Thursday, December 20, 2012

HKTrip12: Day 2 in Hong Kong - Part 2

This fifth installment covers the second half of Day 2 ("night-time"). We revisit some of the harbourfront locations, whose character has now been transformed with the onset of night.

Haiphong Road
Haiphong Road is a narrow one-way (?) street heavy pedestrian foot traffic with distinctive patterns. On the side closer to the harbour there are shops, and on the other, a raised park. As this was about 5-6 in the evening, the traffic flows were predominantly towards Nathan Road (they flow in the opposite direction for most of the day). At these times of the day, people, not cars rule the road.

I distinctly remember this, as last time I was in Hong Kong, a food allergy scare after having some desserts at a certain restaurant in a shop in Harbour City (for reference, there was quite a rude young spiky-haired waiter dude there that day who wasn't very happy to be told that he had brought us the wrong drinks), and ended up limping back to my hotel room along this road in a haze of agony (this continued on until the next morning). It's not a laughing matter to feel like your stomach is twisted and bloated at the same time, with nasty cramping at regular intervals, and chills. Errrhhhhh....

 Haiphong Road during evening rush hour - all foot traffic is headed towards Nathan Road. As can be seen, there are shops on one side of the road with large glowing neon signs (and loud music), while there is only a darkened park on the other side. The steady stream of moving people walks at a near constant pace.

Tsim Sha Tsui
Many of the streets around Tsim Sha Tsui are short, narrow, and tightly intertwined in an irregular network which is more suited to foot traffic than cars. Unless you know where you're going, it can at times become easy to get lost.

Street Sights and Shops
Watsons is one of the the two or three pharmacy chains (Bonjour and another one I can't remember now are the others). The red and white cross logo (with "Px" inscribed in the middle) indicate that the pharmacy can do prescriptions, in addition to off the shelf retail.

Triangular corners and buildings are quite common. In this instance, this particular corner had a neat little garden growing up there...

Another little side street... The golden arches are everywhere!

K11 is a triangular shaped building, and one of the tallest buildings in Tsim Sha Tsui. The lower levels are a shopping mall (featuring a colourful, vibrant, and constantly changing display in its foyer), while the upper levels hold office space and apartments.

This time time, they had a giant pink inflatable pig with wings, in front of a "love me" sign. (Last time I was here, IIRC they had a dinosaur or wildlife safari theme)
The sign

The mall is also home to a number of artworks. For instance...
 Toasted Lisa

Waterfront at Night
After heading back to the hotel for a quick nap/rest, I went back out to see the lights of the harbour at night. This was one of the big things I'd been planning to do on this trip, since there's a tradition here for the skyscrapers to build Christmas decoration displays.

Peninsula Hotel
The Peninsula Hotel looks grand by day. By it looks even better by night!
 Nice lighting design helps highlight the fine detailing of this heritage building
 The tower is a modern extension of the original hotel building including among other things a helipad or two (used for helicopter flights over the harbour, but also over to Macau).
Side view of the building, lit in part by the ultra bright white light of a bus shelter down below.

It's a pity that although they had set up some Christmas lights, these weren't complete/turned on during my stay.

Surrounding Buildings
Sheraton Hotel (across the road). I like how this entrance has such a strong, bold + blocky contrasting design. It's really quite eye catching, especially here...

The planetarium dome at the Space Museum. One of the oldest and largest in the region.

 Hong Kong Cultural Center main entrance - this building has some really interesting shapes...

Victoria Harbour
Quiet corner - a couple having a quiet moment together in a little sheltered area under the cultural center, with a view out to the harbour.

There were a few clusters of people around that night, including a few young people who were apparently taking graduation photos...

Harbour Lights - Here we see two of the Christmas displays on the left, and the HSBC tower on the right. During my 1996 visit, this was the tallest building. However, it is now one of the medium-height/shorter ones...
Another view of this part of the harbour, with a view of another one of the displays. All the while, the HSBC tower had this funky animated lighting pattern thing going on, where the lights progressively lit up to the top again and again.
 A closer look at just one of the Christmas displays
 Star Ferry on a scenic cruise around the harbour. They offer two services: 1) Cross Harbour, 2) Scenic Tours

Sculpture in the style of the Beijing 2008 Olympics torch. Probably gifted to the city in memory of the role it played hosting the equestrian events during these.
The Convention Centre...

The new tallest building? Apparently this has a viewing deck (quite expensive too though). On the right, stairs up to the raised walkway...

More Christmas displays...

The dappled reflections of the many signs on the rippling waters of the harbour created a really interesting (and beautiful) effect...

Waterfront Park Gardens
 Clock tower and water feature in front of it. I didn't know this existed until after seeing a similar shot in a tourist guide.
 Curving walkway by night
 Under the covered walkway - it was starting to drizzle by that point (again). Fortunately, not before I'd already taken photos of the harbour.
 Uplighting on the side of the Cultural Centre
A little performance pavilion outside the Culture Centre. Probably used by the HKPO for their annual fireworks concert. Behind, some function rooms that may have been hosting the reception for the wedding earlier that day.

Ferry Terminal
Outside the ferry terminal, there are many taxis and busses parked, ready to transport people to their destinations upon arrival.

Harbour City
 Harbour City Christmas displays lit up by night
Colourful rainbow lighting along a pier beside Harbour City (or perhaps part of the mall).

Canton Road
Billboards along Canton Road

The set of shops across the road from Harbour City are set in some rather beautiful buildings...

iSquare/Chungking Mansion
"The Tree" outside iSquare. Once again, it still wasn't lit up.

The revamped Chungking Mansion - The large tv screens above the entrance were turned up very loud. On the ground around this, a large number of loud shady men plying their wares loiter around.

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