A Travellerspoint blog

June 2021

In the Land of Oil and Jute.

Exploring Yau Ma Tei.

rain

Yau Ma Tei.

Yau Ma Tei.

Today, despite the torrential rain, I decided to visit the district of Yau Ma Tei. I took the MTR to Yau Ma Tei Station and exited at exit B2. There are quite a few historical buildings and markets here. Most of the things I wanted to see were close together.

Yau Ma Tei MTR Station.

Yau Ma Tei MTR Station.

Art in the MTR, Yau Ma Tei.

Art in the MTR, Yau Ma Tei.

Yau Ma Tei is a working class area which is fairly ethnically diverse. Lots of Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalis live here. Some residents are very poor and live in cage homes or subdivided flats. The origin of the name Yau Ma Tei is unclear as the meaning of Cantonese words depends on the tone they are said in. Yau can mean oil, Ma can mean jute or sesame and Tei can mean place, so it could be the oil and jute place.

Ethnically diverse Yau Ma Tei.

Ethnically diverse Yau Ma Tei.

At one time Yau Ma Tei was a village built along a bay. Its sheltered harbour was frequented by many Tanka fishermen who lived here on their boats. They built a temple to Tin Hau, goddess of the sea, on the shoreline. The temple still exists but it is no longer next to the sea due to land reclamation.

Yau Ma Tei and its surroundings were one of the areas in Hong Kong to be hardest hit by covid and for a while residents here were subjected to frequent overnight lockdowns and compulsory testing. During my visit there seemed to be covid testing centres everywhere here.

I began my explorations at Yau Ma Tei Theatre. Unfortunately, at this point, rain was pelting down, making it hard to take photos. Yau Ma Tei Theatre was built in 1930 and originally showed films and Kung Fu demonstrations. As Hong Kong’s only remaining pre-World War II cinema, it is currently a grade 2 historic building. It has two pillars at the entrance which depict alternate happy and sad faces like the Ancient Greek tragedy and comedy masks. It also has a Chinese pitched roof and an Art Deco façade. This theatre was closed down in July 1998, but re-opened fourteen years later in July 2012 as a venue for Chinese opera.

Yau Ma Tei Theatre.

Yau Ma Tei Theatre.

Yau Ma Tei Theatre.

Yau Ma Tei Theatre.

On one side of this building is the Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market. This was starting to flood a bit in the rain, so I had to wander around it carefully amidst the crowds. This market dates from 1913 and originally sold fruit and vegetables, then later fish. The vegetables and fish were eventually moved out to markets in Cheung Sha Wan and this market now deals only in fruit. Although it's a bit run down, this is also a historic listed building. It has a bit of a shady past involving triads, protection rackets and armed robberies. Fruit is a serious business here!!!

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

On the other side of the theatre there is a Red Brick Building dating from 1895. This is a grade 1 historic building and was formerly the Engineer’s Office of the Old Water Pumping Station on Shanghai Street. There is a huge mural on the wall behind this building. I took a picture of it, but it was way too dark due to the rain, so I deleted it.

Engineer’s Office of the old Water Pumping Station.

Engineer’s Office of the old Water Pumping Station.

The Engineer's Office of the Old Water Pumping Building is located on Shanghai Street, one of the oldest streets in Kowloon. This section of Shanghai Street specialized in kitchenware, though there were also shops selling shrines and household deities. In one area of the street, I watched a man beat pots into shape. The sound of him beating the metal filled the nearby streets. Shanghai Street stretches for around 2.3 km and passes through Jordan, Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok. This street dates from 1887 and was originally called Station Street. Later it was renamed to pay homage to the fact that the street was as prosperous as Shang Hai with whom Hong Kong traded at the time of the renaming. This was Kowloon's major transportation and commercial thoroughfare before Nathan Road took over.

Kitchenware.

Kitchenware.

Kitchenware.

Kitchenware.

Kitchenware.

Kitchenware.

Kitchenware.

Kitchenware.

Kitchenware.

Kitchenware.

Shrines and Deities.

Shrines and Deities.

Shrines and Deities.

Shrines and Deities.

Shrines and Deities.

Shrines and Deities.

The reason Shanghai Street was once called Station Street was because Yau Ma Tei Police Station used to be located here. In 1922, the police station was relocated to 627 Canton Road nearby. This police station is a beautiful old colonial building. It is now a centre for reporting crime rather than a fully functioning police station. During the 1966 riots against British colonial rule this police station was stormed by an angry mob but the police managed to suppress them. Apparently one of the gates to the right of the main entrance at this station is considered unlucky and has been kept permanently locked since the late 1970s, following a number of shooting incidents involving officers who left the station through this gate.

Yau Ma Tei Police Station Entrance.

Yau Ma Tei Police Station Entrance.

Yau Ma Tei Police Station Entrance and Side.

Yau Ma Tei Police Station Entrance and Side.

At the side of Yau Ma Tei Police Station.

At the side of Yau Ma Tei Police Station.

Yau Ma Tei Police Station Sign.

Yau Ma Tei Police Station Sign.

After looking at the police station, I walked back towards Shanghai Street to visit Yau Ma Tei's Tin Hau Temple. The square the temple is situated in is known locally as Yung Shue Tau which means banyan tree head. There is a temple gateway and many banyan trees here. This square together with the Tin Hau Temple is considered to be the heart of Yau Ma Tei. The square to the front of the temple was once located on the waterfront, though nowadays the sea is around 3km away due to land reclamation. The square to the back of the temple is home to the Yau Ma Tei Community Centre Rest Garden. Many senior citizens gather here to sit in the shade and play chess. There is a nine dragons wall here and some bridges, ponds and pagodas. In the evenings this square fills up with hawkers, Cantonese street opera performers and fortune tellers from the nearby Temple Street Night Market.

Gate at the Front Entrance to temple.

Gate at the Front Entrance to temple.

Front Entrance to the Temple

Front Entrance to the Temple

The Rest Garden.

The Rest Garden.

Gateway to the Rest Garden behind temple.

Gateway to the Rest Garden behind temple.

Bridges in Rest Garden.

Bridges in Rest Garden.

Elderly man watching the fish in the rest garden.

Elderly man watching the fish in the rest garden.

One game of chess.

One game of chess.

And another game of chess.

And another game of chess.

Nine Dragons Wall.

Nine Dragons Wall.

Nine Dragons Wall.

Nine Dragons Wall.

The Tin Hau Temple Complex is made up of five different temple buildings. One is the Kwun Yum temple dating from 1894 and dedicated to the goddess of mercy. Another is the Shing Wong Temple which was built in 1878. In the centre of the complex is the Tin Hau Temple which is the oldest of the temples and dates from 1864. When this temple was in front of a shallow bay, fishermen would come here and pray for calm weather before heading out to sea. Next is Shea Tan dating from 1878 and dedicated to the district god, She Kung. The final building is Hsu Yuen, a disused study hall built in 1897. The Shea Tan and Hsu Yuen were used as venues for the free schooling for the children of the Tanka boat people until 1955.

The Temple Complex.

The Temple Complex.

The Temple Complex.

The Temple Complex.

Hsu Yuen.

Hsu Yuen.

Hsu Yuen.

Hsu Yuen.

The second temple here is dedicated to Shing Wong, the city god. It is his job to care for the dead. Ancestor tablets line the walls of this temple. Around the entrance there are intricate paper models of buildings and clothes. These are offerings for deceased relatives. When these are burned, they enter into the spirit world for the dead people to use. This building was filled with chanting Taoist priests. Shing Wong's statue is surrounded by statues of the ten judges of the underworld. They are weighing the sins of the dead. Next to them are statues of the soldiers of the underworld who are carrying out suitable punishments according to the judges' findings.

Entrance to the temple.

Entrance to the temple.

Paper offerings.

Paper offerings.

Paper offerings.

Paper offerings.

