Over Christ­mas I made a trip to Hong Kong with my mom and sis­ter, because my grand­ma is unwell. We tried to spend as much time as pos­si­ble with her, know­ing also that hav­ing vis­i­tors was also tir­ing for both my grand­par­ents. So my sis­ter and I did quite a bit of wandering. 

The grimy streets, the humid air, the plume of exhaust every time a bus pass­es by on the nar­row street. The palm trees, the emer­ald moun­tains, the trop­i­cal plants bloom­ing in Decem­ber. Peo­ple who would speed walk right into you if you don’t make way quick­ly enough. The sea that always smells faint­ly like the sewer. 

I love every tree, every brick, every grimy side­walk, every pedes­tri­an bridge in this city. 

But I won­der if I would say the same if we nev­er left. If I had to grow up and learn to be an adult in it. If I actu­al­ly have to live with its var­i­ous com­pli­cat­ed polit­i­cal and social issues now. I don’t know. I don’t even know if I will always be able to vis­it as freely as I do now, with the ways the said com­pli­cat­ed polit­i­cal and social issues are pro­gress­ing. We’ll wait, and see, and hope. And in the mean­while I’ll show you some pic­tures of this beloved city.

Porg, our trav­el com­pan­ion, pos­es in front of the win­dow at our guest house.
View from a pedes­tri­an bridge on King’s Road with the old style tram.
Oil Street arts cen­tre near our guest house. Folks relax­ing on the lawn at lunch time.
Street mar­ket and shoppers.
Wan­dered into Hong Kong Uni­ver­si­ty, a colo­nial insti­tu­tion built in 1912.
Of course, stitch­ing on the MTR. No one stitch­es on the MTR though…
Vis­it­ing Hong Kong Park. It has meerkats and lemurs. Much green­ery. Also unsea­son­ably warm this time of year.
Porg wants a pho­to. It’s not every day he gets to ride the MTR.
Anoth­er pedes­tri­an bridge, anoth­er view.
A refur­bished cot­ton fac­to­ry that turned into an arts cen­tre and retail space, with a thriv­ing rooftop garden.
One of the many ghost signs. It’s clear that there are lots of thoughts and efforts put into pre­serv­ing and show­cas­ing the orig­i­nal struc­ture. Even the bench­es are made from the orig­i­nal wood­en doors.
Vis­it­ed the neigh­bour­hood where my par­ents grew up and met with my mom and aunt. Also where I went to kinder­garten. I have a few spe­cif­ic mem­o­ries of this place.
My par­ents’ fam­i­lies lived in small flats like these.
Toasts at tea time.
We egg tart lovers. Held on to Porg’s wing just in time to stop him from falling right in. 
Spent part of our last evening at the har­bour, with many groups of enthu­si­as­tic buskers, and the back­drop of the icon­ic Hong Kong skyline.

One of my favourite poems by Ursu­la Le Guin comes to mind, wher­ev­er home is for you…

May your soul be at home where there are no hous­es.
Walk care­ful­ly, well loved one,
walk mind­ful­ly, well loved one,
walk fear­less­ly, well loved one.
Return with us, return to us, 
be always com­ing home. 

From Always Com­ing Home, 1985

diana in seoul and hong kong

Final­ly got all the 3 rolls of film from our Asia trip devel­oped! They were tak­en with a Diana Mini in lomog­ra­phy style (a sort of extreme­ly low-tech pho­tog­ra­phy style, the Diana is basi­cal­ly a plas­tic toy cam­era with no elec­tri­cal mech­a­nism in it. Even the viewfind­er isn’t accu­rate. One would nev­er real­ly know how the pic­tures will turn out — a fun kind of sur­prise). Here are some of my favourite shots :D

These are from the palace in Seoul, it was a rainy day when we vis­it­ed, but cher­ry blossoms!


I was just so amazed by how these stones have been on the ground for thou­sands of years.


Pic­tures from the tra­di­tion­al Kore­an vil­lage turned out great! It was a real­ly sun­ny day.

These are kim­chi urns :D


This one’s my favourite from all the rolls <3


So in love with the architecture.




And here’s a side street in Seoul we walked down to look for a mar­ket. Mope­ds every­where and no side­walk :S quite an adventure.


Hong Kong is sim­i­lar, with more high-rise!


Some sights from the streets. The sign says some­thing about express bus stop, veg­etable, fresh fish, chick­en, eggs, whole sale mar­ket (read­ing from left to right, sen­tence reads vertically).



Yarn­bombed on Stone Slabs Street, a street with fair­ly steep decline paved with stone slabs and with ven­dor stalls on either sides of the street. I imag­ine the rail­ings are nec­es­sary espe­cial­ly when it rains!


Sai Kung Pier, in an old fish­ing vil­lage to the east of the city, ven­dors sell­ing seafood from their boats.


The vil­lage where I spent my child­hood. The alley­way is still the same :)


Leav­ing the vil­lage, pedes­tri­an path and bike lane lead­ing to an underpass.


To the west of the city, we vis­it­ed Tai‑O, also a fish­ing vil­lage on Lan­tau Island, famous for its stilt hous­es, also known as “Venice of the East”.


It was an over­cast day, but this pic­ture of the red bridge turned out so great :D


And I love the light leaks in the begin­ning of the roll.


We’ve been back for a while now, get­ting the pic­tures back lets me relive the trip a bit and for a moment I wish I were still there. But going on that trip also reminds me that I could approach my sur­round­ings with the same curios­i­ty and enthu­si­asm wher­ev­er I am. There’s much to explore and so much I haven’t seen just a few bus/subway rides away. So, the explo­rations con­tin­ue, and more pic­tures to come! :D

Wish­ing you much joy in your adven­tures this week!


HK love

This place will always be my home <3

But I haven’t been able to be there as much as I’d like in the past 20-some years. So, even though there’s so much to see and do and so much fun to be had, it always feels a bit emo­tion­al to vis­it. Child­hood mem­o­ries, and such.

We crossed the har­bour between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Penin­su­la almost dai­ly. Usu­al­ly we take the MTR (sub­way), but real­ized that we can also take the Star Fer­ry, so we tried that one day. The Star Fer­ry has been in oper­a­tion since 1888. It used to be much busier when the MTR was­n’t as exten­sive. I remem­ber tak­ing it every time we vis­it­ed my grand­par­ents, and it would make me sea sick (it still does :P). It’s an excel­lent way to take in the views of Vic­to­ria Harbour.



Near the Star Fer­ry pier we could see the smi­ley Fer­ris wheel ^_^ We did­n’t go on it though. It was very rainy that day.


Aberdeen is one of the neigh­bour­hoods where my fam­i­ly used to live. The Aberdeen har­bour is home to many boat hous­es, and the many peo­ple who live in them.


Peo­ple could cross the har­bour with the com­muter boat, it costs $2.20 HKD (about $0.35 CAD) for the 3‑minute jour­ney. So of course we went for a ride :D It was also a nice way to look at the boat houses.


The hotel we stayed at was very close to the North Point Pier. There were quite a few peo­ple fish­ing at the pier. This is one of my favourite pic­tures from the whole trip.


Spring­time is very foggy.


Mike recent­ly start­ed read­ing Moomin comics and was very excit­ed to find a Moomin Cafe :D We had lunch there one day. The serv­er would bring over giant Moomin (and friends) plush to sit at the table with people.


And we found not one, but TWO Stu­dio Ghi­b­li stores! (Donguri Repub­lic at Har­bour City and Times Square)



We also found the BEST cat cafe ever!


There were cats every­where. Right beside me curled up in a chair, on top of the tables, inside the counter…



Most are sleep­ing, but the ones wan­der­ing about were quite friend­ly :D


And in the same neigh­bour­hood I found a yarn store! (the red framed win­dows with the sweaters) Cause­way Bay is the place to be! I bought some dis­count­ed acrylic but exer­cised quite a bit of self-con­trol — there’s only so much space in the lug­gage and there are so much fun snacks to bring back!!


