October 12, 2009

Hong Kong - Tales From the Far East

On the vibrancy scale, Hong Kong makes most large international cities feel like Bunbury (bumfuck, nowhere). I just spent a few weeks in the far east. I'm not new to that part of the world, having visited multiple times before. As I stated in my last post, Asians + skateboarders + graffiti writers = vibrancy. Hong Kong has plenty of all three. 

Over a thousand photos taken, and randomly, this is the one that shows up first. Homeless man asleep at the pier, with a nice bit of art from a NYC guy who's name escapes me at the moment. This photo isn't juxtaposition, or commentary. Its real life. I did wake him up, to pay him some cash for modelling for me. He was very happy, and I had perhaps my happiest moment this year, seeing the look on his face.

I was drunk when I took this next one, and I swore to my co-traveller "this will win me a fucking Pulitzer". He promptly informed me "I'm pretty sure that's a prize for journalism". A picture tells a thousand words, dude. Man eating noodles, Kowloon alley.

Asians have really bad eye-sight. Everybody wears glasses. Everybody. Takeaway restaurant, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.

Hong Kong literally has thousands of skyscrapers. This is currently the tallest, Two International Finance Centre, at 415 metres tall.

With all the amazing food available, the only use for a McDonalds is the public toilet. Even when they offer a Double Pork McSpicy burger, or something like that.

The Mongkok Bird Park is where old Chinese men take their pet birds to hang out with other pet birds. You can purchase live insects for the bird to munch on, sit him next to other birds for a chat about HK city life, or just allow the bird to chip away at the guilos (white ghosts) cameras. Its all good, bird.

Its hard to describe just how good Mongkok is. Often described as the densest part of HongKong, it is actually on the main land, not Hong Kong island. It is possibly my favourite suburb on earth. Containing the famous "sneaker street", "bird street", "fish street" and my favourite - "ladies street", Mongkok is Hong Kong's premier destination in my opinion.

The thing about Hong Kong crowds, is that nobody ever says sorry for bumping into you. Whats the point? Typical Mongkok crowded street. Great whitey ratio! (®).

So, what can Perth learn from Hong Kong? Here's a start: a lot. I'll try to bring some sense to this in the next few posts. For now, I need to recover.


The Worst of Perth said...

HK is a fabulous place, to visit at least. I wouldn't want to live out in the new territories though. That Kowloon skyscraper does look pretty good. Several worker fell to their deaths inside the liftwell a few weeks ago.

N. said...

Agree TWOP. I heard about the Skyscraper incident - I guess shit happens when you use bamboo, quick-ties and shade-cloth scaffolding on a 400+ metre building...

acc521 said...

Great pics and commentary!

FYI, ICC on Kowloon surpasses 2IFC as Hong Kong's tallest a few months back ;)

N. said...

Thanks acc - that was an intentional error to see if the skyscraper nerds were paying attention.... well done! The interesting thing about ICC is that even staying within a few hundred metres of it, in Kowloon - you still don't notice it until you get out on the water, or over on HK island. It looks awesome in conjunction with 2IFC - perfect match!

Anonymous said...

how bout u put up more photos from your trip u slack bastard


Jonathan Stanley said...

Coming back over from SkyScraperCity.com... because:

"I guess shit happens when you use bamboo, quick-ties and shade-cloth scaffolding on a 400+ metre building..."

Ugh. I hate it when people make offhand comment without knowing facts.

Firstly, bamboo has a higher tensile strength than most alloys of _steel_ and better compressive strength than _concrete_.

Secondly, as scaffolding it is much better suited to HK's climate (hint: typhoons) in which the lightweight and supple structure can give. Also, should a bamboo scaffold come away partly, they are easily repairable by skilled (and amazing to watch) scaffolders. A steel scaffold failing, the entire lot will come down, usually damaging the building in process.

Thirdly, it's very environmentally friendly. Whereas steel takes a heck of a lot of energy to extract, refine and process, bamboo (a grass) can grow at a rate of 4ft/1.3m _per day_. A bamboo forest can be harvested for structural bamboo every 3 years by cutting the trunks leaving the roots alive an intact, where it'll regrow and help keep topsoil together.

Fourthly, and perhaps most importantly... The platform that failed inside the ICC lift-shaft _was a steel construction_ where the steel beams, designed for a 1 tonne load, was exceeded by a factor of 2 or more... so it failed.

Fifthly(-ish), super-tall construction such as the ICC are "scaffold-less" where by the concrete core is built up and concrete plates (for each floor) is then built out with the external glass being lifted into place by cranes on the concrete core.

Rant over.

BRIK said...

I was in HK at about the time these pictures were taken. I went to the fish market, its amazing how many shops were lined up against each other which were all selling the same things. One wonders how any of them make decent sales, most of the ones I went past were completely empty (people wise).

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