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Archive for October 3rd, 2012

Roots of Shek Kong Village, Hong Kong

Posted by TravellingStrom on October 3, 2012

Mayan Prophecy Countdown

I had a goal today, I wanted to go and visit an area where I lived when I was a kid, a small village called Shek Kong, it is in the New Territories area between Kowloon and the border on the west side of this small country. I knew it had all changed and I had quite good memories still, but I had an opportunity so I figured why not. I had thought about taking a bus and the Twisk highway, which is the mountainous route and very twisty and winding. But, as I was not on a bike, I decided it would be yucky in a bus and took the metro instead 🙂 Once at the station near the village I then had to try and find my way to the village itself, then see what I could see that matched my memories. I ended up trying about 20 cabs until I found one that spoke some English.

Then I had to explain to him a few times what I want, which was to view not visit. The areas we were visiting used to be part of the British Army married quarters and this area was taken over by the PLA, or the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army on handover. They have since removed some areas and modernised them, but some are still the same. I thought I recognised a street turning and we stopped, we were nearly set upon by the police guarding the area, so had to leave as this was a no go zone, I sort of knew this would happen. It was going to be very difficult to pick a landmark without walking up the street and in the end I had to retreat. I had no clear map of the area, and my parents could not give me much more either, no street name, but ‘maybe’ a house number of 44. Well, I could not find 44, but did find 50 and 51, but these were on the main road and not up a side street. All these buildings were the same design though and they looked familiar, although run down.

There was a narrow track just down from these that went across a reservoir and here was a place to pull over. Now, this I recognised, I used to fish here many times and we used to climb down on the spill ways and stay for hours. This was back in the days when we were told, go and play and be home by dark, none of this molly coddling the kids get nowadays, driven to school by cripes!!!

So, after an hour I had seen enough. Most of the region was in lush growth stage, there were heaps of new high rises and my only memories were to do with the hills around my old house, and as this was a restricted zone, well I could go no further. A shame but there you go. Right, onwards to the next goal for the day, which also brought back some memories, the Star Ferries to cross the harbour, still plying their trade which is to move people from and to the island. I had talked to the tourist information people and what I wanted to achieve was easily done, just follow these steps. Take the ferry to the other side, walk to pier 9, get a 15C bus which will take you direct to the Peak tram station, easy as 🙂

Now, I was going to the top of The Peak, which is Victoria Peak, the high point and where the Funicular goes to. This tram has been going for well over a hundred years, I was told the trip up would take an hour from the ferry starting point. Not quite, this was national holidays time and the line up to use the tram was around the corner and it looked like from the signs, about an hour to an hour and a half wait! Oh well, what else is there to do, go to the pub! Well, it took just over an hour to get to the front, then buy a ticket, or in my case swipe a card called Octopus that had been given to me by Murray. This was a great system, just add money to the card then swipe at every point, ferry, bus, train whatever. Anyway, the trip up was cool, with some nice views at the top end once we were out of the forest of sky scrapers.

The Peak terminal at the top was a tourist trap for sure, I had bought a ticket to go to the top of the 360 degree view roof, but had to negotiate 5 floors of tat to get there 🙂 But once there, well, I could not see forever as the smog was quite evident, but the views were spectacular nonetheless.

There are some very rich people here, the chappie in the red house(mansion) was in a prime location and could even access the tram at the stop near his front door.

I spent about an hour or so up here, checking out the views from the other side and reading some history of the area, before heading back down, it was getting quite late and lo and behold, there was a line up to get back down again, of course!

The waiting did not end there either, at the bottom end I just missed the bus that returns you to the pier for the ferry service and I waited again. It was peak hour traffic, all the office workers were out and we were up a small side street. I tried to grab a taxi, but this queue was also long, so I walked down the road away from this traffic jam area until I found a big bank with a taxi queue outside and joined that one. I looked a bit rough compared to the bankers, but I only had to wait 10 minutes before I was heading down to the ferry and back for a well deserved beer and some fish and chips 🙂 This first picture shows the thick steel cables used to bring the tram up and down the mountain, they slide on rollers and plastic blocks, it would be messy if they snapped!!!

I had a quieter night than last night, it had been a long and tiring day and after a few beers and some tucker I was bushed. Tomorrow arvo I was flying to Bangkok and there were still emails flicking back and forth between the sender of the bike and the agent in BK about the correct paperwork procedure, you would think after sending two already they could get it right. During this time Lorraine’s had been held up, so she was stuck in Bangkok, after specifically telling them to have the bike there prior to her arrival, her bike would now be on the same plane as mine, which would leave tonight and hopefully get there before me.

I am sure it will all work out in the end though 🙂

Cheers from Kowloon, Hong Kong

Posted in Around The World, Eurasia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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