it was still foreign for me?

Finally I went to another website that connects volunteers with organizations with needs, Idealist. There I found what I clearly had in the back of my mind but hadn't clearly articulated yet even to myself--a small organization in Chinatown that teaches English. I went for the interview/information session last week and start next week. I have great hopes for this, this organization has been teaching English for awhile, you teach in a team of 3 so there is good support for new teachers. There is prep work to do, but everyone takes turns so it shouldn't be too much of a time commitment--always a concern for me.

Actually I tried signing up with this group before, last winter in fact. But their semester ended too late, I would miss the last 3 weeks or so because of my summer trip to Hong Kong so it was bad timing. This clearly was meant to be because the last class of the semester is Dec. 15. I leave for my next trip to Hong Kong the very next day. :)

As for how satisfying an experience it is, time will tell I guess.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A West Village Institution

Club Groove, the corner of MacDougal St. and West 3rd, heart of the Village in Manhattan. It has always been one of those reassuring landmarks for me. I don't know how long that mural has been there, but it has to be at least 30 years.

I was passing it recently and having my camera in my bag, got nostalgic, thinking wow, it is so great this place still exists. I remember being 18 years old and seeing this mural and marveling at it. I walked past it for years because I went to college then worked in that area, for almost two decades this sight was a part of my daily life. Ironically I have never been the club in all the years I have lived in NYC.

It is true that I am not really up on the local music scene and never really was, but at one time I had friends that were and I would follow them to various places. But I don't think we ever went here. I think I am going to have to create an "opportunity" sometime soon. Even if it isn't what I consider to be "my type" of music, I bet it will be fun, and even if it isn't I will have a story to tell.

Has anyone been there? Sometimes people come to NYC as tourists and see more than some of us locals (or in my case long-term transplant) do.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Renn Faire & the Battle of the Sexes

Clearly I am not a natural blogger, it has been quite some time since my last post. Being a journal keeper (diarist?) I already write quite a bit, but most of it is too personal or too boring for public consumption. But it does seem unfair that I read so many blogs and don't respond in kind.

Instead of going to the 1st annual Chinese Film Festival in NYC (because despite being on every film list in town I didn't know about it) I went to the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, NY with friends. I guess the film festival was only promoted in the Chinese language press, which didn't just leave me out, left out many Chinese Americans who cannot read Chinese. But let's hope it was still a great success and there will be a 2nd annual festival next year.

I did have a good time but re-enacting the Renaissance isn't really my thing so going two years in a row wasn't a good idea in retrospect. On second thought it gave me a totally different perspective this time because instead of going to every little booth, one particular friend and I concentrated on getting good seats for the shows, last year we could barely hear or see because we arrived too late to each event.

What I found interesting about the Renn Faire how obviously they have updated the era to be more politically correct, more inclusive almost to the extreme, at least in terms of gender. Women take on just as much leadership, dancing and fighting roles as men do--and they win. Clearly more fun to watch than the reality of the time so it is understandable I guess. The comedy duo, The Washing Wenches, get a lot of laughs targeting the men in the audience. During the live Chess match, when Will Scarlett and Robin Hood are supposed to fight, Maid Marion takes Robin's place because she couldn't bear for her husband-to-be and brother to fight. Actually this was the most fun and funny fight to watch, because she used every weapon in a sister's arsenal which had nothing to do with swordplay but she also had some decent sword moves. And the final event of the day, the Joust, was to determine whether the challenger to the throne, a male, would usurp the Queen. And you can guess who won.

Every event starts with a dance

Maid Marion kicking her brother's butt

Washing Wenches and one of their "volunteers"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Down? Websites

Ever since I came back from HK I have been trying to rejoin my favorite Asian online rental site, but I can't get through. I even emailed them, thinking that there was some way around the problem--no response. After much thought I joined my second choice, I don't think their site is as user friendly and their selection isn't as extensive. Both sites have a special plan for tv series rental, which I don't want to do because my focus is on films. But I do like to watch the occasional tv series. This is where cinflix is the better choice because there are some tv series that you can rent without being on the special plan. Right now I am midway thru an old Stephen Chow, Alex Man and Theresa Mo series.

