Our next day was all in Kowloon, where we had found quite a few things to do. First we stopped in a park to watch the weekly martial arts demonstration (kung fu, tai chi, and dragon and lion dancing). It was so incredibly hot and humid that I didn’t get out my camera to take any pictures, despite enjoying the performance. I did note that martial arts demos are the same everywhere, though, and I found myself analyzing all the kids’ performances with the eyes of a tournament judge. Happily, there were several who showed excellent promise. Eventually the adults got to do their thing, though, and I was able to enjoy those more for the artistry, particularly the woman who appeared to be in charge of the tai chi group, who did a solo form with a fan that was my favorite.
The park also had a walkway lined with statues of famous animated characters, which were interesting. Gene took this picture that accurately captures my feelings about the weather and has the unfortunate side-effect of making me look like I want to murder an otherwise rather amusing cartoon pig.
Contemplating murder or just thinking about how miserably hot I am?
Then we went to Wong Tai Sin Temple, where it was slightly cooler because at least there was more air moving around. Hence more pictures:
Mother entrance lion. (Note baby lion under her paw.)
Lanterns strung across the courtyard.
Turtle-lion fountain surrounded by actual turtles.
We took a quick jaunt through the Chungking Mansions, which are indeed an experience, but also full of narrow, winding hallways and lots of people, so not one I wanted to experience for very long. (Also no pictures.)
Then we spent the rest of the late afternoon in the Walled City Park, looking around as we waited for it to get dark enough to head to the waterfront for nighttime Hong Kong skyline lights. Apparently there’s been a big project recently to make an accurate reconstruction of where all the buildings were in the Kowloon Walled City, which was torn down in 1993-94 in a fit of progress. According to the guy we talked to, one of people who had worked on gathering all the information from former residents and then making the reconstructed model, quite a few residents of Kowloon are still resentful of the park that took the Walled City’s place. It’s a very nice park, but after having seen the model, I couldn’t help but wonder how all those buildings and people really fit into what seems like not really that much space.
Kowloon Walled City reconstructed model.
We were told this model is really pretty accurate. While we were there, a former resident came by the exhibit and was indeed able to point to exactly where he used to live. The main problem, the project researcher told us, was that they hadn’t been able to convince the company that made the scale model to give them enough tiny shacks and improvised buildings to put on all the roofs. So we’ll have to use our imaginations for that.
Some pictures of the park as it looks now:
Windows along the covered walkways.
Not pictured, because it seemed rude to take their pictures without asking, are the residents who do seem to appreciate the park as it is now: at least two separate groups of cosplayers doing major photo shoots, plus a fashion photography crew.
When it seemed like it was finally getting dark, we headed to the waterfront for the “Symphony of Lights” that’s supposed to happen along the Hong Kong skyline every night. Sadly, this was rather underwhelming thanks to the pervasive cloud cover I mentioned in my last post. Note, for example, the two sad green roof lasers valiantly trying to cut through the fog:
A very sad symphony of light.
At least I managed to get this pretty cool picture of a boat:
Dramatic sails against the Hong Kong skyline.
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