Hong Kong Paaartaaay – A Video Pictorial

By , August 4, 2010 3:23 am

I was feeling a little ‘creative’ tonight (it’s a shame that my talents do not match my desires), so decided to savour the memories of our fabulous Hong Kong trip with some of my favourite moments in a short flash video pictorial – thanks and also apologies to all my fellow bloggers from whom I’ve ‘borrowed’ many of the pictures… :p

Sit back, turn up the volume and PAAARTAAAY along with me – Enjoy!!

[youtube 6FX8_GejWa8]

Treasures in Gough Street – Gingko House and Kau Kee

By , August 4, 2010 2:30 am

Gough Street looks more like a back alley, but there's so much to discover here!
After my dim sum late breakfast, I joined the blogger team and Hong Kong Tourism Board representatives to cross over to Hong Kong island. Our destination – Gough Street. It may not look like much. In fact, it resembles more a back alley than a proper street. But there are many wonderful shops and eateries here!

Lots of shops selling curios, upmarket bric-a-brac and home accessories at Gough Street
As we walked down the street, we saw many shops selling curios, hip designer home accessories, and upmarket bric-a-brac.

Cutesy stuff for children
Also cute stuff for children and kids at heart. Many are European imports, so may not be cheap. But so nice to look at.

Gingko House is at 44 Gough Street
Our lunch would take place at Gingko House at 44 Gough Street (tel: +852 2545 1200). It’s a lovely little place run with plenty of heart.

Gingko House employs the elderly and taps on their rich life experience to enhance service
You see, Gingko House is run like a social enterprise – it gives the elderly meaningful employment, and taps on their rich life experience to enhance service levels, encourage slow food dining and build rapport with customers.

The fare is largely French and Italian dishes. There were two set lunches we could choose from – the three-course Lunch Menu (HK$50-108 depending on mains) that comes with tea or coffee; and the lighter/healthier two-course “Leisure Lunch” (HK$98+) which comes with an organic mint and honey drink.

Mixed mushroom and walnut soup, organic vegetable salad
I chose the lighter one. The soup that came was an unusual mushrooms and walnut(!) broth. The regular menu gives you a cream-based soup. The salad consists of organic vegetables harvested from their own farm in Sheung Shui.

Grilled baby lamb rib with homemade organic mint sauce
Well, the reason I chose the lighter set was not for health reasons. It’s because it had the “Grilled baby lamb rib with homemade organic mint sauce” and I just could not resist this.

Maple mustard salmon steak with linguini in homemade pesto
Others went for the maple mustard salmon steak with linguini in homemade pesto, also from the Leisure Lunch (no one went for the roast spring chicken option). Look at the huge servings!

Rib eye roast with herb gravy
The rest who went with the regular set mostly chose the rib-eye roast with herb gravy. I was lucky to have a bite. It was tender and aromatic. Their chefs, although elderly, come with lots of experience from major hotels.

Dessert is a simple orange jelly
They gave everyone the daily dessert (in this case, orange jelly) even though it’s only on the regular lunch set. That was quite sweet of them.

Queueing up for tomato broth noodles with beef, toast with condensed milk
As we walked back to the chartered mini-coach, we saw again the ludicrously long queue for something that must be really good. We had no idea what.

As I looked at that queue, I myself walked into another queue on my side of the street. Oh, what was this for?

Ah yes, perfect!
Oh perfect, just what I was looking for on Gough Street! The famous Kau Kee beef brisket noodles 九記牛腩 (21 Gough Street, tel: +852 2850-5967). It counts even HK Chief Executive Donald Tsang, actors Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Nick Cheung and Takeshi Kaneshiro as its regulars.

I waved goodbye to the other bloggers who were slightly incredulous that I was going to be eating again, right after lunch. Well, this afternoon was my last pocket of free time. I was determined to make the most of it. Luckily my queue was shorter, and it moved really fast.

Busy, nonstop action in Kau Kee's kitchen
I was soon given a seat – right at the end of the shop, literally the last stool, sharing with a table of strangers who did not seem to mind. I had a view of the busy steaming kitchen – the action is non-stop and bowls just keep flying out. Service is also lighting fast. Two words into my halting Cantonese, and I was thrust an English menu. Thank God.

There is a variety of noodles to go with basically beef broth or curry broth. I knew the beef brisket broth here would be fantastic, but I decided to be brave and go for the curry.

Kau Kee Beef Brisket in Curry with Ee Fu Noodles
I was well rewarded. The curry is not timid – it is rich, spicy and complex. The bowl was generously loaded with chunks of beef that had been diligently stewed for hours, until they were tearaway tender and tasty. My ee-fu noodles too, did well to soak up all the flavours. I was very satisfied. No matter what others say about standards dropping, this is still a very good meal, and for only HK$27. In an air-conditioned place.

The other diners at my table kept saying how good their beef broth was. I wished I had the stomach capacity to try that as well. But I had more things on my list to eat. Mak’s noodles was next.

Sing Heung Yuen - corner of Mei Lun and Gough Streets
As I walked out of Kau Kee, I saw that the other long queue opposite it had not abated, even though it was well past lunch hour. What on earth were they serving at this makeshift food shack?

I later learned from our Hong Kong guide that this was Sing Heung Yuen which serves tomato broth noodles with beef, and snacks like toast with condensed milk. Apparently, students and regulars will start thronging there from 6am. There is no closing time, just whenever they finish, usually in the afternoon. That’s gotta be some kickass tomato broth to command a queue.

Curious as I was, I had to move on quickly. Only a couple more hours left.

I really loved how on this trip, a lot of road names became not just names, but real places to me. Gough Street was just the beginning. Wellington Street was next.

