"Is it the shoes?!"

Merry Christmas to all!
I know I'm a little early, but it's Christmas here in the Philippines.
I just want to stop by and greet everyone,
and also post this interesting piece by Fox Sports.
Good thing I pre-ordered two of these in November...
...Silly US. Hahaha.

Air Jordan XI Fiasco


J2: Skyline

The reason why I brought a camera was really to capture the skyline and bright lights that Hong Kong has to offer. I'm content with the shots taken, but not too happy with the fog in the city this time of year. I was fortunate enough to catch  a glimpse of the skyline without as much fog in the sky, but as you can see here, it's still very apparent. Here are a couple pics that I took.

Nonetheless I enjoyed the view from a tourist standpoint, the Hong Kong skyline is amazing. The first shot is at The Peak. If you ever plan on visiting, The Peak can be accessed via Peak Tram from Central Hong Kong. Up there you'll find a large view of various parts of the city, shopping, the Sky Lounge, and restaurants offering panoramic scenery through large glass windows while enjoying dinner. Check it out if you're down there, it's a must.

The second and third shot is from Victoria Harbor/Avenue of Stars in Kowloon. It's also the place to be when you wanna catch Hong Kong's famous "Symphony of Lights" which plays every night at 8pm. 


J2: Pandas

I love pandas.
The best part about Ocean Park, Hong Kong.


J2: Macau

Not my pic, but that's a cell-snap of the old side

One of our stops was Asia's Mini Vegas that is Macau. I say "mini" because it's not quite like Vegas and honestly not really what I expected it to be. Macau as a whole is fairly new, and essentially is in the premature stages of growth and popularity. Unlike Vegas, Macau isn't the balls-to-the-wall insane, crazy, busy, sin-ridden, slot-machine-throwing, gambling pit town I thought it'd be...yet. Doesn't mean I didn't have a good time, but it just totally caught me off guard.

First off, Macau is pretty much split up into two parts, the old side and the new side. The new side is obviously in the initial stages of development and the old side houses the classic casinos and hotels and as well, is also in development with new casinos and ocean front property. Vegas has "the strip". Macau does not. Imagine wanting to go casino hopping from the Sands to the Venetian. The Sands was built on the old side and the Venetian was established in the newer part of Macau called the Cotai Strip. The thing is, the new and old are separated by the ocean and is connected via suspension bridge that crosses the body of water. It takes a HK$50 cab ride to get across.

Basically, "walking the strip" is not an option in this version of Las Vegas if you wanted to see all of what Macau has to offer without hitching a ride.

I'll give you a little run down on what Macau is like, in short, simple points:

- Macau's new side, The Cotai Strip, is under MAJOR development, which means, not very many casinos, which in turn, means that side isn't busy. For the most part, once it hits 11pm, the streets are almost deserted and hardly busy during the day and evening.

- Macau's new side hosts the Venetian (where we stayed), Galaxy (under construction), Hard Rock, City of Dreams, The Plaza, The Hyatt, and The Four Seasons. The rest are merely concrete structures fortified with bamboo chutes that will be casinos after a few years or so.

- Almost all casinos on the Cotai Strip are interconnected in clusters that are connected so with giant shopping malls on the floors above the casino floor and also doubles as ground floors to all the rooms. Kind of like the Forum Shops at Ceasars but is ten times better considering the mall has over 300 stores and tons of restaurants.

- There are essentially MAYBE 3 or 4 strip clubs in the entire city. That I know of. And that concierge at our hotel know of. Either they don't anything or the gentlemen's club scene is really THAT weak. But seriously all close before midnight. 'The fuck is that?!

- Hookers in Macau are rampant. Oh. My. God. I hadn't seen shit like that even in Vegas. At least in Vegas, you can't tell where they are, who they are or what they even look like as a whole until it catches you off guard. But this was too obvious - packs of 5 or more loitering outside of a casino smoking cigarettes asking random passersby if they want a "massage" in broken English. Hilarious sight to see. And they also take over little sections of the casino floor as well.

