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.
The TVB folks did find one buyer to interview
But before we left home we had our dose of good cheer as we were babysitting over night.
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.
Zoothera aurea – White’s Thrush (one of my favourite Winter visitors)
White-tailed Robin – female
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.
Heading to the Rijksmueum to see the Rembrandts
Looking down into the Library
Classic Amsterdam: Canals, bridges and bikes
And almost finally…… a detail from The Night watch
Highly recommended as a tourist friendly destination and the Waldorf was amazing as a treat.