In Love with Hong Kong

Just some regular storefronts in Causeway Bay

Just some regular storefronts in Causeway Bay

The title of this post says it all. I love Hong Kong and it is my current all-time favorite city on this planet. That town gets me – if I want to go out and shoot beautiful scenery or grubby street shots, they are right there. If I want to go out until five in the morning with some crazy Kiwi that I met at an American bar, then I most certainly can (and I did, twice – that guy was what we would call a character – an older Dean Moriarity type who believes the global shit is about to hit the fan and by the end of the second night I believed he was right). If I want to eat tacos for breakfast, dim sum for lunch, and a burger for dinner, I can, and I must add here that finding good crispy tacos in this hemisphere is not an easy task. You don’t miss things like crispy tacos, macaroni and cheese, proper BBQ, or a reasonably priced steak until they aren’t there anymore. Luckily, you can find all of those things in Hong Kong plus an entire galaxy of other stuff you absolutely do not need but want anyways – because if there is one thing I have learned in my 39 years is that excess and self-destruction are fun.

It rained during most days so the night time was the best time to go out and shoot.

It rained during most days so the night-time was the best time to go out and shoot.

I have been to Hong Kong four times since last October but this most recent trip I was by myself and there for two weeks, which is at the upper reaches of how long a guy should stay alone in a place like that. My sole plan for the trip was to get out everyday into a new part of the city and shoot as many photos as I could, then write a little about it before I went out for dinner. However, I probably should have done this trip a month earlier when it was dry because out of the fourteen days I was on the island it rained for eleven. Shit. Plan B-D came into effect and I did what I think was right and that was to shoot during the periods when it was dry and find places to watch rugby and talk to strangers and drink beer when it was wet – I watched a lot of rugby, met a lot of people, and drank all the beer.

I don't know who this guy is or what he was singing but at the time I liked it.

I don’t know who this guy is or what he was singing but at the time I liked it.

Most nights it stopped raining enough for me to at least get out with my smaller camera and a ziplock for protection from the random showers that would spring up. Because of that I have quite a few more night shots than those from the daytime, but Hong Kong is far more interesting looking at night after a few two-for-one margaritas from Agave.

Wan Chai is one of the party epicenters in Hong Kong. I spent a lot of time there because there is an irish pub and a decent mexican place there. Also, there are a lot of pretty lights and wacky ass people walking around.

Wan Chai is one of the party epicenters in Hong Kong. I spent a lot of time there because there is an irish pub and a decent mexican place there. Also, there are a lot of pretty lights and wacky ass people walking around.

As you can see from the pic above I spent some time in the Wan Chai area, which is one of two main party hubs on Hong Kong island – the other being Lan Kwai Fong, which I went to with the Krazy Kiwi, but I felt it best to leave all expensive electronics back in the hotel safe during those missions. There are a number of adult clubs in Wan Chai and rather than having sexy starlets standing out front to bring in the customers they instead employ pushy old ladies who do their best to corral you into their dimly lit lairs with promises of girls and cheap beer. I did not visit any of them during my stay as I don’t care much for that scene and I feel like I would be drugged and end up on a fishing freighter in the Andaman Sea the next morning – also, the old ladies absolutely do not want their pictures taken so don’t bother asking.

The hills leading up to Lan Kwai Fong.

The hills leading up to Lan Kwai Fong.

The place I felt the most at home during my two weeks in the city was at a little joint called Stone’s in the Tai Hang section of Causeway Bay. I was in the area looking for a little temple on the hillside and just strolled by it on my way back to the hotel. The doors were wide open so I could see everyone at the bar and it was as if I were walking past a little rectangle of America – they were even playing the Adam West Batman series on some of the TVs – automatic cool points from me. I went back the next day for lunch and met Joel, one of the owners and without going into too many details that guy helped me burn the candle at both ends for two meals, twelve plus hours, and an endless amount of beverages. I found Stone’s at about mid trip and I had at least one meal there per day for the rest of my visit. The locals were all very nice and the wait staff knew my name after the first day so loneliness wasn’t a factor anymore. Thanks Joel. Thanks Stone’s! (This is where I should show a picture of the place but I didn’t think to take any. Dumb, right?)

