Sunday, November 30, 2008

Park Island, part 1: Ma Wan Highrise Park

Yesterday I ran into Darren on Lamma Island's Main St. He's an old HK hand, so I asked him for a good island to explore that sunny afternoon.

"Do you think Park Island's any good? No one seems to know much about it," I said. "When I talked to a ferry employee there, he said 'Oh, it's very modern.'"

In HK parlance, that's meant as a compliment, but I wasn't sure how photogenic it would be for my island-shooting assignment.

"Nope, I've never been there," Darren said, "but a friend said there's an interesting village, somewhere outside of the park and the highrises surrounding it. No idea how to get there, though."

So I decided to catch the ferry & explore for a day.

First impressions, arrival at Park Island: overpriced concrete decor

2nd impression, kitsch topiary next to water so polluted that all the real dolphins have asphyxiated

Park Island is a popular spot for wedding & graduation shots. Here, a bride crosses the underpass to Ma Wan Park, followed by her photographer

An indication of Ma Wan park's aesthetic: cute and colorful plastic

Plastic seagulls under the overpass

Kitschy park toilet signs

Another couple poses in front of a 3D mural. The murals are an ingenious idea: painted on two sides of the concrete, they appear to ripple as one walks by them. Unfortunately, they're poorly-painted, so this dilutes the effect.

(you get a glimpse of HK kids' daily lives in this picture: frowning helper, docile sister)
What's this kid up to?

These steam vents keep you cool in the summertime

And they're lots of fun to run through

A hint of what was to come: this vendor sold locally-dried seafood under the Tsing Ma bridge

Behind the too-cute park with its plastic signs and concrete walls, I saw this graceful old village house

Then a mysterious path

and this No Trespassing sign. But I quietly ignored it and continued on

Soon I passed this traditional grave and knew I was headed somewhere interesting

To be continued very soon....

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