The most popular place on the avenue of Stars in Hong Kong.
Imagine the accompanying 'Kung Fu' screams and shreeks.
I first visited Hong Kong was about 25 years ago.
That time I was sitting in the jump seat of a Cathay Pacific 747, barely skimming over the apartment blocks of Kowloon and landing at Kai Tak airport. It was a great introduction to Hong Kong and I remember the various parts of the colony as busy, crowded and noisy. In Kowloon every 5 minutes a plane flew overhead, seeming to just miss the buildings on approach to Kai Tak. There was still the hidden city on the outskirts of the airport, where you were advised not to enter due to it being run by the non existent triads.
Sha Tin was the outskirts of the new territories, and the whole area heading towards Lantau island was sparsely inhabited forest. The main port was still largely between Hong Kong island and Kowloon.
Every tourist took the Victoria peak tram to gaze over the skyscrapers of Hong Kong island, took a ride on the Ding Ding (Hong Kong island trams), and the Star ferry to Kowloon. The HSBC building was daring new architecture and still one of the tallest.
I have a rare distinction of being marched off the Star ferry lower deck by the captain and crew. I had wanted to just stay on the ferry on its return trip after I had crossed over to Kowloon, and did not realize that you must leave and then pay again through the turnstiles. The crew only had Chinese and I only had English. So the captain came and told me I had to get off, even though I was happy to pay the required fare on board (I think it was sixpence). All the other passengers were amazed to see me marched off.
In those 25 years some things have remained the same and many things have changed. The Victoria peak tram, the Ding Ding and the Star ferry are all still running. And they are mostly still cheap, well at least the Ding Ding and the Star Ferry are cheap! Kowloon is still the somewhat rougher side and Hong Kong island is still the more upmarket side of Hong Kong. Most of the temples still exist, e.g. Man Fat Sze.
But the Tiger Balm gardens have disappeared.
Kai Tak was shut down and the airport is now offshore of Lantau island.
1 or 2 (10,000s) of apartment skyscraper blocks have been erected.
The Hong Kong port has moved out to Tsing Yi.
The Big Buddha was built.
A tourist complex has sprung up on Victoria peak.
A few (100s) of commercial Skyscrapers have been built, including the new highest one: the International Commerce Center (ICC) on the Kowloon side at Yau Ma Tei.
In this page and across several associated pages I am going to show you some of the things that caught my camera lenses attention on my latest trip to Hong Kong.
Getting around Hong Kong is pretty easy, the MTR has subways, trains, trams, buses and ferries.
When you arrive at Tsui Wah airport you need to have or get cash. I used a HSBC ATM to get cash in the arrivals hall outside of customs and baggage. Take extra cash because you'll need it for paying people at all the little street stalls and food places. The bigger supermarkets take credit card, but hey you want to try local stuff and for that you need cash. Then go to the MTR counter and pay cash for an Octopus card, called that because its tentacles reach into all parts of Hong Kong, I assume. I then caught a bus as it went to my hotel in North point, if I had used the MTR I would have had to change at Hong Kong station and lug my bag some distance to the island MTR line.
The octopus card used check-in check-out for every train, bus, tram and the Star ferry. It even works on the Victoria peak tram!
The Ding Ding are the trams running along the northern side of Hing Kong island. They are the only double deck trams I know of and some are pretty ancient, so mind the hard wooden seats.
The afternoon I arrived in Hong Kong was the perfect excuse to catch the Ding Ding and do some street photography. As I was staying at North point and it is one of the terminuses (termini?) I was able to get on a near empty tram and ride all the way to Kennedy Town at the west end of the line. You want to get on am empty one as they fill up quickly and it is tough to get a good seat with a view. Outside of working hours, some nice locals will give up the front seat when they see you with a camera.
Pull down the window so it is as open as possible, and shoot away!
Some unusual sights for us westerners include the man smoking at the food stall in picture 4, or the ladies dressed up in traditional dance costume, and some of the passengers on the other Dings :-).
Click on the photos to enlarge them.
The photos were taken on one Ding trip to Whitty street depot and back to North point on Sunday.
As you can see, the household maids, nannies and other servants have their Sunday off and gather to meet and chat. Many bring large cardboard boxes to create little meeting rooms to have some private space in public areas.