Friday, February 26, 2016

Up the Down Escalator, Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a fascinating city with steep hills and challenging topography. Mid-Levels is a semi-plateau area on the west side of Hong Kong Island with a commanding view of Victoria Harbour and steep, windy streets. The photograph above is the view from my hotel window (A Room with a View - sorry, E.M. Forster). Midlevels has been settled for over a century, and some of the older British government buildings are up here.
Question: What is the most efficient way to reach the government centers, markets, and businesses at sea level? The traffic is so dense, a bus or taxi can take a long time. Ingenious solution: Take the escalator. This Central–Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system was a clever solution to move people up and down the mountainside and not increase traffic congestion. It was built in 1993 and runs 800 m, with elevation change of 135 m. In the morning, it runs downhill, and then reverses for the afternoon uphill commuter traffic. It is not one long unit but rather a set of 20 escalators and 3 inclined moving walkways, connected by footbridges.
There are some interesting sights along the escalator route. One of these is the historic Jamai Mosque, (Chinese: 些利街清真寺), at 30 Shelley Street, Mid-Levels. Just exit the escalator near the top of its run and enter a secluded courtyard, a pocket of vegetation and quiet surrounded by immense apartment buildings.
Return to the escalator and continue downhill. You get an interesting elevated view of the nearby streets and shops. The lower photograph shows the view down Shelley Street (named for the author?).
Down below, people are shopping and going about their daily chores.
You can see into some of the shops, such as this bespoke tailor. I remember how in the 1950s, gents would be fitted for suits, which would then be delivered to their hotels in only one or two days. My dad had a couple of silk suits from Hong Kong.
These ladies really really seem to be enjoying their pedicures. Hmmm... I wonder if they also have the little fish that eat dead foot skin?
After their toes are ready, I suppose they can visit this store and buy appropriate undergarments. You can buy anything in Hong Kong.

Photographs taken with Fuji X-E1 and Panasonic G3 cameras and a Nexus 4 telephone.

1 comment: