Oddities

Today is the start of the 2020 Lunar New Year Flower Fair in Victoria Park, HK. This year is not the usual mix of flowers, food, political novelty toys and celebratory new year symbols – it is the Rat this year. Anything remotely political has been banned by HK’s Spoilsport in Chief, Curried Lam. The beleaguered CE has cancelled our fireworks, attacked the fair and encouraged people to be good comrades instead. Nonetheless I went out with Mrs. Ha to buy our floral decorations there – a blossom tree for good luck, red berries, bright flowers and some pussy willow. The harbingers of spring. The vendors were not universally joyful at the new arrangements. Maybe next year we can go back to colour.

Lunar New Year Flower Fair - slow selling day 2020

A not very gruntled flower seller wondering why nobody is at the flower fair

The TVB folks did find one buyer to interview

TVB journalist Hailey Jo interviewing at the LNY flower fair

But before we left home we had our dose of good cheer as we were babysitting over night.

Miss Sunshine

 

Patch birding

Nowadays I don’t go far afield. I make the odd foray to Malaysia for moths but my birding is almost exclusively local. All of these images were taken within walking distance of our apartment. I hope you enjoy them.

The cockatoo is important. An introduced species that has bred like rabbits. It is now considered endangered in the wild so HK’s population has suddenly become critically important. The birds are censussed and monitored by HK University. We have two strongholds nearby, in HK Park and very close to us on May Road. There is another bigger flock that roosts in Victoria Park. We get up to 8 on our balcony at times. They are pretty fearless and I can walk out and iPhone them sometimes.

Brambling

Fringilla montifringilla

Radde’s Warbler

Phylloscopus schwarzi - Radde's Warbler

Zoothera aurea – White’s Thrush (one of my favourite Winter visitors)

Zoothera aurea

White-tailed Robin – female

White-tailed Robin - Myiomela leucura

Chestnut Bulbul

Chestnut Bulbul

Yellow-crested Cockatoo

Yellow-crested Cockatoo preening and removing feather

Tulips from Amsterdam

18 months or so ago the memsahib and I decided we wanted to visit the tulip fields of Amsterdam. We booked our flights a year in advance to get free flights from Hong Kong to Amsterdam on Cathay Pacific using our Asia Miles. I rather foolishly gave free rein to the choice of hotels and discovered we were staying at the Waldorf. This turned out to be ruinously expensive but as it was our only joint holiday of the year it went unchallenged.

I wanted to see the Rembrandt exhibition and visit the van Gogh Museum too. Neither of us realised when we booked that the reason why the hotel was so expensive was because we had booked over King’s Day – a bacchanalian celebration of the King’s birthday. It proved a wonderful photographic opportunity. So here are a few of the images I came back with.

Tulips anybody?

Tulip bed at Keukenhof

Heading to the Rijksmueum to see the Rembrandts

Alle Rembrandts

Looking down into the Library

Rijksmuseum Library

Cafe Life

Cafe life

Outside bar scene on the evening of King's Day 2019, Amsterdam

King’s Day

Exuberance

Partying hard

Cafe Life

Window girls

Classic Amsterdam: Canals, bridges and bikes

Bike on the bridge

Street Life

Diversity

Herengracht junction

Smoke break

Inside Out

And almost finally…… a detail from The Night watch

The Night Watch - detail

Highly recommended as a tourist friendly destination and the Waldorf was amazing as a treat.

Watching over the crowd