It’d be nice if there was the haunted house walk again but I don’t see any notices indicating that it’s on…
….in all the wrong places
Looking for love in too many faces…
This post related very well to the lyrics in the song by Johnny Lee: Looking for love
A while back I came across an article about a police immigration raid in Wan chai. This was interesting to me as I walk most of the streets in the daytime and have only a faint idea of where the sleazier (grittier as my friend’s husband prefers) stuff happens.
Between the hours of 9am and 6pm, the shops are open, pavements are full of pedestrians, flyer distribution promoter types, contractors delivering goods and carpenters either smoking or trimming pieces of wood.
Occasionally I would hear the echoey cluttering mahjong gambling houses in the afternoon, they are mostly empty in the mornings which is when the staff can fling the faux golden doors open for airing. The exterior decor of these gambling halls are quite fancy but one who doesn’t know may think it’s a fancy restaurant or not notice it at all.
It may not be a surprise then, to discover that within a three minute radius of these gambling houses, stands one of Wanchai’s famous/notorious institutions where the winners/ losers can spend the rest of their money, time and energy. Prostitutes who are working legally (i.e. not being pimped and have their own quarters) have taken up residence in this particular building and ply their trade from small sub divided apartments. Each of these apartments are equipped with its own water and power supply and hence is deemed a legal dwelling.
So to save you wondering what the establishment looks like (yeah yeah..from the outside only ok), I’m going to satisfy your curiosity here.
I’ve walked this street on both sides probably a thousand times but never noticed the entrance. A very narrow corridor between two interior furnishing shops with a lit up sign, though the interior stores have taken great care to ensure their signs are brighter.
I soon realised while strolling past, that this was indeed no ordinary building. I think this must be one of the fanciest stairway entrances on the entire street. White tiled marble with backlit cornices reminiscent of Greek mythology, the effect on men must be similar to an ascent to Olympus.
It’s supposedly frequented by locals and appeals to the chinese speaking crowd.
You can put this on your alternate sightseeing map when in Wanchai. If you’re showing guests around based on my blog, all I ask is that you show them this post and write to me with your comments about Wanchai :).
You only have to look through the number of entries I’ve written about the Avenue to know how much of a fan I am of the remodelled street (you can find those posts by searching for Lee Tung Avenue in the search box above). I patronise the shops and often prefer walking through it over the other more chaotic side streets in Wan Chai.
It’s also a perfect example of how short streets can be pedestrianised to make a neighbourhood much more liveable for families with young children.
I caught up with a friend who lives in the Avenue and was asking how it was in the newest residential complex in Wanchai. He had mixed feelings about the management of the estate. The issues that he raised were as follow:
1) slow and insufficient lifts for the number of units in each block. Having to wait for two lifts to go by is similar to waiting for two MTR trains to go by before you board. It’s tiring (and boring) standing around in anticipation, especially in an enclosed lift lobby area.
2) inefficient clearance of rubbish bins. Apparently the bins are often filled to overflowing, causing a bit of a stink after a few days at room temperature. Perhaps the staff assume that not all floors are occupied and skip certain floors…
3) receptionist unable to accept packages. This is usually expected of building reception, especially these days where many people live without extended family (mostly studios and one bedrooms on offer- designed for singles or couples). It’s very strange that reception can’t or won’t assist with receiving parcels from the postman or simple deliveries if instructed by the resident.
4) residents need to take two lifts to get to the ground floor of their building. This is the case with many estates in Hong Kong where one has to ascend from mall level up to the podium, then podium up to the apartment. This is just an unfortunate design decision and it’s too bad that the architect didn’t incorporate an escalator or some more rapid and efficient way of accessing the main lobby of the apartments.
Benefit: If you live on a high-ish floor as my friend does, what you do get is a fantastic view over Wan Chai and marvellous sunsets if you get home early.
Ophelia Bar designer Ashley Sutton expressed this opinion of the Avenue in the SCMP…not the most flattering comment…
The Wanchai City Tree project has been a disappointment to me so far. After I saw the launch by its Founder and team (flanked by lots of dudes in suits) with lots of snazzy photo taking and media buzz, the City Tree has been mostly ignored since. More ominously a black netting has been wrapped around the tree… it’s a bit unclear if this was to prevent the recent typhoon(s) from ripping out all the plants or whether the plants aren’t quite acclimating well to the environs.
I see the following issues:
1) not very aesthetically pleasing
2) rather exposed seating area
3) no way to know whether it’s working (the screen has been blank for a while now)
What the City Tree needs is a big display above the awning indicating what the second to second PSI is, flicking to what the PSI variations are during the day and night. That way, all passersby will be able to see what the traffic contributes during rush hour, how particles decrease after a good thunderstorm or on a public holiday.
Will Wan Chai be filled with City Trees? Replacing any trees that fall during typhoon season with City Trees would be a welcome start though the effect on the landscape isn’t quite the same. See the article below on possible intents…
Quick update: the black netting has now been removed. The coverage of plants seem to be a little more extensive but the computer display was definitely not working right.