It was Tuesday afternoon. The fog which covered many parts of Hong Kong a few days earlier had completely cleared up. It also happened to be my last hours in the city before leaving for Bangkok the next morning. I was at Statue Square in Central waiting for James to show up and bring me to other interesting parts of Hong Kong which we did not manage to go the day before.
Together, then we walked to the Central Pier to once again take the legendary Star Ferry for catching the moment when the sun set and showered Hong Kong Island with dimmed light. One word, beautiful. We stayed there until the sun completely set and then walked a few minutes away to a place called 1881 Heritage. It is a very fascinating site for being one of the most extreme evidences of the occasionally weird combination of old and new in Hong Kong. 1881 Heritage used to be the headquarters of Hong Kong’s Marine Police which occupied a small hill in Kowloon. But today the hill had been removed and replaced by, guess what, another luxury shopping center! It was such a bizzare feeling to imagine that all of the shops were once soil, dirt and everything else which made the hill. Meanwhile, the former headquarters building still sits elegantly on top of the shopping compound as one of the few remaining parts of the hill. The others are an old tree and a signal tower which was equipped by a time ball as a tool for sailors to calibrate their clocks. In fact, the hill used to be located at the coastline, but after undergoing some reclamation projects, some normally-located-by-the-sea structures in Hong Kong are now oddly situated far from the shore.
A few minutes later we went back to the island to head for Stanley for a more serene and laid-back escape from the city. Stanley is located in the southeastern part of Hong Kong Island and can be reached by bus from Central (actually we took the bus from Admiralty) within 30 minutes or so. Along the way, the bus went through snaking roads at the hilly terrain of the island. The higher we went, the more luxury houses and apartments we saw (in Hong Kong the higher the location, the more expensive the property price will be). During the trip we also saw some interesting buildings such as an apartment which has a hole right at the middle of it. According to feng shui the hole is necessary so that the mountain dragon can go all the way down to the sea to drink. Hence blocking its way is not recommended at all. Interesting, isn’t it?
Stanley is a very quiet place at night. But James told me that in some other nights Stanley Market will still be wide open for business. So we took a little stroll around the neighborhood and went inside the nice and modern town hall which not only serves as merely a town hall, but also a place for people to do various activities such as sports, reading books at the library or even just hanging out with friends and family. This place is very much dedicated to the people. Other than that, Stanley offers a waterfront where old and artistic buildings dominate the humble skyline. Sadly enough there is a beautiful small building painted in light blue color which is about to be demolished soon. However there is one particular building which stands out among others not only due to its imposing structure but also its importance in Hong Kong’s history. It is Murray House which was originally built in Central but then moved to Stanley by taking out every single piece of it and reconstructing the whole building at the new place from the very same pieces. A very interesting way to preserve an old structure which can also be applied anywhere else to save those precious remnants from the past. Then we decided to have dinner in one of the restaurants inside Murray House and see all the old pieces very closely at the same time. After finishing the dinner (we were the last guests at that time), we headed back to the bus shelter and checked for the bus schedule then found out that we still got a little time to wander around. So, we went to an old police station which now functions as a supermarket. Again, it was a pleasant thing to see such an old building which still retains many of its original parts. I did take my time entering one part of the building to another just to admire how well they preserve this building. After paying for some traditional herbal tea that we bought and saying goodbye to two golden retrievers who sit in front of the store, then we went straight to the bus station and hopped on our bus to go back to Central. All in all, I did find this excursion a very pleasant way to spend my last evening in Hong Kong.
I must say that Hong Kong did not fail me at all. So, I should see myself coming again to this particular corner of the world one day in the future.
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