Hong Kong is one of my most favourite places I’ve been to. It’s been coming up on my newsfeed these days for worrying reasons, unfortunately. Although, I’ve only been a few times, each time it has left a sea of impressions. Whether it’s dense city life, food, people, the outdoors, the hills or the sea, the city hits it out of the park with what it has to offer. Living so close, I should really be making my way there more frequently…. once one can easily travel again of course.
This is in Kashgar, one of my most favourite places I’ve been to. It’s a place of incredible contrasts, it’s technically part of China but culturally and geographically it is closer to Baghdad than it is to Beijing. It is where new China is slowly creeping in to the very old Uyghur parts. It’s been a while since my visit and I wonder how many of the old mud houses have been replaced by the architecture. It was a completely foreign place to me but yet very familiar in a very odd sense.
I like the photo of this man with his dirty clothes and a helmet put comfortably aside as a passenger. I chuckled a bit too when I noticed his fly was open. At first I wasn’t sure if the man was wearing a smile or a frown. Probably neither and just squinting from the wind.
As my previous post indicates I’ve quite enjoyed my time in Hong Kong. And that often for me has to do with expectations. I always imagined it to be an overcrowded urban center. So it was quite a pleasant surprise when I got to places like this. Needless to say I stayed for longer than I planned for 🙂
I’ve realized that over the years I’ve become a little less trigger happy for several reasons. I know there are lot of photographers/bloggers whose advice is to keep pushing the shutter button. I can’t say I share the same opinion for various reasons, one of which is probably because I’m terrible at sorting hundreds of my photos afterwards. Still though, occasionally I find myself in a place, like Hong Kong, where I just keep taking photo after photo after photo.
I’ve arrived to the city fairly late and without an accommodation planned for that night and much change in my pocket I made my way to the Chungking Mansions, where I knew I could get an ok bed for the night. It’s by far not the most glamorous place in the world. There is a book based on Chungking Mansions called Ghetto at the Center of the World, which is an indication of what kind of a place it is (though I wouldn’t quite call it a ghetto). I’ve never actually read the book, however it’s on my to read list so feel free to drop me a line about the book if you’ve read it. Anyways, these photos are random shots from my night stroll on my first night in Hong Kong.
This is once again the Gobi desert. This time across the border on the Chinese side. I’ve mentioned in one of my earlier posts how much of a difference that border makes. Sand dunes on the Mongolian side are a challenge to get to and when you do you’re completely alone for what seems like miles and miles. These particular dunes in Dunhuang are a tourist attraction. There’s a bus that takes you to the spot and once you’re there, believe it or not, you pay an entrance fee. I found it completely ridiculous but have folded given the time constraint. Later on my trip I’ve met a number of people who just walked far enough from the “tourist area” and went around the wall/fence to get to the dunes.
Once inside the gates there’s a little oasis with a wealth of activities for tourists to pay for: camels, ATVs etc. You can even rent “sand proof” boots. I felt like the entrance fee had already left a big enough mark on my pocket so I opted for my legs to carry me around. I wanted to get away from the gates as far as possible and see where it’d take me. The dunes were high and even if I thought I knew what was behind each dune I had an idiotic curiosity and urge to see which dune’s higher and what’s behind. En route to the dunes I’ve met 2 Chinese students, and a 70+ year old Dutch traveler on a mission to cover the silk route. The old man was quite a character. He carried his LIDL supermarket plastic bags all over Asia, which he justified as a safety precaution. He thought nobody would rob an old man with a plastic bag. The 2 students gave up quite early but the old man kept following me around the dunes dragging hit plastic bag. He looked exhausted, very out of place but kept going. I tried to convince him to stop but it’s like he was trying to prove something to himself. At some point I thought I should stop before the man collapses, but luckily he went back by himself.
As usual. Click the pic to enlarge, share and like 🙂