- Nightclubs are okay at best. Apparently the best club in Macau is D2. Which was dead at 11pm. It picks up at 2am-3am and is probably the only club (or establishment for that matter) open until 6am. D2 was like Cherry Lounge in Calgary but with Filipino FOBs, wide arrangement of locals, and fat white guys picking up hookers outside after getting wasted at the bar.

- The entire city shuts down at midnight basically. The casinos as well are pretty much dead at this time. And even when it IS busy, half the tables are closed. I've never seen Macau packed both inside and out at anytime.

- The malls are awesome. The Canal Shoppes in the Venetian are open to the public hosting over 300 stores. Malls are also up and running in other parts of the new side, like inside the Hard Rock/City of Dreams/The Crown trio that connects the hotels together.

- The old side, again is also in stages of development. But tourists are free to enjoy the gambling pleasures with casinos like The Wynn, The Sands, Red Dragon Casino, MGM Grand, and Lisboa. There are probably a few more, but none of which that I could see that were pretty big.

Pier by the Macau Tower

All in all, it was a good trip. But my experience in Las Vegas as a legal man took a bit away from Macau and what I thought it would be turned out to be something different. Everyone says Macau is the Asian Vegas. Which may be true to a certain extent, but I personally would consider it to be Vega's little bother with a curfew. Although, it wasn't as great as I thought it was, the city as "New Vegas" has potential. Maybe I'll pay a visit in 5 years and see what type of growth and prosperity it experiences and hopefully that promotes more visits, population density, lifted closing times and busier streets. For now, catch me at the Saffire, Palms or Ceasars blowing cash. Hahaha.

A few snaps of our hotel
The Venetian

The Piaza, Four Seasons, The Venetian (far right)

The Inside


J2: Urban Art and Hip-Hop

"All with no high, I do it so fly,
Banksy's attack helicopter with the bow tie..."

"I love my city, I really hope that God bless it,
have my mind movin' faster than that hog in the hedges..."


J2: The Hong Kong Shop Guide

Every time I go on vacation, I usually go out and venture across whatever city I'm in and find the best and coolest shops to buy lifestyle swag and sneakers. I've seen the best of the best from Flight Club LA to UNDFTD Las Vegas to HOH New York among many, many more. I thought I had seen it all. I haven't been to Tokyo yet, which is probably my next stop to cop kicks, but being in Hong Kong, I now officially cross off Hong Kong on my hit list and add it to my list as one of the best places to buy sneakers.

I've compiled a small list of the places we've hit up. I couldn't take that many pictures as most shops wouldn't really allow (that, and I was too lazy to carry around a heavy camera AND shopping bags). So here it is, finally. The Hong Kong Shop Guide. If you're ever in Hong Kong and love sneaks as much as I do, hit these places up. Thanks for waiting.

I've divided the stores by quadrants in the city. In any event you are in HK, it'll be easier and more efficient to search for these shops based on area rather than hopping from one point to another wasting precious shopping time. Enjoy.

Tsim Sha Tsui

Concept shop - Winning Commercial Building, 46-48 Hillwood Road, Shop 246-247, 2/F
- Very small shop with a limited selection of clothing and accessories.
- Original Fake, Evisu, Bear Brick and Kaws toys

Mr.SK / Sample Kicks - Winning Commercial Building, 46-48 Hillwood Road, Shop 232, 2/F
- Another extremely tiny shop thats hard to find.
- Located in the ghetto by the Concept Shop
- Very limited selection of kicks from Nike, Adidas and Reebok at very steep prices
- Holds local brands and a few accessories


A Bathing Ape - 10 Queen Road
- Great store. Easy to find in Cental. One of the biggest Bape stores around.
- As always the prices aren't too attractive.
- Bathing Ape, Baby Milo, Bape Kids, Bape Women
- Large collection of Bapstas displayed in glass along the store

A.P.C. - 34 Wyndham Street
- Steep prices, but they give good deals if you ever plan on spending cash
- More like a Ben Sherman store than anything else.