我的涂鸦香港行6——第二天(下)

By , August 4, 2010 12:32 am
1789年,以立法、行政、司法三权分立相互制衡为原则的美国宪法正式生效;同年,推翻君主专制政体的法国大革命爆发。呃…这不是历史课,所以这些并不是这一篇文章的重点。我想说的是,就在同一年,一艘位于南太平洋的英国武裝船上也发生了一些事故,促成了一个航海史上的奇迹。
 




这一切都要追溯到两年前(抱歉改不了讲古佬的性格),也就是1787年12月平安夜前夕,效忠于英皇佐治三世(King George III)的46位军官及船员启航前往大溪地(Tahiti)搜集麵包树的幼苗以运往西印度群岛(West Indies)种植,为当地的奴僕提供廉价的高营养食品。1789年4月,在大溪地接收了足够的麵包树幼苗,开往西印度群岛的途中,一场叛变让船上19人被困于一艘放逐在位于南太平洋大溪地海域上的7米长救生艇上。以下节录自遭大副背叛的船长布莱(William Bligh)之航海日志:

‘Just before Sunrise Mr. Christian and the Master at Arms…came into my cabin while I was fast asleep, and seizing me tyed my hands with a Cord & threatened instant death if I made the least noise. I however called sufficiently loud to alarm the Officers, who found themselves equally secured by centinels at their doors…Mr. Christian had a Cutlass & the others were armed with Musquets & bayonets. I was now carried on deck in my Shirt in torture with a severe bandage round my wrists behind my back, where I found no man to rescue me…’

突如其来的灾难,让布莱船长顿时手足无措,只能乖乖就范。幸运的是,造反者留下了一条救生艇。面对无法预知的大海,不适合长途航海的救生艇原本凶多吉少,然而41天后他们却成为了英国航海史上家喻户晓的奇迹。布莱船长以其优越的航海技术,带领这艘小船在汪洋中于41天内航行6,705公里,穿越南太平洋,成功抵达了印尼帝汶岛(Timor)。

罗嗦了那么多,我其实只是想说明,这一切都始于甲板上的一场叛变。而今天的主角,就是这艘半路换了主人的欧洲帆船,济民号(H.M.A.V. Bounty)。历史上真正的济民号已经在1790年1月,于南太平洋东部的皮特凯恩岛(Pitcairn Islands)为背叛者所烧毁。然而在近两百年后的1978年,美国好莱坞为拍电影需要,按照当时济民号的尺寸将其重现于世间。2010年,我亦有幸于中环9号码头登上了济民号,一艘香港独一无二的欧洲高桅彷古帆船。


命大的布莱船长

济民号绘图

布莱船长及其18位随从被放逐在一条小船上

上一篇提到,害我在亚洲规模最大的香港国际书展中匆匆一瞥就得加紧脚步离开的罪魁祸首,就是这艘万恶的济民号。这一切全因必须赶在她出航前上船,因为在拟定好的行程中,我们的晚餐会在济民号上享用,换句话说,如果赶不及就真的得蹲在码头喝西北风了。

中环码头一偶

千呼万唤始出来的济民号

济民号

在济民号上不经意间瞄到的豪华游艇——如果是我的就好…

这是济民号的主枙



在现代发达的交通中,坐船似乎是个远离我们生活的词汇,更遑论这样一艘200年前的古帆船。然而我们却有幸在这样的一个机缘下迎着海风,望着灯光下纵横交错的索具及巨大的木枙柱,化身为数百年前乘风破浪的水手,恣意地享受大自然赐予的这一份闲适。(然而望着水手们扬帆时整齐划一的动作,粗壮的手臂吐露了这劳力活的辛苦,我就打消了当水手的念头…呵呵。)那么在船上可以做些什么呢?我们一行十人,加上同船的其他搭客,每个人都有自己的一套方式——有人聚在一起高谈阔论;有人用手中的相机记录这美好的时刻;有人化身船长,一尝掌舵的滋味;或你也可以像我一样,靠着栏杆任风吹乱头发,什么都不去想,只是眯着眼睛看着帆船航行时激起的水花,任自己的心灵融入周遭的环境中,这是终日奔忙于喧嚣都市中所无法体会到的,体验另一种香港的方式。从仿200年前的欧洲帆船上眺望香港,这样一幕犹如时光交错的迷人景观实在令人赞叹不已。

 



随着天色逐渐变黑,我们在夕阳的余晖中觥酬交错。享用完晚餐,两岸已是灯火璀璨。此时就期待着每晚八点重头戏《幻彩咏香江》灯光音乐汇演的开始。忘了说,《幻彩咏香江》是香港的一个镭射灯光音乐汇演,由维多利亚港两岸合共44座摩天大楼及地标建筑物合作举行,表演一开始,两岸就摇身一变成为一巨型舞台,向世人展示香港的魅力。

我们在夜幕低垂时回到了码头,而此刻的码头上挤满了人群,对我们(其实是对济民号)挥手欢笑,无数的镁光灯此起彼落,不禁让我想起卞之琳《断章》中的诗句:

你站在桥上看风景

看风景的人在楼上看你

参观者与被参观者之间的界限在此刻变得模糊,很有意思吧?踏上码头,顺手牵走的是济民号那古色古香的意境,那浓郁隽永的情思,细细品来,的确是别有一番滋味在心头。偷得浮生半日闲,这个午后我仿佛到了另一个世界,不是什么世外桃源人间仙境,而是一个属于自己的世界。更多济民号的故事,可以看看思斌Jerome的分享,他们两位都是摄影大师,绝对让你大饱眼福

 

———我真的只是分界線———
 




旅行的其中一个乐趣,就在于过程中的不可预知

 

 

 

 

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