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  #1  
Old Posted May 26, 2022, 3:04 PM
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2022 Hong Kong 2022

I've had a busy 2022 so far continuing to explore Hong Kong after 2 years of isolation. Winter weather has been fairly decent, and the year started off with relative normalcy as virus cases stayed low.

1 Jan - Hong Kong has a fairly large legion of young bus fans that know their targets' whereabouts. In recent years, we've seen a few more older non-airconditioned buses being preserved after retirement, although we don't have a public transport museum in the city other than a rail-dedicated one in the suburbs.



2 Jan - While not the prettiest environment to live in, the city's older housing blocks are gaining attention with growing calls of preservation. However, the reality is living conditions are not good and many original units are likely to have been subdivided for the poor. Rents here are not cheap on a per square foot basis. Public housing wait times have reached a record high.



4 Jan - Bowen Road is an easy to reach hiking trail just behind the city's skyline. There are a few residents in this neighbourhood, including the folks working at the Seychelles consulate, so you may spot the odd car pass by every now and then.



7 Jan - Across the harbour, Hung Hom has a very nice waterfront promenade without the tourist crowds that huddle around the Star Ferry. This area is mostly residential so you will likely see locals exercising or fishing.



8 Jan - The city's traffic is oftentimes forcibly separated from pedestrians. Roads have railings to prevent illegal crossings, with footbridges and underpasses to delay your direct journey.



9 Jan - Chinese New Year decorations are plentiful along Sham Shui Po's side streets, where shops that traditionally sell toys or other ware suddenly turn bright red.



11 Jan - As redevelopment approaches, our store signs that used to hang above streets are also disappearing, especially the neon ones.



15 Jan - While the new housing blocks look a bit monotonous with the standard mall hosting chain stores, they do offer improved conditions and a little more play space.



16 Jan - Wan Chai's waterfront promenade is gradually being extended although trees offering shade are still rare. They event built access straight to the harbour instead of putting up metal railings.



20 Jan - With COVID keeping borders shut, Canton Road's bustling scene is long gone.



24 Jan - Street art projects have taken off in some districts and unexpected areas. Graffiti is not too commonly spotted, although sometimes there are pleasant surprises.



26 Jan - The Pearl River empites into the South China Sea at the southwestern edge of Lantau, where salt and fresh water would show up in different colours on a sunny day. I didn't get that sun though, but the ocean views were still nice.



27 Jan - Yet the sun returned in full force the next day.



28 Jan - The K11 Art Mall has an exhibition space where shoppers can take an artistic break, such as this parody of a supermarket.



29 Jan - They're not the only mall adding cultural items to their floor space. This exhibition at Times Square features the lion dance, which is a must-have at major celebrations such as Chinese New Year.



30 Jan - The Chinese New Year flower blooms at festival time. These small flowers grow in clusters and downwards.



31 Jan - An ancient trail used to run out of Stanley on the southern part of Hong Kong Island, which was a major centre during the early colonial days. An 1845 map had already indicated a road from Stanley to Repulse Bay, and by 1881, the road even reached all the way to Central. Built to accommodate both people and horse carts, it was abandoned after more modern roads reached the area, and nature has since re-conquered it.



More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/hongkong.htm
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  #2  
Old Posted May 26, 2022, 4:24 PM
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That photo from January 27 is
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2022, 5:21 PM
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4 Feb - Hong Kong's northern reaches used to be desolate and fortified to prevent illegal immigrants from China coming through. The tensions have eased now that the folks in Shenzhen have gotten a lot more wealthier, and it is interesting to see them build up to the border while our side is still mainly countryside.



6 Feb - The old airport at Kai Tak continues to be a massive construction some 15 years after it closed. Some big buildings are emerging, although a lot of the runway plots are still empty.



11 Feb - With tourism evaporated due to border restrictions, locals can reclaim Tsim Sha Tsui's waterfront and turn it back into a pleasant and serene public space.



12 Feb - Most of our food is imported and with the right wallet size, you can be picky with what you eat and source it from around the world. We can easily get French mussels, Australian wagyu, North Atlantic halibut, and Japanese peaches. But the pandemic has also made us look local as well. At the end of hiking, there was a local farm stall selling their fresh vegetables.



26 Feb - Sai Kung is extremely crowded on weekends when people head out to sea and have a great time. I found a quieter hiking trail with a secluded beautiful beach to recharge.



27 Feb - Civil engineers are well respected here as they work on managing our co-existence with nature. Hong Kong is a hilly place, and building residential buildings along steep slopes requires extra care especially since we get a lot of rain during the summer and landslides are a real threat.



More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/hongkong.htm
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2022, 7:54 AM
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4 Mar - Lack of land has forced builders to think of innovative solutions to put all the infrastructure in place without wasting anything. At this old public housing estate, the road cuts through the building itself.



