Tag Archives: johnston road

Typhoon 10 Mangkhut huffed and puffed and…

The biggest storm so far of 2018 and the last two decades was fascinating to witness.

This was a great test of urban infrastructure, a lesson for architects and engineers, a real way for the community to bond through helping each other or simply keeping in touch.

Yesterday evening, I spent it at Shek O beach. The swells were increasing in size, reaching almost 2 meters in the short time we were there at low tide.

It had been an idyllic day, hot but sunny and somehow, knowing that a massive storm was soon to strike, most people were out making the most of it. Wanchai on a Saturday afternoon had an almost carnival like atmosphere.

Here are a few sights of the aftermath in Wan Chai last night.

Some dangers still lurking above and beneath your feet. Anyone heading out should wear only sturdy shoes and be highly alert for possible loose items that could cause injury.

Broken glass from windows and chunks of granite

Broken, broken, broken.

Fallen signboards and ripped lanterns
Many trees affected along Gloucester Road

Tree down on Lockhart, Firemen surveying scene

Overall things weren’t too bad in Wan Chai. The trees were the most affected, and a few buildings will need to sort their windows out. Shui On Center needs to work on their lifts and air con.

From The SCMP

All closed up at the MTR station

Tree leaning against a bench at Lee Tung Avenue.

And I’ve now figured out why the bins in Wan Chai are still in the same place. Someone thought of tethering them to the nearest railing. Such a simple and clearly effective idea. 👍😀Good thinking.

Heading out to the bookstore? Know this…

The two largest bookstores in Wan Chai are JP books (right by exit A3 on Johnston road) and Cosmos books which is on Lun Fat and Johnston, more or less opposite Fook Lam Moon restaurant.

The JP bookshop has only one entrance and is a multilevel shop with 3 floors. The ground floor is where the entrance is and you’re required to head up to the first floor and upwards (ie if you want to get to the kids section be prepared to walk up 4 flights of stairs).Cosmos books has a similar layout, it’s a massive sprawl of books set out on two floors, in the basement and on the first floor. The ground floor serves as the main entrance.

So going to the bookstore, you’re faced with these two entrances.

If you’re heading out to the bookshop to pick up a few travel or summer reading books for yourself or the kids, remember to leave the stroller at home. These bookshops have comprehensive collections but are definitely not stroller nor disabled friendly.

Without resorting to couch purchasing on Amazon, what would your stroller options be then?

Kelly and Walsh opened recently in Pacific Place. It’s tucked into a corner sort of opposite and one level up from the cinema. That bookstore has aisles that would make mothers smile…. and an excellent selection of English books.

Alternatively if you’re in Wan Chai this weekend, you can brave the crowds and head to the book fair at the Exhibition center.

Kamachi Pro Sport Shop- Wetsuits and rash guards all year round

If you’re looking for a simple non-fancy wetsuit in an easy to find location, Kamachi Pro Sport is a great place to pick one up.

Prices are relatively inexpensive and quality is decent, they have several of the usual designs (with or without zip, front or back zip, long or short, black or patterned etc).

The two lady staff are helpful and friendly, mostly Cantonese speaking but with the simple selection, it isn’t difficult to point out what you need in simple hand gestures. There’s a small area at the back of the shop where you can try on the suits behind a curtain.

The swimsuits and rash guards occupy the top hanging shelf and the wetsuits for kids and adults are below. The selection looked fuller in the summer, it that’s probably because it was summertime swimming season and more stock and sizes were out on display.

Here’s a kids wetsuit. Same one we got for my kid except that it’s now on 20% discount.

Here’s a sleeveless neoprene vest for adults. Ah….., it reminds me of the days when I used to go diving off Malaysia.

These are the adult rashguards (kid sizes also available).

And these are some exercise mats for yoga or just general stretching. Very cheap, less than 100 HKD per mat.

The shop sells other swim related stuff like goggles, swim hats, and dive related stuff like wet shoes. They also have a small selection of exercise training equipment.

This is what it looks like from the front, it’s between two tea shops on Johnston Road opposite Tai Yau Plaza, right on the intersection of Johnston and Wanchai Road.

More locations are listed on their card ☝️if you’re not in Wan Chai.

Watch repair and battery replacement in Wan Chai

If you haven’t switched over to wearing an apple iwatch and enjoy wearing a quartz watch, it must be annoying when the mechanism stops ticking. Uurgh. What time is it? You could continually check your phone as I do, but it does require taking the phone out and getting distracted by everything on the screen rather than a mere flick of the wrist.

My friend NDS was in Hong Kong visiting just after the new year and was asking where she could get her watch battery changed. Yes, she could get it done in London but it would cost her multiples more and she wasn’t sure why the battery died frequently.. she suspected that she wasn’t getting fresh batteries put in.

Well here in Wan Chai, you can watch the “Sifu” fix your watch and insert new batteries. He works with simple tools and a basic desk. None of that fancy screens and taking the watch to the back room where they tinker out of sight. And you get it back on the spot, as long as you care to wait.

At lunchtime there was a steady queue of people waiting to get their watches sorted. It must be the Chinese New Year rush where everyone wants to start the year off with fresh batteries and a functioning watch. A bit of spring cleaning drags everything out of the closet for a tune up.

Find the Sifu at a little corner in the Technology Digital shop. It’s across the road from the A3 Johnston Road exit.

If this guy can’t sort your watch out, look for this watch battery Sifu in the Wan Chai market instead.

The chain stores invade Wan Chai

I did my old route of Johnston road and Queens Road East today and noticed that some hoardings were coming down while others had gone up.

First, the Tang Tang Tang Tang shop owned by David Tang. 

Purveying posh home accessories, silk pyjamas, leather printed bags and funky umbrellas, it was the only shop of its kind. It was a shop you could go to for expensive gifts luxuriously wrapped and the receiver would immediately know how much you decided to spend on them. The shop seems to have vacated overnight and large “For Lease” signs have been erected around the pillars. 

Next, the hoardings have come off the Under Armour shop, situated prominently by the Swatow Street Tram Stop. 

Johnston Suites gave up their double height lobby reception area for Under Armour to move in. The shop now has a huge double storied space.

The most disappointing space is the two storied shop house that Hopewell retained as a front, the remnant facing Hopewell Center. A great locale with lots of footfall has been leased to Kee wah bakery. How uninspiring. 

I had high hopes for a nice bar or cafe, perhaps some shop with style with at least unique or interesting items to draw the crowd in. Kee Wah already exists in many locations and it’s quite a boring tenant to have. 

Oh well. Due to increasing rent and the changing residents and neighbourhood, small shops don’t stand much of a chance against the big chain stores with negotiating muscle.