Nowhere - 28 Whyndham Street
- Nigos second store in HK. Small shop with a decent selection of stuff.
- Ursus, Mr. Bathing Ape, Billionaire Boys Club

Causeway Bay

J-01 - 57 Paterson Street
- Another small shop. Nothing really for me.
- Mostly local brands, some Adidas and Evisu.

A.P.C. - 66 Paterson Street
- Same as above

Double Park - 10 Cleveland Street
- Great store. Big. Helpful staff with a number of brands available.
- X-Large, Zoo York, Obey, Evisu, MLB and a number of other stuff.

Adidas Originals - 6 Kingston Street
- Nice double level store with a custom t-shirt station. Kind of like Rocket.
- Adidas Originals apparel, accessories and good number of Star Wars Adidas stuff.

Nike Sportswear - 7 Pak Sha Road
- AMs, Destroyers, Lunars, Athetics Dept. gear, like any other Nike Sportswear store.

852 - United Success Commercial Building, 506-508, Jaffe Road, 2/F
- Skate shop thats almost impossible to find or even run into.
- Vans, Enties, Emerica, Nike SB, Huf SF
- Pretty expensive shit considering the brands they carry aren't locally available, but is cheap in North America.

Stussy - 67-69 Percival Street, Ko Wah Building, 2/F
- One of the best Stussy stores I've been to. Small store but the selection isn't too bad.
- Stussy, UNDFTD, Boneyard, some skate brands.

Juice - 9 Cleveland Street
- Small store with some dope stuff. Small collection though.
- Bear Brick, New Era, Evisu, KAWS, Original Fake

Timesquare - (a mall located in Causeway Bay by Hennessy Road and Percival)
- Nike Sportswear, Adidas, New Balance, Ben Sherman, I.T., Choccolate as well has designer brands if you're into that.
- We came at a great time as this was the 10th Garden Anniversary and an urban art exhibit was held by famous urban designer Michael Lau. Not too familiar with his work until I visited, but he was part of a few World One series Air Force ones and other exclusive sneakers for Nike.

Mong Kok

Last but most definitely not least, the burrows of Fa Yuen street in Mong Kok, Hong Kong; the jaw dropping haven for Sneaker Heads everywhere - the place globally dubbed as "Sneaker Street". My eyes lit up when I saw this place. The place was nearly packed and was sort of in the ghettos and near the Fa Yuen Market where they sell locally produced stuff and fake brands, so I didn't want to bring my camera in fear of it getting jacked. It would have been awesome if I did but I had no idea what to expect.

The place is littered with AT LEAST 8-10 stores each of Nike Basketball and Nike Sportswear Stores, Adidas Stores, New Balance stores, small consignment shops with hidden gems, the famous Shooting Five jersey store loaded with Michael Jordan memorabilia, toys, jerseys and NBA Authentics, Swingmans, and throwbacks with OG J's on display. Stores upon stores of nothing BUT sneakers. I had a SOLE-gasm. It was about 2-3 cubic blocks of just shoe stores. Most of you are thinking, "Oh God, what the fuck did he buy?!"

I can tell you I held my own with small, modest pick ups during my "Sneaker Hunt". Here's some pics, along with pics of some of the stores I've been to.

A few pics from the Michael Lau 10th Anniversary Exhibit in Times Square Mall


Small, reasonable pick-ups. Haha.
T to B: Fives UNDFTD Tee, Stussy belt, Boneyard vinyls
"Grape" AM 95s (sale for $100, why not haha)
"Blackout" AM 1s
Ben Sherman button downs, BAPE x Stussy crew neck

More on Sneaker Street in Mong Kok for your pleasure. 


J2: Hong Kong Travel Tips

When travelling somewhere foreign, it's important to know certain characteristics, mannerisms, customs, etiquette, the do's and don't's and other extra travelling tips to make your vacay more enjoyable and a little easier. It's not that I found all this out the hard way, but it makes it easier for first timers to take some travelling advice with them when going to Hong Kong.

As of right now, exchange shops and kiosks in Hong Kong buy the CAD at a rate of HK$7.3, in some shops, HK$7.4. I bought my HKD at a rate of HK$7.1 in Calgary through Calforex, which sucks. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but the .2-.3 in difference is quite a bit when exchanging large amounts. Buy your HKD IN Hong Kong. Better yet, HK shops buy the US dollar at a rate of HK$7.8-7.9. Since CAD is almost at par with the USD, it's worth it to buy USD in Calgary, and exchange the USD in Hong Kong for an even better exchange rate.

The amount of malls, stores and shops in Hong Kong is ridiculous. In a good way. Even more so for me because there are MANY sneaker shops in Hong Kong, all of which we tried to cover during the course of our trip.

Shopping, in terms of pricing, is basically like shopping at home, depending where you go. Most major malls with stores that we have price their stock similar to ours. Everything works out to be the same at the end. If you plan on shopping, it's best to shop at the stores we DON'T have, otherwise why pay the same for stuff you can get back home and over stuff your luggage?

Because of the large population density of Hong Kong, there are plenty of restaurants everywhere you go, as well as an abundance of street food, which is not only cheap, but delicious. It's also surprisingly easy to find Western style restaurants as well. Traditional Chinese cuisine is heaven. I love ACTUAL Chinese food. It's a nice break from 'Salt N' Pepper (insert random seafood item here)' and 'Ginger Beef'. Pricing for restaurants are actually pretty comparable to what you'd pay for food in Calgary.

Here are some tips on food etiquette as well in most restaurants:

- When your tea pot is empty, open the lid and it will be refilled and brought back to you.
- Most places have glass or plastic placers to rest your chopsticks. It's rude in Chinese culture to rest your chopsticks into the bowl vertically after a meal. Always use these placers or place the chopsticks across the bowl.
- Tipping is not expected, therefore not required. Tipping is uncommon in Hong Kong. If you decide to tip, it's not the normal 15% we tip back home, it's significantly less. And the tip goes to the chefs or the owners, not the waiters or waitresses.
- Most waiters and waitresses speak English and the menus are also translated.
- There are many Michelin Star restaurants in Hong Kong at reasonable prices. My cousin and I suggest Lei Garden on Hennessey Road in Causeway Bay. The dim sum is AWESOME. That is an understatement. Michelin Star dim sum. The greatest 4 words ever strung together.
- Fast food is cheaper than that in Calgary. Places like McDonald's, BK and KFC are wide spread all over the city. Most McDonald's have McCafe's, free Wi-Fi and serve Sausage McMuffin extra value meals all day.

Big and small hotels are rampant throughout Hong Kong and range in various prices from $30CAD to $300CAD per night. We ended up staying in Cosmo, the sister hotel to The Cosmopolitan next door. The prices are very reasonable at $80CAD a night. Comes complete with a full bathroom, 2 double beds, a couple desks and an LCD TV. Most hotels offer this and more for around the same price range.

Concierge and hotel staff are required to have good English skills, so asking what to do for a night out or checking in won't be too much of a problem. Most hotels are near train stations, major bus routes and tourist attractions.

Cab fare is insanely cheap and available almost anywhere. Far starts at HK$18 and we end up spending around HK$55-65 on our longer travels where trains aren't available. Shuttle buses at major hotels also offer services to the sirport, Ocean Park theme park and other various local attractions. Often for free. Tip is also not required for cab or bus drivers. Some of them speak English, other times, you'd have to show them pictures or have your destinations written down in Chinese by concierge at your hotel.

The most efficient way of travelling is via train. Hong Kong has a nice, clean and efficient (and air conditioned)   subway train system that stops in all major parts of the city, which makes places easier to find. You'll need an Octopus card for your travels which is available at the airport or a local 7-11. They are also refillable at these  locations and can be used as a debit card for not only the train, but most fast food places as well. HK$100 is a good enough for a weeks worth of train travelling.