Another site I have been missing is It hasn't been updated since May. I have long relied on that for info on upcoming Chinese and Hong Kong films. I can't help wonder what happened, anyone know? I hope it is nothing serious. I can't help but think of another site I used to follow, HK Entertainment, where the webmaster got seriously ill. He has recovered but the site is forever gone it seems. There are blogs that fill in most of the gap of information but still, I like how MonkeyPeaches was presented and do miss it.

I am off for the week to see my family, the last of my vacation. I haven't been there since December so it has been awhile. Yep, I am going to have to be in suspense on the rest of the tv series until I come back.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Doing the Catwalk

I remember when I first was made aware of Alexander McQueen--it was when I read of his suicide. That is how out of touch I am with the fashion world. No one has ever accused me of being a fashionista. However when I heard of this public art display created by top fashion designers along Broadway, I was intrigued.

Here are a few, as you can see, the designers had to use different materials than they would in an indoor environment and some of them really took this to heart.

Don't ask me which designer did what, most of the names I didn't recognize. Although even a non-fashionista like me could pick out the Tommy Hilfiger and the Betsey Johnson, can you?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Back in the USA

Just a quick update to say I am back home. I practically didn't recognize my apartment, it seemed so ridiculously huge after that tiny room. LOL

I am trying to catch up on mail, sleep, laundry--not necessarily in that order. Will post more on my Hong Kong trip later.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spiritual Rain

I am a self-professed weather wimp. I never liked rain unless I was inside, warm and dry preferable with a good book to read or a new dvd to watch. But sometimes that isn't possible and one has to dig a little deeper.

So it has been raining here. At first this was a welcome change to the heat and humidity but what to do in it? I was hoping to go to some of the outlying islands, but, oh, well. I recall my sister's graduation gift to me way back when, we went to Martha's Vineyard for a long weekend. It rained, and I mean pouring rain, from the moment we arrived until just hours before we left. We made the best of it and that is what I am doing here. In fact, we had a really nice time.

Back to Hong Kong, my options? Explore unexplored shopping malls (really pointless for the non-shopper), go to museums--finally got to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum on Sunday. But dodging the rain is already feeling old, so today I decided to go to Chi Lin Nunnery and Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple. I would have preferred to walk between the two but this wasn't the day.

I was surprised at not only how many people were at the temple but that it was just as many worshippers as tourists. Kneeling on plastic bags, praying under umbrellas, some with their barely lit incense sticks their devotion was impressive to me--one who was brought up to kneel on a padded bench in a usually comfortably dry and temperature controlled church.

As you can see from the pix, the surroundings at both locations where not diminished by the rain, in fact it felt like a more spiritual experience somehow. Despite this spiritual connection with the rain today, I am looking forward to it clearing up enough for me to at least go to Lamma Island before I leave on friday morning.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ding Ding!

From my fav spot on the tram (Kennedy Town)


Democracy in action (Central)

North Point market

A great way to see some parts of Hong Kong at a leisurely speed is the tram or the Ding! Ding! I spent a whole afternoon going from Wan Chai to North Point, North Point to Kennedy Town and finishing up at Western Market. I would have continued but my bladder had other ideas. The tram isn't air conditioned but there was an enjoyable breeze.

Today was my last class. I am officially at the Intermediate level. Which stills seems like I know so little but it is progress.

This week I hope to get to the New Territories and a couple of the outlying islands to escape the heat of the city and just basically relax. Instead of counting weeks, it seems like all of a sudden I am down to counting days, I leave early in the morning on the 2nd. So only 6 days left in Hong Kong.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hot Sunday

Okay, not my wisest move to go to the Hong Kong Zoo and Botantical Garden on the hottest day I have been here thus far. But in my defense, it was my friend's idea. Yeah, bad defense.

Later, we went to see what Cat St was (a shopping street with all sorts of souvenirs) and Man Mo Temple.

That was enough heat for me for the day. My friend was headed to Ladies Market for shopping, I passed on that to go cool down.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Random Observations

A close up of Bank of China (I can't decide whether to feel sorry for those window washers or not, scary job but clearly plenty of work)

It's me at Madame Tussaud's ;)

Hong Kong Park

Times Square -- can you see Buzz Lightyear? Lots of promo for the new Toy Story film in this mega shopping centre

The third most expensive street in the world, Russell St.