This is the point where I shut down all the chatter and show you some sexy pictures of the town I love. Some of these are from previous trips but I think you should see them anyways.

I am thinking of doing a series of just people pushing carts up steep hills. They must have monster calves.

I am thinking of doing a series of just people pushing carts up steep hills. They must have monster calves.

Compared to the lady's load above this guy is sort of a puss.

Compared to the lady’s load above this guy is sort of a puss.

I do like the long exposures. I especially like the weird stares I get from office security guards when I set up outside the lobby of a closed building.

I do like the long exposures. I especially like the weird stares I get from office security guards when I set up outside the lobby of a closed building.

Here is another near Wan Chai.

Here is another near Wan Chai.

In Hong Kong Park there is an observation tower that gives a damn good view of the city. The park closes at 11pm and I was nearly locked in.

In Hong Kong Park there is an observation tower that gives a damn good view of the city. The park closes at 11pm and I was nearly locked in.

See what I mean about it being a beautiful night city? This one is from around X-mas time.

See what I mean about it being a beautiful night city? This one is from around X-mas time.

Teah, that's the stuff right there.

Yeah, that’s the stuff right there.

This is a view from the 49th floor of the Island Shangri La Hotel - My favorite hotel of all time. The bar there is truly a slice of heaven.

This is a view from the 49th floor of the Island Shangri La Hotel – My favorite hotel of all time. The bar there is truly a slice of heaven.

This is a view from the Grand Hyatt on the waterfront just before X-mas time. There was a carnival going on at the time.

This is a view from the Grand Hyatt on the waterfront just before X-mas time. There was a carnival going on at the time.

Same view from above but during the day. Definitely not from the most recent trip as there was never that much blue sky showing. The construction at the bottom right is a large land reclamation project.

Same view from above but during the day. Definitely not from the most recent trip as there was never that much blue sky showing. The construction at the bottom right is a large land reclamation project.

Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road. Probably the smokiest building I have ever been into. I love it though and I try to stop during every visit.

Man Mo Temple on Hollywood Road. Probably the smokiest building I have ever been into. I love it though and I try to stop during every visit.

Ducks and other nibbles on display in Wan Chai.

Ducks and other nibbles on display in Wan Chai.

I do not remember which corner this was but I believe it is on Hennessy Road.

I do not remember which corner this was but I believe it is on Hennessy Road.

Getting tired of looking at these yet? My friend Luci suggested doing many Hong Kong posts just this morning, but I don’t have too many anecdotes to relate so I am going to post my favorite bits here then slowly dump the rest of my keepers over on my Tumblr page – they will be up soon.

The first time I was in Hong Kong was during the big democracy protests last fall when they had everything shut down. People fighting for their rights is very beautiful to me - also the town was very walkable at the time.

The first time I was in Hong Kong was during the big democracy protests last fall when they had everything shut down. People fighting for their rights is very beautiful to me – also the town was remarkably walkable at the time.

Democ1 (2)

Democ2 (2)

I hope that all the work these kids are doing to maintain their rights pays off in the end, until then The Umbrella Movement isn’t going away.

HKSunrise (2)

Instead of ending with a sunset picture this time I am giving you a sunrise coming up over Mt. Parker from a former stay at the Island Shangri La Hotel. That was a beautiful fall morning and it was my first day in Asia and I was all sorts of jet lagged so, naturally, I was awake before the sun – I am glad I was because this was a damn nice view. Thanks for reading.

 

© Peter Molgaard and Afield Book, 2012-2015. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of photographs and original content without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that permission is granted and that full and clear credit is given to Peter Molgaard and Afield Book with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. If you would like to use any of the imagery displayed you may send your requests to molgaardpmo@gmail.com

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