The Most Exciting Ferry Ride in the World for 32 Cents

(A ferry crossing from Tsim Sha Tsui to Hong Kong Central.)

The Star Ferry in Hong Kong used to be the main means of transport between Hong Kong island and the Kowloon side. Today, with the connecting tunnel serving trains and cars, the ferry is used mainly by tourists and some passengers. It has been rated the most exciting ferry ride in the world.

It is best experienced at night with the lights from Hong Kong providing a colorful backdrop. The ride costs only 2.50 HK dollars or 32 US cents. How can you go wrong? Definitely not to be missed when visiting Hong Kong.

And since today is Chinese New Year, let me greet you

恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái)

‘Happiness and prosperity!’



Vietnamese Girl in Ao Dai


The ao dai is the Vietnamese traditional costume, commonly worn by women but also worn by men (George W Bush and Vladimir Putin wearing the ao dai can be seen here).

Today western clothes are prevalent, so a girl gracefully riding a bicycle in an ao dai is a rare sight, specially in Ho Chi Minh City where motorcycles dominate the road. But the ao dai remains the standard costume for weddings and big events like Tet holiday celebrations.

Incidentally, celebrations for the Vietnamese New Year (Tet holiday) start this week. It’s the most important festival in Vietnam.

As they say in Vietnamese, Năm mới dồi dào sức khỏe! (I wish you a healthy new year!) and Năm mới tấn tài tấn lộc! (I wish you a wealthy new year!)

May all your wishes come true! Vạn sự như ý!


Sydney Harbour at Night When the Tourists Are Gone

Sometimes, like people, a place can reveal its inner character when you catch it when it is alone.


Sydney Harbour is one of the most popular places for tourists. During the day, it is packed with people and pigeons. Aside from the Ferry Terminal it also has attractions surrounding it like the Opera House, museums, as well as hotels and restaurants. It can be quite busy indeed.


Until you let all of them go and see a different side. It is a dock, a port, after all. At night when the tourist are gone it goes back to its nature, quite lonely I suppose.


Even the Overseas Passenger Terminal, where all the cruise ships dock, falls silent and gives lovers in a quarrel some space.
Ambience Unseen

What’s With Love Locks?

(At the NY Waterway near the Brooklyn Bridge.)

Sweethearts write their names or initials on the padlock and throw away the key to symbolize a love that “cannot be broken.”

Apparently started 100 years ago when a soldier went to war and fell in love with another woman, breaking his vow to his sweetheart at home. Since then love locks were seen as a wish, if not a promise, to keep love safely “locked.”

It has become common in the last few years specially in tourist areas, that it has been considered a form of littering and even vandalism. There is a “No Love Locks” movement in Paris and other places.

Does it work? Maybe. Not in a superstitious way but in the psychological commitment that could come from the act. Something similar to marriage vows in front of family, friends and community. But I guess just like other expressions of commitment, it really depends on how serious the commitment was in the first place — and the desire to work together to make the relationship work. That’s much harder than putting a padlock on a fence.


Is a Child More Resilient Than a Tree?


We tend to assume that children are naturally resilient. After all, children go through a lot of “adjustments” and turn out “alright.”

In reality, resilience is a skill that has to be learned, even by children. The American Psychological Association has a guide for parents and teachers, and has a set of guidelines on building resilience in children. Both mention resilience as the ability to “thrive despite challenges” and “to cope, recover from hardships, and be prepared for future challenges.”

I’m not an expert but, like everyone else, had to go through challenges and overcome them or learn from them. Actually it doesn’t end. Maybe building resilience is part of lifelong growth. What is given is that it involves dealing with adversity or stress and getting past them.

Which brings me to the tree. It endures storms, droughts, maybe even fires — and it grows a stronger trunk and branches, strong enough to carry a child learning how to deal with a possible fall.

But resilience is more than just being strong, it also is about being flexible — like the child clinging to the branch. The tree also had to bend with the wind, and grow its branches where the leaves can find the sun.

A child and a tree both have to become resilient in their own ways. That’s the law of nature, the way to survive. And children and trees have been around for a long time.

A Mathematical New Year’s Greeting

It’s the Year of 452 – 23.

May your blessings grow at the EXPONENTIAL rate of cx and your troubles approach the LIMIT of 1/x as x approaches infinity.

May your friends be REAL and your worries IMAGINARY, not the other way around.

Don’t we sometimes make things too complicated? 🙂


In truth, my favorite buttons are next to each other — the DELETE button when you make a mistake, and the AC (All Clear) button when you want to start over.

It’s a new year and it’s a good time to press the All Clear button. Reset. Start over again.

Happy New Year! And may you not count the days but make your days count!

Resilient Year