You never know when you are going to come across a lion dance ... this happens to be in WanChai between Lockhardt Rd and Hennessy

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Still here

Construction Hong Kong style

Bonham Road walk, maybe Caine Road at this point?

Bonham Road, this is what I consider colonial architecture

@Museum of the History of Hong Kong

@Museum of the History of Hong Kong

Sorry, I haven't been posting. No excuse, busy, yes, but ... whatever.

I had a busy weekend with my fellow Andy Lau fans, there were two events this weekend. Several of them were here just for the weekend and besides the events, they had shopping to do. I am not much of a shopper. I got a lesson in how efficient, experienced shoppers get around Hong Kong. We went from Megabox, to Mongkok, to Tsim Sha Tsui by taxi so that we could speed up the process. We were looking for packaged foods, dvds, designer bags and sweets. In a few hours they had big bags full and were quite pleased with themselves.

Back on my own I went to the History of Hong Kong Museum, thanks for the recommendation. And I took a walk my Fodor's book suggested in order to see Colonial architecture. One takes the bus to Hong Kong University and walks downhill to Western Market. It was an interesting walk, definitely, some of it I had seen before, but either I don't really know what Colonial architecture is or my book is out of date.

Today I tried to go to Aberdeen and ended up in Stanley. I had been debating which place to go see the dragon boat races and decided on Aberdeen since I had just been to Stanley. But I missed my stop and the next stop was too far and too difficult looking of a walk to go back. And that would have been the better place to be it seems because there were colorful boats in the water and a huge crowd. Even the locals were craning their necks as we drove by.

Stanley was fun the second time around because I did it more my own way. I saw more things, even went to the beach. I bought some souvenirs for my family. I had a leisurely lunch at one of the restaurants. And I was early enough to go into the temple dedicated to Tin Hau. But the only trace of the dragon boat festival that I saw was the Sun Life folks handing out goody bags (they were sponsoring the event in Stanley). So I guess I was too late for that. Being a public holiday it was quite crowded but I didn't think much of it but as I was leaving I heard this couple behind me complaining at how ridiculously crowded it was.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Humbled by Hot Pot

I have had hot pot twice before, in the US, with other friends who really don't know what they are doing. Sure we know you wait for the broth to boil, then you cook your food. But I really am not fond of hot pot because it requires too much coordination for someone who barely cooks. Here I have to cook, then eat and cook ... and I actually don't like my food to be that hot when I eat it. Even when I get pizza, half the time the guy behind the counter tells me that it isn't warm enough yet and I say it is okay because they usually warm it so much it burns my mouth.

So why? Why did I go for hot pot? Honestly I am not sure. It could be that I have been eating a variety of food, Thai, American, Italian, Indonesian, Singaporean, even vegetarian so I was feeling as though I should eat something more Cantonese. And the Cantonese do seem to love their soup.

Anyway, because I was alone they seated me at a bar facing a wall. Which was fine but I say this because I couldn't watch the other people for hints on what to do. The staff first had to explain how to order the ingredients. Even with his help I was confused when the food came, did I really order all that? The spices and sauce were lost on me since I couldn't identity what was what--several green options, yellowish option, red option--got that one--hot peppers!

But the fun part came with putting the food into and then taking it out of the pot. I was so uncoordinated that one staff person, bless her, kept coming up to help me especially after I dropped a glob of freshly cooked noodles. And she clearly felt I needed to use the sauce on some things because she did that for me too. I bet they had a good laugh when I left and I don't blame them, I found it comical and was laughing at myself throughout the experience. I think I actually did better the previous two times, I really was at my most uncoordinated last night.

In the process it was necessary to use an extra plate and an extra set of utensils, and I left a really big mess because I dropped soup and food several times. Luckily no one sat on either side of me, so no one else suffered because of me.

I did enjoy the food and the experience, despite feeling somewhat humbled by it. But I think there is plenty of other things in the Cantonese cuisine that I am better suited for.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Class days

Sculpture outside the museum

Poster for Wu Guanzhong's exhibit outside the museum

Wu did a painting of Victoria Harbor and the museum has superimposed a rendition of it onto the windows facing the harbor

Two swallows - the artist says this is his most important work

One of Wu's more modern works

I am really glad that I didn't take the CUHK course. I am enjoying my class but I feel I haven't absorbed one day's lesson before I go to the next. Taking class every day is intense enough for me. And actually I know a lot of the vocabulary, so it is the structure of the language that I am working on the most. It is on one hand good, it is making me realize how much I know. But on the other hand, there is still so much vocabulary I don't know. I am trying to add to this by asking specific questions, like how do I go to the movie theater, ask for a ticket, pick my seat, etc.

One of my big problems is constructing sentences. I was advised by a fellow blogger to work with patterns so I am trying to apply that to the individual sentences they are giving me in class and within the dialogues in the text. The more I absorb the patterns, the easier it will be for me to think in Cantonese I am told.

My class is in the middle of the day which I find awkward. II am doing my best to work around it. I take my time going and coming, trying to take various routes so as to take the Star Ferry (my favorite form of transportation). I had an early lunch with a fellow blogger and new friend on tuesday, wednesday I went to the Hong Kong Museum of Art afterwards and today I went to the Hong Kong Space Museum today.

Am I speaking Cantonese? Well, my record is spotty I admit. It is really too damn easy to speak English here. So it depends on my mood or my level of confidence which can vary immensely in a short space of time. In one restaurant I might order in Cantonese and in the next in English. Yes, they speak to me in English most of the time, but if I am feeling confident I just continue in Cantonese.

The space museum was interesting because it was a different perspective of the history of space exploration--in other words, not American-centric like one would get in the U.S. The only point I quibbled with was one of the first things I read, it was about how the Romans based their gods on the heavens and mentioned the goddess of the moon and yet didn't mention her name? How hard it is it to say her name was Diana? HMM? But since the Romans acquired (or stole, depending on your perspective) their gods and goddesses via the Greeks and the Greeks got no mention at all, I guess I need to let the Diana "dis" slide.

The Museum of Art has some really cool stuff. The contemporary art display had a variety of types of art, sculpture, painting, video. There was one video which is an elevator door opening and closing, each time you see different people in the elevator. No one gets on or off, you just see these people reacting or not reacting to the door opening. The pottery was beautiful, I had no idea there were so many different styles. I especially liked the Wu Guanzhong exhibit, he seems to have found a Chinese way to do modern art. I can't exactly explain it but it feels a bit like Hong Kong to me, a blending of East and West.

If you are interested I will tell you about my humbling experience in a hot pot restaurant next time.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Great Weekend

Saturday I met up with another blogger now friend. We had a lovely brunch in the Mid-Levels at The Phoenix then went gallery hopping and saw some really cool art. I used to gallery hop in NY, although the art might be just as interesting, the snobbery of the scene itself can take the fun out of it. Here I felt appreciated for stopping in.

The Mid-levels escalator or "travelator" was fun to ride. I wanted to do my Faye Wong imitation at one point but restrained myself. This is such a hilly area, I wonder how someone with a disability would function here.

Since we were in Central at the end of our urban hike :) I went to Marks and Spencers to see if there were clothes there that would fit me. I saw some nice stuff and at prices that I would be comfortable with but after trying a few things on--well, I am just out of range, but closer than I had expected so I am encouraged by this. If I moved here, this would be important to know.

In the evening, I headed to Monkok to see Fa Yuen Street and Tung Choi (Goldfish) Street. I kind of felt sorry for those fish who were in those plastic bags. But then again, when I had goldfish as a child, was the fishbowl any bigger? Probably not.

Sunday I went to Tai O with the friend I was with last sunday. She must have been tired or in a bad mood because she wasn't much fun to be with. But Tai O is beautiful. The first thing we did was take the boat ride to see the houses on stilts and then the pink dolphins. But the pink dolphins were not in a cooperative mood because we didn't see any.

They have a little museum there of clothes, fishing nets, tools, really quite interesting. And then there is the town, which had all sorts of food, especially fish for sale--fresh or dried. We didn't go outside the village, so I didn't see much of the countryside there. Maybe another time.

After dinner at Sweet Dynasty we said goodbye and I went off on my own to the Symphony of Lights and walk the waterfront. It was a beautiful night, with a slight breeze. I couldn't pass up the cuttlefish vendor without trying it out. I was surprised there weren't more vendors there and very glad too, I was really able to just enjoy the nice weather and the waterfront. Unfortunately my camera (or is it me?) doesn't take night photos well. I actually thought the photos I took with the proper setting "night scenery" came out worse.