Travel Pics Theme: E for East Asia

Wan Chai Streetscape

Wan Chai Streetscape

This week, our Travel pics series is E for East Asia.

For Saturday, we return to Hong Kong – and we return to 2010.

I mention the year that this image was taken merely because this reconstruction will have finished five years ago – but ones like it are happening every day in Hong Kong.

We were in Wan Chai, an extremely busy commercial area of Hong Kong – home to many small to medium size companies.

But it is also home to increasingly decaying residential blocks – blocks that are being forcibly ‘renewed’ as part of a Government plan to change the character of the area.

Not everyone is happy about the urban renewal, of course .. many residents fear that they will be forced to move out to sterile, dormitory suburbs as their area is ‘gentrified’.

Wan Chai was immortalised in the movie about prostitution and star-crossed lovers, ‘The World of Suzie Wong’ – but interestingly, the area itself wasn’t used for filming; instead Tsim Cha Tsui and Sheung Wan were used.

The original of this image doesn’t have GPS data attached, so I can’t be _exactly_ sure where it was taken (and in the six years since, an awful lot has changed) but I suspect it was at Johnston Road, just a block or two away from the local MTR, or Mass Transit Rail station.

The MTR is an amazing achievement – 220km of rapid transit rail, with 150 stations or light rail stops, it carries about half of all Hong Kong’s Public Transport passengers … 5.2 MILLION passengers on the average working day.

It also carries a whole swag of tourists, like us … we travelled almost exclusively by train while we were in Hong Kong – apart from a ferry trip on Victoria Harbour, a cable-car ride up Victoria Peak, and a couple of double-decker bus rides.

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