The train gets super packed at all the major interchanges. So get there early or after rush hour. Although it seems like every hour in that city is rush hour.

Other tips
- Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere. Some are unlocked for use and can be more handy than maps when using an iPhone or iPod GPS systems. However, in any event you can't connect, bring a map.

- Take the train as much as you can, its the fastest and cheapest way anyways. If you have luggage, take a cab or shuttle bus.

- Chinese people in Hong Kong may seem a bit rude, but like NYC, the place is just busy and in a rush. Don't take it too personal if one cuts in line, shoves you out of the way, or pushes and bumps you in the train to try and squeeze in and catch it.

- If you're with Telus, your phone won't work. At least mine didn't. I didn't totally mind, that way, I won't get a massive phone bill when I get home.

- ATMs charge a large amount when you withdraw, try not to use the ATMs in HK. If you have to, use Citibank.

- You can use your Octopus card for the train, fast food places and 7-11s. You can probably use them in more places, but I'm not too sure.

- Hong Kong is generally a safe place to be with very little to no problems when running about. However, if you find yourself in a crowded street market or a wrong side of town, just watch out for your wallet and keep it in your front pocket.

J2: Lantau Island

One of our first stops was Lantau Island. Pardon my ignorance, but I didn't know Hong Kong as a whole had various land masses that encompass Hong Kong other than Hong Kong itself and Kowloon. Even when I did find out, I didn't know it was a huge part of Hong Kong as it houses the Airport, Disneyland HK, and our first actual taste of Chinese culture, the Giant Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery.

We took a roughly half hour long train ride to the cable cars - or gondola - leading to the Tian Tan Buddha. A gigantic bronze statue of the Buddha, which was revealed to the public in 1993, attracting foreign tourists and is a deeply religious praying monument for Buddhists all across Asia. Yes, a history lesson for the both of us. But I went there to take pictures. I didn't know I had to climb 200 steps to get there. For the Buddhists that I've seen climb this thing, stopped every second step to bow down on their knees and pray. Not that I though that was funny, but by the time I went up, took pics, grab a drink, take more pics and climb down the stairs, some people were only 3/4 of the way up.

My cousin is scared of heights. As are many other people. There were 2 types of gondolas you could ride up the mountain, the normal cabin or the Crystal Cabin. The Crystal Cabin was the more expensive of the two. He thought it was a comfort thing:

Cousin: "Let's take the round trip Crystal Cabin, it's probably better."
Me: "Alright, what's the difference?"
Cousin: "I don't know, I'll ask."
Cousin: [ticket counter] "What's the difference between Crystal and normal?"
Ticket Lady: [broken English] "The Crystal Cabin has a glass floor"
Cousin: "We'll take that."

We got our tickets and lined up. At this point I didn't know he was afraid of heights until we saw what it looked like. I don't know if he said 'yes' because he didn't understand what the lady was saying or why we got these tickets when he said "I don't know why I got these...I'm scared of heights".

Holding on for dear life. Hahaha. Just kidding.

Hong Kong and it's surrounding areas at this time of year is very foggy and misty outside, it was hard to capture a good shot of the statue without it being masked with fog and haze. Sorry for the shitty pics.

The view from the cable car/gondola

 Our Crystal Cabin's glass floor.
Also WDYWT: Air Jordan III CDP

We headed back into the city after that. Lots of walking that day.
And that's enough writing for me. The laptops dying.


J2: Hong Kong in a nutshell.

So, I'm currently on vacation in Hong Kong. For the first couple days I found it to extremely hot and humid. Probably because I just left Calgary where it's cold, dry and snowing. Hong Kong is actually so much better that I expected it to be. I was told it was like Manila, but with Chinese people. In a way it is, but there are quite a few things I know now about HK that I didn't before.

