Memories of Hong Kong’s disappearing iconic Neon Signs

When I grew up, the impression I had of Hong Kong was from those HK movies where you always see crowded streets and those shops with colorful shiny neon advertisement signs. Later on, I’ve had the chance to visit this magical city a couple of times to witness them. For me, as a pure tourist, those neon signs have always been the main symbol of the city, I wonder if locals think this way as well.

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Easy steps and some practical tools to plan your backpacking gap year or world trip

(photo credit:http://storypad.info/present-around-the-world/)

A world trip sounds amazing and many people dream about doing it. But how?

Here are some easy steps I use to make my trip plans.

Step (1) Get inspired. Use Pinterest to discover your future destinations. Continue reading Easy steps and some practical tools to plan your backpacking gap year or world trip

写给我爱的灰色彩虹城市—布鲁塞尔

这是我在比利时居住的第五个年头,一直住在首都布鲁塞尔附近的小城市。刚来的时候认识的所有人都跟我说布鲁塞尔并不像伦敦巴黎一样迷人也没有什么景点还不太安全。我当时去过几次也是一直是这样觉得,三个主要火车站附近流浪汉遍地,北站附近的罗姆人会不断伸手向你要钱,身为欧盟首都(虽然现在欧盟前景也不容乐观)却没有多少人愿意跟你说英语。火车上永远没有英语播报,坐错车无数次。地铁电车更是鱼龙混杂……上世纪50年代的大移民潮和布鲁塞尔的法语化让越来越多说荷兰语的人民纷纷搬离了这个曾经安静祥和的城市。尽管这里一直是官方上的双语城市,而现今的布鲁塞尔人也非常不屑比利时吧这里规划在弗兰德斯区域里。我去过一些其他的双语城市,却从来没有感受像比利时两个大语言区的隔阂。总之很长一段的时间我从来不觉得这是个平和美丽的城市。

去年,我决定给自己放一个假,去布鲁塞尔学习一年法语,搭火车然后转电车才能到学校。忽然多了很多空闲的时间,下了课就去城市不同的区域闲逛,倒是发现了不少有意思的角落。

拉肯区的一个公园里,坐在秋千上的青少年用一般法语一般荷兰语聊天开玩笑;南站附近的嘉年华里每家店铺都卖清真的零食;再往前走有一些非洲饭店,里面卖的炸香蕉很好吃;马路两旁咖啡店门口很多喝薄荷茶的北非男人,和摩洛哥看到的一样,从来看不到喝薄荷茶的女人。中心的小亚洲城有特别讨厌的人“QiongChong”地模仿中文。地铁口的罗姆女人不是很友好的求吃着三明治的上班族把三明治给她吃;电车上的少年紧张的张望怕检票员查票,他们做好随时冲出车门的准备,而他们的手机里一定有个分享即时查票信息的APP;火车北站的站台上一个难民过来乞讨,我用刚学的法语告诉他我是学生没什么钱,他居然来跟我握手。大街上很多能说5种以上的语言,然而英语不一定包括在其中;北站外面站街女喊一个大概70上下的男人“小宝贝男孩”;通勤的上班族一路飞奔冲到火车月台却发现火车晚点5分钟,他喘了一口气……

就这样每天通勤在我住的小城市和布鲁塞尔,比利时的天空经常是深灰色,而我在布鲁塞尔看到的一点一滴的生活角落却为他加上了彩虹的颜色,很多人(包括我)都曾看到了他的脏乱差但其实他也迷人。

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A regular day in Brussels, I miss it!

I saw people hurrying to catch the train, who will still be late. Street artists playing the accordion at the bottom of the stairs of Gare du Nord. A homeless guy shouting “S’il vous plait” when I ran to catch my tram against the parc. In the tram, there were 2 teenagers fleeding to the back door and ready to get off anytime in order to avoid the ticket control guy, probably after checking their magic ControlSTIP app, which displays the stops where there currently is ticket checking. A gipsy woman stares at sandwich that someone holds, ready to eat. She asked him if she can have it. – it’s nonsense. People who speak 7 languages – English not being one of them actually. The prostitutes downstairs , who called an old man next door “baby-boy” . I was commuting between Leuven and Brussels for a year, Between these two cities, the sky is the same, cloudy and dark gray. But, when it is reflected in all these little stories, it takes the colors of the rainbow.

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