Switch­ing gears to see places out­side of the city, we joined a boat tour to vis­it the vol­canic rock region in the Hong Kong Geo­log­i­cal Park, which con­sists of sea arch­es, sea caves, and hexag­o­nal rock columns! The tour leaves from the Vol­cano Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre at Sai Kung Pier.


Pic­tures don’t do these moun­tains jus­tice, they are absolute­ly mag­nif­i­cent. Here is a sea arch!


And some sea caves, and waterfalls!


As well as fish­ing villages…


And ven­dors sell­ing seafood from their boats.


Fog­gy days mean low clouds hang­ing in the mid­dle of the moun­tains and this heav­en­ly scene.


Then we went to the oppo­site side of Hong Kong and vis­it­ed Tai O, which is a fish­ing vil­lage on Lan­tau Island, with many stilt hous­es built on water.


The small streets and hous­es are very dif­fer­ent from that of the city.


Res­i­dents mak­ing salt fish, shrimp paste and dried seafood.


We took a boat tour to watch for the famed pink dol­phins, but did­n’t see any :( maybe next time.

Going back in time, we vis­it­ed a muse­um of a 200 year-old restored Hak­ka walled vil­lage, called Sam Tung Uk.


We vis­it­ed part­ly because my sis­ter and I have Hak­ka ances­try. Some of the things in the muse­um indeed remind me of what my grand­par­ents used to have in their home, and still in the vil­lage where they live now, like the ances­tral hall.


Back in the city, we vis­it­ed the his­tor­i­cal Stone Slabs Street (aka Pot­tinger Street) in Cen­tral dis­trict. Some of the stone slabs are restored, and some are orig­i­nal I think. Ven­dors keep stalls on both sides of the street. I remem­ber being there once when I was young, and it being a lot busier back then, but this is excit­ing nonethe­less :D



And guess what I found on these fab­u­lous stone steps? A yarn­bombed railing!


Near­by there is a Star­bucks dressed like an old times Hong Kong cof­fee house :D


My sis­ter took us to the Chi­nese Uni­ver­si­ty of Hong Kong, where she went to grad­u­ate school sev­er­al years ago :D It might not be a place that most tourists would vis­it, but since it’s built on a moun­tain it’s actu­al­ly a good hike, with lots of beau­ti­ful scenery, like this foun­tain near the top of the moun­tain, which seems to be built to blend with and inter­act with its sur­round­ing views.


The tiles make up the words, “spread wings and fly” :)


And so we did, at the end of our trip, flew back to our oth­er home in Toron­to. But sure­ly we will be back :)

I hope you enjoyed the pho­tos! :D Because I have more! :D Most­ly street pho­tog­ra­phy using the Diana Mini. I’m still wait­ing to fin­ish my last roll and for the rest to devel­op, but will pick some good ones to show you.

Have a good week­end, everyone!




wish list…

For the very first time I have a true wish list with one item on it — this book! 100 Felt Mascots!

I actu­al­ly saw this at a book­store while in Hong Kong. A how-to book for mak­ing real­ly cute cell­phone charms. It was trans­lat­ed into Chi­nese and I read it cov­er to cov­er twice and could not put it down. It is so. Ridicu­lous­ly. Cute. But I decid­ed to buy anoth­er more prac­ti­cal book at the time (sewing clothes with­out draw­ing pat­terns! I’m not very good at sewing, so it’s a good learn­ing book) and thought, I’ll think about it more and if I real­ly want the 100 Mas­cots I’ll come back for it — the book­store was just around the cor­ner from the flat we stayed at. But I for­got! There were so many things to do and places to see and peo­ple to vis­it, I for­got about the book! And now it’s too late! *kicks self*

Yes­ter­day I stum­bled upon it again on Chub­by Hob­by and I love it even more :’(
Then I found a Flickr set with lots of pic­tures of the book and felt so hap­py to see all the famil­iar faces of the tofu and pud­ding and radish­es again, but it is noth­ing like hold­ing the pages of the book…

Oh well. It will remain a wish until I see the book in per­son again.