- Many people in Hong Kong are rich. The streets are littered with Benz's, BMW's, Porsche's and the occasional Bentley and Ferrari's. Other than that, it's a Toyota Crown Comfort Taxi or modded Honda or kitted van.
- The subway system in Hong Kong is huge and very useful. Beats taking the cab, although cab fare is inexpensive.
- There is a 7-Eleven in every corner. I see one more often than I see a Tim Horton's and Starbucks combined at home.
- Hong Kong is not cheap. In general, things are slightly cheaper than Calgary, but very comparable.
- Sneaker game is weak. But the stores are sick! I'll post a Hong Kong Shop Guide later and give you the heads up on the stores, shops and hidden boutiques we found around town by accident and on the hunt.
- Everyone has Salt, Rayban, Tom Ford or some other thick plastice, black, designer frames. Often rocked solely with style in mind and with the lenses punched out of them. (Glad I'm not the only one haha)
- Everyone looks the same. Either that, or, out of the 7M-ish people living here, I've seen the same person at least 6 or 7 times.
- Everyone has an iPhone.
- There is Wi-Fi everywhere. Technology consumes even the ghetto streets as I can almost always connect to the internet from anywhere there are buildings with 6 ot 7 networks to choose from. Although most are password protected, there are a few you can piggy back on for use.
- Regarding Wi-Fi availability, bring your iPhone or iPod. Using your device and the connectivity available, hooking up with Google Maps and GPS is miles better than bringing maps with you. Worked great when I was on my usual vacay sneaker hunt or tourist site search.
- Ocean Park is better than Disney Land HK. Weird but true. Haven't been yet but that's what I hear.
- Soccer is big in Hong Kong.
- Despite the thick population density, the streets aren't too packed with traffic. More people commute via subway more than anything else. It gets packed in the maller, ghetto-er (I dunno if that's even a word) parts of the city.
- It's CLEAN. No litter. In fact, you get fined for spitting on the street or in public areas. Polution also isn't a huge issue. The city is pristine.

Hong Kong has been pretty chill so far. Sorry I haven't been too prompt with the updates, but it's pretty rare that I get to sit down, have a few drinks at the bar downstairs, and hop on the internet and write. I'll post pics in a bit but they won't be watermarked. I'm going to bed.


J2: I Search Of...

Upon arrival, we realized we forgot one tiny device that would end up being one of the most important pieces of equipment to ever travel with-a universal wall socket adapter. Without this, I wouldn't be typing on this laptop in a bar downstairs in the lobby of our hotel; I wouldn't be able to charge my iPod, which proved to be useful during my time here; and I wouldn't be able to charge my camera and take pictures, which would make my day trips to tourist spots irrelevant and usless.

We spent a good 2 days looking for an electronics shop in Hong Kong that carries it. Not only is it difficult to find in general, but the language barrier regarding the issue was a huge hurdle to leap over when trying to ask locals for a "universal 120V wall socket adapter" or where to find one. My cousin was out on the communal patio when he met this dude with one of these. Ironically, you can't find it in major electronics stores or malls in Hong Kong. Apparently, our best bet was to try a small, ghetto, local electronic shop to find one. 

We spent the day looking for the hottest sneaker spots around town, when I walked passed a clear, glass door, with miscellaneous power bars, coaxial cables, cat5 jacks and all kinds of electrical shit packed inside a small area no bigger than my bathroom. This small shop actually had one. The shop owner didn't know a lick of English, so asking for one of these was impossible. My cousin had a plug with him and he ended up giving us the right adapter for a low, low price of HK$8, which works out to be about $1. 

Now that we don't have to ration the battery power of our laptop, I can now start writing some entries. Shitty ones, but entries none the less. It's hard to write at 12am in a bar downstairs after a few drinks and a full day of walking outside. But here, I am. I'll post a shop guide in a bit and maybe some pics of a few spots we hit so far. But for now, I'll end it here. I'm tired, my contacts are dry, my feet are sore and I'm getting tipsy. I leave for Macau tomorrow. I'll check in then.