Category Archives: Travel

World’s biggest family.

And I thought Catholic families were big! This Indian man has 39 wives, 94 children and 33 granchildren that all live together in a 100-room house in the Indian state of Mizoram.
It takes them 30 chickens, 132lb of potatoes and 220lb of rice just to make dinner, but apparently everyone gets along fine. Mr Chana is the head of a sect that allows members to take multiple wives. To read more about polygamy in Hong Kong, check out my post on Stanley Ho. Thanks to Ted Turner for sending this in.

Mr. Porter launches.

Mr. Porter, a new men’s fashion site (an obvious male take on Net-A-Porter), just launched today and they ship to Hong Kong so I thought it might be worth giving their site a review. The UK-based company sells a lot of higher-end designers–like Burberry, Gucci, Lanvin–plus. ready made items from Saville Row tailors, with the occasional more affordable item, like Converses, thrown into the mix. They will soon sell J. Crew, which would be awesome for us Hong Kongers.

My favorite way to browse the clothing was through the “view by outfit” button. Each item has a video, so you can see the model walk onto the screen, turn, and walk off, which is really helpful.

Even if your Mr. is like mine and refuses to spend more than $40 on a shirt, they’ve done a really fun job of adding tons of editorial content offering lots of advice and help on how to dress well that I think would apply to any budget. I like their list of the 36 essentials every man’s wardrobe should include… I can tell you right away that my Mr. would never go for a knit tie or a Louis Moray bracelet, but all of the other 34 items I agreed with.

The site has an address book of their prestigious style counsel’s reccs in various cities around the world… their HK reccs are obvious, but not off.

My favorite section–and one that I hope they continue to develop is an organized style advice Q&A between readers and editors. I excerpted a few of the ones I found most helpful and interesting here for you:

Question
How long should my tie be?
Answer
The front blade shouldn’t fall lower than the top of the trousers and, if you are wearing a casual outfit, it should be a few inches shorter than that. It might prompt a few funny looks but a knitted tie looks really good when the front blade is a bit shorter than the rear blade. Don’t worry how long the rear blade is – you can always tuck it into your trousers.
Question
What is a cummerbund for, and do people still wear them?
Answer
The reason the cummerbund has been largely abandoned is because it is now pointless. Originally worn under a dinner jacket as a lighter alternative to a waistcoat (this was in the days when an exposed waistband was considered bad form) it has been rendered redundant now that we’re unperturbed by the sight of a waistband. However, if you do want to hark back, go the whole hog and get a horseshoe-shaped double-breasted waistcoat, which is far more stylish.
Question
I can’t work out what it is about Italian men that makes them look both stylish and relaxed. How can I steal a bit of their elegance?
Answer
First, let’s remember that many Italian men want to dress like idealised Englishman. Second, you’re not alone – it was precisely this question that inspired The Sartorialist to start his blog. Extreme conservatism plays a major role: the men you admire have been dressing the same way for years or even decades, so you’ll need a high boredom threshold. As a function of this, clothes are bought for the long haul, and are more likely to be better made to start with and then altered for the perfect fit. Beyond that it’s about subtle colour combinations, which frequently involve brown, grey and navy, and immaculate presentation. As Charles Eames once said: ‘The details are not the details. They make the design.’
Question
How do I tell if a suit fits properly?
Answer
While the prevailing silhouette is as tight now as it ever has been, suits still have to fit – stretching and pulling remain unflattering even if a jacket is cut like a second skin. Ideally the jacket will be as wide, but no wider, than your shoulders, the collar will sit flat against your shirt collar, the back will fall in a fairly straight line from the shoulder blades, the armpits will be quite neat (because otherwise the jacket will restrict arm movement), the buttoning point will be on the same latitude as your belly button, there will be enough shape to give you a waist, and it’ll be close – but not tight – around the stomach.
Question
How often do I need to clean my suits?
Answer
Not as often than you think, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require maintenance. Unless a suit is visibly stained it probably shouldn’t be dry cleaned more than twice a year, provided it is well looked after. This involves keeping it neatly folded on a proper hanger, hanging it up somewhere it can air for 24 hours after you wear it, not wearing it more than once a week, brushing it with a clothes brush after each wear, and storing it in a place with enough space for it not to be creased.
Question
Does it really matter what I wear? It is surely reasonable to expect the people I meet socially to judge me on my behaviour, and the people I meet professionally to judge me on my results, not my ability to buy the right shirt.
Answer
Mark Twain said: ‘Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.‘ We can’t improve on that.
(All Q&A and images from Mr. Porter.)

Shanghai in 20 years.

It’s hard to believe that a city could change this much in 20 years. From Skyscrapercity.com (via Rolfe Winkler via Business Insider.) Apparently, this is abuzz in the twitersphere today.

