In the spirit of Covid times I have been exploring my neighbourhood rather than further afield. This time a wander through the Wa In Fong Lanes.
Most of the buildings on these lanes are in the hands of the Urban Renewal Authority, pending an acceptable redevelopment approach for the future. In the meantime the buildings slowly crumble, graffiti artists add their contributions to the street gallery and only a few signs of former inhabitants remain.
There used to be a friendly gentleman in residence, partially hidden from the street below, a bit down the lane from “Death Is Free”. His bed was set up under a half dozen umbrellas in case it rained. I have not seen him for many years.
This area was heavily bombed during the Japanese Occupation in WWII and became known at the time as the “30 Houses Ruins”.
The older buildings visible today date from reconstruction after the war.
This is not an architectural/historical review, there are plenty of those, but rather just my response to the streetscape as it remains today.
Now that I have retired my schedule is clear for explorations beyond travel photos on vacations.
Despite living in Hong Kong for 20 years I have struggled to produce work that interests me – incredible as that may seem in such a dynamic city.
Initially I explored the shore at Cape D’aguilar(see further below) to see what I could find – interesting but a bit of a hike there and back.
Lei Yue Mun
I have been curious for a while about a place called ‘Junk Bay’. I had no idea what I would see other than shoreline – the walk part turned out to be quite manageable – through Lei Yue Mun, past a temple and revealed a popular undeveloped spot(hopefully it will remain so) near a long abandoned quarry.
The site overlooks the eastern entry into Victoria Harbour.
There is a historical connection to early Hong Kong as this site was the source of stone for many buildings in Hong Kong and particularly the “Old” Bank of China and the Court of Final Appeal which face each other on Des Voeux Road Central.
Quarrying had continued for a century, finally ceasing in 1940.
It’s a favourite for people who enjoy fishing, watching ships, flying drones, romantic walks and taking selfies.
For myself I can wander around for hours, take photos, watch passing ships and fishermen trying their luck(or just sitting holding a rod, who can tell) and be almost totally ignored while I explore the remains of the quarry.
The cape is a ride on the No. 9 bus from Shau Kei Wan then a 1 hour walk from the Cape D’Aguilar bus stop – it doesn’t stop here on every trip so it is important to check before boarding.
On weekends you can buy some local dessert part of the way but they usually run out of my favourite tofu by the time I get there.
The walk reaches the cape at the, now unoccupied, research station. Alongside is the skeleton of a Killer Whale “Ho Wai” who performed at Ocean Park – there are other theories about this skeleton also.
Either way ‘she’ is a bit worse for wear, has had a few repairs by the look of her bones, and looks like she will crumble to nothing before too long.
You will likely have to put up with insta-grammer’s leaping around in front of things having their photos taken if you go on a weekend.
The sea breezes can make this a very pleasant spot even at the height of summer – you just need to get close to the cape to feel the benefit.
I love rocks and water, some wood thrown in is a bonus.