Trip to Hong Kong: Part IV

Friday, 5 August 2016

Greetings and welcome to part four of my trip to Hong Kong! I've been waiting to write this post for so long because today, I get to introduce you to one of my absolute places in Hong Kong - Victoria Peak! I don't think I need to say much for you to understand why I love this location so much with such a breathtaking view! One of my favourite things to do at the Peak is to watch the sunset as the sky turn pink and then blue as all the city lights begin to turn on.

To me grand cities are almost dull during the day. The locals go to work or school and particularly during the summer, it's extremely hot and humid. When the sun goes down, everything just seems to come to life. Something I have difficulty adjusting to how much of a night owl everyone is. During the holidays, my cousins sometimes wake up at 1pm and sleep at 3am where as I generally wake up at 8am and sleep at 11pm. What's strange is that once I've adjusted, I can see why it must be done in a city like Hong Kong. The shops open up at 11am and shut at sometimes 2am so there's no point being up in the early hours of the morning at all (unless you're going for yum cha in which case the restaurant will open at 7am).

In Hong Kong, it almost scares me when I check the time and realise I'm still out and about at half past eleven at night. The trains are completely packed with little children still wandering the city. In Melbourne, by 6pm almost all the shops would have closed and by 7pm, I might be one of the only ones on my train line!

There are a few ways of getting to the Peak - one being the famous Peak Tram! As the tram has to go up the mountain, it's actually hauled up by a rope which can hold up to 139 tonnes. Usually the queue to board the tram is a little extreme so I end up catching the bus which is no where as scenic but gets the job done. At the peak, there's a 360 degree viewing platform, some restaurants and cafes, a hiking trail which is where I took my pictures, a historical tram gallery and a Madame Tussauds! You could honestly spend your entire day there and not get tired of the view, I think I stood on the mountain for about two hours.

Another thing that happens in Victoria Harbour is 'A Symphony of Lights' at 8pm. For about thirteen minutes, some of the buildings put on a laser light show which is said to be pretty spectacular to watch. Unfortunately if there is any rainstorm warnings before 3pm, the show will be cancelled which is why I have yet to see the light show. Especially during July when it's typhoon season. I still think with or without the lights, Victoria Peak is a pretty spectacular place, one I highly recommend!

Sally Kaack Photography © All Rights Reserved

Trip to Hong Kong: Part III

Friday, 29 July 2016

Welcome back to part three of my series, Trip to Hong Kong! If you haven't already, check out part I and part II. Apologies for my inconsistence in blogging lately, my dear Grandpa passed away last week which honestly put blogging very far down on my list of priorities but here's the story you're all here for!

Mum and I were originally supposed to meet up with my cousins, Aunt and Uncle on this day but unfortunately there was a bit of a miscommunication so we were left with zero plans. After having our daily Yum Cha with my grandparents in the morning, Mum decided to take me off the main island to visit Cheung Chau which very quickly became one of my favourite places in Hong Kong.

I'm sure many of you have not heard of Cheung Chau island as it's a tiny island located southwest of Hong Kong's main island. In cantonese, 'cheung' actually means long so the island essentially means 'long island' due to its shape. It was traditionally a fishing village like most of Hong Kong before becoming a residential location. My mum actually used to live there! The main form of transport is cycling in Cheung Chau as the 'streets' are so narrow a car couldn't possibly fit. They do have mini ambulances, police cars and fire engines designed to fit these streets however.

There are a lot of things to do in Cheung Chau despite it's size (a lot of which are related to eating). There's plenty of street food like fish balls, mochi, snow cones and egg waffles as well as some lovely seafood restaurants. There's also a nice little beach on Cheung Chau, a temple and a hiking trail you can follow. I actually ended up returning to Cheung Chau with my friend as I loved it so much! Plenty of festivals occur through out the year such as the Cheung Chau bun festival.

Despite all the amazing things that happen during the day, Cheung Chau also has the nick name 'Suicide Island' when the sun goes down. A short walk off to the remote mountains of the island, there are several haunted houses, one named 紅梅 (Hung Mei). There's also an old resort there that has seen 13 deaths from 1989 to the year 2000. Naturally, stories like these come with sightings and superstition. There's also a half submerged cargo ship that wash up on the shores of Cheung Chau, an old pirates cave and an old abandoned hospital from the 19th century.

