Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hong Kong V: Downtown

Hong Kong downtown.

We decided to see more of the city on our second day in Hong Kong, and Eric, Kevin, Sheila and I made plans to meet up with Gabriel and his girlfriend Iva (who lives in Hong Kong) for some shopping and sight-seeing.

Kevin and I had breakfast at a bakery brimming with fresh bread products of all descriptions, from pork floss buns to sweet milk rolls. I will miss the bakeries in Taiwan so much, but the bakeries we found in Hong Kong were unbelievable. I think it must be the European influence on the city. I ate more bread and pastries in my time there than any other point in this visit. Mmmm...

The incredible bakery where we had breakfast.

Eric, Sheila, Kevin, and I had heard of a free Tai Chi and Kung Fu exhibition in a park in the Central District, and we went to check it out before meeting up with Gabe and Iva.

The elder tai chi group.

The sun was blazingly, blisteringly hot. We sat beneath a yellow striped awning, passing a fan I had retained from Ocean Park from one person to the next in a feeble effort to cool off. Aside from the overwhelming heat, however, the show was really quite fun. Students of all ages and genders performed, incorporating fans, swords, spears, and various other implements into their routines.

Some of the kung fu students sparring.

I learned from Kevin that A-ma used to do sword Tai Chi, which seems fitting, somehow. I also learned that it was sword Tai Chi that Mulan's dad does in one of the earliest scenes of Disney's Mulan, and fan Kung Fu that she uses to defeat Shan Yu at the end of the film. (Interesting side note: according to Wikipedia, Mulan, based on an old Chinese poem called "The Ballad of Mulan," set box office records in China, and is used to this day in many Chinese schools to teach young girls the values of honor and self-sacrifice.)

After the show, we went to a local McDonald's for some mango ice cream and litchi slushies in an effort to cool off. We had some difficulty meeting up with Iva and Gabe because Iva stepped on a nail (!!) but was thankfully able to utilize the first aid tent that was set up for the Tai Chi and Kong Fu performers. All was soon well, and we made our way to some nearby stores and markets for some souvenier-hunting before meeting up with the rest of the group for the evening.