View from inside a "hot dog" bus
Part of a gateway into Kowloon Walled City Park
The only building that remains of what was known as
Earlier this evening, a friend and I went to Kowloon City to have Thai food for dinner. Not only was some of the delicious food we ate at Golden Orchid on the hot (as in spicy) side but the outdoor temperature was noticeably high too. And even though I left Kowloon City this evening on an air-conditioned bus, I found myself thinking back to another hot summer's day a couple years or so ago when I rode on a non air-conditioned bus to that section of Hong Kong.
As I sweated and steamed inside what was colloquially known as the "hot dog" bus, little did I know that that would be my last time riding such a vehicle in Hong Kong -- and that earlier this year, the last of this type of bus would be put out of service and retired. And while this retro type of transportation had its fans (not least because it was cheaper to ride on than air-conditioned equivalents plying the same route), I have to admit that I didn't shed any tears upon hearing of their decommissioning.
On the other hand, I do regret that I never did visit the Kowloon Walled City before it was demolished and the Kowloon Walled City Park established on that very site where thousands of people had lived and worked in super dense conditions. (And this particularly so after reading Martin Booth's intriguing account in the wonderful Gweilo of his visits there when he was a young boy.)
The first time I visited Kowloon Walled City Park, I felt a sense of anti-climax and wasn't particularly enamored of the place. However, I've come to appreciate this public space more upon subsequent visits (including one at night to take in the very cool Power Plant show last year).
Although I do appreciate the thought and care taken in the park's overall design and layout, I have to say that it is its oldest sections -- which date back to the Qing Dynasty -- which I find the most interesting. In particular, The Yamen has captured my attention by virtue of its historic architecture but, also, its housing the main portions of the A City of (a) Thousand Faces exhibition that sheds light on life in Kowloon Walled City.