...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

07 May, 2011

Hong Kong Central

Hong Kong is a collection of many islands which have spectacular hills.
The downtown commercial and historic section of the main island is no exception.

One fine morning, we went to the Central District 
and boarded the Pedestrian Escalator that 
joins Central with the Western District.
If I hadn't been too busy gawking with my mouth hanging open,
I would have taken a photo of it for you.

The escalator  covers about a half mile, and 
rises 443 feet.  Although many people walk while riding,
if one stood still, it would take about 20 minutes to get to the top.
It is the longest outdoor covered escalator in the world.

It runs downhill every day from 6am to 10 am
to accommodate the people who live
 in the more residential areas on the hill.
From 10:30 am to midnight, it runs uphill. 

Thank goodness we got there after 10:30. 
I was reminded of San Francisco. 
Walking downhill uses muscles you don't know you have.

We meandered once we reached the top of the escalator.
The neighborhoods were charming,
with old buildings and beautiful trees and
enticing alleyways.

Sometimes we went downhill,

and sometimes we went uphill.  More muscles I 
didn't know I had were put into service.
(Also my heart.)

The stairs are ancient and beautiful, and I thought about 
how many feet had climbed them 
these many hundreds of years.....

I don't know what these trees are called,
but I love their root systems.  
They are everywhere you look.
Life searching for sustenance in rocky steep ground.

No skyscrapers on this hill.
The buildings are a mix of residential and small commercial establishments--
 apartments with rooftop gardens sit above storefronts.

I was taken with this rooftop scene.

And the rooftop of a foot massage establishment made me laugh out loud.
There is an antique shop in Hallowell, Maine that
had the exact same idea.  I'll show you sometime.

The temple above was surrounded by a white wall.
I loved the roofline as we descended the hill.

Finally, we reached the bottom.
I am fascinated by modern glass buildings and the way
they reflect their surroundings.  This one was particularly pretty that day.

This was taken from the front of the double decker bus
we took back home.  Notice a couple of things:  
The tram tracks, and the tram behind the bus. 
 My favorite transport--open air and great for photos.
Also you can see this former British colony
drives as they do in Great Britain--on the left!!  
Safely crossing streets is an exercise in adaptation.

Finally, note the name of the building in the background.
Not quite sure the nature of the business,
but I am sure they are honest. 

This is the person I went to visit.  His Chinese name is Shuyou.
It is an old fashioned name which means
'lover of books'.  
No child is more aptly named.

He calls me nainai ("grandma" in Mandarin).
Music to my ears.


  1. oh, he is a beautiful and sweet-looking boy. :) the best scenery a nainai could ask for!

  2. What a wonderful post. So many beautiful sites and captures. I really like that rooftop view and those stairs...and of course- that wonderful smile at the end!! Thank you for spending the time sharing these!

  3. Oh what an amazing trip you have taken and the topping on the cake has to be that most handsome boy at the end of your journey. Happy Mother's Day Nainai! ~Lili

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. Your photos are fascinating!

  5. Mike, great post! What an interesting time you had! I'm not sure about all those hills!

  6. Hello Mike:
    This is fascinating. And what a place with clearly a total mix of ancient and modern. The escalator sounds incredible, and how strange that it should have been constructed with a single flight which, as you say, is reversed at different times of day.

    We wonder what real changes have taken place since the colony reverted to China, now some years back?

  7. That escalator sounds phenomenal, Mike, and Shuyou is adorable. Hong Kong seems like an amazing city and all looks so clean. Wonderful!

  8. I can't tell you how much I love seeing these photos! They make me nostalgic for the two years we lived in Hong Kong (before the escalator!)

    Happy Mother's Day!

  9. Oh these are beautiful photos! You are sharing some wonderful things with us-thank you. And the final adorable little face was the best! Enjoy every second Mike!!