Hong Kong Day 3
Thursday, October 24th, 2002  
Hong Kong
All Photos © 2002 Ting and Randy Vogel

 At the Knife Shop
 Pssst, Look this Way, Ting!
 Pop & Ting at the Doorway of Old Family Residence on Yen Chow Street
 Fan Blade Etude
 Where Ting Lived as a Baby (2nd Row, 2nd Window from the Left)
 Street Scene; Mom is Looking for the Door
 Big New Building
 Street Sign
 Goofy Elephant & Ape Sign
 the Tse Place on Fuk Wing Street (4th Floor)
 Another view of the Building
 Let the Sleeping Dog Lie...
 The Right Street Sign
 Fashion King in Pink Fur...
 Outside Kowloon Park
 Ting & Double Ribbon Statue
 Banyan Tree
 Pop & Ting Check out Eduardo Paolozza's Statue, 'Concept of Newton'
 Yau-Kuen Lau, Nothing
 Kai-Man Chu, Budding
 Crab Statue
 Black Butterfly at Lunch
 Fist Statue
 Bhuddist Reading Room Sign
 View across the check-in area at Hong Kong International Airport
 View Down the Ramp
 Ting Waiting to Check In
 Still Waiting!
 Like a Space Ship?
 Yum! It's Seaweed Flossy Pork!
 Dragon Trio
 Unexplained Aeroplane
 Dangerous Items to Leave at Home
 More Prohibited Carry-ons
 Randy Says He's 'OK to Fly!'
 Sunshine across the Tarmac
 Kites inside the Secure Area
 Hong Kong Diorama
 Sunset Through the Sculpture
 Sculpture by Lao Van
 Mostly Dragons
 Robolette I at Your Service!
 Chinese Opera Costume - Officer's Grand Armor
 Sunset at the Airport
 Looking South at the Row of Gates
 Burning Through the Haze
 Thar She Goes!
 Working on a Building
 Approaching out of the Sun
 Last Sighting of the Full Sun
 Starting to Disappear
 Still Going
 Just About Half Past Gone
 More Gone
 Crescent Sun with Incoming Plane
 Red Blur on the Horizon
 Last Glimpse of the Day
 Twilight Sky
 Curses! Our Flight's Been Delayed
 So much better than getting completely wasted, don't you think?
 Queueing to Board the Flight to Chongqing
 Bas Relief Carving of Dazu Grottoes at Chongqing Airport
 Chongqing Carving in the Hall to Passport Control
 First Glance at the Room
 Spartan but Adequate
 Deconstruction Outside our Window

We spent most of the morning packing up since we planned to fly to Chongqing this evening for the start of our mainland China trip. Mom and Pop had the foresight to take a couple of separate luggage pieces, so they packed a smaller bag for the China trip and left the rest of their luggage with Mei Ying. We, on the other hand, only had our monstrous rolling duffle bags, so we took all our stuff with us. By the time we were done getting packed, it was already 11 am. We checked out and left our luggage with the hotel, so we could do stuff during the day unencumbered (our flight was scheduled to leave at 6 pm).

Randy wanted to see the neighborhood where I grew up, so we hopped on the MTR to Shim Shu Po (Deep Water Bay) Station. The street where I first lived was Yen Chow Street. It was difficult finding the exact building since much had changed over the last 30 years. Most of the older buildings had been torn up and replaced by more modern structures. Miraculously, the building where we lived was still standing. Mom pointed out the window of our old room. Growing up poor, we had lived in a single room (all 5 of us), sharing a kitchen and a bathroom with other families. The building that used to stand right next to ours had been torn down. I could remember being friends with the kids across the alley in the other building who had windows facing ours. I remembered the buildings used to be so close together that we could bridge the gap with a wooden plank and we would walk our windup toys across the plank to the other window. The saddest moment I could remember was when one of our windup toys walked askew and fell to its death in the alley below. It is funny how some memories stay with us - my first experience with the death of a beloved - my poor smashed-up windup toy.

We also visited the neighborhood where we lived before we came to the States on Fuk Wing Street. I had more memories of our apartment there, probably because we were there the longest. We had graduated from poor to lower middle-class and could afford a two-bedroom apartment. But old habits died hard and our whole family had lived in one room of the apartment while renting the other room out to So Mui and Mei Ying. We had our own kitchen and bathroom and could even afford a black-and-white TV for HK$1000, which was a fortune at that time. The neighborhood had changed completely from when we lived there. Gone were the multitude of food vendors lining the streets. The vending carts had graduated to established restaurants. The shop where I used to buy milk in a pyramid paper container was gone and replaced by a jewelry store. Cats used to roam the streets like pigeons in Central Park. Not a single kitty was to be seen. It often has occurred to me how different my life would have been if our family had decided to stay in Hong Kong. It was one of those roads in life where a parallel universe would have split off and somewhere in a parallel universe is a Ting who had stayed in Hong Kong, grew up and married a non-Randy, and probably never learned Martial Arts. YIKES!

After the nostalgic stroll down Memory Lane, we took the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui Station. Mom had wanted to visit the Clock Tower, but the neighborhood had changed from when she last visited it, and we couldn't find it. We did have a nice walk along the harbor though. From Tsim Sha Tsui, we decided to walk back to the hotel along Nathan Road, passing through Kowloon City Park, which was full of interesting statues. While art is certainly open to interpretation, sometimes I am completely lost as to what to make of a piece. At least they were aesthetically pleasing!

We had a late lunch at the Garden Restaurant before we picked up our bags from the hotel and took the bus to the airport. We arrived at the airport 2-1/2 hours before the flight, which gave us enough time to explore all the shops and check out all the art scattered throughout the airport. We noted that among the items exhibited as forbidden in a carry-on item is a can of Pledge. Dang! And I was so psyched to wax my seat!

We arrived in Chongqing around 8 pm. Customs coming into China was much more strict than Hong Kong. At first, the guard at the baggage claim would not let us take one of our luggage bags because we could not locate the claim check for it. The language barrier did not help matters any. Finally, after a flurry of hand-waving and heated words in different languages, the guard waved us through in frustration. Our Cantonese-speaking guide, Mr. Shen Wen Bin, met us at the gate to escort us to the van that took us to our hotel. Along the way, he explained to us the proposed itinerary. Our travel agent had put both the Stone Forest and Black Valley on the same day in the itinerary. As they were both three hours away from Chongqing, but in opposite directions from the city, it would have been impossible to visit both places. We agreed to Mr. Shen's suggestion and decided on Black Valley. It was nice having a Cantonese-speaking guide as it is much easier for me to translate from Cantonese to English for Randy than from English to Cantonese for my parents. It was also nice that my parents could talk to someone in their own language as this trip was after all for them.