I recently rediscovered a group of photos my mom took in December 1990 when she visited me in Hong Kong over winter break. It wasn’t my mom’s first time there, but it was her first trip back since 1965. At that point I had only been in Hong Kong for four months. This is what we saw.
Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. The old Lane Crawford department store is on the right, the MTR (subway/train) station in the foreground.
Around the corner from MTR station, I think.
It’s December here, but still very green and quite warm. I believe this is Kowloon Park, but please correct me if I’m wrong.
The Park Lane shops. I never bought much here apart from a few trinkets in the Muji store that went in several years later.
Hong Kong goes all out for Christmas. This is probably mild compared to what takes place these days.
Speaking of Christmas, this pageant took place at the Argyle Street Detention Centre, which was a Vietnamese refugee camp back then. I tutored English here once a week. It’s hard to imagine now, but the camp was in the middle of overgrown weeds and wild grass right off Argyle Street. The bunkers where the refugees lived and studied were originally British military barracks. In the 1940s, it was a Japanese POW camp. Today, luxury high-rises.
Another shot of Kowloon at night. I think this is back in Tsim Sha Tsui, quite a ways away from the refugee camp.
Now to the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I lived in a dorm here on top of the mountainous campus, but I booked my mom a room at the old Yali Guest House. The walk up the first half of the mountain was one of my favorites in Hong Kong. I always found this shady garden to be so peaceful.
The guest house stood about midway up the mountain, near the health center and graduate dorm (where I would live a few years later).
The Yali Guest House.
The inside of the guest house was decorated for Christmas, too. A kind older gentleman ran the guest house. Over the years I booked quite a few family and friends here when they came to see me or just passed through Hong Kong. By the mid-90s, two modern, mid-rise guest houses would sprout up next door. The university brought in new management at that point.
The view across from Yali.
Six years later I would live in one of the high-rise apartments across the harbor. In 1990 another Vietnamese refugee camp was located around that area. That land would transform as the camp closed and a new town developed almost over night.