The main temple is the Tin Hau Temple. Tin Hau was once a real person. She lived in Fujian in the tenth century and came from a fishing family. During storms and typhoons she would stand on the shore wearing a red dress to help guide sailors home.  Once she fell into a trance during a typhoon and saw her father and brother drowning.  She was able to use her powers to save her father, but her mother woke her from the trance before she could save her brother and he drowned. Tin Hau ascended to heaven as a goddess at the age of twenty-eight.

In front of the image of Tin Hau are four figures: two are human and two are demons. The humans are the book keeper and the keeper of the gold seal of Tin Hau.  Both of these record the virtues and failings of people.  The demons are: Thousand Li Eyes who can see over very long distances and Favourable Wind Ears who can hear things over long distances.  They are Tin Hau's faithful servants and guardians. 

Tin Hau.

Tin Hau.

Tin Hau with guardians.

Tin Hau with guardians.

Shrine in Tin Hau Temple.

Shrine in Tin Hau Temple.

The She Tan Temple is dedicated to the ancient district god, She Kung who is represented here by an inscribed standing stone in the centre of the courtyard. She Kung is the god of the harvest and the protector of the area.  There are statues of many other gods and goddesses here, too.

The She Tan Temple.

The She Tan Temple.

Doorway, She Tan Temple.

Doorway, She Tan Temple.

Doorway, She Tan Temple.

Doorway, She Tan Temple.

Shrine, She Tan Temple.

Shrine, She Tan Temple.

Offerings, She Tan Temple.

Offerings, She Tan Temple.

Incense Coils, She Tan Temple.

Incense Coils, She Tan Temple.

After visiting the temple I walked back across the front square and headed into the Jade Market. I think this is a temporary site for the market while there is building work around the usual site. I'm not really very fond of jade but Chinese people love it and consider it lucky. It is supposed to promote longevity and ward off ghosts and bad luck. Nearly all Chinese people have a lucky jade charm, necklace or bracelet. The market sells interesting stuff, but the vendors are too hassly and aggressive. This was made much worse by the fact that on a rainy day during covid I was the only customer and I was quickly surrounded by stall holders. That just made me want to leave as soon as possible rather than buy anything. Apparently some of the jade here is real and some is fake, bargaining is expected and it helps if you know what you are doing. I knew what I was doing - getting the hell out of there.

Entrance to Jade Market.

Entrance to Jade Market.

Entrance to Jade Market.

Entrance to Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

Goods in the Jade Market.

After the jade market, I took a very quick look at Temple Street Night Market. Just a quick look as being a night market, it wasn't open when I visited. This is the only night market in Hong Kong. I have been here years ago and remember it being really crowded. It has places to eat, stalls, fortune tellers and sometimes Chinese opera performances. Maybe in the summer holiday I'll come back at night to see this market in operation. I liked the look of a traditional looking drinks store next to the market. A Chinese friend says this will sell herbal teas and turtle jelly.

Temple Street Night Market.

Temple Street Night Market.

Deserted Lane near Might Market.

Deserted Lane near Might Market.

Shop selling herbal tea or turtle jelly.

Shop selling herbal tea or turtle jelly.

Lastly, I strolled along Nathan Road a bit. I liked the stairways brightened up with flowers and there were some interesting places to eat and drink. I also noticed a strangely out of place cat sculpture.

Dim Sum Restaurant.

Dim Sum Restaurant.

Tea Shop.

Tea Shop.

Cat Sculpture.

Cat Sculpture.

Floral Stairway.

Floral Stairway.

Floral Stairway.

Floral Stairway.

Floral Stairway.

Floral Stairway.

Floral Stairway.

Floral Stairway.

Next day I should have been working but the bad weather continued. I awoke to find the thunderstorm and red rain storm signals were raised, meaning schools and businesses are closed. The red signal was later replaced with the even worse black signal and the land slip warning was put into effect.

Posted by irenevt 02:17 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (6)

Wandering Around A Sharp Sandy Point.

Exploring Tsim Sha Tsui.

overcast

Yesterday I headed off to Tsim Sha Tsui with the intention of visiting the Macallan Whisky, 'Anecdotes of Ages' Exhibition which is currently being advertised in Central MTR. Of course, being me, I ended up not going to the exhibition at all, but I still had a very interesting day. I set out early, arriving before the exhibition even opened, and took the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui Station.

Tsim Sha Tsui translates as Sharp Sandy Point. It is located on a peninsula on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour. In the early nineteenth century this was largely a quiet area consisting of several small fishing villages. Then in 1860, when the Chinese were defeated in the Second Opium Wars, Kowloon became part of the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong and life there began to change. At first Kowloon was only accessible from Hong Kong Island by sampan, but when the Star Ferry Company was created, it became vastly more accessible. A few years after the advent of the Star Ferry, the terminus of the Kowloon Canton Railway was built in Tsim Sha Tsui close to the quayside. This brought in large numbers of visitors and Tsim Sha Tsui developed more and more.

I began my wanderings around Tsim Sha Tsui at Kowloon Park. This was once the site of the Whitfield Army Barracks which were built for the British Army's Indian garrisons. At the edge of the park, also on the site of the former barracks, stands the Kowloon Mosque. This was located here, because most of the soldiers in the Indian garrisons were Moslem.

The first Kowloon Mosque was built in 1896 and this was used as a place of worship for more than eighty years. Then in 1976, construction work for the nearby MTR line severely damaged the mosque, making it a dangerous, unstable structure and it had to be demolished. A new mosque had to be built. This was officially opened in 1984. It cost HK$25 million and was big enough to accommodate three thousand five hundred worshippers.

Kowloon Mosque.

Kowloon Mosque.

Kowloon Mosque.

Kowloon Mosque.

The Whitfield Barracks were named after Henry Wase Whitfield, the commander of the British Army in Hong Kong. The barracks date from the 1890's. At its height there were eighty-nine barrack blocks located here. Today only four of these buildings still remain and the rest of the area has been developed into, what is in my opinion, one of Hong Kong's loveliest parks. Former Barrack Blocks S61 and S62 date from 1910 and are now home to the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre. Block S4 located next to the mosque is now the Health Education Exhibition and Resources Centre and Block S58 is used as a storage area for the Hong Kong Museum of History.

I had a look around the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, though I must admit I was more interested in the building than the exhibits, but that's just me. The museum had lots of pottery and other artefacts.

Heritage Museum Building.

Heritage Museum Building.

Heritage Museum Building.

Heritage Museum Building.

Staircase with Gas Lamps from Duddell Street, Central, Heritage Museum.

Staircase with Gas Lamps from Duddell Street, Central, Heritage Museum.

Pottery In the Heritage Museum.

Pottery In the Heritage Museum.

Pottery Fragments under a Glass Floor, Heritage Museum.

Pottery Fragments under a Glass Floor, Heritage Museum.

Painting in the Heritage Museum.

Painting in the Heritage Museum.

Painting in the Heritage Museum.

Painting in the Heritage Museum.

After wandering around the museum, I wandered around the park. I love Kowloon Park. It has huge trees that look like they have been there since the days of the dinosaurs. It has a bird lake filled with elegant pink flamingos. It has a hilltop aviary, ponds, fountains, a flower filled colour garden, a totem pole and a sculpture garden. Even when it is busy here, it still feels spacious and it is peaceful even though it is in the middle of a huge urban sprawl.

Colour Garden and Barracks used for storage, Kowloon Park.

Colour Garden and Barracks used for storage, Kowloon Park.

Colour Garden, Kowloon Park.

Colour Garden, Kowloon Park.

Close up of Flowers.

Close up of Flowers.

Chinese Garden, Kowloon Park.

Chinese Garden, Kowloon Park.

Chinese Garden.

Chinese Garden.

Old trees.

Old trees.

Bridge over Bird Lake.

Bridge over Bird Lake.

