Hong Kong Photowalk Series: Tsim Sha Tsui to Jordan
In the fall of 2016, I found the time to do a series of photowalks around Hong Kong – see my first one in Sai Ying Pun here. These were slow, leisurely activities, a deliberate digestion of the city by foot – and by lens. In doing so, I think I was able to capture an idea of Hong Kong, a mood or a vibe part imagination, part reality, a vibrant city with an undercurrent of uncertain calm.
Tsim Sha Tsui & Jordan
Back when I lived in the Jordan neighbourhood of Hong Kong, I used to do a lot of walking up and down Nathan Road, the main north-south artery connecting the vibrant districts of the Kowloon Peninsula’s major strip. Officially referred to as Yau Tsim Mong, for the three main districts of Yau Mai Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Mong Kok, that stretch of buzzing neon signs, gleaming malls, perpetually wet alleys, massive housing developments, luxury hotels, and a street life that never sleeps can offer a very different vibe from the upscale towers and developments across the harbour on Hong Kong Island.
It’s not to say that one place is necessarily this way and the other is essentially another way – you can find gentrified neighbourhoods in Kowloon as easily as you can come across drying undergarments fluttering on top of neon Chinese characters on the Island. Speaking in broad generalities however, there is the sense here that Kowloon leans more towards a local expression of Hong Kong culture. But I digress.
As I was saying, I used to do a lot of walking around my neighbourhood. From my apartment across from the colourful Kwun Chung Municipal Services Building I’d walk along the Bowring Street Market, into the warren of streets surrounding the Temple Street Market, down again along Nathan Road, detour into Kowloon Park, past the endless malls lining Canton Road and the Tsim Sha Tsui portion of Nathan Road, take a breather at Victoria Harbour, then make my way up again along Kowloon Park Drive, peek into the constant construction in West Kowloon, before hiking up the four flights of stairs back to my apartment.
After grabbing lunch with a friend in Tsim Sha Tsui one weekday afternoon, I retraced a portion of the pathways I used to take through the neighbourhood. From Tsim Sha Tsui, I made my way over to Jordan and what is technically West Kowloon, though I still consider the area around Austin to be a peripheral region of Jordan. The big development under construction in the area for the last few years has been the West Kowloon Railway Station. The massive project aims to link Hong Kong to Guangzhou through a high speed rail, but construction has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, not to mention a controversial co-location arrangement that allows Mainland Chinese officials to exercise jurisdiction in certain parts of the station. Controversies aside, curiosity and fascination by the sheer size of the development drew me in, and I cut across Jordan take a quick look. Along the way, I kept my finger on the button, snapping away at familiar scenes from long ago.
This is my last photowalk series from that fall, though I really should make more of an effort to photograph my city these days – and I will. In any case, Ashley and I have another holiday coming up in a few weeks, so I’ll be back to my usual non-Hong Kong photos soon enough.