The pun may be a little bit of a stretch this week. Nevertheless, I ate my share of dim sum (the general family of cuisine bao is apart of) during my travels to Hong Kong last weekend. Dim sum is a style of Chinese cuisine that is prepared as small bite-sized portions and served in steamer baskets or on small plates. These dishes are usually consumed with tea and are ideal for sharing. Below is a picture of spicy pork dumplings, called siu mai. This experience was also the first time during whole my trip in Asia where my chop stick skills were put to the test. For the the most part, I held my own, except for a ramen dish where a local immediately spotted my group’s troubles and kindly brought over forks.
The rest of the excursion was pretty great as well–a nice addition to the copious amount of carbs I was able to eat. I traveled with two other IWU interns, along with an Irish master student and Brazilian graduate scholar, both working at IRRI this summer. It’s such an extraordinary experience to be able to meet people from all over the world at IRRI, and then sightsee in beautiful places within the Philippines or other parts of Eastern Asia with those new connections.
The sun was shining bright during our first full day in Hong Kong, ideal for visiting the Big Buddha. We took a cable car, called the Ngong Ping 360, up to the peak where Big Buddha sits. Our car had a glass bottom along with a glass top and sides, for a truly 360 experience in the sky. I captured stunning pictures of the bay, small waterfalls, and rolling mountains on one of the three islands of Hong Kong, Lantau. I had a blast moving all around the little car during the 20 minute ride, but I will warn that is not for those who are afraid of heights. Below is a picture of the turquoise water we rode over, hundreds of feet below.
Once we reached the top, we walked over to Big Buddha, and made the trek up many stairs to get a closer look. The statue is surrounded by other small statues with lush greenery in the backdrop, making the stairs undoubtedly worthwhile. There was a colorful, intricately designed Buddhist temple near by that we were also able to partially tour. The whole area was very peaceful, and I could have spent all day up in the mountains.
The next day, I took the MTR (metro) into the Kowloon and Hong Kong islands where I had a whole list of markets, gardens, restaurants, and a temple I wanted to visit. Little did I realize leaving the hotel, a T8 typhoon warning was issued that morning. Unfortunately, it rained most of the day and many places I wanted to visit were closed due to the warning. By late afternoon, however, the warning was lifted and I was still able to see Temple Street market, downtown Hong Kong, and the light show put on across the bay every night. Also on the bright side, I walked almost 10 miles that day to work off the carbs, and figured out almost every line of the MTR trying to find some place that was open. I feel like I went from being a complete amateur with public transportation to a pro in just one weekend.
Back in lab, I captured a picture of the gel transfer in Southern Blot. This may not look like a lot, but it took about a weeks worth of work to reach this step, and it will take the rest of week to finish the procedure before I can look at more results. If I learned nothing else in the IRRI lab, at least I gained more patience.