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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • November 13, 2006


    One Relaxing Day in Hong Kong: Hiking Trip (10/26/06 Hazy, Periods of Sun)

    A few e-mails from readers and friends ask me to post some pictures in Hong Kong. To be honest, I'm somewhat deprived of my hometown's pictures, partly because I have been occupied with many obligations which have rendered me busy, and partly because I have grown sated with taking pictures of the same spots. By popular demand, I'll interrupt the Japan travelogue with several pictures of a hiking trip I took. It was a roughly 2.5 hours hike from Wong Ngai Chung Reservoir to Stanley, a somewhat strenuous hike on a trail that is tugged in the fold of Mt. Violet's valleys of Hong Kong Island. If you look at the topography map of the trail, you will see three successive peaks which one has to negotiate. So the cross section of the trail will look like a camel's humps. The first half of the hike was easy--a 30-minute flat trail that meandered along the cliff that afforded panoramic views of Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay, the South China Sea and wound back to the hill. The fun began as I was about half way into the foothill of Twin Heads--the trail began to climb steeply that I was soaked in sweat. I had to stop halfway up the first peak and rested for a couple minutes. Shrubs and trees sheltered a portion of the trail before hitting the top, but no sooner had I the chance to look around than it abruptly descended, turning into pebbles and gravel. After reaching the top of the second peak, I was wheezingand again had to undress myself to cool off. The weather could be deceitful as the day started off with no too intensive UV, but the heat was enervating. As the trail became more mangably flat and the slope less steep I knew for sure Stanley Peninsula might be looming on the horizon at any moment.
    09:21 I got off the bus thinking I had disembarked one stop too early, for I couldn't locate the trailhead, which was tugged in behind the reservoir. Started a little bit late.

    09:32 After walking for about 10 minutes, on the damp trail abound with mosquitos, the view of the sea slowly loomed on the horizon. Ouch, forgot to insect-proof my arm so I got bit. The peninsula on the right is home of the Ocean Park.

    09:57 First glimpse of Repulse Bay, the most popular beach in Hong Kong. During summer time it is always packed. I realized the trail didn't offer a view of Deep Water Bay, which was obstructed by the cliff. I was a little bit disappointed.

    09:59 This is the best view of Repulse Bay. If you pay closer attention to the little peninsulas jutting out into the ocean on far left above the beach, tugged inside the land protruding into the water are two more beaches. Owing to their secluded locales they are more quiet and thus are popular among the gays!

    10:00 Repulse Bay has developed to be an inhabitat of the city's rich and famous--high rises have towered and thus obstructed the beautiful view from the trail.

    10:21 This is where the fun begins--bootcamp time! After hitting this sign I began to climb the first of three "humps." By this time I've been soaking wet and bit three times by mosquitos.

    10:40 I ran into a fellow hiker--the only human being whom I had encountered during the entire hike. It turned out that she was a local who was taking a mid-morning walk with her little puppy. She took the shortcut from Tai Tam Reservoir so she did not climb any of the peaks which I was about to attempt.

    10:53 A glimpse of Tai Tam Reservoir. If I take the left side of the fork I would be there in no time, bypassing all three hills. But that way would be take me to Stanley.

    11:10 One of my favorite pictures of the hills. Verdant green bushes and trees embodied me, the lone hiker, under a thin layer of fog. The trace in the midst of the green is the trail that led me to the peak of the first hill.

    11:58 Three peaks later the Stanley Peninsula looms on the horizon as the trail has a mitigating turn to gradually descend. Even though it didn't take as much effort to hike down, I could feel the staggering pressure on my knees and my calves. It was at this time of fatigue that I realized my supply of water had exhausted. I was looking forward to meeting civilization again in Stanley and having food!

    12:30 What a treat after a workout! McDonald's in Hong Kong also operates McCafe, which serves deli sandwiches, espresso drinks and fresh squeezed juices. I took a seat at a quiet corner and whiled away the afternoon with reading Kleist and writing some postcards.
    14:20 After lunch, I sauntered around Stanley, came out from the maze od shopping lanes where every inch of space was used to make money. I came to an open area where you can view the bay. A mom is telling her toddler to appreciate the flower.
    14:22 People usually think of Hong Kong as a packed concrete forest with skyscapers towering over a small patch of land, true--but once you escape from the city, you can embrace the beauty of nature as well. This is my favorite pondering spot.
    14:23 Stanley Bay
    14:30 Stanley Market is the place to find silk garments, sportswear, art, Chinese costume jewellery, other souvenirs and a host of fantastic bargains. Stanley village also offers an appetising range of restaurants and snack bars. Most of them, unfortunately, lost their original touch of a village joints as they are now catered to tourists. I stay away from these places because I'm not a tourist!

    14:43 Murray House - a former British army officers' quarters and the oldest example of Western architecture. It was dismantled in 1982 and put back together again - brick by brick.


    Blogger johnNokc said...

    Matt, truly magical. I never realized HK was so beautiful. I had always thought of it as New York, but in half the space. You've opened my eyes, in more ways than just one.

    11/13/2006 8:02 PM  
    Blogger Tony said...

    I have always loved the hillside views of Vitoria Harbor and the Hong Kong rising cityscape. Maybe one of these days.

    11/14/2006 1:45 AM  
    Blogger digital t-square said...

    Your pics bring back so many memories of my first trip to HK almost fours ago. You've inspired me to post some of my travel pics, too. Thanks for sharing your travelogue

    11/14/2006 4:27 PM  
    Blogger Robert said...

    Yeah, McD's... When Alec and I were there last time, we had a Green Apple shake... yum... They don't have that here! :-( And remembering their liquid sugar for iced teas, they should offer that here, too! McCafe is fulla goodies. All their pastries are quite a treat.

    We walked thru Stanley Market as well, but that day it was friggin' pouring, but didn't stop the visitors tho. Thanks for the pictures, I really enjoy them! Just reading about you hiking is making me sweat! oy! I'll stick with the shake! :-)

    11/16/2006 7:56 AM  
    Anonymous said...

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    10/29/2011 11:02 AM  

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