5 Mar - Tai Tam Reservoir is one of the most popular easy hiking trails on Hong Kong Island. The structures are quite historic, some over a century old.



8 Mar - Tseung Kwan O's LOHAS Park is a new suburban development full of highrise towers. To make it easier to reach the city, a huge new bridge and tunnel is being built to alleviate traffic on existing roads.



10 Mar - On the other side of town, the old district of Tai Kok Tsui is seeing some highrise infill redevelopments, although because the high-speed railway to China runs diagonal across the district, many buildings cannot be redeveloped into glassy highrises.



11 Mar - With our sub-tropical climate, spring flowers bloom fairly early although the season is long with different species blooming in the coming months.



12 Mar - Next to a prison is a relatively off-the-beaten track rock carving believed to be some 3000 years old. Geometric patterns of squares and circles suggest it's from the Bronze Age and back in the day, the sea may have reached up to here.



13 Mar - The COVID outbreak has decimated the tourism industry and Jumbo is one of the casualties. This Chinese restaurant on a boat has been featured in tourist literature since before my time, but locals are not so keen to find the pier and catch a boat ride for a pricey meal either.



14 Mar - Continuing with the spring flower collection, these yellow trumpets in a side alley have attracted hordes of photographers.



15 Mar - Many years ago, the "King of Kowloon" wrote his unique brand of Chinese calligraphy graffiti around the city. He was a lunatic but after he passed, his works became an iconic art form and even made its way to exhibitions. Fast forward to today, a plumber has also spread his advertising message around the city, taking advantage of any public space available to be his billboard.



More photos on my website : Hong Kong Photo Gallery
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2022, 4:40 PM
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Great set. I'd love to go back.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2022, 5:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
This is quite a dramatic engineering feature! Is it common that the slopes are treated this way around the city?
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  #7  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2022, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by geomorph View Post
This is quite a dramatic engineering feature! Is it common that the slopes are treated this way around the city?
Yes, Hong Kong is a very hilly place and we live and work close to these slopes, so concrete reinforcements are fairly common. This is especially the case on the Island side.
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Old Posted Jul 19, 2022, 10:28 AM
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1 Apr - A number of high-profile large redevelopment projects are happening in the city. The one in Kwun Tong is especially notable, with many old-style shops run by families cleared out and a shopping mall put in their place. Is this the new development model we should support? Will we miss the unique small shops that used to be a major force in our retail landscape?



3 Apr - A number of sports facilities in public housing estates have been revitalized with a new coat of paint. While we are confined in small homes, perhaps these public spaces can extend your living space just a little bit?



10 Apr - So what's a graffiti-laden New York subway car doing in Hong Kong? It was part of an art exhibition in a shopping mall.



11 Apr - The older public housing corridors tend to have open corridors to improve ventilation as common areas are typically not air-conditioned.



17 Apr - With tourists shut out, I got to enjoy the night-time skyline view in serenity.



18 Apr - Kennedy Town is an older district with interesting finds. A lot of non-Chinese speaking expats live here now so the shops and restaurants offer a good mix of everything.



29 Apr - Wanchai's Hopewell Centre has an external sightseeing elevator that takes you up to their top-floor restaurant. The views are quite breath-taking as you pierce above the concrete jungle to spot the harbour in the distance.



More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/hongkong.htm
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Old Posted Jul 19, 2022, 2:27 PM
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What's the full buildout plan for Kai Tak?
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Old Posted Aug 5, 2022, 11:36 AM
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What's the full buildout plan for Kai Tak?
Here is the zoning map : https://www.ktd.gov.hk/eng/overview.html
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Old Posted Aug 5, 2022, 1:27 PM
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3 May - The 44m Clock Tower is the only building left from the former railway terminus. In late 2021, the bell started ringing again after over 70 years of silence.



6 May - The city was abuzz to farewell the last MLR trains on the East Rail Line. This type of rolling stock was launched in 1982 and underwent refurbishment in the late 1990s.



7 May - Kai Tak's old airport remains mostly undeveloped wasteland. It is slowly changing, but how many more years will it take to use the land properly to alleviate the housing problem?



8 May - Although Hong Kong's public housing estates are not very desirable places to live, designers have made good use of the little space available for recreation. For example, this rooftop is a big open area for exercise.



9 May - Making good use of space also applies here with a bus terminus beneath a highway bridge.



14 May - Our public transport system is run by different operators although most use the same common smart card for fare payment. To entice passengers onto trains and making a long walk to the station, the MTR has installed discount kiosks at various inconvenient points for a $2 off deduction for the next ride.



15 May - The waterfront promenade remains disconnected but there have been a lot of efforts in recent years to beautify more parts. In this less touristy part of western Hong Kong Island, there is a good section that offers lovely sunset views.



18 May - Garden Estate is a bit of an oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle. Spread along a gentle hillside and just across the street from a train station, it is hidden away from the noisy streets and residents don't need to look at their neighbour's window within an arm's length.



