A walk in the Shing Mun Country Park 漫步城门郊野公园

Last Thursday, I walked the Shing Mun Country Park, which houses one of Hong Kong largest reservoirs. The walk was very relaxing. I took a few pictures and posted some of them here. You may notice that one of the pictures got a monkey in it. The reservoir is a popular breeding ground for monkeys, which have multiplied to such an extent that they sometimes they threaten the safety of passers-by. It is an offence in laws to feed the monkeys in the park.  It was the best picture I could take. I would not dare to get closer to the monkey. I was afraid that it would grab my camera. Worse than that it might grab my head.

上周四我到香港新界城门郊野公园漫步,位于该公园是香港其中一个最大的同名称 之水库,该天我步行得很轻松, 我在这里放上几张拍到的照片,其中一张你可以 看到一只猴子,该水库是猴子繁殖的地方,其数量曾多至对游人安全构成威胁,在该公园喂饲料给猴子是冒犯法律,该照片是我可拍到得最好,我若再走近些,我怕 被它抢走相机,更糟糕是我的头都给它抓到。

A trip to the Hong Kong Wetland Park 香港湿地公园一游

Last Thursday I went to the Hong Kong Wetland Park, which is a huge natural wetland situated adjacent to the border between Hong Kong and Mainland China. The Park is home to thousands species of fishes, water animals and insects and birds. It also provides a transit sanctuary to, may be, millions of migrating birds en route to the South before the dawning of the winter. On that day, it was cloudy, warm and humid, not a good day for a trip of such sort. However, a day away from the hectic city life of Hong Kong was a bliss anyway. I enjoyed it very much. As Hong Kong was turning into Spring, I could not see too many birds at the Park. I was told by a guide at the Park that the best time for birds watching there were the months of October or November each year. I took some photos with my iPhone, coupled with the cloudiness on that day, which photos did not do justice to the Park and me. Please read about the Park in English, Spanish and Chinese.

I also saw Pui Pui, the crocodile which enjoyed celebrity status when it was captured in 2004 (see photo above). Please read about the story of Pui Pui in English and Chinese.

上周四我到香港湿地公园一游,这是一个巨大天然湿地,位于香港与大陆边境毗邻,该 公园是数千品种水动物,昆虫和鸟类之家,它同时为数以百万计之候鸟提供过境庇护。当天天气多云,闷热和潮湿,并不是一个游该公园的好时间,但是可以离开香港繁嚣紧张生活一刻都是一件赏心乐事。由于香港已进入春季,在公园看不到太 多雀鸟,当天导游说最佳赏鸟的时间是每年的十月及十一月,我用我带去的iPhone拍了几张照片,加上当天多云拍到的照片效果不好,对湿地公园和我不公平。当天我还探访了鳄鱼贝贝(请看以上照 片),当年2004年它被捕时,新闻多多,有似明星般。

About Peru written by Randamo

Hello everybody. My nickname is Randamo, you can find me on livemocha.com, which is a web site where I hope to improve my English. But I’m here to tell you some things about my country, Perú. Perú is an interesting country located in South America. It’s interesting because it has many great landscapes, not to mention Macchu Picchu, one of the 7 wonders of the world. Perú is a good place to do tourism. Perú has great rivers, such as Ucayali river and Amazonas river in the Jungle. Mantaro river in the mountains, Santa River in the coast. In the coast, Perú has nice beaches too. Personally, I prefer the peruvian jungle. There the people is very kind.

Yellow Crane Pavilion of Wuhan, Hubei

In May this year I went to Wuhan, Hubei to visit a client. I took the opportunity to visit the famous Yellow Crane Pavilion (黄鹤楼 pinyin: Huáng Hè Lóu), which is a structure of about 7 storeys built on a slightly elevated land at the bank of the famous Yangtze River. The history of the pavilion dated back to the Three Kingdoms period (220-280). When I stepped onto the terrace on the top floor of the pavilion, I had a fine view of the Yangtze River and the entire city of Wuhan. I was overwhelmed with emotion and proud of the greatness of the history of China.

The building is said to be named after a fairy tale that a fairy once passed here riding on a yellow crane. The building is regarded as one of the three most famous ancient terraces in China. There were many poems using this pavilion as the subject and below are the two most famous ones (sources of the two poems: Wikipedia)

Poem by Cui Hao
Yellow Crane Tower was made famous by an 8th century poem written by Cui Hao called “Yellow Crane Tower” (黄鹤楼). The original text of the poem is shown below:

日暮乡关何处是? 烟波江上使人愁。

A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

Long ago a man rode off on a yellow crane, all that remains here is Yellow Crane Tower.
Once the yellow crane left it never returned, for one thousand years the clouds wandered without care.
The clear river reflects each Hangyang tree, fragrant grasses lushly grow on Parrot Island.
At sunset, which direction lies my home town? The mist covered river causes one to feel distressed.

Poem by Li Bai

There is another famous poem about it by Li Bai called “Seeing off of Meng Haoran for Guangling at Yellow Crane Tower” (黄鹤楼送孟浩然之广陵). The original poem is shown below:


A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

My old friend’s said goodbye to the west, here at Yellow Crane Tower,
In the third month’s cloud of willow blossoms, he’s going down to Yangzhou.
The lonely sail is a distant shadow, on the edge of a blue emptiness,
All I see is the Yangtze River flow to the far horizon.

