October 29, 2009

Hong Kong - Food, People, Buildings, and Yellow Fever

Hong Kong Part Two - the final chapter. With a few photos left over from a recent Hong Kong trip, there is no reason not to show a few more.  I will kick off with a revelation. The guy above gave my girlfriend yellow fever. We crossed paths in Sham Shui Po, a fairly typical  Hong Kong neighbourhood. Locals know it as a cheap district to get electronic goods. To me, it's the place where I recognised that females get yellow fever, just as bad as males. Clearly, he's a movie-star. The film crew were onto it, location wise - Sham Shui Po is visually one of the most amazing city areas I have ever seen. The urban decay is well progressed. Many buildings now have illegal "shacks" built on the roofs. A prevailing sense of controlled anarchy left me with a strangely comforting feeling.

Nearby, the district of Tsim Sha Tsui sits on the Kowloon peninsular, bordering Victoria Harbour, pointing towards Hong Kong island. Chunking Mansions, pictured below, is an enigma in this other-wise modern, busy, and developed part of Hong Kong. Built in the 1960's, this building is estimated to be home to more than 4000 people, from over 120 nationalities. This is true multi-culturalism. Chunking is also known as a hot-bed of drug dealers, illegal immigrants, and scammers. The only thing you should buy from here is an Indian curry. People live here, there is every type of business imaginable, and backpackers, new immigrants, and cheapskates jam 2000 guest rooms. They're the cheapest beds in Hong Kong. But, when you stay in a tower with few lifts, and over 4000 people, if a fire breaks out, you're screwed. There are over 900 individual owners of properties within the Mansions, meaning to get anything done in a uniform way is pretty much impossible. Wandering through the hallways, I noticed electricity and commuications wiring haphazadly strung up from one apartment to the next. The upper levels is where it all goes down, as by the time Police get up there, the culprits have packed up and moved on. This place is pretty much out of control.

However, the Tsim Sha Tsui area is one of the most convenient and interesting locations to stay when in Hong Kong. Wherever you are standing, there is a subway station nearby...and the Hong Kong subway system is the most impressive public transport system on earth. Cheap, fast, accessible. TST is also home to the famous and well used Star Ferry Terminal. For about 30 cents (AUD), jump on the top deck, sit on the left side, and enjoy the best value ferry ride available anywhere.
On Hong Kong island proper, the waterfront areas are glitzy, modern, and, to use a local expression, developed out the yin yang. There is literally thousands of skyscrapers. The negatives include the terrible whitey ratio of areas like Mid Levels and Soho. However, the food is amazing here, as in other areas of Hong Kong. We stumbled across a restuarant that was essentially like sitting inside a butcher shop. Anthony Bourdain also ate here, and said of the pork "this is as close to God as you're going to get... Pork is a beautiful thing, and this is the best I have ever had, anywhere in the world." Really, Hong Kong is an amazing city. The photos below were all taken on the island itself, and will be the last in the Hong Kong series. Enjoy.


rachael said...

oh that guy, he's michael miu...
pretty suave for an older guy, i must say

i've been to hk a few times, but never checked out sham sui po, will have a look next time, maybe bump into a movie set :)

Anonymous said...

hey nate, where's the pic of this awesome pork??

dont hold out on me


N. said...

Rachel - thanks for the link, I can now put a name to the face. He was one suave cat!

Sanj - I will go through the photos again, to look for a pic of the actual dish, but, it was a plate of pork. We had belly. Mmmmm. The photo above that looks like a butcher shop, was taken from our table. We were surrounded by pigs and ducks. You can see another table and chair in the picture, you actually sit amongst the animals. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

awesome. you really wouldve loved that pork lunch i went to recently on the farm. i'll let you know if they have another one planned. the quality of the pork was really impressive as well.


Luke said...

The third picture down from : "The photos below were all taken on the island itself, and will be the last in the Hong Kong series. Enjoy."

I took that same shot when I was there, hahaha. That's near soho right? I can't seem to remember.

N. said...

Hey Luke - it was taken from the escalator on the way up to mid-levels somewhere... to be honest, I am more a Kowloon guy - I don't know all of the Island neighbourhoods.... but, yes, I think it was near soho.

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