19 May - I remember watching reclamation extend Central's harbourfront many years ago. Most of it is still wasteland, although it is slated for park with very limited commercial buildings planned.



20 May - Older lowrises such as these will become rarer and rarer as the developers come hunting with their wrecking balls.



21 May - Over 70% of Hong Kong is undeveloped, which includes over 200 islands and a lot of nature within our doorstep. Just a short walk from the city is a quiet nature trail with a shark-looking rock peering at you.



29 May - The new M+ Museum has a lot of post-modern pieces that are quite difficult to interpret but interesting to see. It's free for the first year and after enjoying the exhibits, I headed outside to see the spectacular harbour view.



More photos on my website : https://www.globalphotos.org/hongkong.htm
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Old Posted Aug 5, 2022, 2:38 PM
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What an epic thread of an epic city. Love the snippets you wrote too!

As much as we romanticize hyper-urbanity in this forum though, I do wonder if HK actually would be a pretty tough/miserable city to live in. The reason why I say this is because there are few cities I can think of which offer such limited living spaces. Conditions look ultra, ultra cramped, and the housing stock pretty rough. I've seen documentaries showing how HK citizens are living in rooms the size of a closet, and have to share a communal bathroom/toilet - essentially akin to SROs. I feel like in the west we get served glitzy, luxurious images of HK, but it seems like the day-to-day for ordinary people there is extremely tough. Cost of living proportionate to salaries also seem insane - how does a supermarket cashier even afford to live there? Would love to hear your POV!
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Old Posted Aug 5, 2022, 4:29 PM
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Originally Posted by destroycreate View Post
What an epic thread of an epic city. Love the snippets you wrote too!

As much as we romanticize hyper-urbanity in this forum though, I do wonder if HK actually would be a pretty tough/miserable city to live in. The reason why I say this is because there are few cities I can think of which offer such limited living spaces. Conditions look ultra, ultra cramped, and the housing stock pretty rough. I've seen documentaries showing how HK citizens are living in rooms the size of a closet, and have to share a communal bathroom/toilet - essentially akin to SROs. I feel like in the west we get served glitzy, luxurious images of HK, but it seems like the day-to-day for ordinary people there is extremely tough. Cost of living proportionate to salaries also seem insane - how does a supermarket cashier even afford to live there? Would love to hear your POV!
Life is tough. You're on your own and don't depend on the government to give you a hand-out. It's laissez-faire to the extreme, but the middle class isn't too bad. We don't live in big houses and a 400 square foot apartment is considered big for a family. But on the plus side, a live-in maid costs barely anything, the countryside is nearby, and we have so many lovely places to visit within a short-haul flight. There's a lot of great food and if you're a bit more wealthy, life is quite sweet here with lots of temptations and luxurious experiences.

There is quite a large proportion of poor though, and those live in those closets and need a few jobs to make ends meet. Average salaries for university graduates are quite low, but you just need to be in the right industry and work hard and your take-home will be significantly larger than the equivalent job in New York and London thanks to low taxes.
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Old Posted Aug 5, 2022, 4:50 PM
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Life is tough. You're on your own and don't depend on the government to give you a hand-out. It's laissez-faire to the extreme, but the middle class isn't too bad. We don't live in big houses and a 400 square foot apartment is considered big for a family. But on the plus side, a live-in maid costs barely anything, the countryside is nearby, and we have so many lovely places to visit within a short-haul flight. There's a lot of great food and if you're a bit more wealthy, life is quite sweet here with lots of temptations and luxurious experiences.

There is quite a large proportion of poor though, and those live in those closets and need a few jobs to make ends meet. Average salaries for university graduates are quite low, but you just need to be in the right industry and work hard and your take-home will be significantly larger than the equivalent job in New York and London thanks to low taxes.
Interesting, I thought HK was now under the China model, with relatively decent welfare. Can you explain the "laissez-faire" of it all and how it differs from mainland China?
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Old Posted Aug 5, 2022, 5:16 PM
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Great thread. I have a few relatives over there, and while it's tough from a middle class perspective, it overall seems to be a very enjoyable place to live. Great outdoor scene as well, beaches, hiking, etc. And obviously great food and night life.
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Old Posted Aug 5, 2022, 9:30 PM
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Interesting, I thought HK was now under the China model, with relatively decent welfare. Can you explain the "laissez-faire" of it all and how it differs from mainland China?
Hong Kong remains vastly capitalist, still an entirely different world from the mainland. We're an open economy and the government remains off on the sidelines regulating businesses. That means few labour rights, weak unions, very low social benefits, but companies don't need to worry about government over-reach and make money. This system was supposedly safeguarded under the handover agreement.

The logic is you can make as much money as you want, pay barely any taxes, but save up for your rainy day. Don't expect the government to help you if you fall. That's great if you're a well-paid executive or middle management, but awful if you are the lower classes struggling to pay rent in this super expensive city.
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