Saturday afternoon in the park
There were two more stops on our itinerary but all three of us were beginning to flag a little and a bottle of coconut and aloe water only goes so far in sustaining the spirits! So, we made an executive decision to make our final stop of the day at the Lok Fu MTR station, from where the family historian wanted to explore a bit of old Hong Kong: what remained of the Kowloon Walled City.
In spite of taking the recommended exit route from the MTR station, we found ourselves in a bit of a concrete jungle of housing estate, sports facilities and colleges and it was a while before we spotted a signpost. Not willing to give in easily, in spite of our aching feet, we were glad to simply follow the signs to the park at last.
When we got there, however, it wasn’t immediately obvious that we were in the right place, for though the park was quite pretty and certainly a peaceful retreat from the built up areas we’d just walked through, this wasn’t really what we’d come to find.
Thankfully, the eagle eyed historian spotted an exhibition of photographs on the walls of this pavilion, so we made our way over a couple of bridges and along a covered walkway and eventually came across something of what we’d been looking for.
Hooray, there was a map there too! Spotting a sign for free wifi though, all three of us pulled out iphones and took a ten minute break before we realised that we weren’t here to read email – come on, let’s make a final push and find this place…
Just around the corner was the hub we’d been hoping to find, a small display of information which would give some kind of perspective to how things had been until relatively recently but of which there was otherwise no trace left whatsoever.
Here were one or two structures to simulate the conditions in which thousands made their daily lives although it still took a leap of imagination to understand it all.
Mind you, we didn’t want to dwell on some of the realities for too long,,,
In spite of reading the displayed information and listening to Edward, I was still finding it difficult to understand the scale of it all, so was very glad indeed to see a more effective visual representation of how it had been in this walled city.
The 3D model put the sheer size of the community into perspective and the drawing behind it was just what I needed to see
- apart from being a great piece of art work in its own right!
So, we felt able to say that yes, not only had we explored what remained of Kowloon, we’d seen what there was to see and done it justice. Could we go back to our hotel now, please?
We stepped outside the gate to the park and walked along the suburban road, heading back to the MTR station and thinking that, though the conditions are undoubtedly vastly improved, the residents of Hong Kong don’t all live in those posh skyscrapers in Central and for many, life is still lived cheek by jowl with the neighbours.
Suburban living has its advantages however, and spotting the bus stop with a seven minute frequency to the Star Ferry right opposite those flats, we opted to forego the last MTR ride for the day and hop on a double decker instead.
In under an hour we were back in the luxurious surroundings and bright lights of Chater Road and our incredible hotel.
I think we’d deserved a little rest before dinner!