2013

Tai Po Railway Museum

As a transit traveller, I inevitably find myself drawn to all things transportation. The Tai Po Railway Museum is a small, but perfectly affordable destination. Nothing is more affordable than free!

The Tai Po Railway Museum is actually the renovated station area of the Old Tai Po Railway Station. The station was built in 1913 and was converted to a museum in 1985 after the new Tai Po Market railway station was open. Although built in the 20th Century, the old station was built with Chinese architecture and ornamentation. Even the Chinese is meant to be read in the old, traditional right-to-left style.

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Tai Po – Lam Tsuen River and Waterfront Park

Tai Po is my usual “base of operations” when I’m in Hong Kong. It’s a good 19 km away from Central Hong Kong as the crow flies. By a direct double-decker bus, it’s about an hour’s bus ride in good traffic.

In North American terms, you can think of Tai Po as a suburb (if there is such a thing in Asia). It’s not as busy or crazy as Kowloon and the north side of Hong Kong Island. However, there are plenty of shops and services that would allow people to never leave the neighbourhood if they didn’t want to.

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Walking West Hong Kong Island – Sai Wan

After a quick fix of caffeine and WiFi (plus a chance to rest our feet) at my uncle’s place in Sheung Wan, we were back out on the street. It was Sunday, so my uncle took us down to a weekly market that closes some streets in the area.  There were some performances on a stage and a lot of ladies lining up for some freebies at one tent.

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Christmas in Hong Kong 2013

I’m finally back on the blogging ball after a hiatus. As you I mentioned before, I was going to be spending my Christmas in Hong Kong. More accurately, I spent my Christmas Day literally with Air Canada in the air on my way to Hong Kong.  I didn’t actually arrive in the territory until the evening of Boxing Day.  Christmas may have passed, but there was still plenty of joy around the city.

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Toronto 2013 – College Street at Night

For my last night in Toronto, I stayed at Planet Traveler hostel. It’s on College Street near Augusta Avenue and just at the edge of the Kensington Market.  I do recommend staying here.  The shared accommodation is cheap, clean and comfortable.  It has the 3 C’s of hostelling that are hard to come by.  It has free WiFi and free breakfast.  Hard to go wrong with free breakfast.  I just needed the one night, so I only got to know my roommates for a short while.

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Toronto 2013 – Kensington Market

After my visit to the AGO, I had to make my way to the hostel that I booked for my last night in Toronto. I wanted to spend an extra night in Toronto to just see a little bit more.  The hostel was all the way on College and Augusta.  I had to make my way from Dundas and Beverley to get there.

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Merry Christmas 2013

I don’t have many photos from December because I’m busy prepping to go out of town.  So I will catch up with you all later about what I did over the Christmas holidays. However, here’s a little holiday cheer in a cup.  The barista at the Starbucks on 4th Avenue in Kitsilano made this very pretty drizzle.  A warm and happy way to share the holidays.  🙂

If you want something more instant, then follow me on my Instagram (http://instagram.com/tracingstars).  It’s as close to live blogging as you’ll get from me.  TTFN and Merry Christmas!

Toronto 2013 – Ai Weiwei at the AGO

When I told one of my high school friends that I was going to Toronto, he highly recommended dropping by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit. Thankfully, the exhibit had been on for a while and the David Bowie exhibit just started the weekend I was there.  So basically, I wasn’t fighting to buy a ticket.  The David Bowie exhibit had already sold out for the day.

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Toronto 2013 – Eating Along Dundas

I didn’t expect to find some good food along Dundas Street.  When I lived in Toronto 10 years ago, I don’t recall coming down to this part of Dundas for food.  However, there are definitely a couple of gems along this stretch of Dundas between Chinatown and University Avenue.

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Toronto 2013 – Toronto at Night

Previously on metrobabel:

At the end of September, I had the chance to be in Toronto for a work-related meeting.  The weather in Vancouver had already an added crispness while Toronto was still hovering in the low 20’s and high teens for temperature.

[Toronto 2013 – Around the Royal York]

After all the work meetings were done for the day and I had grabbed a little dinner, I would wonder around Toronto with Camera in hand.  This time, I had also carried along my Gorillapod SLR-Zoom.  I couldn’t fit my usual tripod in my carry-on to Toronto.  So I packed my much smaller Gorillapod.

I’ve never actually done much long exposure photography.  However, Toronto is probably a perfect place to take a lot of photos at nights with all the bright lights of the largest city in Canada.  So the small and flexible Gorillapod would help me to keep my camera still while I took long exposures.  The only problem was finding enough flat top newspaper boxes in the right spots to get the right angles.  Sometimes I just put it down on the sidewalk to take some of my shots.

Here are my shots of downtown Toronto at night.  The photos were taken on two separate nights and are primarily from the west side of downtown Toronto.

RBC Centre – Wellington St at University Ave

Toronto International Film Festival’s TIFF Bell Lightbox – King St at John St

SW corner of King St and John St

Chapters & Scotiabank Theatre – John St at Richmond St

CHUM Radio neon – Duncan St and Richmond St

Art Gallery of Ontario – Dundas St at McCaul St

Sharp Centre for Design at Ontario College of Art & Design University

Ontario College of Art & Design University

Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts – University Ave and Queen St