Following up part 1 of this series, this part focus more on the incredibly crowded and busy neighbourhood of Mong Kok. These neighbourhoods host a lot of street markets (including famous ones like the Bird Market, the Fish Market or the Ladie's Market), street food stands, hawkers, commercial buildings and of course loads of people. Sham Shui Po, being Hong Kong's poorest district, also is infamous for its housing situation on which I have a separate post upcoming.
Next to Chinese people, there is also a somewhat significant population of Indonesian and Filipino people around. We noticed that those consisted almost exclusively of women, and when we asked we were told that they seek employment in simple jobs in Hong Kong to support their families back home. These women were mostly sitting on and around foot bridges, sharing and eating home made food, chatting, laughing or having a video call with home. Just having a good time outside, before they were returning to their probably not so large apartments.
Generally, there was a very joyful mood on this foot bridge. The weather was good, the food probably as well and some of the groups were playing cheerful music out of mobile stereos.
The foot bridge also provided some views from above on the narrow roads that hosted street markets or other commercial offerings and housing:
The streets and markets were as busy as they look from above. Strawling over the markets was a pleasant experience. At the stands, a big variety of goods were offered, ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, cheap electronics and other stuff to textiles, bags and shoes.
Above the market and the small hole-in-the-wall stores, there are lots of apartments, apparently cramped tightly next to each other. We had the opportunity to see such an apartment from the inside during a guided tour we took, which was organized by the awesome guys at Hong Kong Free Walking Tours (and I'd recommend anyone visiting Hong Kong to take their fantastic tours - they are free of charge, but you should tip the guide if you liked the tour). Unfortunately I did not take any pictures inside, because I forgot to bring my ultra wide angle lens. I can tell you, you wouldn't want to live in one of these, but for many of the people of Hong Kong, it's the only option they possibly can afford.
Of course, the typical hole-in-the-wall food stands are also to be found here. This one was directly behind a market stand that sold covers for mobile phones, and I think it made a nice frame:
Leaving the narrow streets of the markets, there were some large, multi lane roads with lots of traffic, full of commerce centres and big shopping malls and also crowds and crowds of people. I was always baffled of how the people handle these crowded situations day to day, because for me - coming from a medium size German city - this was always quite a nightmare. But people here just went by each other so smoothly, it was a true surprise to me.
And despite the ongoing coverage of mass protests in Hong Kong by the media, we did see little evidence of it on the streets. We were told by people we talked to, that they'd be far too busy making a living during the week and that they only gather for protests on sundays for that reason. What we saw were protective barriers around public buildings such as police stations and government houses. And occassionally, heavily armed police patrols on the big major roads and in metro stations. As I saw the following scene, I took a quick walk-by snapshot from the hip:
Finally, on our way back to Sheung Wan that day, we stumbled over the following rather weird scene. It was the time just before Christmas, and even in the Chinese city of Hong Kong, there were decorated Christmas trees and we also saw some of the Filipino women wearing Santa's hats that were bringing some Christmas spirit to the streets (more on that in a later post). But I wasn't expecting what seemed to be a Chinese woman evangelizing Christianity right on the street, just next to the Kowloon bus and ferry terminal. It felt quite surreal.
That's it for today, but hang on, there is more street scenes coming in one of my next posts. If you made it until here: Thanks for viewing this far!