Sunday, 22 August 2010

Controversial - Should the bullfights stop in Spain?

My answer is short.... No.

It doesn't mean I don't love animals and definitely doesn't make me a monster. And you might wonder why.

To start with let me tell you that I don't like bullfights, I went to one years ago, and never again. I do like the bull runnings in Pamplona though.

I consider bullfights to be a tradition. A lot of people like them and enjoy them. It's happened for years so why stop them now? Not to forget that those bulls have been bred with a unique purpose, to participate in a bullfight. There is a whole industry behind it.

A bullfight is a fight between a bull and a bullfighter. The bullfighter knows the risks they are running when they put themselves in front of the bull so if they get killed, they did it doing what they loved.

Taking freedom from people and telling them what they should enjoy is what comes to mind when someone wants to stop a tradition like bullfighting. Who is anyone to tell us what is wrong? Who is anyone to forbid something? When I hear people discuss what is right and wrong with a tradition, I see someone is trying to limit my freedom of speech and my freedom to choose for myself what I should enjoy.

So if you are reading this and you think that I am wrong, I hope that at least you respect my opinion, the same way I respect yours.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Visit to Hong Kong and Macau

I arrived to Hong Kong in the middle of the day which great as it allowed me to see the whole city as I got into it by bus. The first thing that surprised me was the high of the buildings, the mountains and the fact that everywhere was so green.

I stayed in Hong Kong with Kristen. I had to seen her since she left London, about a year ago, and I was very lucky she had a few days to show me around before starting her new job.

Kristen and I in Kowloon's waterfront

Hong Kong is a fairly small island, limited by the sea and hills, it really makes sense that the only way to expand is up. Everyone lives in flats and the higher the better.... and more expensive, of course.

Hong Kong is a much easier place than China, most people speaks English and all the signs are in English and Cantonese. The place is very lively and it has quite a Europen feel to it. I couldn't help but notice the big amount of foreigners that seem to live in Hong Kong.

I think that Hong Kong is definitely the shoppers paradise, though I didn't find it to be as cheap as I was expecting. Long are gone the days where HK was the place to go shopping. You find huge shopping centres, full of international brands. There are also small local shops all over in the streets. I visited the night market at Temple street, which is full of suveniers.... I controlled myself and only bought a watch for $18 (around £1.5).

The skyline is stunning, specially at night. On my first night, Kristen and I took the Star Ferry to Kowloon. From Tsim Sha Tsui you get a great view of Hong Kong's skyline. Then we went to Felix, the bar on the top of the Peninsula hotel in Kowloon, where it was interesting to find the best view in the toilets!

From the water front at Kowloon

From the bar at the top of the Peninsula hotel

What I enjoyed the most in Hong Kong was the food. It was great to go out with a local to try lots of different dishes. What I didn't know is that Hong Kong has a great variety of desserts, the mango soup was delicious(made with mango juice, "pearls" of sago and bits of grapefruit and mango).

Mango soup

Sesame paste and tofu are used a lot in desserts. The weirdest thing I tried was a soup made with shark fin, fish maw and sea cucumber. We had it in a restaurant in Macau, one of the very few restaurants that are chinese, as Portuguese restaurants seem to take over the place. This is a very popular place for their soup.

Macau's famous shark fin soup

Other dishes i had in Hong Kong include: jellyfish, ox tongue, egg whites, Peking style lamb, Pekin duck, preserved duck eggs, fried tofu, goose, fried spare ribs and more!!

The day in Macau was great.... who would have thought that you could find a place in Asia that look so European? You can definitely see the Portuguese influence everywhere in the buildings and all the signs are written in cantonese and Portuguese, which really helped me as it is so similar to Spanish.

Macau's main square

The old town is great to walk around and get the portuguese taste! The one thing that every visitor to Macau buys are the boxes of very nice almond biscuits. On the south of the Macau mainland, and in the south island, you find the asian Las Vegas. Huge casinos are built and more are being built. This seems to be the main attraction for the Chinese. What is different in these casino's is the lack of noise. I have never been to Las Vegas, but from other people's experiences I can imagine it is a buzzing place with lots of noise, music, voices, etc... The capacity of the two casinos I went in (City of dreams and The Venetian) is more than I could ever imagine, yet you don't hear a noise. You see groups of Chinese gather around the tables, some with coupier, others managed automatically, and all the concentration is in the game and the bet. It's not by far the lively place i imagine Las Vegas to be. Interesting fact:: Macau's casinos have already overtaken Las Vegas' in revenue.

Going out in Hong Kong is great. There are lots of bars to visit. Lan Kwai Fong is one of the most popular bar areas. On a Wed and Thursday, lots of bars have Ladies' nights, which means free drinks for the ladies. We visited a few of the most popular bars.

One of the best views in town is the one you get from the top bar at Wooloomooloo, where Kristen and I caught up with Marco who happened to be in town... the world is such a small place!

Me with the Italian boys (Marco y Andrea)

My last day in Hong Kong I did tourism on my own. The one thing that was missing was to take the Peak Tram for an inclredible view of Hong Kong. I went up my tram and down walking, it takes about one hour, but got some really great views on the way down too.

View from the top

I'm going back to Hong Kong after Vietnam for one more day. I hope to have the chance to go to Lantau island to see the big Budha.

I hope you enjoyed this! Until next time!