There’s always something intriguing going on in the neighbourhood that you’d never know about while walking on the pavement. I’ve probably walked to Causeway Bay via Lockhart Road at least 100 times and I’m still fairly oblivious to which buildings are conducting legitimate business and which buildings are leased for other purposes.
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.
A rather tall, washed out pink coloured building with lots of air conditioning units, one wouldn’t think it out of place or unusual in appearance until you study the windows.
Pretty much all the windows have been blocked from prying eyes by window film stickers of various colours. There’s barely any natural light that enters the building.
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 :).
My former Bodycombat instructor KevinL from Kuala Lumpur (KL from KL, haha) came to visit just before Christmas with his friends Vincent, Janelle and Nikki. They stayed in Mong Kok but I managed to get them to come over to Wan Chai for the morning.
After a high caloried breakfast at Kam Fung Cha Chaan Teng, where between them they must have tried every variation of noodle and bread combo, we headed for a short time to the swings across the street. A short burst of energy to entertain the little one and a quick look around Wan Chai market got their tummies rumbling again after barely half an hour.
“I remember a really damn shiok curry fishball place in Wan Chai” said Vincent. His eyes were bright with enthusiasm and suggestion. “Ya ya lets go find it” quipped Kevin. “I recall its near Wan Chai MTR”.
So our little war party of six made our way threading through the hoardes of shoppers browsing Tai Yuen Street.
At the MTR exit, Kevin pointed at the overpass indicating that we head up. “It’s over on the other side, near California Fitness” he said.
I encouraged them to look on either side as we made our way above Hennessy towards the Convention Center.
Vincent got quite excited once we got into Lockhart, “I think that’s it” he pointed down. We descended via the newly installed glass elevator to street level and crossed the road.
A shoplot stall comprising of a few sections selling everything in Hong Kong fast food you could want to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner is available here. It looked like a place that catered to the late night denizens, clientele and possibly taxi drivers plying the area for their trade. In the daytime it was relatively quiet. At 11.30amit looked like they were just opening up the stall for lunch business.
Small steel vats contained various bubbling soups. One of these contained the curry Fishballs that they yearned for. The serving lady ladled the curry soup with its contents into a styrofoam bowl and supplied each bowl with a wooden skewer stick.
Each of them got their own bowl while I pinched a fishball of Kevin just to try ( I was still stuffed from breakfast…).
Was it as they remembered? Kevin and Vincent ruefully said that the Fishballs used to be bigger and better textured. But they enjoyed the curry soup and slurped it all up while on the pavement.
I wish there was a more decent place in Wan Chai that sold Hong Kong snacks more stylishly. A place where you could really bring guests and sit down to enjoy talking and savouring the snack. If they put one in the Blue House, I think that would really draw the crowd.
If you should find yourself on the dark oops, North side of Hennessey Road in the early morning or recently ate at the legendary American Peking Restaurant and need to digest/ metabolize off the food, you can do so at this decent park and playground.
For toddlers, watch their little face light up and hear those foot stomping exclamations of “I wanna go play mama” as you wheel your stroller into the playground. Three separate climbing frames with slides is quite a treat for Hong Kong ( I wish they would spend a bit of money to upgrade and update them). Nonetheless for children something is better than nothing. There’s a short zip bar which is fun for older kids and if you bring a ball they can spend time shooting hoops at the adjoining basketball court. No swings though.
It really isn’t busy during the week which is nice and the benches are clean and plentiful around the perimeter of the park. There’s a public toilet here so that’s helpful if you had too much to drink.
The construction site across Lockhart road is quite noisy with piling right now so you’ll just have to tolerate that. Spacious, clean and nice open areas for running around chasing sparrows and letting off steam. I guess it’s because it’s right next to the Boys’ and Girls’ association.
Digging beneath the dirt… To find the good and the gritty