Gratitutious Ramen entry

This was a fast trip, to be ended with an early morning in Tokyo. It made more sense to get my ramen fix while I was in town, as opposed to being in transit.

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Shinagawa. Going from the Keikyu Line to JR.

This is how transit looks like in Tokyo. The trains are color coded and queueing is orderly. However, it’s a huge crush even at 0700 in the morning. Thankfully people here have a good sense of hygiene. But you don’t have ramen for breakfast here. Yet.

I was in Hong Kong for several days so I decided to get my ramen fix there. Many of the major ramen chains are there including Ichiran.

Ichiran is (in)famous for it’s attitude towards it’s ramen. Instead of tables where you can occupy space for hours, yakking with your friends, their ramen is served individually in cubicles so nothing gets in the way of the ramen. Then when you finish, you leave. Your bowl is customizable. The softness of the noodles, the intensity of the broth and as many (or as little) toppings as you’d like. As it should be.

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Hard noodles, rich broth with scallions and red oil. YESSSSSS

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The aftermath after one serving of kaedama.

Since the Singapore leg of this trip was going to be busy, I’m glad I got my fix here.

Something here does not belong

I took a stroll up Nathan Road to Mong Kok after the protests of October 6th. This is Exit E 1.

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The result when politicians ignore the people they are supposed to serve.

Something there does not typically belong.

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Aha. A bus stop in front of an MTR entrance?

Mong Kok Station was especially hit hard by the protestors that night. The windows above were knocked out so you could peer inside and see the mess going down.

I wasn’t the only one who was taking pictures.

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Even though the station was damaged, the nearby shops were open for business and untouched.

I took a panorama but I’m not sure if it will work properly on this site.

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Close by shops open for business the next day; the MTR, not so much.
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Some Mask Law humor. Coff coff

I don’t condone the attacks on the MTR. They are in a bad position. The MTR supported the protestors in the beginning. But because they are also public transit, they got their orders from the government to transport cops and not cooperate with the protestors. The problem is that everyone uses the MTR and by vandalizing it to the point that half the system shuts down (like on 7 October) doesn’t help and turns potential supporters against the cause. So stop already.

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The MTR on October 7. As you can see, major stations are closed as well as the Tsuen Wan and Ma On Shan lines. At least the other KCR lines (East and West Rail) were open.

Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts

That’s the official name. It consists of three colonial buildings: Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and the Victoria Prison as well as a modern add on.

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Central Police HQ entrance from parade grounds
Upstairs is The Dispensary, the former mess and now a fancy bar.
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The Victoria Prison once held Ho Chi Minh as a guest.

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Rules of the Magistracy.
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Leftover sign from when this was a functioning government building.

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The police station has a armory where an exhibit on weapons and gear are on view.

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Crest of the Royal Hong Kong Police

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Good advice for law enforcement. Some of them don’t use their brains (SJPD, UCPD).

Tai Kwun
10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

Take the Travelator and there’s a set of wide new stairs about halfway up. That’s the easy way in.

Going back…

Over Hong Kong
Over Hong Kong (Photo credit: thewamphyri)

…to Hong Kong and Singapore in a few weeks.

Although I’m there semi-regularly, it feels like I’m returning to what should be “home”.  Why is that?  I think it’s the people I know there and the food we eat.  Also, both cities have a lot more happening than the boring, provincial town of San Francisco.

In either case, 4 days in Singapore and 3 days in Hong Kong is just barely a visit.  It’s just enough time to land, eat and sleep.  But I’ll be landing, eating and sleeping in Hong Kong and Singapore and that’s worth it for me!  Also it means 16800 EQM that I desperately need to hit Million Miler this year.

As I’m still a 1K on UA, I have some SWUs that can be used.  Because of that, I’m flying UA from SFO-NRT-SIN, despite arriving just before midnight and departing (Singapore) at dark o’clock (0710).  So far, my outbound legs have cleared but am waitlisted on the return (Bah!).  After this flight, subsequent trips will probably be on NH since I will be out of SWUs for the year.  That’s a mixed bag because I will be on NH (yay, great service and food and AVOD) but in Y (with a very small chance of an op-up, though it has happened before).

