I am not afriad of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today~William Allen White

Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

My visit to Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh is not the capital of Vietnam, but the economic artery of the country.  It was an eye opener to me when I visit Vietnam, there are definitely a lot of madness, chaos, and craziness with the city, which I believe are evidence and signs that it is continually developing.  I actually had a lot of difficulties crossing the streets because first of all, there are hardly any traffic lights, and at the tourist areas where there are traffic lights, motorcycles really don’t give a crap.  Second, there are so many motorcycles on the road, it makes one’s head spin!  If you want to cross the street, you basically need to pretend the hundreds of motobikes coming at you don’t exist, or else you would literally be standing and waiting for something that will never happen–> all the motorbikes to pass.  Anyway, by the third day of the trip, I pretty much can cross any streets without my legs shaking, pumping heartbeats, and bewilderment in my eyes at what I am about to do.  In fact, when returning to Singapore, the way I decided to cross the streets bewilder other rule abiding Singaporeans.

While I feel very blessed to have grown up in developed Canada and lived in modern cities of Hong Kong and Singapore, the travelling I am doing continually open my eyes to so many amazing and crazy things that go on in the world.  In Vietnam, a family of four could all be seated on a motorbike while the mother carry a baby on her lap.  In the West, we freak out over car seats and baby proofing everything; but the babies in Vietnam grown up just fine without ever hearing about car seats or strollers.  In fact, if you have a stroller, that might be a dangerous hazard itself, I don’t know how you can possibly cross the streets.

Below, I share some pictures I took of this chaotic city that has taught me to cross the streets anywhere in the world.  Believe me when I say if you can cross the streets in Ho Chi Minh, you can cross the streets anywhere else in the world.

i realize my whole entry is pretty much about motorbikes, so I must show you what I am talking about

this is near Chinatown, close to the hotel we were staying at and close to where we sat at some plastic table with stools with a local friend sipping strong coffee with sweet milk

the saigon river is a strip of restaurants on boats and they will take you down the saigon river for a 45 min ride. It's very touristy, though the strip look nice on the outside, there really isn't much of a view to speak off across the saigon river and the food (western) isn't cool, I love local food way more!

the oldest pagoda in ho chi minh

the war remnants museum is really worth a visit to see what kind of war and pain the country has suffered

cool huh? a giant plate of donuts on top of the man's head

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Old Hong Kong…Real Hong Kong?

I have previously blogged about the income gap between the rich and the poor in “the one million three hundred thousand others”

(https://btlau.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/the-one-hundred-thirty-thousand-others/) and I want to do a follow-up today with a number of pictures taken in Wong Tai Sin.

Tourists will know of Wong Tai Sin as a tourist destination of Wong Tai Sin temple,but this area is also the district to a lot of impoverished HK citizens who are living on welfare and living in government subsidized housing.  En route to showing my sister Wong Tai Sin temple during her visit to HK, I was able to capture some old residential estates that illustrate how the mainstay/grassroot part of society live.

Sleepers at the airport

It was so cool spotting these sleepers at the airport, what a treat for the tired travellers or those waiting for a flight transfer.  However, there are not that many around, so it is really a matter of luck to be able to crawl onto one of these sleepers.  Also, you need to learn to ignore the stares and envious glances of other passengers walking by.

The beauty that is Venetian Macau

The inside of Venetian Macau gives off a grand and majestic Victorian feel with grand paintings and picturesque architecture and design of the various shops, exhibition halls, and casino layout.   I went to the Venetian just to look at gorgeous architectural designs and the attention to details displayed at its construction, I gambled a little bit at the MGM grand instead, more slot machines for me to play with.

the grand hallway from the lobby to the casino

from the top looking down to the casino

each ride is accompanied with live singing

looking at Venetian Macau from the outside

Macau is the Vegas strip of Asia, but the Venetian definitely looks different from many of the other casinos dotting Macau.  Majority of casinos/hotels are focused on building horizontally skyward, but the Venetian hotel looks like a little European kingdom on its own in Taipa.  I really like the variety of colors used for the Venetian, this little European style villa casino is most certainly a landmark in Macau and a popular backdrop for would-be brides for their wedding pictures.

 

when i look out my window

On a clear and bright day, it is such a treat looking out at the expansive view from my apartment’s window, it is so mesmerizing and astounding that there are an endless amount of high rises and sky scrapers all over Hong Kong!  It would be fun to contrast the difference of the view between a clear and bright day as opposed to a foggy and muggy day when pollution skyrocket and factories from China blow particles and dusts over.  When that happens, the city is wrapped in a shroud of haze, there is nothing mystical and enchanting about it, it would usually feel moist and damp outside and I am not a fan!

Pretty damn hazy huh?  Nevertheless, on a normal day, I love staring out the window, especially since rumor has it that if you keep staring at views and buildings that are really far, it is very good for your vision and you as less prone to farsightedness.

the open staidum where many concerts and sporting events such as rugby 7 is held, I can actually see the crowds and hear what is happening at the stadium; unfortunately, I cannot see the performances, boo. Oh yea, once I think there was a Chinese opera rehersal going on and it was the 1st time in my life I got woken up to communist music, and I was truly puzzled

this is a soccer/football field depending on if you're American or British; anyway, it's just across the street from the Hong Kong Football club, and I often see many teams practicing from my window

i do believe that the day I am bored with this view, I am bored with Hong Kong

It was actually kind of weird because on the sunny and bright day I was taking pictures, I notice birds flying in the sky; on the muggy day, there was a butterfly resting on my window, and I love the close proximity it allows me when I take pictures of it.  Thanks to the butterfly, I left my apartment in a good mood.

Little Houses with Character

I love the unique little houses along the Shek O village, they are brightly painted, colourful, and full of character, a rare sight in a city filled with skyscrapers and high rises.  Shek O village is steeped in Hong Kong history; it has been around for over 100 years since 1891.  Don’t be fooled by how they may look on the outside, because all of them have an expansive sea view worth millions of dollars!

the sea view in every house's backyard

 

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