In the mean­while, see­ing images of the book again has inspired a craft, but that deserves a post of its own. So stay tuned! :D

the travelling zumi

Final­ly got around to upload­ing pic­tures to Flickr — feel free to vis­it! :D They’re all pic­tures from the Zumi. Some I have post­ed here but there were a lot that I did­n’t post but would love to share, like the one above. It’s so claus­tro­pho­bic yet strange­ly attrac­tive. At least I find it attractive.

(oooh, I just real­ized how until Jan­u­ary snow will be falling on this pic­ture, and how bizarre it would look because it nev­er snows in Hong Kong!)

There was a lot of exper­i­men­ta­tion, tak­ing pic­tures of the same scene with dif­fer­ent angles. Because often with the Zumi the over­all tonal val­ue of the pic­ture would change even when the angle is only a slight bit dif­fer­ent. So it was real­ly fun to see what it comes up with. There’s also no viewfind­er so I could­n’t see what I was tak­ing a pic­ture of. That’s why major­i­ty of the pic­tures are slant­ed. I might fix them later.

Feel free to vis­it the Hong Kong set here and the Malaysia set here :D



Our plane arrived at sun­set yes­ter­day. Mike had win­dow seat and we mar­veled at the blaz­ing clouds and city lights as we land­ed. It was such a gift. What a won­der­ful con­clu­sion to our amaz­ing trip! :D

I will be upload­ing more trip pho­tos to Flickr this week, will keep you posted!

Also, my shop has reopened! :D Order before Dec.6 (ready-to-ship plush) or Dec.4 (cus­tom order plush) for Christ­mas delivery!

Have a won­der­ful week! :D

last day…

Today is our last day in Hong Kong. Time flew by so quick­ly. It seems like only yes­ter­day that we were busy pack­ing to leave for the trip. Today we’re busy pack­ing again to return home.

In the past week we tried to squeeze in as many sights as we could. We went to the Hong Kong muse­um of his­to­ry on free Wednes­day. There were tons to see, and even on reg­u­lar days the admis­sion is only $10 HKD. I was most fas­ci­nat­ed by the exhib­it about the boat-dwellers.

This tea­house look strange­ly famil­iar

After the muse­um my sis­ter took us to a 13-sto­ry mall, where we scram­bled down some ramp along with Pep­per­mint Pat­ty and the gang.

The next day we went to the Kowloon Walled City Park. It was a place we real­ly want­ed to vis­it­ed because we heard a lot about the Walled City from a friend who used to work with the peo­ple liv­ing there before it was demol­ished and con­vert­ed into a park. Zumi took some pic­tures of the parts that were pre­served, like the bureau­crat’s office…

… and rem­nants of the south gate.

The Walled City looks noth­ing like the way it was, when peo­ple used to live there. There was a bronze sculp­ture in the park cap­tur­ing the state of the area moments before it was demolished.

I’ve actu­al­ly nev­er seen the Walled City in per­son while grow­ing up in Hong Kong. I would nev­er be able to ful­ly com­pre­hend what it was like to have only 3 run­ning taps and 3 ele­va­tors serv­ing thou­sands of peo­ple liv­ing in small quar­ters. It feels a bit iron­ic to walk through art­ful­ly designed court­yards with mini water­falls and arti­fi­cial ponds while think­ing about the strug­gles of the peo­ple who once walked these grounds.  Thought I do believe that the park is def­i­nite­ly a pos­i­tive trans­for­ma­tion. I won­dered what the for­mer res­i­dents think about the park and whether their lives were a bit eas­i­er now.

