Showcase 2006 Photo Gallery
Summer in New York was rather subdued as I was busy exploring NYC every weekend. However, I had to make a trip across the Pacific to Bangkok for a meeting in the summer and got a chance to explore the city a bit.
1. Bangkok's airport is a great spotting place, with plenty of international visitors.
2. Taking a fast boat in the river was quite an experience. The water seemed muddy and dirty, and I was worried I'd get sick from all the water splashing onto my face.
3. Look at all the details!
4. Very muddy, isn't it?
5. Lush tropical feeling.
Then I was off to Calgary to appreciate much cooler, more suitable weather. Calgary is the closest large city to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and it was only a 90-minute drive to Banff.
6. The descent into the city was amazing, as I was able to capture the whole skyline with the mountains in the background!
7. With the cooler weather the leaves started changing colours, which meant a walk in the park was a must.
8. However, not all parks are outdoors. This indoor gardens in the downtown core is a favourite spot for office workers seeking a sheltered oasis for lunch.
9. Calgary is an emerging major business centre as the natural resources boom continues further north. The area is famous for oil and natural gas, and there is a lot of it.
11. Beautiful weather, and lovely blue skies.
12. Calgary's Hong Kong connection is Husky, a huge energy company linked to billionnaire Li Ka-shing's corporate empire.
A visit to Calgary cannot be complete unless I venture into the mountains. For 2 weekends in a row, I took the car well into the mountains, reaching as far as Jasper, which was a fairly long drive but well worth it for the views.
13. Banff is a tourist trap, and not so appealing to me anymore. However, what I haven't done there before was to dine at the Banff Springs Hotel, a very nice retreat with a decent menu. Here's a view from the dining hall.
14. Good old iced tea.
15. I was very happy with how this photo came out.
16. Lake Louise was a far more appealing place to visit. There isn't much there besides the lake and the luxury hotel, and I booked a night up there to savour the tranquility. At first I thought I was going to get no views as my room opened on the wrong side of the hallway, but I didn't realize they actually gave me a suite, and there was a little den with a sofa with full lake views!
17. It snowed a bit that night and got fairly cold by morning. However, I braved the elements and ventured out for a short walk around the lake, and was greeted by hordes of other tourists doing the same thing. I really liked the eerie glow from the glacial waters.
18. The weather forecast called for sunny weather, but I was quite disappointed the morning didn't start off so well, but there was a dusting of snow on the ground, so it made up for the cloudy skies. I wasn't expecting snow so early in October.
19. Moraine Lake is just off the main road into Lake Louise, and involves driving along quite treacherous roads peering off the mountain sides. I didn't know about this place until a good friend suggested that I visit this lake, which is the setting for the old 20 Canadian Dollar bill.
21. So serene.
22. I drove north from Lake Louise towards Jasper, which was at least 5 hours away. My ambitious itinerary was to go all the way up to Jasper and come back to Lake Louise for the night. However, I had every intention to stop as much as possible since the highway is designed with many lookout points where you can pull over to a rest stop and get out of the car to admire the views. Sometimes I even made the dangerous move to snap pictures while driving. The scenery was just too good!
23. A little snow really adds to the magic. Then the skies began to clear.
24. Actually there was quite a lot of snow on the ground!
25. Peyto Lake was another magical place recommended by my good friend. What could I do without you?
26. Lots of mountains ...
27. ... and lots of lakes!
31. The Columbia Icefields is a major attraction in the Canadian Rockies. Visitors take special vehicles onto the glacier and can walk around a bit on the ice. As I've been here before, I just took a ceremonial dip into the glacial water with my fingers. The water was very cold!
33. I noticed the highway got a lot quieter north of the Icefields. I guess most tourists only ply the stretch from there to Banff.
34. It was around 2pm when I got to Jasper, which was way behind my schedule since I made too many stops coming up from Lake Louise, but it was worth it in the end.
35. To save time, I had to eat my sandwich which I packed from Lake Louise very quickly in the car. Then walked out a bit to digest to see yet more weird glows from the glacial water.
