Video Posts

If you’ve ever wondered what a bus ride from North Point to Stanley Bay on Hong Kong Island looks like from the front row in the top level of a double decker bus — or you have taken that route before and want to relive the placid thrill — today is your lucky day.

That happens to be the route and vantage point from which I videotaped a trip on the Hong Kong Bus Route 65, I believe it was, hitting the pause button every time the bus stopped, re-starting the video when the bus began rolling again. The trip itself takes an hour or more but — explaining why this is just an 8-minute video — it turns out that most of that time is spent not moving at bus stops and red lights.

Here’s a map to highlight the approximate route you’ll be seeing in this “Virtual First-Person” video (although — can’t give it all away for free — great views of Repulse Bay are not included in the video footage):

Instead of forcing you to listen to a chorus of mostly inaudible conversations in various languages and dialects going on within earshot of the camera’s microphone, your relaxing background music is … and for a view from a bus headed to a drop-off near Stanley Market, this musical selection will either make complete sense to you or none at all … Cracker’s “Euro Trash Girl.”

And now, all aboard! The bus — and with it this blog, as you are reading the last post I expect to make in it — is now leaving the station. Until we meet again, Happy Trails!

After getting rained out on our first attempted visit to Hong Kong Park, my daughters and I returned on the next day while the rest of our away party was out on another shopping marathon.

This trip to HK was also the first time I’ve ever visited Hong Kong Park.

Which makes me an idiot on all my previous visits, because it’s an amazing place, with enough scenes and attractions to fill an entire day, if you’re so inclined. Ponds with koi and turtles; walking paths; a restaurant or two; an aviary; a large 5-level playground built on a hillside; a marriage registry office (bring your camera); waterfalls; flora and fauna; a tea and teaware museum; plenty of backpacker chicks on benches pouring their lonely hearts out onto the pages of their diaries; the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre; and more.

We took in all we could, but probably spent more time than anywhere on the extensive multi-level playground, built in broad stages going up the hill, and which for most of our visit was populated only with (1) me and my daughters and (2) a handful of international nannies and au pairs with their young charges. I chatted with a couple of them and overheard some others’ conversations–pretty fascinating combinations. Japanese nanny with kids from England. English au pair with kids from India. Hong Kong nanny with kids from the U.S. American nanny with kids from Japan. Even one rare Hong Kong nanny/Hong Kong kids combination.

And here are some pictures and a video from our visit….

Look! There’s a signpost up ahead…:

Turtles and fish in the background; they really really really wanted to catch one:

Scenes under the waterfall:


Video demonstrating how the park is in a “fishbowl” surrounded by skyscrapers:

Definitely worth a visit for anyone, but I’d say it’s a must if you’re in Hong Kong with your kids. For more information on the park, check out the Hong Kong Park’s own Web site, and this Wikipedia entry.



I don’t make a regular habit of betting on the ponies, maybe once every five years or so, but during our visit to Hong Kong earlier this year, I decided it was high time to stop by and check out the track action at Sha Tin. I’ve spent more than six months of my life in Hong Kong, spread out over numerous one-week to 30-day visits, but had never visited the race track before.

So this time we went…but because I was either having a pre-senior moment, or because I’d just spent a good spell in mainland China, where this probably wouldn’t have been a problem, it didn’t occur to me that children ages 2 and 4 wouldn’t be allowed into the raceway proper. No one under 18, for that matter. Silly me. What’s the world coming to?

But all was not a total loss. The kindly security guard who intercepted us as we were coming through the entryway turnstiles let us know that there is a public trackside viewing area down to the right of the main stands. From there, you (and your kids) can still catch a decent view of part of the track. You just can’t bet on the ponies down there. At least not using the track’s sanctioned betting system, that is. But if you and some other chap who has also brought his kids along want to wager a few fiveskies between yourselves on the sly, that’s left entirely to your discretion. Just make sure the authorities–and more importantly, your wives–don’t catch you.

On a more serious note, don’t even think of betting with illegal bookmakers in HK. The maximum fine for that is HK$30,000 and nine months in the slammer.

Here are some pics and videos from the outing…

Getting the turf ready:

Checking out the scene:


The crowd goes wild:

I wonder if the people living in those apartment towers across the way can phone in their bets then watch the races with binoculars and telescopes:

A tiny bit of grainy video footage:

For a “What Web Sites Looked Like in 1996” flashback, you might like to visit the race track’s own Web site.

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