Friday, January 14, 2011

Hong Kong Holiday--2011

I am back from my trip. It was fantastic. I spent a number of relaxing days in Hong Kong before and after my time at the academic conference in Singapore. Here are some of the pictures.

This is the Chi Lien Nunnery in Kowloon.
The wooden buildings are built in the style of the Tang Dynasty.

There is a tea house in the South Lotus Gardens across the street from the nunnery.
The tea is delicious. The tea house is also built in the style of the Tang Dynasty. It overlooks a koi pond; unfortunately, it was raining so hard the day I was there that I didn't spend time looking at fish.

The Star Ferry is still running between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The skyline on Hong Kong island is much changed. The ferries are the same. They may be discontinued next year in the name of progress.
There is a pagoda like those in the imperial palace in the South Lotus gardens. There is also an exhibit of the different ways Chinese builders join timbers without nails.

No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without a pilgrimage to see Pommes the Wonder Cat from the e-cuneiform blog. Here he is on his throne surveying the minions of his realm. He wanted me to post this picture for Miss Kitty. You will notice that he has lost much weight. He has been pining away for Miss Kitty and his other adoring fans while the scribe has been absent from the blogosphere.

I went with the scribe of e-cuneiform to the Hakka village of Tsuen Wan. The scribe was going to a Chinese doctor and requested my translation services. The doctor was quite competent. Her first response to his ailments was to warm his kidneys and the other parts of his anatomy connected to the kidneys in Chinese medicine (quite different from Western medicine). The scribe was so happy with all the warming that he took me out for dim sum.

Since the dim sum shop was in the Hakka village of Tsuen Wan out in the New Territories, there was sui banne, a delicious dish that my children used to eat regularly when they were toothless babies in Taiwan. It was presented more elegantly in the restaurant than it was on the cart from the peddler who sold it in Chungli, Taiwan, but the flavor was the same. I had ordered something from the menu that I did not recognize. Imagine my surprise at getting an old favorite!

If you plan to visit Chris, Regina, and Pommes in Hong Kong, you had better go prepared. Pommes is a true tyrant when it comes to exacting tribute from visiting artists. Since I do not paint or cook, and my viola was in the US, Pommes had the scribe shove a square of sticky, wet clay in front of me. A stylus was thrust into my hand, and I had to write a poem or two in payment for the privilege of petting his inky blackness. Fortunately for me, there are Chinese calligraphy forms that were used when characters were carved into bamboo or metal; I could use one of them to write somewhat legibly with stylus in clay.

Chinese Seal Script

The poem I wrote follows in modern Chinese, as my computer does not have a seal script font.

(With apologies to 孟浩然)


Of course, I am no good at writing my own Chinese poetry, but in best Chinese fashion, I took part of a famous Tang Dynasty poem and adapted it to my purposes. When Pommes noted that I had cited the poet whose work I had adapted, he insisted that I copy out the original for his edification and enjoyment. He truly is a demanding cat...

by 孟浩然


I tried to do an original piece called "Doggerel to Scare the Cat," but English letters just do not work when writing in clay. The poem was smudged and blurred and illegible. It's probably just as well; Pommes has a reputation as a ferocious hunter. I wouldn't have wanted him to have scratched my eyes out for impertinence. 

I am waiting for my professor to e-mail me the pictures that she took of our adventures in Singapore. When I get them, I will post about my first professional academic conference. The entire trip was totally awesome, and meeting Chris, Regina, and the formidable Pommes was one of its highlights.


Linda McLaughlin said...

Sounds like a wonderful visit. I had no idea Pommes was such a tyrant. Are you sure he isn't a reincarnated dragon? Great pictures and how cool that you got to visit the Hakka village and eat an old favorite. What's sui banne made of? It looked like some kind of rice dish. (I'm so ignorant of all things Chinese.)


My name is Robin said...

Loved the pictures. Loved everything about Pommes the Wonder Cat. Love the cuneiform. Glad your trip was a success. Since it was raining so hard you couldn't see the fish, you'll just have to go back!

Teresa said...


I don't think that Pommes is a reincarnated dragon, but he's definitely part lion. There are some posts on e-cuneiform about his formidable ways. He definitely rules his house from the top of his throne.

I think that sui banne is made of rice flour. According to the English, it has dates in it. I think there is also a bit of honey from the taste.

I had read about the Hakka village when I did the paper on the Hakkas two years ago during my first semester of my MA. The "village" has now been swallowed up by the city, but it was really cool to be in a place about which I had read an anthropological journal article (from the 1970s) and to find Hakka food.

Robin, Pommes the Wonder Cat is truly amazing, as are his minions. I do hope to go back at a time when it is NOT raining. There are a lot of things in Hong Kong that I would like to see.

Cloudia said...

jet lag
Black bird hunting.

When night comes
talk about the day.
Sharing many Jokes."

I like it and very much enjoyed this journey I may never get to take; while the ferries remain "the same" and Pommes graces Asia and the blogosphere.
The Scribe & Heroine are never forgotten but always beloved!

As are you.

Dreams of Dim Sum
with You
on River Street
Honolulu Town.

Then Miss Kitty
can grace (rule)
a post of your blog
and blow lip-less kisses
to Pommes
King of Hong Kong

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral



Teresa said...

Great translation, Cloudia. You just forgot the word "cat". It should read "Black cat hunting birds." Pommes would love to leap out his window at the sparrows.

I hope to see you in March/April when I am in Hawaii for the Association of Asian Studies conference. I am saving an entire Sunday to visit your boat and eat dim sum Honolulu style.

murat11 said...

So glad you took us all along on the trip; the weather looked, to my mind, wonderfully moody. Love the play with Emperor Pommes. The loss of ferries in the name of progress is as bad as the loss of fairies for the same reason. Took one from Aransas Pass to Port Aransas last weekend - with another wonderfully moody sky - and there was never a better way to cross the Mississippi River in New Orleans than by ferry.

Teresa said...

"Emperor" Pommes. Heaven forfend that he should ever see that epithet. Chris and Regina will never get a moment's peace from him!!

Glad to have you back meandering through the blog.