Flamingos in Bird Lake.

Flamingos in Bird Lake.

Former Barracks that are now the centre for health.

Former Barracks that are now the centre for health.

In the Sculpture Garden, Kowloon Park.

In the Sculpture Garden, Kowloon Park.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Sculpture.

Love Fountain.

Love Fountain.

Parrots in Aviary.

Parrots in Aviary.

Totem Pole.

Totem Pole.

On leaving the park, I strolled down Nathan Road. To my amazement, and I still don't understand it myself, it was largely empty with hardly any pedestrians and almost no traffic. Is this due to the absence of tourists? I really don't know. I was actually reluctant to go to Tsim Sha Tsui as it's always swarming with people and this time it wasn't crowded at all. I wanted a picture of Nathan Road's famous sign boards, but even these were largely missing.

Nathan Road.

Nathan Road.

Nathan Road.

Nathan Road.

I wandered into the famous, or should I say notorious, Chung King Mansions. This seventeen storey building opened in 1961 and was originally the tallest building in Tsim Sha Tsui. Chung King Mansions is a cultural melting pot with many Indian and African residents. It is well known for cheap accommodation and, if you know where to go, very good Indian food. We used to eat here quite a lot with friends, but that was years ago, and I must admit, I would not know where to go now. I only looked around the ground floor which was filled with money exchangers and food stalls. The money exchangers had long lines of Filipinas in front of them.

Outside Chung King Mansions.

Outside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

Inside Chung King Mansions.

On my way to Chung King Mansions, I noticed the K11 Musea building down a side street. This is where the Macallan exhibition was being held, but I was really surprised as I had thought it was closer to the waterfront. Anyway I went inside and looked around. K11 Musea is a mixture of shopping centre and art gallery. It was quite interesting inside, but there was no sign of the exhibition. I know I could have gone and asked, but I just thought, 'Oh well. Never mind.' Later I found out this was a different K11 Musea. It mainly had ordinary shops, restaurants and some artwork.

Murals outside the first K11 Musea.

Murals outside the first K11 Musea.

Restaurant K11 Musea.

Restaurant K11 Musea.

Restaurant, K11 Musea.

Restaurant, K11 Musea.

Hello Kitty, K11 Musea.

Hello Kitty, K11 Musea.

We Wear stories, K11 Musea.

We Wear stories, K11 Musea.

Arty Clock K11 Musea.

Arty Clock K11 Musea.

Arty Shop, K11 Musea.

Arty Shop, K11 Musea.

Next I wandered into the world famous Peninsula Hotel which originally opened in 1928. It was built by the Kadoorie family, a wealthy British family of Mizrahi Jews from Baghdad. The Peninsula's aim in those days was to be ' the finest hotel east of Suez'. The Peninsula was located next to the Kowloon Canton Railway Terminus which was the final stop on the Trans-Siberian railway. It was also next to a harbour where luxury cruise ships docked. It attracted a rich and famous clientele. Guests have included: Roger Moore, Princess Margaret, Elton John, Ronald Reagan, Roman Polanski, Warren Beatty, the King and Queen of Nepal, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Carey Grant, Tennessee Williams and many others.

On a rather gloomier note, it was here that on Christmas Day 1941, the British surrendered to the Japanese Army who took control of Hong Kong for the next four years, using the Peninsula Hotel as their wartime headquarters. In 1994, a thirty-storey tower was added to the hotel building.

The lobby at The Peninsula is world famous for its luxurious afternoon teas and the Felix Bar at the top of the building has the world’s best view from a urinal, apparently as a female I'm not allowed in. I wandered around the lobby and for the first time noted that there was actually lots of room here to come for afternoon tea. Normally there is a queue a mile long.

The Peninsula Hotel. The white done in front of it is the space museum.

The Peninsula Hotel. The white done in front of it is the space museum.

Afternoon Tea at Peninsula Hotel.

Afternoon Tea at Peninsula Hotel.

Stairway in Peninsula Hotel.

