New Gallery: Dreams of Shadows & Light

Over the past few years I’ve become more and more fascinated by how the urban environment at night is so representative of the human presence on this planet. It is our cities - the structures, the colorful electric illumination, the vehicles that transport us within them, the noise and activities that provide the lifeblood - that encapsulate so succinctly what it means to be human in the 21st century. In comparison I find daytime photography, at least in the typically overcast cities I live in, to be woefully pallid and uninteresting.

Perhaps my recurring interest in this theme is also partly due to the fact that I prefer going on photowalks at night - when the weather is cooler, and when I can allow myself to be more in the present, and less distracted by my other duties and responsibilities - when it is easy just to lose myself in the rhythm of the living city (especially after a few drams of decent whisky).

Then again, it could just be because of my life-long love of movies that are set mostly in the night: Bladerunner, Dark City, Night on Earth, 2046, etc. Or of late night jazz, from folks like Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Dexter Gordon…

Rainy Weekend Visit to Tai O Fishing Village

Last Saturday we decided to make the best of a wet (and very cold) day by visiting a place that we'd never been before - Tai O Fishing Village on Lantau Island. From the Ferry Terminal in Central (Pier 6) it takes about 20 minutes to get to Mui Wo on the island (via the "Fast" Ferry), and then it's another 30 minutes or so to Tai O, by bus.

While not large (you can probably walk from one end of the village to the other, as the crow flies, in about 15 minutes), one could spend an entire day here, as it is laid out as a small maze of interconnected streets and what look like temporary lanes, filled with many small retail shops and an even larger number of street food stores, which seem to be what most of the local visitors to Tai O come for. Be prepared therefore for long queues for the "best" waffle shop in the village, or the "best" donut shop, or the "best" omelette shop, etc.

To be brutally honest, we found most of the above food items mediocre at best, but I suppose if you wait 15 minutes for anything it tastes pretty good by default!

The one thing we did enjoy (or at least I did) was the barbecued dried seafood items, especially the drilled (dried) puffer fish.

In line with this theme of dried seafood items, there are many, many stores here that sell the countless varieties of this - dried oysters, dried scallops, dried fish bladders, dried fish skin, etc, etc ad nauseam.  Prices are frankly not much cheaper (if at all) than at the stores in Wanchai, but there is certainly a much larger range of items.

I think what we found most interesting was the opportunity to observe the local residents going about their regular activities - one of the most common of which were the mahjong games that one can observe through many of the open doorways.

All in all we thought it was an interesting outing, and we'll probably visit again sometime soon, perhaps when the weather gets better!