This is one of my favourite photos of Hong Kong, taken some fifty years ago. Remarkable, really, that I still have it. I fell in love with the plethora of streets which are steps, covered with stalls which half-hide the side entrances to shops. This shows the junction of Queen's Rd (now Queen's Rd Central) and Pottinger Street. Queen's Street once ran along the foreshore; Hong Kong is an island which rises sheer from the sea. So much of where the tourists walk is reclaimed land.
Ah, moomins. Anything and everything can be bought in Hong Kong, even creatures from the mind of Tove Jannson, a famous Finnish author. Her moomins and their world were the delight of my childhood.
Hong Kong is the old and the new not just juxtaposed, but livingly comfortably side by side. This beautiful sandstone building is in Central, where much colonial architecture remains, albeit largely swallowed by the ever-encroaching office blocks.
Hong Kong is also a place for walking. Catch the tram to The Peak and wander the paths; or else head to the far side of the island for hiking trails. With the island being many forest, there are plenty of places to escape the crowds (and I enjoyed the view over the outer islands once I got my breath back.)
A few tong lau, or walk-up tenement buildings, remain hidden in the backstreets of Central, near the Man Mo Temple (some good shopping in the surrounding streets). Usually only 4-5 stories, designed for downstairs retail with accommodation on the upper floors, many became notorious as squatter workshops and sources of disease outbreaks, including typhus and the plague.
Did I mention the food? To go to Hong Kong and not eat well is to simply not try. Even should you tire of Chinese, every specialty from all over the world is on offer. Here are some of my favourites - enjoy!
I chanced to be in Hong Kong during the Umbrella Revolution. It was truly an amazing time; incredibly peaceful and organised. Places for the students to study. Medical tents, food tents. I saw no violence, simply people peacefully protesting their views.
Markets abound in Hong Kong. Many are famous, but I found many more smaller ones on unmarked corners. I simply took a tram a few stops beyond where I would normally go, wander, and I would find a market.
There are markets for clothes, for electronics, for gadgets; flower markets, bird markets. The wet markets were what opened my eyes when I first went at the age of 10. Every part of the animal is displayed, all sold by the end of the day - food is bought and eaten fresh. I always visit them whenever I'm in HonK Kong.
Repulse Bay was a bust place during WWII: first the British surrendered to the Japanese, who then set up a concentration camp here, only to in turn surrender Hong Kong back to the British. Now it has fantastic markets, before settling down to a meal overlooking the beach.
Some architect thought these apartments were a good idea. Apparently not, though; once completed, a hole had to be cut into the middle of the building, to allow the dragon of the mountain free access to the sea. Now it is a more peaceful place to dwell.
And so for the classic image of Hong Kong. Few junks are now seen in the main harbour, though in the smaller bays they can still be seen. Others are for hire, to sail the harbour at dusk and enjoy the spectacular skyline of Hong Kong, and remember why the name translates as The Fragrant Harbour.
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