StarFerry

Streets of Hong Kong Private Tours--Dispatch #0019: CATS OF HONG KONG

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Cat in traditional Chinese Apothecary on Canton Road (2018). As of today, my favorite cat image taken during a Hong Kong Photo Tour/Lesson.

Cat in traditional Chinese Apothecary on Canton Road (2018). As of today, my favorite cat image taken during a Hong Kong Photo Tour/Lesson.

One thing you will quickly notice on my Hong Kong Photography Tours is there are plenty of cats in and around the market stalls and shops in the old Cantonese neighborhoods. These cats are well taken care of and are generally very friendly and not shy to be photographed.

In most instances, if you are unobtrusive, photographing the cat in an environmental style portrait offers an excellent opportunity to photograph the shops and their proprietors. These kinds of shops are typically family run businesses that have been around for many many years. There are also many cats running around freely in the streets. The cats are fed by the neighborhood and perform a genuine public service.

Hong Kong is a port city and there have always been rats to deal with. Hence, all the cats. There follows a gallery of some of my favorite cat images taken on the Streets of Hong Kong.

See you on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch

 


ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

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I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium quality private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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Streets of Hong Kong--Dispatch #0018: Mid-Autumn Festival 2018 (Enter The Tai Hang Fire Dragon)

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Every year, starting in the late 19th century, the villagers of Tai Hang, a small village hidden behind Causeway Bay,  perform a fire dragon dance intended to deflect bad luck away. 

According to local legend, over a century ago, a few days before the Mid-Autumn Festival, a typhoon and then a plague wreaked havoc on the village. While the villagers were repairing the damage, a python entered the village and ate their livestock. According to some villagers, the python was the son of the Dragon King. A soothsayer decreed the only way to stop the chaos was to stage a fire dance for three days and nights during the upcoming mid-autumn festival.

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The villagers made a huge dragon of straw and covered it with incense sticks, which they then lit. Accompanied by drummers and erupting firecrackers, they danced for three days and three nights – and the plague disappeared.

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The village itself later became a refugee slum and then was has subsumed into modern day Hong Kong, but the tradition continues every year concurrently with the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. The dance is on China's third national list of intangible cultural heritage.

This year the dance will be performed on September 23, 24 and 25, 2018.

Both the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance present fantastic evening photographic opportunities as well as a genuine local cultural experience.

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There is a lantern festival held in Victoria Park around the statue of the Queen on the main sports field and the dragon dance is performed through the winding streets of Tai Hang.

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To photograph the dragon, I recommend you travel light. Do not carry a tripod and be prepared to walk/run along with the dragon to get plenty of action shots. I prefer to use a fast wide angle lense in order to capture as much of the up close action as possible. Set your ISO at a fast speed (ISO 2000+) as the streets will be dark. I will bring my Fuji 21mm for this purpose.

There will be many families walking through Victoria park carrying traditional paper lanterns. If you want to capture some dreamy bokeh filled lantern images bring a faster portrait lense. This year I will bring my Sigma 50-100 f1.8 for this purpose.

I look forward to photographing these fantastic visual events annually and am always happy to share my take on this unique Hong Kong event which is a perfect Hong Kong Night Tour opportunity.

This is a limited event held only on September 23, 24 and 25, 2018. So please plan accordingly.

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See you on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch

 


ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

HK_Map_1841header.jpg
American-Flag-Yin-Yang copy.jpg

I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium quality private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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Streets of Hong Kong Premium Tours--Dispatch #005: CROSSING THE BAR ON THE STAR FERRY

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Star Ferry, February 2018 (All Rights Reserved, William Banzai7)

CROSSING THE BAR
BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,

   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.

   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;

   For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.


