I have recurring nightmares about this scene.
I’m back in Hong Kong, my flight for Chicago leaves in less than 24 hours, and somehow in two weeks I never made it to the Peak or to the Tsim Sha Tsui harborfront. 13 years away from Hong Kong and I can’t manage to see what I went for in the first place.
Then I wake up and I’m nowhere near Hong Kong. At least I didn’t squander that chance! (My other recurring nightmare occurs at a bus stop or MTR station. I’ve just arrived in Hong Kong after a long absence–but forgot to buy Hong Kong dollars and can’t board a bus or train [how I ever left the airport is beyond me].)
But seriously, this slide my mom took in 1962 seems shockingly old. Almost 50 years ago, this is how the Hong Kong harborfront appeared if you stood on the Peak and looked north. (Like toward China, which was still a good four years from entering the Cultural Revolution. Oh, to go back in time to right that wrong!)
In this slide I can catch a glimpse of the clock tower at the tip of Kowloon, across the harbor, as well as the piers and a sampan or two. If I squint really hard, I think I can spot the Peninsula Hotel and Kowloon Station.
The thing that stands out the most, however, are the startlingly low buildings on Hong Kong Island. All the major landmarks from 20 years ago are missing here (Jardine House, Hopewell Centre, the old Victoria Hotel twin buildings, and the new Bank of China and HSBC towers, just to name a handful).
Much can happen to old slides that sit in shoe boxes for 49 years, but the sea appears quite blue in this picture.
That’s certainly not the case now.