Whether you choose to believe these stories or not, Cheung Chau island is still a place I enjoy visiting very much. It does not feel at all like the concrete jungle of Hong Kong. I mean there's cats that wonder around, the view is beautiful and and there's so much food to eat! Getting to the island is cheap and easy too, it costs next to nothing to board a ferry which run frequently. Somewhere I'd definitely recommend you visit if you want a break from the city life.

Have you ever visited Cheung Chau? What are your thoughts on ghost stories?

Sally Kaack Photography © All Rights Reserved

Bye Grandpa

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Dad, Myself (Aged 5) and Grandpa

Dear Grandpa,

It leaves me heartbroken that you left and I never got to say goodbye. 

I'm sorry I live on the other side of the world and never got to spend more time with you. I'm sorry we never got a chance to do many things together, maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

Your legacy will forever live on in our family.

Alzheimer's is a cruel disease, I wouldn't wish it upon anyone to have their most cherished memories taken away from them. No one should live in a world where their families and friends don't exist. 

Now I have a guardian watching me from above, I'll love you always.

Bye Grandpa.

1928 - 2016

Trip to Hong Kong: Part II

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Thank you for such lovely comments regarding my 'Trip to Hong Kong: Part I' post. The blogging community is truly something special and I'm so happy to be part of it! Here's to part II of my trip which is based in Central, Sai Ying Pun (both located on Hong Kong island) and Tseung Kwan O.

While still extremely humid and hot, my family and I braved the heat and decided to head out to Central to find some of the tourist locations. We didn't make it very far however as it was mid-day and far too sunny. I am now left with a rather embarrassing watch tan on my left wrist!

I met up with my cousin who is an amazing photographer and one of my biggest inspirations, and he's parents (my Aunt and Uncle) and ended up having Shanghai (上海) food for lunch. Each province in China has it's own delicacies and dishes and I've decided I much prefer Shanghai food over traditional Canton food. Especially when there is xiao long bao (小籠包) and peanut noodle soup!

After a delicious lunch, we decided to challenge the heat once again and catch a tram to Sai Ying Pun. Unfortunately, thought the view is much better than the MTR's (underground train system) there is no air conditioning on the trams. Just open windows which left me sweating in my seat. Fun fact, the trams have been there for 110 years, imported by the British when they owned Hong Kong! I did manage to take a few photos that I love so I suppose it was worth it!

After getting of the tram, we visited the harbour (images 3 and 5) and enjoyed the beginnings of a lovely sunset. There were a lot of people going for romantic strolls along the platform as well as taking photos of the beautiful view. Unfortunately, I didn't get the see the complete sunset as rain clouds came storming in very quickly. In Hong Kong, when you see rain clouds - you run! Especially during the summer months when they could be typhoons. After a simple dinner, I had a very enjoyable red bean soy dessert (紅豆,豆腐花). By this stage I was extremely full yet satisfied and you can bet I slept like a log.

Some exciting news! I've decided to set up an Etsy Store to sell some of my photos. As I am a photography and student, I can assure you to feel assured that the images will be best of quality.

If you're interested in more photos, check out my Instagram!

Sally Kaack Photography © All Rights Reserved

Trip to Hong Kong: Part I

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

You might have possibly noticed that I've been extremely MIA lately. That's because, I'm was in Hong Kong visiting my family and doing a lot of sightseeing!

On the 15th June Mum and I got up early, had a quick breakfast and made our way to Melbourne Airport. We had a quick layover in Sydney before flying to Hong Kong (about a 9 hour flight). It's currently winter in Melbourne so when I arrived in Hong Kong I was literally sweating from pushing around my luggage and wearing my long sleeved shirt and trousers. Thankfully, I was only a bus trip away from having a nice shower before heading into bed as we arrived quite late at night. (Way past my grandparents bed time!)

The next day my Grandma woke me up at 7am to go downstairs for a Yum Cha breakfast. This ritual never got old as she continued to wake me up at this time for the duration of my stay. I'm honestly not a huge fan of Yum Cha but it was nice to just be there with them and try lots of new food. I found it quite strange eating rice and dumplings for breakfast and did miss my daily scoop of porridge but now that I'm back, I actually miss the Yum Cha environment!

I also bought a few new items of clothing while I was in Hong Kong, thought not a lot because I'm tall and generally Hong Kong people are quite small thus, the shops never had my size. I did buy a lot of cute socks with cats and pandas on them, my two favourite animals!

Just before touching down into Melbourne on the flight home, I noticed how flat Australia looked. Nature wise as well as architecturally. Hong Kong has a beautiful natural landscape surrounding the city with hills and mountains. Some people even live on the top of those mountains! Also, as the population in Hong Kong is 7 million and the land is so small, all the buildings have to grow vertically leaving you in a concrete jungle, contrary to Australia which has such a vast amount of space.

Above are some pictures I took around my Grandparents apartment. The first day in Hong Kong was extremely wet and humid resulting in some dramatic looking pictures. I hope you've all been doing well, looking forward to catching up on a lot of Blogs and YouTube videos!

If you're interested in more photos, check out my Instagram!

Sally Kaack Photography © All Rights Reserved

The Violin Process

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Recently I've been working on a new project, a day in the life of a Violin Maker. I decided to call this series Gilga II, the name of the first violin I ever owned. I went back to the maker of my first violin and asked him if I could document his day, the creative and business side of things. 

After graduating high school, Allen Irwin enrolled himself into the Violin Making Course at London Metropolitan University and became the first student to graduate with an Advanced Diploma four years later. He continued working for Boosey & Hawkes, a general music store before returning to his hometown Edgecliff, Sydney to open up A.R Irwin Violin which was founded in 1988.

The traditional violin is an instrument that has always moved me with it’s immense sound and beauty. An instrument that has practically remained the consistent since it’s first appearance of paintings from the 16th century in Italy. This challenged my curiosity for the violin making process. Whether or not it had changed as technology advanced rapidly, to which Allen replied ‘it has not’ as he showed me the first and last issue of a violin magazine he collected.

Upon my arrival into the store, I picked up on the distinct smell of varnish and wood. Both vital materials for the creation of a violin. I wanted to capture such aspects to help the viewer catch a glimpse into the daily life of Allen Irwin. Through out my shoots, I gathered huge respect for the craft of violin making. The fine precision and patience to not disrupt the delicate fibres of the violin body, a craft only a perfectionist could handle.

The name Gilga II and this location are both special to me. It was here with that violin that I began my journey into the world of art. 
Sally Kaack Photography © All Rights Reserved

Quick trip to Sydney

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Last weekend, I went to Sydney to see some of my old friends as I actually used to live there! I ended up having such a lovely time as I wondered around feeling extremely nostalgic. I didn't have much internet while I was there apart from phone data which I always go over which explains my MIA. For the first couple of days it was pretty cold and even rained a little but on the last day, the weather was just amazing! I was also there to photograph a project I've been working on so I'll share that with you sometime next week when I've finished it but I'm quite pleased so far with how it's going!

The first day I arrived in Sydney, I decided to head to the Harbour and watch the sunset over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House which is where I took these photos! It was such a beautiful sight. It's weird that when I used to live in Sydney, I hardly ever went to Circular Quay. I wish I got a chance to see Sydney's Vivd light festival but my schedule was so tight that it just wasn't possible.

Thursday afternoon, one of my besties and I headed to the Grounds of Alexandria where we practically had so much sugar we went a little crazy to be honest. I also had a lot of Chai Lattes on this trip, something I always have when I'm on 'holidays.' That evening we went to Ichiban-Boshi, a Japanese ramen restaurant in Bondi Junction. Unfortunately I was already so full from all the cake I had earlier that I couldn't finish my noodles let alone make room of dessert.

The next day, I went to pick up one of friends from the airport. The traffic was so bad that the car barley moved and she ended up claiming her luggage before we could even park in the carpark. I also almost fell asleep in the car (Her mum was driving, not me!) because I kept waking up the two nights before as it was so cold. I ended up sleeping really well that night and woke up at 9am the next day which is crazy for me because my natural body clock likes to wake up up at 7am.

On Saturday I didn't end up doing to much, apart from eating Thai food again and catching up with my friend. Everyone seems to know how much I love Thai food so they always suggest Thai when I meet up with them. Nothing to complain about! On the Sunday morning we walked down to Clovelly Beach which was so lovely. I forgot how 'hilly' Sydney is compared to Melbourne. Walking to the beach was easy but walking back was a different story. That day for lunch, I met up with my dad in 'The Rocks' by Circular Quay and we shared some fish and chips as well as a shepherds pie which was absolutely delicious.

After that, my Sydney trip had come to an end and it was time for me to return home.

Sally Kaack Photography © All Rights Reserved