My first impression of Hong Kong was Central. Only I didn’t know that’s what its glitzy financial district was called until I landed in Hong Kong in 1990.
This is what Central looked like back then:
But on my mom’s first trip to Central almost 30 years earlier, here’s what she saw:
Even back then, the waterfront was lined with tall buildings and foreign advertisements.
Here’s another photo of the former Gloucester House, which was torn down long ago. I just love that little traffic police pagoda.
A few years later, my mom returned to Hong Kong on a round-the-world trip starting in Japan, where she’d just spent a year teaching math and science. This is the Hong Kong she saw in 1965:
Again, there’s that traffic police pagoda. I wonder where those things ended up once traffic lights took over?
My mom’s parents visited Hong Kong for the first time in 1965. Here’s a photo of my grandma (with the black purse), an American friend of hers, and the doorman of the Mandarin Hotel:
Although my mom wouldn’t return to Hong Kong for another 25 years, my grandparents made frequent trips to the Crown Colony thanks to my uncle’s job with TWA, the former airline. Hooray for family passes.
Here’s a shot my grandfather took of the Mandarin in 1974. Connaught Centre, or Jardine House, stands to the left (this building is also known as the House of a Thousand Arseholes).
For so long Hong Kong stood in stark contrast to its giant neighbor up north. In 1974, while Hong Kong was obviously continuing on its path of rapid development, China was still stuck in the disastrous Cultural Revolution.
Which wasn’t completely out of people’s minds in Hong Kong (mainly thanks to the 1967 riots). Check out the red neon on the top of the Bank of China below (building in the lower left corner). My grandfather took this photo, also in 1974.
The red neon characters read: Ten thousand years of Chairman Mao.