Traveling solo

I was a little nervous about traveling on my own, but everyone I speak with that’s done it has had such wonderful things to say about that aspect so I’m ready to go.  To ease the transition I’m staying in a hostel in Hong Kong and I’ve met such wonderful people at every turn.

Update: That experience in Hong Kong turned out to be the rule, not the exception. I quickly learned how easy it is to make friends when you’re traveling -shared experiences, cultural interests, intellectual curiosity, diverse perspectives from around the world. Sign me up!

Victoria Peak – view of the HK skyline

Victoria Peak, (traditional Chinese: 太平山), which locals just refer to as The Peak, is a mountain in Hong Kong with outstanding views of the Hong Kong skyline.

View from Victoria Peak
View from Victoria Peak


The view from 1800 feet above sea level at Victoria Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong.

To get to Victoria Peak, most tourists take the Peak Tram, a scenic ride in a 100 year old train as they ascend up the mountain. At the top is a building that looks like a ship with all kinds of tourist traps – Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, Odditorium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and the Peak Explorer Motion Simulator. I’d head straight to the many viewing areas – they’re spectacular!

The Lion Pavilion offers a panoramic vista of the Hong Kong skyline, which was really impressive at night.


It’s so interesting to see a place with both Portugese (It’s a former Portugese colony) & Chinese influences. The best site by far is the Ruins of the Church of St Paul (photos below).

The Ruins of the Church of St Paul
The Ruins of the Church of St Paul - built in 1617. Some consider these ruins to be greatest monument to Christianity in Asia. In 1835 a fire destroyed nearly everything besides the facade pictured here.

Purple eyes!
Hmmm...shall I order A Stomach of Ox or Pork Intestine?
you choose it, they cook it

What does “50 and 50 by 50” mean?

Now that I’ve launched this blog, I thought I should explain the title. I want to visit all 50 states, and 50 countries, by age 50. So it’s 50 and 50 by 50, hence the name of my travel blog,*.

For those of you keeping score at home, I was at 25 states and 20 countries to start the trip (I’m 32). So I have 17.5 years to visit 30 countries, which seems daunting considering I might not travel on big trips as much once I’m settled with a family, but this trip will help bring me much closer.
Considering only 4 of my countries were in Europe, and that’s where countries are most clustered together, I’m in decent shape to get there.

I’ll update my tally of where I’ve been at this link, and link countries I’ve written about from that list as well.

What constitutes a visit?  You can play by any rules you’d like, but mine are that I need to leave the airport or the highway and actually do something in that state or country for it to count. Have a meal, take a picture of an attraction, etc.

Macau pics

Wax Apples in HK

I tried all kinds of new fruits in Hong Kong, including these wax apples. Wax apples do not taste like apples – they’re juicy like a watermelon.

Official name of wax apples: Syzygium samarangense

Photo: Wax Apples in Hong Kong, 1024 x 679
bell-shaped wax apples in Hong Kong

In Taiwan and China, they are known as lianwu (simplified Chinese: 莲雾; traditional Chinese: 蓮霧; pinyin: lián wù). Other names include love apple, java apple, bellfruit. water apple, mountain apple and rose apple.

These wax apples were red like typical apples but I read that some have colors ranging from white, pale green, green, red, purple, to deep purple or even black. The reddest fruits are the sweetest.

Visit 50 Countries & 50 States by Age 50