Tuesday, June 29, 2010

weekend disapointment

So I didn't go camping, but I didn't wuss out. Forces beyond my control derailed the plans and I think it was just the universe saying - you know camping just isn't "you" - and I have to agree.

Instead, on Saturday I slept in, stayed home, read books and avoided this. Yes, that is a police car burning in the middle of the main shopping district in Toronto ...

and hooligans running rampant and wantonly destroying property.

The federal government spent over 1 billion dollars on security but they couldn't stop a bunch of idiots breaking windows in broad daylight.

So on Sunday the police just started arresting everybody. People and civil right were trampelled in the process. I don't honestly know what was accomplished by the G8/G20, but I really don't think it warranted turning my very peaceful city into a police state to the tune of 1 billion dollars.

I went to the boat and hung out with the fine fellow and fed the swans some more. They are growing so quickly!

(photos from the Toronto Star)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

this is a weird week

In Toronto this week we've got the G20 summit. The brain trust in charge these days decided to hold it in the heart of downtown where it would affect the financial centre of the country, the theatre district and the waterfront - including access to my beloved island where I spent much of last weekend workin' on the ol' tan and getting in the first swim in Lake Ontario.

Now my walk to work looks like a riot zone, but the only people who look like they don't belong here are the mobs of police who are roving around in packs of 6 and questioning people who stop too long to linger anywhere. And then today we had a minor earthquake! I was actually glad to know that's what had happened cause I swear I thought I was loosing my mind when things started to just kinda jiggle for a minute or two.

Anyway, a friend invited me to go to a music festival on the weekend where we would have to camp, you know, in a tent. I'm a great believer in cottages, and I've been avoiding camping my whole life, but this weekend seems like an excellent time to get outta dodge. So I'm borrowing a sleeping bag and I'm going to sleep in a tent for the first time in my life. I have to remember to bring the camera or no one will believe me!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I want to be a beach bum

Hong Kong has sublime beaches - really it does. I don't think most people know this, but as someone who aspires to be a full-time beach bum, when people talk about beaches I pay attention.

(secret beach)

The most incredible beach was hands down the one that was close to the rock pool, but that is a real special occasion beach, and one that Lee and his friends often visit on a camping trip. To get there requires a taxi, a water taxi (very fun!) and then a hike because it's on Sai Kung. I was sworn to secrecy about the location because when you get there you are amazed at the whiteness of the sand and the blueness of the water and the emptyness of the beach, so I'm not supposed to tell anyone where it is - but I also simply have no idea.

(on the way to Deep Water Bay)

But the south side of the main Hong Kong island is peppered with bays and beaches. So what I loved about Hong Kong is that from downtown, I would get on a public bus for around 2 bucks and 30 minutes later I would be on the beach. And one day Lee and I took a bus and then hiked Dragon's Back trail to Big Wave Bay - that was an amazing day filled with butterflies, but we forgot the camera.

(you can see Deep Water Bay beach)

Deep Water Bay is the qickest one to get to, and then a bit further along is the popular and crowded Repulse Bay, but slightly off the beaten path as there is no direct bus service is South Bay Beach. This is Lee's favourite and also mine.

(Deep Water Bay beach)

Each beach has lifeguard stations, clean bathrooms, outdoor showers and a snack bar - this is how it should be!

(Repulse Bay beach)

So on the day before and the day of my birthday last year I took the bus ride to just past Repulse Bay then hopped off and walked the lovely street to South Bay beach.

(there is South Bay)

I proceeded to have two of the most perfect days ever.

(there is South Bay beach)

Apparently the weather at the end of May can be quite rainy. But not for me, for me it was hot and sunny almost every day of my trip and perfectly so on those days.

The water is refreshing but also warm enough that you can swim around for as long as you like.

And the food at the restaurant here at South Bay beach is amazing. I had the grilled salmon with mango salsa both days because it was soooo good I really wanted to eat it again.

It's quiet in the morning but gets busier in the afternoon.

This was such a happy place for me to lie in the sun, read a book, swim in the ocean and think about life. This was truly a blessing at that moment in my life.

Then it was time to head back into the city for an amazing birthday dinner.

I really have to thank Lee again for his amazing hospitality - he is a wonderful friend. And guess what? He just moved to Australia ...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Big Buddha

I went to Hong Kong last year for a beachy adventure and to visit my friend Lee, but I also went to start a new birthday tradition for myself - to spend the time with myself, for myself, and to have an adventure on my own.

My birthday the year before had been the scene of the beginning of the end of my relationship with Perry, and as I said to him recently, is a day that will live in infamy. We finally broke up in the fall and then I moved out in late December, but around the time of my birthday I found myself thinking about the year before and all the things that had gone wrong with Perry and me.

For some reason, the trip to visit the Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha really helped me let go and forgive both of us. I took a gondola by myself up the mountain and then as you reach a particular height, there he is sitting on the mountain top, waving hello.

I walked to the Monastery where I had an amazing lunch and wandered the beautiful grounds, thinking and writing in my little journal. Butterflies followed me around almost everywhere I went in Hong Kong.


Perry and I had not been speaking much up to this point, but I found on this trip that I actually missed him and had moments when I wished he was there to enjoy things with.

But he would not have made it up all those stairs to the Buddha - and I was glad to be by myself to sort out feelings about so many things.

Once I got to the top of those 268 steps and spent some time surrounded by Big Buddha's serenity, I found I felt very grateful for everything in my life.

(this hand is fulfilling wishes)

(this hand is imparting fearlessness)

And the lovely ladies that surrounded him made me especially grateful for all the women in my life who have given me the gifts of their time, their laughter and their love and who have held me aloft when I felt like I was sinking.

I am grateful for them most of all.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hong Kong was hot

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I went to Hong Kong last year for my birthday. I really had no idea what to expect but I had an absolutely wonderful visit with gorgeous, hot weather.

(this is the rooftop garden where I stayed)

(Hollywood Road where I stayed)

The city is both beautiful and ugly ...

(Man Mo Temple on the Hollywood Rd.)

(I stayed in the apt with the black windows.)

very Chinese and very generic ...

very urban and very rural ...

(a view from The Peak)

with shopping and relaxing ...

and the most incredible seafood I've ever eaten for an entire 9 days - seriously, I would go back just to eat.

All of this is what makes it uniquely, wonderfully, Hong Kong.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I love the beach

Last year for my birthday I decided I wanted to go on a real beach adventure - so I went to Hong Kong.

What? Yes, I went to Hong Kong to go to the beach. My friend Lee lives there and always has these great photos of him at the beach and he gets up in the morning and goes for a surf before work. So I went for a visit.

As a special birthday treat we went in search of this waterfall that he'd heard about.

And with Meta's help, we found it.

And I loved it!!

I always think that one day I will turn into a mermaid, and this was a very mermaid kinda day!

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