the journey of two travelers near and far on a series of foreign detours

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June 2014

Good morning and welcome to June! We hope the start of the six month finds you well. We are having a good year so far. Keep an eye out for more blog posts from our China trip in the coming weeks.

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June 2014 Calendar #1: London, England – Summer 2010. A pot of sunflowers at Borough Market, one of our favorite stops as we traveled the British Isles.

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June 2014 Calendar #2: Paris, France, Autumn 2009. The Arc de Triomphe in the heart of Paris. A symbol of France, erected to honor the soldiers who fought and died during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars.

Here’s how it works:

1- Click on the image for the calendar you wish to select. This will open a new window (or tab) displaying the correct wallpaper image for your screen.

2- Right-click (or ctrl-click) on the image.

3 – Select the option, “Set as Desktop Background”, “Use as Desktop Picture,” or something similar.

If the image does not fit your desktop background neatly, see below.

You may have to go to your preference screen (on a Mac: System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop; on Windows: Control Panel > Display > Desktop) and choose “Fit to screen”.
If you have problems with the desktop calendar and would like assistance, just shoot us an email. We are happy to help.

Hope you enjoy, and see you back next month for new calendars!

Hong Kong: Victoria Harbour Skyline At Night

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Every evening at 8:00pm the skyline of buildings on the edge of Hong Kong Island come alive with a light show. We were able to see this light show during one of our passages across Victoria Harbour on a Star Ferry boat. It was quite cloudy, but you could still see several elements of the light show including the green lasers in the photo above.

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The heavy cloud cover made it difficult to photograph, but it was quite impressive. The number of skyscrapers is simply incredible. From the Hong Kong wikipedia article: “According to Emporis, there are 1,223 skyscrapers in Hong Kong, which puts the city at the top of world rankings.[233] It has more buildings higher than 500 feet (150 m) than any other city. The high density and tall skyline of Hong Kong’s urban area is due to a lack of available sprawl space, with the average distance from the harbour front to the steep hills of Hong Kong Island at 1.3 km (0.81 mi), much of it reclaimed land. This lack of space causes demand for dense, high-rise offices and housing. Thirty-six of the world’s 100 tallest residential buildings are in Hong Kong. More people in Hong Kong live or work above the 14th floor than anywhere else on Earth, making it the world’s most vertical city.”

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Here we are about halfway across the harbour looking to the east toward Causeway Bay.

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Here you can see three of the different types of ferry boats that cross the harbour. On the left is a “junk” or old Chinese fishing vessel, in the middle is one of the larger longer distance ferries and then on the right is a Star Ferry like we were riding.

Hong Kong: Star Ferry

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Hong Kong Island and Kowloon City, two of the central areas of Hong Kong, are divided by Victoria Harbour (spelled with a “u” because Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997). There are three main ways to cross the harbour: by using the subway, by using a bus/taxi/car in a tunnel or by taking a boat. The most common way to travel by boat is by taking the Star Ferry.

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These white life savers are a common sight on the ships. They are sometimes seen on the exteriors as well.

I am a big fan of boats in general and ferries in particular, so we went out of our way to make sure that we rode the ferry as much as we could (three times in total, twice at night and once during the day).

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The interior of one of the ferries at night. The ships are quite old and charming. The journey across Victoria Harbour takes only about ten minutes, and ferries usually run every fifteen minutes or so.

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This is a pair of Star Ferry boats passing each other as seen from above. I forgot to mention how cheap it is to ride – only about 3 Hong Kong dollars, which is less than 50 cents per ride.

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Here is the ferry terminal in Kowloon with the clocktower and boardwalk in the background.

Hong Kong: Tian Tan Buddha

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After riding the Lantau Island Cable Car to arrive in Ngong Ping Village, we walked to the base of the Tian Tan Buddha.

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Also known as “Big Buddha” this is a large seated bronze Buddha Amoghasiddhi statue that is 112 feet tall and weighs 250 tons. We then climbed the 268 steps to get to the base of the Buddha where it sits upon a lotus flower.

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Though it was cloudy there was a small amount of blue sky that we were able to enjoy while at the base of the Big Buddha.

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After visiting the Big Buddha we also visited the adjacent monastery where they were burning incense. We enjoyed a nice lunch at their vegetarian restaurant before heading back to Hong Kong.

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