Sunday, 16 August 2015

Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong

Ada is going to Horizon Plaza in Ap Lei Chau for some bargain hunting. It should be called Vertical Plaza because this factory outlets fill up 28 floors of this building. Quite unlike your shopping malls or department stores, which usually have wide front and don't rise to great heights. They're the horizontal shopping buildings.

Instead of tagging along with her to the Horizon Plaza like a clothing tag, or a  drooling dog, I decided to do some sightseeing myself in Ap Lei Chau (鴨脷洲 lit: Duck's Tongue Island), and Aberdeen across the harbour.

Google map, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong
Above:  It's called Duck's Tongue Island because of its shape.
Left: "Say buddy, cat gets your tongue?"

The only thing that's the slightest tourism worthy is the northern water edge of the Ap Lei Chau that consists 3 green spaces: Ap Lei Chau Park, Ap Lei Chau Waterfront Promenade and Ap Lei Chau Wind Tower Park.

Entrance, Ap Lei Chau Waterfront Promenade, Hong Kong
Entrance to the ALC Wind Tower Park

The google street view below is showing the same view as my photo above before the entrance was being erected. The Macky opposite also hadn't been opened.

After the entrance, there's a series of posters detail some of the history of this place as well as information regarding the traditional fishing and boat building, etc.

information poster , Ap Lei Chau, hong kong information poster , Ap Lei Chau, hong kong information poster , Ap Lei Chau, hong kong

The following art installation of window tower gives this park its name.

wind tower art installation, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong

There's also a museum that contains some exhibits, displaying tools of ship building.

Shipbuilding tool exhibits, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong
Traditional tools of shipbuilding

capstan, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong
Capstan replica (I guess this is where the word "captain" comes from). 

There's zero chance that I wouldn't share a photo of sundial when I come across one.

sundial, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong
Sundial. It's solar powered timepiece.
No sun today, so no time keeping. The problem of not being base-load.

Perhaps, the building that I find the most interesting in this park is the Kwun Yum Temple (觀音廟) because of its prominent tree in front of the temple. Normally, a tree of such size and/or location or shape would be cut down to make way for the building. In this case, the tree is the reason for the temple to be built there.

Doesn't this tree that's wrapped in tendrils looks like a dragon? (It looks like a reindeer to me. But each to their own as I made my case in Singapore Love-Hate Relationship with Durian). No sane Taoist who believes in fengshui would chop down something like that. This is a Taoist temple, and Taoists are the fengshui originators.

Kwum Yum Temple, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong

Kwum Yum Temple, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong Kwum Yum Temple, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong Kwum Yum Temple, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong

Kwum Yum Temple, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong

Kwum Yum Temple, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong
The plaque says "Shui Yuet Kung"
This Guanyin temple (or in Cantonese transliteration Kwum Yum) is named Shui Yuet Kung (水月宮), translated as "Water Moon Palace"). The name is an allusion to the Chinese expression, "flower in the mirror; moon in the water" (鏡中花,水中月), meaning that life is nothing but a mere illusion of a deeper reality. This is a quintessential Taoist philosophy. This is shortened to "Water Moon".

decorative plaque, Kwum Yum Temple, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong
Decorative plaque
(click to enlarge)

A "pediment" or more correctly a decorative plaque sits atop a beam just behind the entrance of the temple. It shows various operatic scenes. The top rectangle shows musician playing instruments. The middle bottom shows the well known scene of Zhuge Lian's Empty City Stratagem (空城計). On the right hand side (in gold) shows the name "Ap Lei Chau", but with the word "Lei" written as 利 (= "favourable) instead of 脷 (= "tongue").

Nestled between ALC Park, and ALC Waterfront Promenade is the bigger and more well known Hung Shing Temple. Unfortunately, it was closed off with lot of structures around it.

Hung Shing temple, Ap Lei Chau, hong kongHung Shing temple, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong

I want to go to Aberdeen across the harbour, and the easiest way is by sampans or some watercraft. Several members of the Tripadvisor mob said that the sampan ladies would try to tout anyone who looks the slightest like a tourist.

I have been walking around the green strip of ALC for nearly 1.5 hours (and 45 mins on Aberdeen opposite). My bulky DSLR should alert to sampan rowers like a beacon in an harbour at night that put a spotlight on me that I was a tourist. Nobody approaches me. Either they aren't interested in my business, or that the tourism authority had a chat with them regarding to touting.

Sculpture, Sampan woman, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong
Tanka fisherwoman on a sampan.

You could say that she's an icon for Hong Kong Tsai (Aberdeen)

The closest thing I see of a sampan rower is this sculpture, which depicts a fisherwoman. She doesn't pay attention to me and gives me a steely (okay, a bronze) look.

After giving up being touted by lady sampan, I took the ferry to get across to Aberdeen for a fare of $2.10 HKD. Cheap, cheap. Or as the Thai say, "tuk tuk". This is HK's tuk-tuk, only that it runs on water.

Ferry pier, Ap Lei Chau, hong kong
Ferry pier where you board. Like buses, you need exact change or Octopus Card

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