Even for us elderlies, life in Hong Kong demanded a busy and active lifestyle. We were out and about on land or water every day, either walking or taking a ferry or grabbing the subway to travel swiftly over longer distances.
On one particularly lazy day, though, we settled into velveteen armchairs for a Victoria Harbour cruise, one drink and a small package of cookies included.
We cruised leisurely along the coastline, accompanied by the recorded voice of a tour guide explaining the sites as we passed them. In front of the Expo Center above, is the Golden Bauhinia Square, a waterfront plaza used for community ceremonies. Its main feature is a huge, gilded sculpture in the shape of a Bauhinia x blakeana blossom, Hong Kong’s signature emblem. The sculpture was a present from the people of the PRC to the people of HK on occasion of the territory’s release from British rule twenty years ago. I don’t have a picture of the Hong Kong orchid tree, as it’s often called, with its deep purple flowers, but below is a B. purpura tree, onto which the cultivar blakeana is usually grafted. The oversized Golden Bauhinia blossom suffered some indignities in June of this jubilee year when pro-democratic activists wrapped her in black mourning cloth to protest the increasingly heavy hand with which the PRC government intrudes into the affairs of the Special Administration Region. No arrests were reported.
It was a bit of a murky day for taking a cruise, but one thing could be clearly seen, cranes, so many cranes! Construction never stops in Hong Kong.
Above a futuristic-looking building in the West Kowloon Cultural District, or possibly a Swedish grasshopper.
During the approach to the pier at the end of the harbor cruise, we had a good look at our own shiny building, the tower of the Four Seasons Place, right in the center of the picture below, to the left of the Four Seasons Hotel.
Even though we lived on Hong Kong Island, we spent an awful lot of time in Kowloon. There were nunnery visits, strolls in the park with alien encounters, and fittings with the tailor, obviously, but mostly we just lusted after the bao,
because the Yat Chui Pavilion had become our most favorite dim sum place.
The Pavilion is on east Mody Road next to the Mirror Tower shopping & office building, in case you should find yourself in Tsim Sha Tsui one of these days. Despite the large Shangri-La Kowloon hotel across the street, which, by the way, sports lovely flower arrangements,
the clients in the Yat Chui are mostly locals. The cost for the big meals we usually ordered never exceeded US$8 per person, no matter how hard we tried to spend more. Do order the milk custard buns, they’re unbelievably delicious!
On the other hand, having dim sum at one of the currently hippest places in town is an entirely different basket of shrimp bao. Yum Cha is located on the second floor of a business highrise, truck and all.
It was a lavish experience to eat at the Yum Cha and we had a lot of fun, but, silly us, we liked the dim sum at the Yat Chui better …
Another culinary experience was high tea at The Upper House. The Peninsula Hotel is supposed to be the cat’s meow for such social occasions, but when we loitered there it seemed crowded, busy and cold, like an extremely elegant Grand Central Station. So much cozier to snuggle on a cushy banquette in a warmly golden room, well protected from the drenching rains outside while sharing a sumptuous meal with your sweetheart.
Returning to street-level after our meal, we were lucky to grab the single available cab!
After the excitement of rushing through extremely wet and slippery city streets in a taxi, the lobby in our building was a veritable Haven of Zen.
Of course, one finds lions all over the place in HK.
Red is the most auspicious color in China.
Through google, I learned a lot more about the fun and interactive Soundscape sculpture in Tamar Park. In response, I created a Lightscape 😎 If you blink rapidly while staring at the images below, they become nearly interactive 🙃 sort of … maybe not so much.
Most of our excursions began and/or ended by passing through the vast expanse of the IFC Mall next door to our place. It was the most convenient way to reach public transportation, including the ferry piers, and the mall also acted as a gateway for our walks around central HK Island.
Those walks on broad avenues and narrow lanes, sometimes at street level, often along elevated pedestrian walkways offered amazing and astounding views of life in Hong Kong, challenging preconceived notions and expending one’s horizon with every step.
It could get pretty hot galloping along our long trecks through the city. Fortunately, many office buildings have cafés hidden in their subterranean spaces for a nice rest and a life-giving infusion of iced coffee.
At night, Hong Kong explodes in multi-colored neon glory.
But one should never disregard the darker corners of a big city.
and then there are the sights that made me smile.
We didn’t actually eat at the Monogamous, instead, we chose the Cicada with its funky wall panels.
On our way home, we passed through busy and through tranquil areas of this incredible town, grateful we could experience so much of it close up and personal for two weeks.
At home, I loved the ever-changing flower arrangements in our foyer.
Before we leave Hong Kong altogether, allow me to refer back to this accidental Excursion which I posted a few months ago. I think the pretty birds deserve a return visit. Thanks!
2 thoughts on “Street Scenes & Bohemian Bao”
You’re so generous with your praise, Mike. Thank you! I really enjoyed HK, the incredible energy generated by all these people rushing around. And then stumbling into pockets of tranquillity when you least expect it.
I never thought it could get better than when we were there (‘88-‘94- lived in Tokyo but was in Hong Kong 6-8 times a year)—- but it did!! Fabulous tour and pictures. Thanks!!
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