Hiking – learning a few tips

My hiking with a friend last Friday to Mount Tamalpais (locally known as Mt. Tam), the highest point in the Marin County in the Bay Area, was a memorable one.

The hike was from the Pantoll Station to the East Peak (check here) via the Matt Davis Trail, the West Inn, and we came back via the Railroad Grade Fire Road – my Apple Watch registered 13 miles for the entire trip for 5.5 hours of hiking (1 hour was a detour as we went on a wrong track and back and we did not exactly reach the East Peak).

Many have commented on the views of the Bay, the redwood trees, the water bridges, the serpentine rocks, and how shady and gradual most of the trail is. We did not disappoint. The West Inn provides a much-needed resting point for bathroom breaks and water refill, plus we felt wonderful and serene looking at the views.


My friend, being a more experienced hiker, taught me several things about hiking.

1. Bring only what you need. I almost brought my jacket but it was probably over 75 degrees F up there and I also left my wallet at the car.

2. Need for a hiking stick and hat.  Never underestimate how far one has to walk. The stick will definitely help when one is walking up and down a gradient and to prevent slipping. The hat is an absolute must with the summer sun.

3. Hydrate! This is obvious and one needs to check on water refilling points during the route or else one has to bring at least 2 big bottles of water.

4. Food. Carbohydrate/fruit/dried fruit will give you that glucose kick you need. Nuts and peanut butter filled pretzels (traders joe) are very good.  Some people carry bread with them and eat them on the way. Beware of taking protein/chocolate bars as they could melt or become mushy along the way. Also, eat something before the long hike to prevent low sugar especially when one has to walk fast uphill after a detour.

5. Walk at a gradual pace to keep your stamina. Hiking is one of the best exercises for your health. It is considered a form of meditation and so walk at a nice, steady pace.

6. Map.  It is crucial especially the path is new to you. We thought that we would never get lost at Mt. Tam as it is pretty close to the urban area. We thought we were on the right path back but we actually went further east from the East Peak instead of heading back to the West. Glad we checked the map.

7. Cellphone. It is not only important for an emergency but also for lighting when it gets dark.

8. Ask for guidance. There are many experienced hikers along the way and so always ask for suggested routes to make your hike even better.

9.  Decide whether you want to hike alone.  This is not my preference as it is always so much more fun to connect with or catch up with a friend/family member via hiking. However, we did see many lone hikers.

When we left Marin, we received a gift – seeing the big blood (red) moon hanging low at the horizon as July 27th was the century’s longest lunar eclipse. We also brought back some beautiful serpentine rocks as a memoir for the hike!

A day in Sai Kung

For those who are not familiar with Hong Kong, you may think that Sai Kung sounds like some cities in Vietnam. In fact Sai Kung is the country side of Hong Kong and is located in the New Territories, the area that is attached to Mainland China.  Sai Kung is for the whole family – rural, delicious (great seafood and cafes), sporty (lots of water activities and cruising), fun, and relaxing.  

On the day of my Dad’s Big Birthday, we have planned a day in Sai Kung, breathing in the refreshing air and doing something different.  No wonder why HK people, with their daily life stretched to their max, love to hang out in Sai Kung with its beautiful pier, beaches, neighboring islands, and wonderful cuisines.

Let’s take a look at what we did:

Photo courtesy of Venue Hub, HK

Wow, a Polynesian-style bowling alley called Tikitiki Bowling Bar was our first stop. How fun to combine bowling with the entire family with brunch next to the alley! Because of the gates erected along the gutters, even a 6-year old can play bowling and score well!  We had so much laughter.


Then we strolled in the village market near the Sai Kung pier and had a great time discovering all sorts of local street food, fruits (durian), coffee places, and even great fashion!  I highly recommend this if you want to venture beyond the famous Stanley Market.


Along the water, you will take in quite a lot – the beautiful pier, lots of sampans (boats), a local museum, and of course lots of seafood restaurants (the famous Seafood Street.)


Zooming into the Sampans a bit, one can see they don’t just carry people as a great way for transportation or touring (one can check out island hopping in Sai Kung – many people will want your business at the pier), they also carry lots of seafood (dried especially) for sale!

What I enjoy HK the most is that while it is probably the most convenient place in the world for conducting businesses, is a city that almost never sleeps, has the most amazing places to eat and drink, its serenity is also just less than an hour away.  Check out Sai Kung next time!

Spring Garden and Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day with gratitude to all the mothers and care-givers, whether mothers or not! Your time and commitment are so appreciated!

A couple of days ago, I was in Las Vegas again attending a conference. The weather was much cooler than expected, and as usual the place was fun and filled with energy and colour.

