San Francisco on Steroid


When I was living in San Fran, I could really feel I was living in a city of hills and valleys. I was quite amazed that people decided to build a city on these hills. The longer I thought about that, I started to realise that I grew up in the North District in Hong Kong which is an area of hills too. But somehow I never really noticed the hills, why is that?

Well, in San Fran, I actually “see” the hills every day, but in Hong Kong, the hills are blocked by the super tall buildings. These buildings form layers of walls and totally block the view to the hills. You can totally understand that what I mean from the photo above taken from my window. I live on the 18th floor already and still I don’t see much of the hills! I guess there should be a height limit set for the buildings and the buildings should be placed on a grid so people can have a view when they look in between the buildings.

sheung shui, hong kong – jun 30, 2013


Palace of Fine Arts vs Palace of Materials

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco

“Palace of Materials” (Landmark North mall) in background, Sheung Shui, Hong Kong

On a nice day out, people in San Francisco were taking a stroll at the Palace of Fine Arts, admiring the sculptures and arts, perhaps imaging how it would be like walking in the Palace when it was first created for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, six years after the great fire. The lagoon, the trees and the arts cost them nothing.

While at the same time in Sheung Shui, people from the People Republic of China and some locals were busy consuming goods at the “Palace of Materials”. This “Palace” alone opened the doors for each shopper to review goods and brands from top nations in the world, though most goods actually made in China. Nike, Adidas, K Swiss, Rolex, I Phones, Mac books, milk powder had cost them everything in their pockets…

the sculptures and arts

the materials and the shoppers

palace of fine arts, san francisco – 3:24 pm, sep 3, 2011
“palace of materials” (landmark north mall), sheung shui, hong kong – 3:45 pm jul 29, 2012

Painted Ladies of Ann Arbor

A lot of us travel to San Francisco to see the world famous Painted Ladies – rows of highly ornate and colorful wood houses of similar Victorian style sitting next to each other on a little hill. But have you noticed that there could be different version of “painted ladies” in your or your nearby neighborhoods too?

I found the Painted Ladies of AA (Ann Arbor) when I started walking around my historic Old West Side neighborhood. They are not as ornate as the ones in San Fran, but to me they are equally beautiful and their more plain decoration makes me feel very cozy walking around them. Instead of going far to find art and beauty, I hope that there are Painted Ladies everywhere for caring neighbors to discover in their neighborhood.

around west liberty st & seventh st, ann arbor, michigan – 2:53pm, jan 1, 2012