Climbing Hong Kong

Today is the first day of Chinese New Year. Lots of businesses are closed, but not everything. We woke up late to the sound of karaoke downstairs. No firecrackers here, apparently they are illegal. It’s actually weird that I still haven’t heard any, because they are ubiquitous in San Francisco’s Chinatown during this time.

We went out to explore and ended up at the escalator that they built in the Central district for commuters who live up the hill, in the “midlevels”. Most of the time the escalator runs up, except for a few hours during the morning commute. James rode it all the way up…and I climbed the stairs that run next to it! Awesome way to get some exercise in.

There were plenty of people out – families walking around, some looking happy and some looking like they’d already had enough family time. More restaurants than we expected were open and at lunchtime most were quite busy. We had our favorite cheap meal – kebabs! Things are veryย expensive here; we paid over $20 in U.S. dollars for two pints of beer in a pub the other night. But kebabs were only HK $40-50 (about US $5-6).

I took a ton of photos as we progressed up the hill. This city is so vertical. In some ways it reminds me of San Francisco – especially all these hills. But everything in Hong Kong is bigger, taller, more. Can you imagine if they built an escalator like this up Nob Hill or Russian Hill?

The Alleys of Tainan, Taiwan

Tainan is a historic city in the south west of Taiwan. The former capital of the country, it has a long past much of which predates automobile. There are certainly big roads here, but much of the city is connected by tiny alleys, where all the living is actually done.
Here are a few random pics I snagged on our walks: