Monday, July 31, 2017


Visitors, laundry, and more visitors for baseball . . .  all that adds up to a busy several days leaving little time for writing.

But . . . I did have time to snip a few lilies and roses

Lovely and fragrant and evidence of garden fighting its way back from neglect.

Have a good several days!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Our Last Meal in Hong Kong

Hooray!  We've made it to the very last entry with photos from our Asian trip but the first with some photographs of us and the people with whom we had such a rousing good time.

We wanted to have lunch at a place where we could get dim sum, and the concierge at our hotel recommended this restaurant which was run by primarily Chinese-only speakers.  Because most of us were not familiar with dim sum menus, we relied on the expertise of one couple because no one else could help us.  First the couple told us to look closely at the menu. David and Tom followed directions:

That started the hilarity that ensued throughout the entire meal.  The three you see below are merely attempting to look like serious and normal Americans-in-a-strange-land.  From left to right they are Lori, Dave, and Inge. There will be a test later.

This couple has been our bonsai-couple-friends-of-longest-standing since we joined the bonsai club 15 to 20 years ago (D is wrong; it's closer to 20 but I'm being diplomatic).  Tom was behind David in the "taking a close look" photo.  Sandy is very smart and didn't bother.

Then there is this couple who tagged along.  Oh yes, one is the closer-look guy.

Okay, now Sandy is perplexed.  We ordered as instructed by the members-of-our-group-who-will-remain-nameless but are probably in witness protection by now.  They told us that in the US when one orders in this kind of a restaurant, one places an order for ONE and receives ONE dumpling.
So each person went through the menu and ordered ONE of whatever struck her/his fancy.  Keep that in mind.  Sandy is perplexed because we seem to have SEVERAL baskets of MANY items, and this is only the first part of our order.

Notice the table behind us.  They were having a great celebration of some kind and were full of laughter although they may look quiet and subdued in this photo.  Remember the test.

The baskets kept coming and coming and coming.  There would be a pause but then more baskets would come.  By the time this next photo was taken we had realized that ONE order meant we received ONE tower of baskets for that particular item.  We had ordered enough to feed the entire bonsai club had they gone with us to this restaurant as well as those members who didn't take the trip!  Finally, one of the smart members of our dinner party got an idea (someone had to - the rest of us were crippled by laughter), grabbed piles of the baskets and took them to the party goers at the table behind us.  One of that party spoke English well enough that he was able to explain to the rest what had happened, and they immediately joined our hilarity while graciously accepting the extra food.  They thanked us profusely and laughed and laughed and eventually came over to join us for various photo opportunities.

By this time, everyone in the restaurant was aware that the crazy Americans had done something singularly foolish but were having such a good time about it that they could also share the joke without being rude.

It's hard to write this so you can understand what was so funny so the test is:

Who was with us at the restaurant?
How much did we think we were ordering?
How much did we actually get?
Who ate the food?
Did we have a good time in Asia?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Painting Day

While there are still some photos yet to show from Hong Kong, today was painting day.  Unlike last week's sketches in my sketchbook, today I worked on a study.  What's the difference?  In my mind, those sketches were one way to try out something that I liked but didn't like enough to make a finished painting.  Today's subject is something I like enough to take it from study to finished work.

The bamboo forest we visited in Japan provided me with many possibilities for a watercolor painting, but there was one that talked to me from the first time I saw it.  I certainly hope it shows up better on the blue background of my blog than it does on the white background I have while writing!  Not that it's really much to look at on either color.

First I worked on the background to get a feel for the brush strokes needed and to try out the paint colors.  Didn't have time to go back to making the bands that mark bamboo stalks because I thought I'd do it once the trunks were dry. I had done only that much when Sharon walked by to help out.  She gave me quite a bit of advice that should help with the next attempt.  

Then I just decided to paint in the two young kimono-clad women.  That was fun even though I didn't have time to finish them.  Playing with the colors and figuring out how to handle the obis (sash and big roll of fabric) kept me busy until it was time to go.  That's when I realized that I had the proportions of women to forest all wrong.  They are much too small.  Sharon laughed and told me to cut the lower corner away from the larger surface and use the women as a note card.  Something to think about; it is a way to salvage it!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Victoria Peak and Aberdeen Fishing Village: Hong Kong

Nearing the close of our Asian jaunt we left the city itself and drove up to Victoria Peak for the views.  While it was a very cloudy morning, we didn't mind as the previous day it had rained quite a bit.  We considered ourselves fortunate to be there when we were.

But before showing show those photos, I want to share a picture of Asian scaffolding - made from bamboo!  While I knew that bamboo was strong, I had no idea it wa this strong!

Back to Victoria Peak.  Since is was such a foggy day, I played a bit with black and white photos.  In this one, I tinted it blue so the harbor might be a bit more apparent.

And in this one of a look-out spot, I emphasized the structure and the people (taking photos) with red.

Leaving the Peak we went to Aberdeen Fishing Village for a "voyage" on a sampan.

While the men are out fishing, the women provide tourists with rides through the harbor.  It's very much a business for those women; taking a photo of our pilot would have cost me money.  Can't say I blamed her, but she didn't inspire me.  So what you see in the photographs below are the views we saw as we motored around the harbor.