Yes­ter­day we vis­it­ed my uncle’s fish farm, which could only be reached by boat. My lack of swim­ming abil­i­ties and poor sense of bal­ance made the boat ride and even time on the fish farm a bit nerve-wreck­ing (as you can see, there’s no rail­ing or rope or any­thing to hang on to while walk­ing on those planks! : S), but we had good fun nonetheless.

Under­neath the planks were nets inside which the fish live. It feels a bit sur­re­al, just because it was qui­et and not a high-rise in view — it’s hard to believe such a place exists with­in the city!

After the fish farm we went to the local fish mar­ket, where peo­ple where sell­ing seafood and such from their boats off the pier.

From one of these boats I bought some suc­cu­lent dried cut­tle­fish floss :D

This lady was sell­ing some starfish. Not for eat­ing, I hope. For aquar­i­ums, per­haps? While walk­ing around the pier I over­heard that some­one bought hun­dreds of dol­lars worth of live fish and oth­er sea life to set them free.

And so that was pret­ty much the end of our adven­ture. We’re now get­ting ready for anoth­er 15-hour plane ride home, where real life awaits. While feel­ing sad, I’m remind­ed of a Calvin & Hobbes com­ic strip Mike once gave me, in which Calvin laments the end of fall and play­ing in the leaves and Hobbes said, if spe­cial things last for­ev­er then they would­n’t be spe­cial anymore.

I wish I could find that com­ic strip online and post it here because it’s so fit­ting. The 20°C Hong Kong autumn is indeed end­ing for us and we’re about to return to that sub-zero Cana­di­an win­ter. But if I were to stay liv­ing in Hong Kong I prob­a­bly would­n’t appre­ci­ate it as much as I do now. Life is always more fun as a tourist. Real life in Hong Kong is def­i­nite­ly not peachy keen all the time, and snow can be fun some of the time. If only the TTC can be half as effi­cient as the MTR. Seri­ous­ly, I’ve tak­en the MTR dozens of times while here and haven’t expe­ri­enced one sin­gle delay, where I run into at least one delay per day while tak­ing the TTC. Sheesh.

Any­way. I digress. Will write again when I’m on Cana­di­an soil! Take care!

impressions of Malaysia

Greet­ings! It’s been a while! My fam­i­ly and I joined a bus tour to Malaysia, so I’ve been away from the inter­net for a while, which was a rather refresh­ing expe­ri­ence, actu­al­ly! I did­n’t miss the com­put­er one bit through­out the trip because our sched­ule was packed with so many places to go and so many things to see! Here’s Malaysia, viewed from the giant met­al bird!

But of course, with a bus tour we only went to touristy places and I wish I had expe­ri­ence more of the cul­ture… but here are some mem­o­rable moments from our short trip!

Impres­sion #1: food!

We ate three square meals every­day of deli­cious Chinese/Malaysian food, with var­i­ous local food-tast­ing tours in between. This is our first meal in Malaysia. The orange plate with the banana leaf in the top left is grilled stingray :S and in the beer mugs are lime and sour plum drinks.

Anoth­er day we had a trop­i­cal fruit and dessert buf­fet at the zoo.

Impres­sion #2: beau­ti­ful architecture!

In the city…

… and on the river.

Many build­ings we went in had beau­ti­ful floor tiles!

Impres­sion #3: love­ly beaches!

Here’s Jorge, hav­ing a Kodak moment at the beach while I went beach-combing.

There were lots of buried trea­sure to be found at the beach! Though I was wor­ried that I could­n’t car­ry corals onto the plane, so I had to leave them. But I took many pic­tures of them and picked up lots of love­ly, colour­ful rocks! Will have to show you those later.

Zumi took this amaz­ing pic­ture of a beau­ti­ful piece of coral.

Impres­sion #4: trop­i­cal plants!

I was par­tic­u­lar­ly drawn to these fuzzy red ones…

… and these pink flow­ers that grow on trees.