36. The reason why I wanted to get to Jasper so badly was because it was the last weekend before the Jasper Tramway closed for the season. Having been up Sulphur Mountain so many times to see the view from the mountains, I wanted to try the same thing in Jasper. I was not disappointed.
37. I'm on top of the world!
38. I had to be extra careful being above the tree line. I wouldn't want to damage the fragile ecosystem or fall off the mountain.
40. Time was not on my side, so I didn't make it all the way to the summit, but the views from where I was were nice enough already.
41. Jasper looks so small from up here.
42. Don't you want to ride the rails across the country?
Then it was a long ride back to Lake Louise. I had to make it back by sunset since the roads were narrow, winding, and had no street lights. Luckily I made it back just as the last light of the day faded out, and was happily satisfied of a mission accomplished!
43. 3 more lovely memories from the Rocky Mountains.
Before leaving New York for good, I wanted to visit the Northeast again. Although I've been to DC so many times, I never got a good photo set out of those visits, so had to go back.
46. Well, no complaints over the weather!
47. However, I wished I had time to go up the monument.
The Inner Harbor has changed a lot since my last visit. There is a lot of construction activity and it was very busy that day with a Red Bull event in town.
51. But they really need to clean the windows at WTC. It was very hard to take pictures from the glass.
Chicago has been on my to-go list for a very long time. I've been there once in 2000, but it was very cold then and I didn't get to see much. This time, I took 4 days to explore to my heart's content.
53. I was very impressed with Michigan Avenue's landscaping efforts. They really beautified the street very well and each sector had its own unique plants and arrangements.
56. However, despite the blue skies, I never made it up to the Hancock observation deck, which was a must-do for me. The weather was not so co-operative and got very foggy by the time I made the trip back to go up.
57. Chicago's architectural mix is very interesting, with many well-decorated skyscrapers that contained plenty of details.
58. I was very impressed with the museum scene in Chicago and DC (and obviously NYC). I really liked how they planned several museums together around the lake, and have a huge park so people can enjoy the prime real estate.
60. I'm an economizing cheapskate, so I visited History Museum to learn about Chicago's past on its free day.
61. South Chicago wasn't exactly the best place to be in the city. The subway ride there was a bit scary, seeing so many abandoned buildings along the way. This park was nice, though, but I wouldn't dare go back at night.
62. So many very nice buildings to see!
65. So relaxing to be a duck isn't it?
66. I had to savour the half day of clear skies before it became cloudy, then foggy.
Chicago is a very impressive city. There was a lot to see in the Loop and skyscraper spotting was definitely a lot of fun. November was borderline OK to visit as the cold weather began to set in and it actually wasn't so windy. Too bad it was cloudy for much of my visit.
My final North American trip before my return to Hong Kong was San Francisco, a logical stop for a long transpacific flight. I have never visited the US West Coast before. At first I was considering a stopover in Vancouver instead, but then I've been there too many times so I searched around and found a friend of mine had moved to SF to work for a few months so I packed my bags and flew over to visit him.
68. SF is a fairly hilly place, yet they're able to maintain a grid pattern despite the geographic challenges.
70. Although Alcatraz was on my travel plan, I never made it there in the end. I wasn't so keen on visiting prisons but it seemed like a top-rated attraction from all the guidebooks I went through. Wonder what did I miss?
71. I also attempted to walk the Golden Gate. In the end, I made it to the first pillar. I just didn't have time to do the whole thing roundtrip.
73. I was quite surprised how much fare evasion happens on transit vehicles!
74. Residential architecture is quite good, with plenty of variety and colours in the houses.
75. The view from Coit Tower is spectacular!
79. Water's soothing effect on stress.
80. Wish I had one of these.
81. The last trip of the year was in China, to celebrate my move back to Hong Kong. Shanghai it was!
82. This time, we covered the less travelled areas but wounded up at the Bund somehow. We snuck our way into a few buildings to get shots like this.
83. Who needs to use the restroom?
84. Beautiful, and even moreso had it been sunny.
85. The new emerges above the old.
86. The top looks pretty good, and is yet another one of those visual surprises that are so common in Shanghai.
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