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Great Adverts: HK Sevens 2011

…and I’m not going!! Looks like fun and since Cathay Pacific is a sponsor, figure they’d make a silly commercial. 

So this beeyoutiful team in Red stymies the All Blacks.  I think they play dirty; the team in Red, that is.  I mean, who brings a beverage cart onto the field? And the tripping foul is negated by the pillow and blankie I guess.  Heh.  Click through for the commercial.

Interesting UA flight in new C!

Not to be outdone by ANA’s Pokemon jet, UA now issues their 747s window shades so the dashboards wont be dried out by the sun when the plane is parked.
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Do you suppose the headrests have doilies and there’s a keychain alarm?
This was the plane that flew me back to SFO from HKG. My SWU finally cleared when I landed HKG from SIN. Too much excitement for an upgrade…
Speaking of excitement, there was a passenger who decided to give the HKG based crew grief BEFORE TAKEOFF. Apparently he did not approve of the contents of the kosher meal he special ordered. AFAIK, on UA, you get to order the type of special meal, not the contents. This ain’t SQ and you can’t Book the Cook with any other airline but. Anyway, he kept name dropping “Global Services” every 15 seconds and threatened to get off the plane (which he should have done). The captain had to come out of the cockpit to read the riot act to this bozo, who because of his shenagans, prevented the cabin crew from locking down the plane for takeoff. The bozo (which shall be his name now) tried the “Global Services” namedrop but the captain simply said, “I don’t know and I don’t care about what Global Services is, my job is to fly this plane which is now late for take off. Do you want to get off the plane?”
After seeing that namedropping Global Services meant nothing to the captain, bozo shut up and takeoff resumed. Apparently, bozo lived in San Francisco. He was full of smug and was heading home (how appropriate!). I found it interesting he gave far less grief to the non-HK based crew on the plane. Typical. When we landed, I made it a point to shake the captain’s hand and to extend my support for his actions. He and the cockpit crew appreciated the gesture.
My good deed of the week…

Something Useful when visiting the PRC…

I found a blog with useful tidbits about mainland China and Hong Kong travel.
http://annatam.com/
She also has a handful of entries on how to get from Hong Kong to SZX to take advantage of the MUCH lower flight prices to other parts of the PRC. For some goofy reason, Hong Kong is considered “international” when flying into the PRC. Tickets are hella expensive. However, when you cross the border into Shenzhen and fly out of SZX, flights are considered “domestic” and are at LEAST half the price. Think of it as taking public transit from my house in San Francisco to OAK. About the same amount of time involved.
If you’ve got some time, best to save some RMB, huh?

View from The Wing, HKIA

Am killing time at the CX lounge, “The Wing” as I wait for my flight to PVG.
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The Wing is directly above all the CX gates
You will notice the lack of blue sky above. I’ve been a frequent visitor to the Big Lychee for close to ten years now. The pollution from Guangzhou has gotten progressively worse, especially over the past couple of years, to the point when within 24 hours after I’m here, I get the funny itch in my throat and burning eyes that is attributed to smog. Or what the PRC locals call it, “fog”. I’m from SFO and I know fog. What you’ve got here in HKG ain’t it!
Yeah, I’m sensitive to pollutants. And I’m going to Shanghai. Smart!

Avenue of Stars featuring Bruce Lee

Three Hong Kong icons in one shot!

Bruce Lee statue on the Avenue of Stars
Bruce Lee in the foreground, a Star Ferry passing behind with Hong Kong Island in the background. Does it get any better than that? Well…
on the Avenue of Stars, Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk (張曼玉) and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (梁朝偉) have stars next to each other. Maybe a reprise of the “couple” relationship they have had in recent movies?