Our tour also includ­ed half a day in Sin­ga­pore. It was at the end of the tour and at that point I was too tired to prop­er­ly appre­ci­ate it (plus we had to get up at 5am to cross the bor­der from Malaysia). And so I real­ly did­n’t see much of Sin­ga­pore, but I’m rather pleased with Zumi’s pic­ture of the Sin­ga­pore landmark/symbol, the Merlion.

Actu­al­ly, the high­light of Sin­ga­pore for me was find­ing the giant Peeps in Sen­tosa!

It was sit­ting in front of a giant can­dy store, where I also found the marsh­mal­low peep bun­ny plush! It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!!!

So I brought it home :D

Last but not least, I want to show you this video I took of a sea tur­tle swim­ming at a zoo we vis­it­ed in Malaysia. Though I’d rather see him swim­ming in the sea, he looked rather con­tent behind the glass. Hap­py, even. And so very graceful.

That’s it for Malaysia! Would love the oppor­tu­ni­ty to vis­it it again, and Sin­ga­pore as well! And final week in Hong Kong! I think I’m going to miss it when I leave.

Until then, more sight­see­ing! Will keep you posted!

Hope you are well!

greetings from the beach!

Gone swim­ming with my grand­par­ents a cou­ple of days ago. They go swim­ming in the ocean every morn­ing at 6am! Jorge and I were too busy col­lect­ing and watch­ing the sun­rise and for­got to take a pic­ture of Jorge at the beach, but here he is with our boun­ty of treasure!

And behold, the sunrise!

There was an over­whelm­ing amount of sea glass (note that they’re real sea glass, not beach glass from the lake!), I could hard­ly con­tain myself. This appears to be a bot­tom piece of a bot­tle, but not yet fin­ished tum­bling, so I put it back, but not before tak­ing a pho­to of it :D

I even found a piece of ceram­ic with blue pat­terns on it (look for it in the pic­ture with Jorge!). The shells I found were big­ger than I expect­ed. When I vis­it­ed 9 years ago the shells were the size of my fin­ger­nails, if any. But this time they were at least an inch wide. I do hope that it means pol­lu­tion’s been reduced a bit in recent years.

Rocky shore! (The sand was smooth in most parts of the beach though.)


Amongst the rocks we found bar­na­cles! They looked strik­ing on the red stone.


Algae dressed the rocks with threads of emer­ald green.


Grand­pa caught 2 crabs under­wa­ter and brought them out to show us. I took a video of them shuf­fling away. A lady walked by and start­ed watch­ing them with us, say­ing “Run! Run! Run!” in Chi­nese near the end of the video clip.

I’m a bit sad that I might not get a chance to go back to the beach dur­ing this trip. But I know that I will think of this place when­ev­er I go near the ocean, with the bar­na­cle-cov­ered rocks and the salty ocean air.

Will be trav­el­ing to Malaysia and a bit of Sin­ga­pore for the next 5 days! Not bring­ing my com­put­er, so you won’t hear from me for a while… but there will be many pic­tures when I return!

Until then, take care, friends! :D


While shop­ping at the super­mar­ket with my grand­par­ents the oth­er day, saw mount of drag­on­fruits! 4 for $9.90 HKD. That’s like 4 for around $1.30 CAD!!

Me: WHOA! You know in Cana­da they’re like $4 each? *stuffs drag­on­fruits in gro­cery bag*

Grand­ma: Oh. That’s expensive.

Me: I mean $4 Cana­di­an, that’s like $28 here!

Grand­ma: WHAT?! Then we should buy 4 more! *stuffs drag­on­fruits in gro­cery bag*


So we’ve been eat­ing lots of drag­on­fruits in the past few days. We still have one left I think. They’re deli­cious! Del­i­cate­ly sweet with a con­sis­ten­cy sim­i­lar to that of straw­ber­ries. “Like straw­ber­ries with a bunch of kiwi seeds thrown in,” reports Mike.

My grand­par­ents have a large banana tree and numer­ous papaya trees in their yard, plus a man­go tree and a star­fruit tree. Yay trop­i­cal fruits! :D