1990:

2010:

Shanghai is bisected by the Huangpu River–the Western side or the “Puxi” area is where the historic city center is. Across the river is the newly developed Pudong–and you can really see just how new that development is from these pictures. The financial district called Lujiazui is also on the new Eastern side.

Everything but the kitchen sink, part three.

  • Cake Cutter-and-Server-in-One. I do always find it a bit clumsy when you are about to cut a beautiful cake and you have to get out a big knife and a server, which is where the Magisso Cake Serve–it’s both in one. Check out the video here. I’ve ordered one to test it for myself and will report back. I am wondering if moist cakes will want to stick to this little device–and then how do you wipe down the inside? Design Story–a new design centric–flash sale site is selling them for $15 through the 23rd.

  • Egg Waffles. Speaking of extraneous kitchen gadgetry, Hong Kong is so hot that even Williams & Sonoma is trying to ride the wave with their Egg Waffle Pan. Check out this article if your HK kitchen won’t bear another kitchen device and you’re looking for a good place to get ’em on the street.

  • Mapkins. I love maps. I love napkins. How perfect are these?! Now I wish there was one for Hong Kong! They would be awesome for a going away party. Found on the always lovely Subtle Revelry. (By the way, Victoria is started a new mag soon!)

  • Oysters away. Not sure how this is possible, but a major oysterapocalypse is under way and most of the remaining reefs are in the US. Eater has a map of the best places to get your shuck on in the States. Found on ten thousand places. I can personally vouch for all three SF locales (Swan’s Oyster Bay Depot was right next to the Mr.’s apt and their raw seafood bowl is the best way to start the day… here we are visiting with his sis Deirdre last spring. If you are ever in SF you have to go!)

  • Christian Dior for girls. Every designer is smartly going after the little-ones market and Christian Dior is no exception. You know they’ve nailed kids when you want them to make the clothes in your size. I couldn’t agree more with Full House, where I found this, that Target needs to copy this, stat! Images are from and clothes are available through Children’s Salon.

  • Google Art Project. Where won’t Google go? They’ve now gone to art museums all over the world and made them available to everyone, which is really pretty cool. You can actually walk through a museum, stand in front of a painting, and then zoom into areas of interest. I am hankering to go to Russia, so I just took a jaunt through the Hermitage… Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son is pretty awesome. And try zooming in on all of the little critters on this peacock clock. And, yes, this confirms that I do need to go to Russia… I think previewing museums through this new tool ahead of time is a great way to plan your attack.

(Image: Telegraph)



Halong Bay junk sinks.

Remember when I posted about our junk trip to Halong Bay, Vietnam last fall? Well a junk very similar to the one we were on (just bigger) sank on Friday.

(Photo AFP.)

The boat sank in just one minute, tragically killing 12 people. The boat was only a couple of years old and people are conjecturing that it may have sank because the wood cracked, letting water seap in. In several of the couples on board, one survived and one didn’t–which must be just about the most horrible thing ever. It’s always nerve-racking traveling in a developing country because you know there are no enforced safety standards… something to keep in mind.

Birdcages in Taipei.

Knowing my love of birdcages since moving here, my friend Wendy sent me this pictures of street art in Taipei.

Isn’t it amazing how the cage is built around the tree?

Lara Jonggrang.

While we were in Jakarta we went to one really cool restaurant in a 200-year-old house that was designed to look like an ancient temple.

The name and inspiration for the restaurant came from the famous Indonesian legend about an ancient princess named Lara Djonggrang who was a beauty with a quick tongue. A prince named Bandung Bondowoso for some unbeknown reason killed her father and then fell madly in love with Lara. Of course she didn’t want to marry him, so she told him that the only way she would marry him is if he built 1,000 temples and dedicated them to her… overnight.

Knowing this was impossible, Bandung enlisted the help of demons. Lara, watching the progress nearby, became worried when they were nearly completion of the 999th temple and asked her maids to start pounding rice in the yard. The pounding woke the roosters who started crowing and made the roosters think it was dawn so they quickly fled before finishing the last temple.
Bandung was so upset he couldn’t marry the princess that he turned her into stone so she couldn’t fall in love with anyone else. Lara’s loyal maids prayed for her and God heard their cries and sent and angel to take her to heaven.
The house was packed full of historical objects intended to take you on a tour of the archipelago’s history.. and the menu did a similar thing. The two-inch, giant book was divided up by the various cuisines native to Indonesia’s6,000 islands… we ordered a bunch of things and everything was delicious as well as beautifully presented.
Most of the dishes were big rice based platters, with lots of things to add and mix together. There were also a lot of kebabs. One of my favorite things was an Indonesian dessert called Bijak Salak (pictured top right), which is sweet potato balls floating in sweet palm sugar syrup and coconut milk. I thought it sort of looked liked yolks floating in milk, but it’s made to look like the seed of the salak fruit–the salak fruit by the way is fruit from a short palm native to Indonesia. It was delicious and I need to learn how to make it!