The Star Ferry was originally founded by Parsee (an Indian of Persian descent) merchant Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala as the "Kowloon Ferry Company" in 1888. The popularity of this means of transport enabled him to increase his fleet to four vessels within 10 years: the Morning Star, Evening Star, Rising Star and Guiding Star. Each boat had a capacity of 100 passengers, and the boats averaged 147 crossings each day. He incorporated the business into the "Star Ferry Co Ltd" in 1898, prior to his retirement to India. The company name was inspired by his love of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "Crossing the Bar". --Source: Wikipedia

I know it sounds silly, but I love to recite this poem when crossing on the Star Ferry. Call me a romantic. Don't worry, you will not have to remind me!

You can view more images of the iconic Star Ferry on my Flickr.  And yes, there is much more to this story that I have to share on tour...

SILVER STAR, June 2015 (All Rights Reserved, WilliamBanzai7)

See you on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch


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ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

HK_Map_1841header.jpg
American-Flag-Yin-Yang copy.jpg

I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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Streets of Hong Kong Premium Private Tours--Dispatch #002: Hong Kong in The 1950s as Photographed by Lord Lawrence Kadoorie

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Hong Kong industrialist, hotelier and philanthropist Lord Lawrence Kadoorie is known for the prominent role he played in the development of modern Hong Kong. You can read about the Kadoorie family here. In addition to CLP (to whom I eagerly pay my electric bill every three months) and the Peak Tramway,  the Kadoorie family is locally known as the well endowed proprietors of Hong Kong's famous Peninsula Hotel. A regular stop along my Premium Walking Tour of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula, the Peninsula is what I call the final bastion of majestic old colonial Hong Kong.

I recently learned Lord Kadoorie was also an avid amateur photographer and regularly carried a small minox subminiature spy camera (James Bond style) with him as he went about his daily routine.

Lord Kadoorie's Minox

Lord Kadoorie's Minox

To mark its 10th anniversary, the Hong Kong Heritage Project put together a collection of previously unpublished photographs showing Hong Kong life in the 50s taken by Lord Kadoorie. The exhibition, Eye on Hong Kong a Kadoorie Perspective, is located on the second floor of City Hall in Central and unfortunately ends on October 4, 2017.

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However, I am including in this Dispatch two images which I found particularly interesting. The first is a picture of one of the star ferries dry docked at the old Whampoa Dock.

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The old dockyard is long gone and replaced by the Whampoa Housing Estate. I regularly walk to Whampoa to catch the new MTR extension or to have excellent Japanese sushi.  To my knowledge, all of the Star Ferry vessels currently in operation were built there in the 1950s and 1960s. When you are on the upper level of the Star Ferry, you can look for the oval shaped brass commissioning plate of your particular vessel hanging on the forward wall by the entrance/exit ramp (the forward wall is always facing the bow on the Kowloon side). There you will see the exact date that your vessel was commissioned. I have looked at many old pictures of Hong Kong, but this is the first I have seen of one of the ferries sitting in the dockyard!

The next image is of the Yau Ma Tei Ferry docked in Castle Peak Bay. This is a romantic view of what the coast of the New Territories once looked like. Although there are three junks carrying tourists in Victoria Harbour, you never see them actually under sail. Two of them, Aqua Luna I and II, are replicas built by the last surviving Hong Kong master junk builder, but they are not actually rigged to sail. Sadly, we will never see a big flotilla of junks under sail as seen in this image ever again. And no, there is no longer a Yau Ma Tei Ferry.

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Afterwards, I was treated to a delectable dim sum lunch at Maxim's Palace (also located in City Hall) by my very good friend and guide colleague Amy Overy. As you can see Maxim's is a high class eating establishment serving fine dim sum old school style, on tea trolleys pushed by smiling old ladies just like they used to (and still do) serve it at Nom Wah Tea Parlor on the crooked street in New York City's China Town! Amy is treated just like a female taipan by the staff of Maxim's Palace.

Thank you Amy! 

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End of Dispatch

WB7

 


ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

HK_Map_1841header.jpg
American-Flag-Yin-Yang copy.jpg

I am an American from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium quality private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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