I was very impressed by the Japanese spring garden at the Bellagio Hotel where lots of mothers and daughters and couples were taking great pictures.

The garden was a delight to walk through and the performers were playing Jazz music in a Kimono.

Spring is where you make it to be!  Make it in your heart.

   

               

And of course I have to include the famous Bellagio water fountain dancing with the music.

Merry Christmas – Images from Hong Kong

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!  Enjoy the spirit of Christmas from Hong Kong!

Paris in Hong Kong!  Lovely decorations in the Landmark Building, Hong Kong
Paris in Hong Kong! Lovely decorations in the Landmark Building, Hong Kong
Parisian Cafe - looks real?
Parisian Cafe – looks cute?
Church I was baptized - The Hong Kong Catholic Cathedral
Church where I was baptized – The Hong Kong Catholic Cathedral
Crib at the HK Catholic Cathedral
Crib at the HK Catholic Cathedral
Nice decorations at the Elements Mall
Nice decorations at the Elements Mall
Swarovski decoration at the HK International Airport!
Swarovski decoration at the HK International Airport!
People love to take photo with this welcoming tree at the HK Airport!
People love to take photo with this welcoming tree at the HK Airport!
My Dream Cottage - at the HK Regal Airport Hotel
My Dream Cottage – at the HK Regal Airport Hotel
Graffiti - local flavour
Graffiti – local flavour
A Hong Kong Government initiative to turn a previous policemen living quarters into a new art scene for local artists and cafes - called PMQ!
A Hong Kong Government initiative to turn a previous policemen living quarters into a new art scene for local artists and cafes – called PMQ!
Hong Kong's latest attraction - Ferris Wheel near the Central Financial District
Hong Kong’s latest attraction – Ferris Wheel near the Central Financial District (courtesy of timetable.com)

Views of Hong Kong One Storey Above Ground

Hong Kong is famous for its many elevated walkways as well as bus and tram rides throughout the entire city.  I hope to share a few snapshots taken either on a walkway or on a tram with my handy iPhone.  I wish the quality of the pictures were better, but these photos do highlight movements!

Evening view of the Central Business District in Hong Kong
Evening view of the Central Business District in Hong Kong
Rush Hours in Central, Hong Kong
Rush Hours in the Central Business District of Hong Kong
Shoping is paradise in Hong Kong!
Shopping is paradise in Hong Kong!
Street Corner in the older district Sheung Wan in Hong Kong
Street Corner in the older district of Sheung Wan in Hong Kong
The historical building of Western Market in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
The historical building of The Western Market in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

The same views in Black and White;

HK shops B&WHK Maples B&WHK West B&W

 

Gallery

Being a Tourist in my Home Town Hong Kong

My parents live a few blocks up from an area called Sheung Wan in Hong Kong, an up-and-coming place for restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, and a traditional one for antiques, bargains as well as some very established eateries.  Having lived in Hong Kong for over 20 years, I am seeing Sheung Wan with a pair of new lens.  The place is filled with history and also with modern fun.

Let me take you to the places I visited yesterday.

After walking down over 200 flights of stairs from my parent’s home, my Dad and I saw this Buddhist temple on Hollywood Road and breathed the air of incense.

TempleThen we walked into a side street with cute shops and western restaurants on the right  – I thought for a moment I was in Europe!

Western restuarantI could not help but peep into a nice ladies’ shop.

shop

Then we walked past a lane filled with little street stores on both sides, very typical in Sheung Wan.

Lane

We finally reached the real destination where we wanted to eat – the famous Lin Heung Tea House and Bakery for dim sum!

lin heung restaurant
My Dad took a photo for some tourists in front of the Lin Heung Tea House.

This Tea House was established in 1926 and has remained a local favourite as well as a tourist’s attraction.

lin heung stairsEven though I have lived in HK for many years, I have never gone inside this old favourite, and even though I must have gone to a hundred dim sum restaurants all over HK and around the world, I have never seen one like this!  There, you have to self-serve your dim sum instead of waiting around for the dim sum carts to come.  There was no system or procedure.  It was a war zone whenever new dim sum came out!  On top of that, you have people standing next to you waiting for your seats to be emptied.  It was that packed, but it was definitely worth a try (see all the locals eating there)!

lin heung cart

After a delicious and traditional dim sum lunch, we walked from Sheung Wan to the Central District, which is the business district of Hong Kong.  I came across this miniature dim sum cart – how cute is that!!  I felt extremely satisfied after the lunch and was happy to be a tourist again in my home town.

dim sum cart