Stairway in Peninsula Hotel.

Old Kowloon Canton Railway and Peninsula Hotel Picture.

Old Kowloon Canton Railway and Peninsula Hotel Picture.

Poster Outside Peninsula Hotel.

Poster Outside Peninsula Hotel.

On leaving the Peninsula I noticed across the street there was a second K11 Musea Building. This was much more where I had expected it to be. I crossed the road next to the Cultural Centre, Space Museum and Hong Kong Museum of Art. These are all built on the site of the former Kowloon Canton Railway. They are very futuristic in design.

Sculpture Near Cultural Museum.

Sculpture Near Cultural Museum.

Queue of statues outside Cultural Centre.

Queue of statues outside Cultural Centre.

Queue of statues outside Cultural Centre.

Queue of statues outside Cultural Centre.

Hong Kong Museum of Art.

Hong Kong Museum of Art.

Then I went to the correct K11 Musea Building. This building was amazing. I hate shopping and I'm not very interested in shopping malls, but this was a work of art. It reminded me of the themed shopping malls in Dubai. I spent a long time here photographing everything and this was where the exhibition I wanted to visit was located, but in front of it there was an enormous queue. I hate queueing and I won't do it unless I absolutely have to so I gave the exhibition a miss. There were plenty of other things to do.

K11 Musea.

K11 Musea.

Lego Bear Outside K11 Musea.

Lego Bear Outside K11 Musea.

Entrance Sign K11 Musea.

Entrance Sign K11 Musea.

Inside the Entrance, K11 Musea.

Inside the Entrance, K11 Musea.

Atrium K11 Musea.

Atrium K11 Musea.

K11 Musea.

K11 Musea.

Glass Ball K11 Musea.

Glass Ball K11 Musea.

Inside a Shop.

Inside a Shop.

Inside a Shop, K11 Musea.

Inside a Shop, K11 Musea.

Inside a Shop.

Inside a Shop.

Posing with Murals.

Posing with Murals.

Posing with Murals, K11 Musea.

Posing with Murals, K11 Musea.

Weird Sculpture.

Weird Sculpture.

Seating Area, K11 Musea.

Seating Area, K11 Musea.

Macallan Whisky Shop, K11 Musea.

Macallan Whisky Shop, K11 Musea.

Queue outside Anecdotes of Ages Exhibition.

Queue outside Anecdotes of Ages Exhibition.

Rose Statue Outside K11 Musea.

Rose Statue Outside K11 Musea.

Nose Statue Outside K11 Musea.

Nose Statue Outside K11 Musea.

I just discovered the disgusting green stuff hanging out of this nose are the stems of roses. You can pick one if you spend $1500 inside the mall.

I exited K11 Musea onto the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterside Promenade. This is famous for great harbour views and for the Avenue of Stars which was closed for refurbishment for a long time. I realized I had not been since it reopened. Facing the waterfront, I first headed left towards Hung Hom. There were some interesting sculptures outside K11 Musea itself. Then I arrived at a statue of Anita Mui and nearby one of Bruce Lee. After these statues I went up to Signal Hill with its old signal tower and found several more statues related to the film industry.

I then re-traced my steps back down to the waterfront and headed right towards Tsim Sha Tsui. There were several famous people's handprints on the rails bordering the harbour. These included Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Raymond Chow and John Woo. There was even a statue of McDull a popular pig cartoon character created by cartoonists Alice Mak and Brian Tse. Next to the statue are Mc Dull's paw prints. When I arrived back at the art museum I paused to look at a statue symbolising the Hong Kong Film Awards. This statue is six metres high and depicts the Hong Kong Film Award statuette presented to winners, a Hong Kong equivalent to the Oscars.

Hong Kong Film Awards Statue.

Hong Kong Film Awards Statue.

Hong Kong Film Awards Statue.

Hong Kong Film Awards Statue.

Jackie Chan Handprints and Views.

Jackie Chan Handprints and Views.

John Woo Handprints and Views.

