Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 21 2010

Hong Kong, day 3

Our friend Marquis took us to a Hong Kong breakfast place on the second floor of a building on the same alley as the Bottoms Up club from the Man with the Golden Gun. I like breakfast in booths. There’s just something attractive about the idea, especially in a Bond-film related alley. And the food wasn’t bad either.

The weather was still nice, murky air but cooler than yesterday. As we walked across an intersection I donated HK$5 to a charity; the girl wouldn’t take the money directly and pointed mutely at a slot in her bag. Clever. A block later, just after I’d taken a photo of a newsstand, I turned down one of her charity co-workers. Just as I walked away I heard someone behind cursing me. It wasn’t the charity worker, however; it was the newsstand lady. Over on the docks, an American family, all dressed in the same plaid, was taking family photos and having a miserable time getting everyone just so for a photographer who seemed to be a relative.

The Star Ferry over to Central was wonderful as usual. As we crossed, a large ocean liner sidled into the harbor. We then spent an hour or so stalking the many overpasses. One security guard came out and said we could only photograph from half of the overpass, as apparently his company owned the other half. I watched a beautiful photo opportunity pass from the wrong vantage point as a bicycle rider slipped in between two trams. Hoping Chenbl had been in the right place, I asked him if he got the shot, but he hadn’t seen it. Oh, well.

We took the series of escalators up the hill past the trendy shops and slick restaurants filled with blonde people, and then walked back down through the various alleys. Other than the 84-year-old umbrella-maker who was in the Guinness Book of World Records, just about everyone resisted having their photo taken. I was shouted at several times, and was on the receiving end of more glares than I could count. More than once I actually wished I had a Leica with me, just for the quieter shutter.

The weather turned overcast and cool as we prowled the alleys, and we took the subway to Mongkok to meet up with Sean, Lily, Miao-miao and my old W&L classmate Victor Cheung, who runs a photo workshop in Kowloon these days. We had a table full of dim sum, but I forgot to eat most of it as the conversation was so interesting.

After lunch we took the MTR on our way to Tai-O. The subway, as always was crowded. One thing I’ve learned during this trip is that Hong Kong feels a lot more crowded than it used to. Whereever you want to be, someone’s already there. Wherever you are, you’re in someone’s way. Also, the escalators are really fast. I guess they have to be in order to keep up with the demand without playing human dominoes.

Tai-O, an old fishing village, was interesting once we got past all the touristy bits. Most of the houses are metal structures on stilts, and everyone was having dinner as we walked through the bridges and alleys. I got yelled at a few more times. I suppose one gets used to it. Also, Cantonese does sound a bit harsh even in normal conversation. One woman was doing a pretty good Louis Armstrong impression while shouting at her husband.

The moon rose over the nearby hill as Shawn, Lily and I checked out a monastery that turned out to be closed. The water pipes over the canals next to bridges had little barbed wire webs on them, but I couldn’t figure out what for. The gaps were too large to stop rats, and a cat could jump over them easily. Some other animal I’m not aware of, no doubt.

The bus ride back to the MTR station was wild, more like a fighter jet simulation than a bus ride, and we were all feeling ill afterwards as we had dinner in Sham Shui Po. Then it was farewells for the night, though Tsim Sha Tsui is still rocking as I type this at 1:08 a.m.

posted by Poagao at 1:05 am  

1 Comment

  1. “Wherever you are, you’re in someone’s way.”—totally agree with that.

    One of my favorite experiences in HK was that one day after spent a whole night in the library, I went back home the next morning, before daybreak,and it was soooo quiet all the way through the MTR passway and the looong footbridge, just sevral passers-by, then I just realized that it was the most pleasant walk I’ve ever had in HK…..hehe

    Comment by Ariel Du — November 21, 2010 @ 2:28 am

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