My dear friends, please make a translation of the two poems. You may post it at “the comments” or send to me at bzin88@gmail.com

马照跑舞照跳 Horse races go on and night clubs stay open

马照跑, 舞照跳 This quote, originated in Hong Kong in the eighties. is associated with the smooth transition of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from the British to the China motherland. The literal translation of this quote is “horses continue to run and people continue to dance”, which figuratively means “Horse races will go on and night clubs will stay open”.

I went to the Shatin race course for a horse race yesterday. It reminded me of the said quote. Let me write about the background thereof. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain under an unequal treaty under the Qing Dynasty which gave Britain “the right” to rule Hong Kong until 1997. In the eighties, China made it known unequivocally to the British that China wanted Hong Kong back came 1997. Back then, Hong Kong people were concerned that the change of sovereignty would mean a loss of freedom or a loss of the capitalistic lifestyle, which Hong Kong got so used to. With hindsight, Hong Kong people’s worries were unwarranted as Mainland China seems more materialistic than Hong Kong nowadays At that time, in order to calm the fears of the local people, the then China chief negotiator, Zhou Nan, said this popular quote, which meant that the status quo of Hong Kong would be maintained notwithstanding the change of flags. Under the doctrine of communism, gambling and sexes associated with horse racing and night clubs respectively are totally unacceptable. However, those were and are part of the lifestyles of Hong Kong. By saying that quote, the Central government was essentially saying Hong Kong would maintain a system which is financially, legally and politically independent from the Mainland China, thanks to which Hong Kong continues to prosper.

Below is an extract from the article entitled “Horse racing in Hong Kong….” written by Rory Boland at About.com, which aptly describes what horse racing is all about in Hong Kong.

Horse racing in Hong Kong is a pivotal part not only of many people’s lives but the city’s economy, and horse racing in Hong Kong is followed far more passionately than anywhere else in the world. Racetracks, particularly Hong Kong’s Happy Valley, which offers flat races only, are regularly packed, boasting an electrifying atmosphere that is rarely replicated on other racetracks. Outside the stadium, locals pour over form guides and tipster rundowns.

In all honesty, Hong Kong’s obsession with the horses is more an obsession with gambling,…….however with some of the world’s best tracks, world class race meets and a manic crowd, a visit to the track is a must. Those who are used to the refined atmosphere at English meets, or the sober surroundings on American tracks will find the roaring Hong Kong crowd and humble approach an exciting shock to the system and Happy Valley is simply one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles.

Aside from the gambling and the racing, Happy Valley is very much a social affair. Beer tents and make shift hot-dog stands keep 40,000 people fed and watered, and much of the racetrack turns into the city’s biggest al-fresco bar.

Hong Kong Jockey Club

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has a monopoly on racing and betting in the territory, a holdover from colonial days, and the HKJC is the territories largest taxpayer and charity. The organisations privileged status is thanks to the average six million plus bets placed on each meet, meaning a flutter for nearly every Hong Kong resident.

According to an article of BBC in 2002:

the Hong Kong Jockey Club receives in excess of U$10 billion in betting revenues (around 80% of the US combined take from 167 racecourses), and the totalised wagers staked on a single day’s meeting can quite often be more than an entire year’s betting on many European and American racetracks.

Nevertheless, the HKJC does not make a profit, nor is it allowed to do so. Instead, the Jockey Club is Hong Kong’s largest contributor to tax revenue, and is the biggest single supporter of the city’s charitable causes. Indeed, at the end of the 2000 – 2001 racing season, the HKJC had given HK$1.06 billion in charitable donations to assist 180 charitable organisations and community projects.

Hiking the Mount Parker and Tai Tam Reservoir Trail

Last week on a sunny cool Thursday, my mother, a few overseas friends and I went hiking at the subject trail. We finished the trail in three hours. We scaled some steep hills on the first part of the trail, but aided by the paved steps, even my over eighty years old mother found it a pleasant exercise. Along that part of the trail, we saw mountains of different species of plants. As a matter of fact, I have gone through that part of the trail not too long ago and it was covered in my post about two weeks ago.

The second part of the trail started from what the local people called the windy pass and zigged zagged all the way down to the bottom of the mountain. The views of the reservoir from the pass were breathtaking and the breathtakingness increased along the way. There are in fact three reservoirs which make up the Tai Tam Reservoir. The water of the reservoirs was so clean, the air was so fresh, the atmosphere was so serene,  and the mountains were so green, I feel we, Hong Kong, are blessed.  My overseas friends were amazed that Hong Kong got such beautiful country park yet little known to visitors. According to them, a trip like this could be fit for a one day event and made some tourists stay one more day in Hong Kong .

One man’s poison is another man’s meat

That is what I amounted to say yesterday, when I put up  a post about eating poisonous snakes.

I, and most Chinese do, find that snake meats or snake soups tasteful and good for health. I can understand that some people feel otherwise.

A few of my friends found the said post distasteful (see the reverse pun). If I have  caused uneasiness to them, I must apologize.

If you are an ophidiophobia (snakephobia) or you find snake soup not your cup of tea, or bowl of soup,  please skip the next post.