John Woo Handprints and Views.

Lights, Camera, Action.

Lights, Camera, Action.

Lights, Camera, Action.

Lights, Camera, Action.

Anita Mui.

Anita Mui.

Anita Mui.

Anita Mui.

McDull.

McDull.

McDull Handprints and Views.

McDull Handprints and Views.

Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee.

Walkway from Garden of the Stars.

Walkway from Garden of the Stars.

Walkway and Harbour View.

Walkway and Harbour View.

Promenade outside K11 Musea.

Promenade outside K11 Musea.

Next I walked back to Salisbury Road where the Peninsula Hotel is located, passing by some interesting sculptures outside the cultural centre. I then crossed the road and visited Heritage 1881, a luxury hotel, restaurant and shopping complex located in the former headquarters of the Hong Kong Marine Police and the grounds of the former Hong Kong Observatory. The headquarters of the marine police actually date from 1884. This building was a police headquarters until 1996. At one time there would have been pirates locked up in the prison cells here. The same compound is also home to the Old Kowloon Fire Station which was built in the early 1920's.

Heritage 1881.

Heritage 1881.

Courtyard at Heritage 1881.

Courtyard at Heritage 1881.

Heritage 1881.

Heritage 1881.

Stained Glass Windows and Chairs.

Stained Glass Windows and Chairs.

Long Verandah and Ceiling Fans.

Long Verandah and Ceiling Fans.

Children and Signal Gun.

Children and Signal Gun.

Flame Trees.

Flame Trees.

Old Kowloon Fire Station.

Old Kowloon Fire Station.

Signal Tower and Cultural Centre.

Signal Tower and Cultural Centre.

Signal Tower.

Signal Tower.

I then recrossed Salisbury Road to view the clock tower of the former terminus of the Kowloon Canton Railway. This is all that remains of the terminal building which dated from 1915.

Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower.

Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower.

Clock Tower

Clock Tower

Finally, I boarded a star ferry back to Central to catch my ferry back to Discovery Bay. Ferries between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon began in 1888 when Parsee merchant, Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala, founded the Kowloon Ferry Company. In 1889 Sir Catchick Paul Chater purchased this company and renamed it the Star Ferry Company. It is still going strong today and was the first step many years ago in opening up Tsim Sha Tsui to the world.

Star Ferry. Each one is called something Star, this one is World Star.

Star Ferry. Each one is called something Star, this one is World Star.

Star Ferry Company.

Star Ferry Company.

Posted by irenevt 05:17 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (7)

To Market.... To Market.......

Visiting Sham Shui Po.

all seasons in one day

I've been too busy to do any form of exploring recently as it has been end of year report writing time. For a while the only thing I saw that I found interesting enough to photograph was a huge advertisement for Macallan single malt whisky in Central MTR Station and this was only interesting to me as it had lots of pictures of typically Scottish things on it, such as: ruined cottages, stags, red squirrels, sheep, typical Scottish houses. It made me feel quite homesick.

I later found out that the pictures in the advert are by Sir Peter Blake who designed the collage style cover for The Beatles’ 'Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band' album in 1967. The pictures will be used as labels for thirteen limited-edition bottles of Macallan whisky which date from 1967. The pictures depict scenes from the history of Macallan whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Macallan Single Malt whisky.

Last weekend was a three day holiday weekend due to Dragon Boat Day on Monday 14th June and I had intended to do some sightseeing, but unfortunately, I got sick so actually spent my Monday off in bed sleeping, apart from when I got up and went to the couch for even more sleeping.

By Tuesday 15th I was back at work, but had to take a broken computer to Lai Chi Kok for repair. I decided since I was so close to Sham Shui Po I may as well take another look around there.

Sham Shui Po.

Sham Shui Po.

Sham Shui Po is a very interesting area, but I could not do it full justice on such a short visit and so fully intend to go back later and do it more thoroughly.

