Hong Kong, also a new place for me to venture, offered a lot. A former British colony, you'll find many westernized street names, ex-pats galore, and many locals who speak English. It is a place I can see myself living. The old part of the city is known as Kowloon while the newer and gentrified areas are on the Hong Kong side. The city is filled with modern day accommodations (reliable public transportation system, large shopping malls, and chain restaurants). There is also plenty of amazingly delicious food that come in the form of fancy hipster variety in Soho neighborhood to hole in the wall restaurants and street vendors. The shopping was also a favorite of mine where you can find fashions from Japan and Korea from Langham Place, the One, and K11 as well as cheap souvenirs from the night market in Mong Kok.
This was my first time visiting China. I made stops in Shanghai and Beijing and a quick day trip to Shenzhen. I did not anticipate enjoying certain aspects from what I had heard and read about the country before. Most of it had to do with widespread pollution, lack of manners (public burping, spitting, cutting in lines), and massive crowds - all of which I did experience first hand. I did get to see important historical sights and finally had really good Chinese food.
The Great Wall in Beijing was the highlight of the trip. There are 3 entrances that are the most popular: (1) Badaling which is the most crowded as it is flat and the has the most restored path, (2) Jiankou which is more wild with mostly an unrestored path and good for someone looking for a hike but dangerous during unfavorable weather (there are many other similar entrances), (3) Mutianyu which is both restored and unrestored and is steep. I took the Mutianyu path as it came highly recommended to me and I would recommend it to others. It was not crowded, the views were astounding, and I was able to reach the peak of the Wall on this path. To get to the peak, you have to jump over the end of the unrestored section and climb up to the beginning of the unrestored part. So needless to say, you must be somewhat fit. On the Mutianyu path, you also have the choice of taking a Toboggan down - I did not partake.
A trip to Beijing is not complete without a visit to the historic Forbidden City. There is a difference between seeing the area at night (when everything lights up) versus the day. The lights at night make it seem commercial and flashy. I preferred seeing it during the day where you can see everything through the haze of the city. Standing in the middle of Tiananmen Square, you of course cannot help but think about what took place in 1989. Most people think about the unknown "Tank Man" who bravely stood in front of a line of tanks. Unfortunately, the Chinese government has censored much information from the massacre of pro-democratic protestors during the events of this time.
Shanghai is a new, sparkly city built on top of an old, and run-down one. It has gentrified and westernized itself greatly. However, I did come across the older and more poor part of the city as I walked from the upscale downtown area to the Jade Buddha Temple. I found locals selling street food and many local shops specializing in different industries. I found everything from cheap Xiao Long Bao to bubble tea along this path. Randomly, I also came across a furniture gallery/store/museum called the Design Republic. It impressively displays modern Chinese designs along with other contemporary designers like Denamark's HAY. This is its only location and occupies an old fire station. There is an equally hip and modern brunch restaurant connected to it.
Now to go back to the Jade Buddha Temple - it was a very nice temple. What it is known for is a Buddha statue made entirely of Jade, which cannot be photographed and is housed in its own building on an upstairs floor. What I found odd about the temple and other temples I encountered in China were that an admission fee is required and gift shops are located inside temples. Both are uncommon in my experiences visiting temples all over the world.
Shenzhen is not a major tourist destination. But it's one of the largest cities in China other than Shanghai and Beijing. Many of the worlds' retailers' factories are lcoated in Shenzhen so you will find an infamouse black market here. This is also where I had my favorite authentic, Chinese meal...
Let's face it, I have a shoe addiction. And my current obsession is sneakers - they're comfortable, affordable, and some just look really cool. I've got my eye on a few pairs, some on the pricey ("splurge") and not so pricey ("steal") sides. Honestly though, these are all on my wishlist.
I moved to New York City in 2014 and my wardrobe turned very black all of a sudden. It's easy to get sucked into the black uniform of the city, not that there's anything wrong with it. There are days when I live in black, so I've adapted well. Summers though have been encouraging and helped bring back much needed color in my life. But if not for color, then it's the interesting silhouettes and patterns that are enough to keep my interest piquing. Below are some captures of pattern and color mixing inspirations.