Sunday, April 29, 2012

一月在香港 ... One month in Hong Kong

Wan Chai & Central
Hong Kong is without doubt my favourite city on the planet. One of the things that i love the most about the place is how the buildings seem to twinkle at night, almost as if they are suggesting that they know something that you don't.

Something i had overlooked in my reading about the city was the cities architectural past. The Skyscraper laden strip of land that makes up the northern shore of Hong Kong island, used to be full of old Victorian buildings at the turn of the century. If you have an interest in colonial architecture, i highly recommend checking it out.

Three of Hong Kong's prominent buildings, (from left to Right) Bank Of China Tower, IFC 2, and the center.
I've always said i would love to live here, how realistic a possibility that is, i have no clue. But i'll certainly try to make it happen.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡)

One of the last big things i did before i left china was to visit Tiger Leaping Gorge (虎跳峡). This had slipped off my agenda when i heard about the fantastic trekking opportunities that were to be had around the town Deqin (德钦), however i cannot explain in words ho cold it is 3600m up near the Tibetan border. So needless to say my time in Deqin was extremely brief.

The lack of a proper excursion in the foothills of Tibet meant that Tiger Leaping Gorge was back on the agenda. One of the reasons that this wasn't especially high on my agenda, is having trekked around Hawaii, and Australia by myself, i've found it really is more fun with company. Especially when you get into that classic "Do i go this way, or that way" situations.

My company came in the form of Peruvian woman that i met in Shangri-la (香格里拉) called Alessandra.  Together we walked the 18km from the upper gorge to the middle gorge. The whole trip took about 7-8 hours including a stop at one of the guesthouses half way to eat and pick Snickers bars (巧克力) for the trip.

The trail's configuration is a mixture of public roads, dirt trails, and steps hewed out solid rock. One of my favourite bits, and one of the most interesting is this waterfall (Image left). The gorge sits between two Gigantic mountains, both reaching well over 5000m at there respective peaks. As result melting snow running down the mountain(s) provides these amazing features. There is essentially no path at the waterfall, the water from the waterfall runs over the "designated" path and off the edge of the cliff.

While the water isn't a deep, it's not particularly dangerous (well as long as you don't lose your balance while taking HDR photos), it is an awesome experience to be perched between this falling fresh water and a 1000m drop down into the gorge.

So i have a disease, i'm an addict, a Computer addict. As a result of my disease i see it necessary to carry my Macbook everywhere me. Well in this case, i didn't feel comfortable leaving it at the starting Guest house, so i thought i really ought to bring it with me. The fact that i had a new episode of Family Guy, and had been doing quite well in my FM12 game did not influence my decision in any way shape or form.

Needless to say after a few kilometers it began to dawn on that i really needed to somehow make the fact that i was carrying a 3kg laptop with me 18km, worthwhile, The below was the result.

In many ways it actually sums up my trip quite well, travelling the world, glued to my laptop. Sometimes a consumer, others a contributor, but most importantly a creator.

But i digress, after the trek i was well and truely shattered. My legs hurt and while the pain did subside over the next few days it was still fairly taxing. Nothing that would have me advise people not to do the trek, but make sure you don't plan on doing much afterwards.

Anyways if your interested in seeing my route in additional detail, i've used my billion dollar GPXShare app to upload my GPS trace, which you can enjoy here.

To close, Tiger Leaping Gorge was impressive, the views amazing, however from the short amount of time i spent in Tibetan hinterland that was Deqin, and the feilai temple (飞来) i'm confident that even better trekking is to be had there.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dinner Diary - 馅饼(xian bing)

Sadly my second trip to China hasn't been filled with anywhere near the same amount of street food as i had hoped. Maybe 云南人 just don't like eating on the street, who knows. Having said that i found 馅饼, without much searching. It's very similar to the Baba that is found in northern Yunnan, however this is filled with pork mince and cooked in large amount of oil, so much that it's almost dangerous for health and clothing to eat it with your hands.

One xianbing is 6 yuan (£0.60)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Dinner Diary - Naxi Sandwich

This one isn't a traditional recipe as far as i know but instead a western take on a authentic Chinese food. "Baba" is a traditional flat bread from Naxi people in Yunnan province. This sandwich is essentially two pieces of Baba with a fried egg, tomato, red onion & cucumber. It's fairly awesome, and has a really fresh taste. Another "fusion" dish was "Chocolate Baba", sadly this was only chocolate sauce on a Baba, not chocolate inside a baba (huge difference).

Anyways this Naxi sandwich came in at 16 Yuan (£1.60)