Sham Shui Po means Deep Water Pier. It is an older and poorer area of Hong Kong - very working class. It is famous for markets. In World War II it was the site of a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. Unfortunately, there is almost nothing to mark where this was. Sham Shui Po also has some interesting historical buildings, lots of typically Chinese restaurants and in recent times several colourful murals.

One of the reasons I went there was that I wanted to see a mural called 'The Rainbow Thief'. This is by Spanish artist, Okuda San Miguel, who painted it for the 2016 Hong Kong Walls Festival. The mural shows a fox's head which looks incredibly three dimensional on top of a multi-coloured tall narrow building. It is located at 180 Tai Nan Street and certainly brightens up an otherwise dreary area.

The Rainbow Thief.

The Rainbow Thief.

The Rainbow Thief.

The Rainbow Thief.

I noticed a few other colourful murals around, mainly painted on shop shutters. Again these added a bit of colour to the otherwise drab surroundings. One blog I read before visiting even recommended going to Sham Shui Po early when all the shops are closed to see the artwork on the shutters.

Colourful Murals.

Colourful Murals.

Colourful Murals.

Colourful Murals.

The streets of Sham Shui Po are lined with market stalls and different streets have different specialties. There is a street specialising in ribbons, one for buttons, one that mainly sells toys and another concentrating on cloth. I haven't fully explored all of these yet. This time I found the cloth and the ribbons areas. This area is also famous for cheap electrical goods, especially in the Golden Computer Centre.

Ribbons and Crafts.

Ribbons and Crafts.

Cloth and Ribbons.

Cloth and Ribbons.

Cloth.

Cloth.

Ribbons and Crafts.

Ribbons and Crafts.

Ribbons.

Ribbons.

Food Stuffs.

Food Stuffs.

Shoes.

Shoes.

Clothes Shopping.

Clothes Shopping.

Hardware.

Hardware.

Electrical Goods and Household Items.

Electrical Goods and Household Items.

Sham Shui Po also has its own nine story shopping centre called the Dragon Centre. This used to be the biggest shopping centre in Kowloon until Elements was built above Kowloon Station. Apparently it even has an ice rink. I did not go inside on this occasion as I really did not have time. Maybe I will take a look next visit.

The Dragon Centre.

The Dragon Centre.

Not far from the Dragon Centre, at the junction of Lai Chi Kok Road and Yen Chow Street, is Sham Shui Po Police Station. This is an old three story colonial style building dating from 1924. A Japanese Prisoner of War Camp was located right next to it during World War II.

Sham Shui Po Police Station.

Sham Shui Po Police Station.

I also came across one of Sham Shui Po's three temples. Unfortunately it was closed so I only took photos of it from the outside. Actually this is a double temple dedicated to Sam Tai Tsz and Pak Tai. The temple to Sam Tai Tsz was built by Hakka immigrants in 1898 after a terrible outbreak of plague. The Pak Tai Temple next door was built by local fishermen in 1920 to honour Pak Tai, the Emperor of the North.

Apparently this is the only temple to Sam Tai Tsz in Hong Kong. Sam Tai Tsz means third prince. His poor old mum was pregnant with him for more than three years. When she finally gave birth, instead of a baby out came a large sphere of flesh. The boy's father, General Li Jing, hit it with a sword, and the sphere split open and revealed a grown child inside. The child could already speak and walk. He was taken under the wing of a Taoist immortal and developed an ability to chase away demons and cure the sick. The early Hakka inhabitants of this area paraded Sam Tai Tsz's image through the area and believed he chased away the demons which caused the plague outbreak. When the plague had gone, the people were so happy they built a temple to Sam Tai Tsz.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

On my way back home the sun was setting over Sunny Bay, so I stopped to take some photos before catching my bus.

Sunset over Sunny Bay.

Sunset over Sunny Bay.

Sunset over Sunny Bay.

Sunset over Sunny Bay.

Sunset over Sunny Bay.

Sunset over Sunny Bay.

Sunset over Sunny Bay.

Sunset over Sunny Bay.

Posted by irenevt 07:01 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (10)

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