This is the Hong Kong that most people think of when they consider the gleaming metropolis with half it’s “body” floating in the Pacific, the other half firmly anchored to the physical mainland of China:
Wealthy bankers, tycoons, Tai Tais, Rolls Royces, Shanghai Tang, gorgeous models, Jackie Chan, the most expensive apartments in the world, gourmet Chinese food, Suzy Wong are all words describing Hong Kong that bring to mind its exotic past, its exciting present. Arguably one of the top tourist centers in Asia, Hong Kong claims one of the top airports in the world (if not the best), a world class infrastructure and thanks to the ICAC (Independent Commission against Corruption), a very clean and business-friendly government. It’s status as a “Special Administrative Region” or SAR of China has done very little to alter Hong Kong (in the opinion of this writer), except open up its doors to tremendous investment and tourism from mainland China which has sustained the economy through the last and ongoing global recession with “nary a scratch”.
Much has changed in the last 50 years, yet there are still very charming pockets of “old Hong Kong” where the pace is a little slower; people know each other and eye strangers cautiously, markets are the hub of the community and people cling (often the elderly) to a life little changed … where change is not particularly welcome, thank you.
One such gem is located in an old industrial and residential community, Quarry Bay; an area beneath Mount Parker in the Eastern District of Hong Kong Island. The western portion of the area was also formerly known as Lai Chi (麗池). During Colonial Hong Kong times, the Hakka stonemasons settled in the area after the British arrival. The area was a bay where quarried rocks from the hillside for construction or building roads were transported by ship, thus Quarry Bay.
With the increase in office rents in the Central District of Hong Kong, modern buildings have crept into the landscape of Quarry Bay, and its not too difficult to predict that older neighborhoods will eventually give way to gleaming office towers, attractive office workers, and the living remnants of a more charming era are sadly priced or “waited out” of the community.
The photographs which appear in this article represent eight excursions to the area over a two-year period.
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