A note: I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with some work lately, and that combined with the occasionally horrendous internet connection in my
hotel home, have made posting at a regular interval a little bit difficult. I’m doing my best. There is a lot more to tell. We are only in January still.
Sunday, 17 January, 2016
For my first trip to 香港 Hong Kong I took the high-speed rail, which takes about two hours, and lands you, smack, in the middle of busy 九龍 Kowloon. For this second trip I wanted to try a different route, which was cheaper, and which would conveniently involve a stop at 葉問 Yip Man’s grave site.
I boarded the slow train to 深圳 Shenzhen. Once in Shenzhen I walked straight to the subway station which terminated at the boarder with Kowloon, Hong Kong, at 羅湖 Luo Hu station. After finding my way through a very confusing customs building (at least, I thought it was confusing), and passing through customs, I boarded another train which lead into downtown Kowloon.
I made one stop before Kowloon, as I said, to visit the grave of Yip Man. From my experience with China, I expected a packed tourist spot, but I was surprised to find the grave site deserted, at the top of a quiet hill covered in dense foliage. I meditated here for some time, and then headed down to the train.
All in all, the trip from 廣州 Guangzhou to Kowloon, where 葉正 Yip Ching’s class was to be held, took approximately eight hours. I think next time I’ll stick to the high speed rail.
Prior to leaving I had drawn a map, which I followed after arriving in Kowloon (yes, I use a compass and a hand drawn map). This lead me through a large pet and flower market, one of which seems to exist somewhere in every city in China, and which is often a little depressing, as the animals must live in the same conditions as the people – small cages.
All of Hong Kong is quite cramped. The people who live there seem to be used to it, and the outsiders generally seem to loathe it. There is certainly something romantic about Hong Kong. There is so much traditional Chinese culture which, unlike on the mainland, was allowed to flourish. This is then combined with a highly developed modern infrastructure, and an extremely international atmosphere. Everywhere are neon signs, which are spread vertically as well as laterally. The cars drive on the left side of the road, as in Europe, and the roads are small and packed. Everything is crawling with people and vehicles. Everywhere someone is selling something, and often aggressively: “something special?” “a nice watch for you sir?”
Across the Kowloon peninsula, which feels like the biggest shopping mall you could ever imagine, Hong Kong island can be seen, and Downtown Hong Kong Proper, a small bay lined with sky-scrappers reflecting, off their windows, the enchanting jade color of the water, and backed with a lush green hill and scattered (actual) mansions.
After walking for some time I arrived at what my map had indicated was the school. I looked up at the building in front of me, and on the third or fourth floor, I forget which, I saw a sign indicating a Wing Chun school was housed inside.
The difficult part, then, was finding how to access this school. After circling the building a few times I finally found the entrance. The call number for the classroom, which I had written down, was quite misleading. I did not know exactly how to use it. I punched in a few sequences of numbers and letters, and finally heard the gate buzz, without actually talking to anyone.
And I entered.