Monday, May 31, 2010

Tai Po flora

I won't broadcast my ignorance by incorrectly naming these types of flowers and trees. I'm not a gardener or plant-lover by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is interesting to me that the majority of flowers in Hong Kong are red or yellow, as these are considered lucky colours.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Stairway to Heaven

As our church had no Sunday School for the children this morning, we decided to visit Island ECC, a church where many of Craig's colleagues attend.

After the service we took a tram to Central. The following two video clips were the view from our window as a march/parade went past. We're not altogether sure what the march was about, but Craig thinks it was about promoting constitutional reforms. In any case, it all seemed quite calm and civilised.

This is Queens Road where we got off the tram and went looking for what are known in Hong Kong as the Mid Levels Escalators.

According to  The Guinness Book of World Records, the Central-Mid-levels escalators in Hong Kong are the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. The entire escalator system covers over 800 metres in distance and elevates over 135 metres from bottom to top.

This clip gives you an idea of how these escalators are covered but still considered to be outdoors. (I also did some fancy camera work; you'll know it when you see it!)

You can see from this photo that there are stairs alongside the escalators for up or down traffic.

Many people rode the escalators alongside us as an ordinary commute up the steep hill to their homes, but we enjoyed looking out at the passing shops and restaurants on either side. We hopped off the escalators  at an outlet book store and when we spied a sign for an Australian restaurant called "Chicken on the Run".

Their menu looked tempting, but as we were told we couldn't take any photos inside the shop, we had to settle for posing outside.

It took us around half an hour to travel up the twenty or so escalators to the top. Our children usually enjoy going on escalators, but even they had had enough by the end!

We found a little cafe for tea called "Cul de Sac" with plenty of Western food on the menu. I had a kebab, Craig had fish and chips, Tirzah had a slice of pizza, and the other two had hot dogs. Craig liked the Coke in glass bottles too.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Insect House

Despite the forecast of rain, we returned to Tai Po Waterfront Park today  in order to visit the Insect House. I expected to see lots of live insects in terrariums or aquariums but all of the 130 specimens of beetles, flies, wasps, butterflies and moths on display were dead. Frankly, I think our children were relieved; no budding entomologists in our family, I'm afraid. 
Actually we did see some live water beetles in a fish tank.

The Insect House had numerous displays with scientific facts about insects. Some of it was even in English.

Keegan finds out what it's like to have fly vision.

Through the view finder.

Lauren, these pinned insects gave me a flashback to Kent Academy. Was it the medical dispensary that had display cases of dead butterflies with pins through their bodies for us to ponder over while we were waiting to be treated?

Tirzah is doing the sign for Dorothy the Dinosaur who happens to dance to a song about butterflies.

Just in case you were curious about complete versus incomplete metamorphosis...

Craig was amused that this display featured  insects in their natural Hong Kong habitats: skyscrapers.

Outside the Insect House we discovered lots of colourful fibreglass models of insects.

These two are mating.

There was a beautiful fish pond with plenty of hungry koi.

We watched the kite-flying for a little while.

Looks like a spider has caught two strange insects in her web!

Can you see Tirzah enjoying the playground all to herself?

Jemilla completed the puzzle with a bit of help... did Keegan, although we're not too sure of the picture.

Tirzah was scared of this toothy dinosaur until we assured her that it was a friend of Dorothy's.

Keegan is pretending to do a Twenty20 swing to hit the ball off the sculpture.

We walked (or danced in Tirzah's case) for a kilometre along the waterfront. It never actually rained and we were home in time for lunch and a well-deserved rest.