Photos from the Shoebox: Hong Kong 1993
If you had a 35mm camera you probably have a shoebox full of pictures that you never got around to sorting and putting in an album. In this series “Photos from the Shoebox” I take them out of the closest and shine light on them once more.
The great thing about living in a multi-cultural city like Toronto is that you have the opportunity to make friends with people of different nationalities. I have friends that come from all over the world from Africa to Vietnam to Germany. It’s fascinating to learn about their cultures and if you’re lucky, when they take a trip back home, you might be able to tag along. I took advantage of this when I was still in university and one of my friends decided to work the summer in Hong Kong.
My friend was staying at her mother’s tiny flat on Seymour Road close to Victoria Peak. Her mother was here on vacation from Vancouver as well as two friends and a helper. Let’s just say the accommodations were rather cozy as four of us shared a tiny room with two tiny beds.
While you’re in Hong Kong you have to take an excursion to the most popular tourist attraction, The Peak. Even though it was the end of July and extremely hot and humid I wanted to walk up but couldn’t find the road so I ended up taking the tram.
At the top I walked around until I felt like I would die of heat stroke or have a heart attack. But the views from the top were magnificent as you got a bird’s-eye view of the city.
I walked down from The Peak and was totally soaked in sweat. It was back to the apartment for a very refreshing cold shower before heading into the city to meet my friend for ‘Happy Hour’ at Mad Dogs English Style Pub. After several rounds of double gin and tonics and Singapore Slings we all got happy, ate, then crashed big time.
I woke up without a hangover. Again I walked and walked and walked. Walked from Causeway Bay all the way to Central. I ended up sitting in ‘Filipino Square’ (that’s what I called it because of all the Filipina domestics that would gather here on their day off) and was accosted by an old Australian gentleman who proceeded to tell me how the world was in a big mess and going to end. He showed me all his skin cancer and went into graphic detail of how they treat it. He thought I was a domestic worker.
After spending a few days exploring I thought it was time to get away from the fast pace of the city.
At the spur of the moment I decided to check out Lantau Island to see the 50 ft bronze Buddha on top of the Ngong Ping plateau. It was just unveiled earlier in December so it was just brand new. The boat ride took a little over an hour and then the bus was another 40 minutes. I went through the Po Lin Monastery and bought a meal ticket for their vegetarian lunch. I was placed at a table with some rather interesting looking older Chinese women. Out came a plate of strong-tasting mushrooms, fungi, baby corn, soup and rice and everybody dug in.
Back in the city the gang had dinner at the Harvest Moon Kitchen and then went to the Temple Street Night Market. I was tempted to get my palm read for $100 HK by the fortune tellers gathered at the end of the street.
Hong Kong is a mecca for shopping. With gang in tow we hopped the subway then train to the New Territories in search of hand painted silk ties being sold out of a 28th floor apartment. Ties seemed to come out of everywhere. For $70 Hong Kong dollars you could buy 20 ties. After 3 hours we ended up with 30 ties and had a damn good time.