Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Aberdeen (Shek Pai Wan)

Today, I attended a tour led by Rehana Sheikh. Caught City Bus 260 from Admiralty to the first stop after the Aberdeen tunnel, waited for everyone to arrive, then crossed the road and caught another bus to the Aberdeen waterfront. Walked along the promenade towards the Ferry Piers and the Fish Market which was still under renovation.

Rehana provided us with the following information.

"...Named after the Earl of Aberdeen, secretary of state for the colonies in 1848. To the Chinese it is 'Heung Keung Tsai'.

Buses from Admiralty: 37A, 37B, 37X, 95C, 91, 90B, 40P, 72, 71. Just after passing the fly over on Wong Chuk Hang Road, press the bell in the bus and get off by an overhead pedestrian bridge.

Not much is left of the old Aberdeen other than a few temples, the graveyard, some herbalists and doctors. Even the fishing methods and boat designs have changed over time.

Stroll along the pier where the fishing trawlers in black and red are moored, side by side, with the fishing nets hanging on the sides. See the house-boats with a sleeping cat and tail wagging dog, home to many fishermen known as "Tanka" or boat people, who led a rough life being confined to these boats. They are now almost extinct.

You will see "sampans" little boats, either ferrying people for a few dollars or random merchandise around the harbour. You can bargain but the cost is usually $50 per person.

Across the narrow typhoon shelter is the fishing island of Ap Lie Chau 'Duck's Tongue Island' connected by a busy bridge and dense with high rise housing estates, the most well known being South Horizons. The Jumbo Floating restaurant, Marina Club, Aberdeen Boat Club are nearby.

Walk onwards and you will see ferries to Lamma and sitting out areas and the whole-sale fish market with the catch of the day. Trucks load up fresh fish twice a day and transport it to various restaurants and markets.

Veer away from the market on to the main road where buses ply routes to all parts of Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories.

Cross over on the overhead bridge to the hustling, bustling residential and commercial area with pet shops, bakeries, restaurants, temples, supermarkets, bus terminus, housing estates, sitting out areas, shopping arcades, post office, local doctors and herbalists. A graveyard covers the mountain nearby. Walk uphill from the main town area to th Aberdeen Country Park all the way to the Peak, Mid-Levels and Wanchai.

Suggested reading 'Egg Woman's Daughter, A Tanka Memoir' by Mary Chan Ma-Lai..." Copyright © 2008 - 2009 All Rights Reserved