And then we returned to our starting place.

Our return to dry land was through a wooden structure where I saw a dragon Hong Kong style.

This one of the harbor from land.  I love the juxtaposition of the old harbor-side structures with the modern buildings on the other side of the harbor.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hong Kong's Night Market

The Night Market of Hong Kong was a lot of fun to stroll through - as long as you keep your eyes open!  It was a crowded place full of color, patterns, sound, and people.  I took quite a few photos of booth interiors that had something appealing - at least to my eyes. 

Like these framed prints:

Colorful clothing:

More prints of various kinds of art:

A longer view through the market with the "flags" overhead (marking the location of the market):


Children's clothing:

The Night Market was something I had read about but never dreamed I'd be walking through it.  What an experience!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hong Kong

Hong Kong was the final destination of the bonsai trip.  It was a short stay, but worth every minute of it as I can't imagine we'll ever have another opportunity to go there again.

The first picture was taken from our hotel room.

One of the first things we did was visit the Jade Market.  At first I thought I wouldn't buy anything, but . . . well, when would we ever have this chance again?  But oh my, how to choose?

While I have a dark green necklace already (it's malachite), I didn't have one in what I call celadon green.   I do now!  Below is a pile of bracelets in all kinds of colors.

There were other articles made from jade, other minerals, and even a bit of porcelain.

There were also pearls being sold here, and that was an even greater temptation.  But again I remained strong.  Only one pair of earrings to wear with a pink pearl necklace that I was given several years ago made its way into my purse.

I kept taking photos because the colors were so lovely.

On our way back from the Jade Market we wandered through a local food market.  Again the site with its colors and people appealed to me not only as reminders of a great trip but also as possible painting material - both the booths and the people.

Some of the lanes we wandered through were also intriguing.

Finally, to warm up we stopped at one of my favorite places to get a latte.  I was fascinated with a flavored latte (yes, I'm one of those happy lovers of flavored coffees) I'd never seen in the States (and still haven't) so I had to try it.  

It was called "Pop-zel" and was a combination of caramel popcorn and pretzels.  Sound weird?  Oh yes.  But as odd as it may seem, it was delicious!

 Later we took a walk to find a place for lunch and on the way passed some incredible trees lining the street.

 Nighttime saw us at the Night Market, but I'll save that for another day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gyeongbukgung Palace: Traditional Dress Day

 The title of this entry says it all.  It was clear to us after this particular morning's tour that the South Koreans take Golden Week and its traditional base to dress in traditional dress.  Believe me, I didn't argue with that idea!  The possibilities for sketches, paintings, and quilt designs was multiplied by, well, five? ten? a lot anyway.

In the palace, we found this woman in the "kitchen".  Note the shoes - that gave me a giggle, but we all know what happens if your feet hurt!

 This is just a lovely area that I included here for painting purposes.  Imagine how the landscape would look with some of the locales in their traditional garb.  Well, not in the pond, of course!

These three ladies, for example could be walking beside the pond to the right where I would add a path (that was really there though it wasn't included in my photo).  Actually, they reminded me of Monet's "Women in the Garden" (find it on-line to see what I mean).  It's because of the shape of the skirts, I think.  Anyway, I think combining the two might work as a painting.


 Next there is this couple in gorgeous costume posing by the same pond.  Look how her skirt billows just beautifully in the wind.

Another couple.  You may wonder why most of the photos are taken from behind.  First, I didn't want to be rude or to make people self-conscious. Even though dressed as they were, they must have expected people like me who couldn't and wouldn't resist snapping away.

And viewed inside a Palace courtyard.

 Okay, here are some people viewed from the front.  Don't you just love their clothes and head coverings - and their smiles!

And that's the end of this tour!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Palace in Seoul, Day 2

First, I have to tell you that today D and I went to hear Handel's opera, Xerxes.  What a treat!  The singers ranged from good to outstanding, the costumes were fine, and the orchestra was very good as usual.  The only thing we did not cotton to was the scenery, and that may have been just us being - well, not "with it".  The title role (Xerxes, king of Persia) was sung by a sopranist (a term new to me).  If I am interpreting the term correctly, it is a man (not a castrato) who sings falsetto in a soprano range. A counter-tenor sings falsetto in the contralto to mezzo-soprano ranges. The man we heard sounded like true soprano with a more golden than silvery tone (unlike some males, who when using their falsetto ranges, sound either scratchy, thin, and/or strained).   Amazing.

Okay, now back to Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea. This lattice work in one of the buildings is a neat design that would lend itself to all sorts of possibilities.  Quilting being just one of them.

One of the buildings is set with a lake surrounding it.  

A family with three girls dressed in traditional costume (in honor of Golden Week) were playing nearby.

Love the design in the glass lantern as well as the one looking up at the underside of a roof point and a third in another lantern!

The rest are just photos of things I found lovely.  Most of these were in the area of the Palace grounds that have not yet been restored.

Lock on a door:

Looking through a doorway to admire the light on the building opposite:

 In the corner of a courtyard:

 A wonderful wooden door:

Looking through another opening (notice the panel to the right of the opening - a lovely tree) to the garden beyond:

Finally for today - six (I think) lovely bouquets: