HongKongPhotoTours

Streets of Hong Kong Premium Private Tours--Dispatch #009: ONE NIGHT IN MONGKOK

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ONE NIGHT IN MONGKOK, February 2018 (All Rights Reserved, William Banzai7)

This is an image I captured a few nights ago during a Night Photography Tour. It was taken on the Mongkok Road overpass which offers magnificent evening views up (North) and down (South) Tung Choi and Fa Yuen Streets.

This is Fa Yuen Street aiming South with my night photography big gun, the Sigma 50-100 F1.8 DC HSM Art Lense mounted on a Nikon D7100. Hand held since my neck hates full frame gear and tripods. Post-processing was done using Lightroom and NIK Analogue Effects.

Most people aim North into the Fa Yuen Street market, which is another spectacular view. However, I prefer that image during the day, see below.

I posted the this image on Flickr and it was immediately picked up on Flickr Explore. In 24 hours it has drawn 3.5 thousand views and 100+ faves, so that places it among my most popular night photographs on the Streets of Hong Kong!

Join me for a colorful neon drenched evening of Blade Runneresque street photography. There is plenty more to be seen in Sham Shui Po, Mongkok, Yau Ma Tei and Jordan. This is all in addition to the magnificent night views from the Victoria Harbour promenade and Victoria Peak by night!

To view more of my images of Hong Kong and Macau, please visit my Flickr Stream or visit me on Instagram: @williambanzai7.

Hope to see you soon on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch

 

Fa Yuen Street Looking North, 2018 (All Rights Reserved William Banzai7)

Fa Yuen Street by Day (All Rights Reserved, WilliamBanzai7)


ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

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I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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VIEWS FROM THE STREETS OF HONG KONG


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Streets of Hong Kong Premium Private Tours--Dispatch #008: HONG KONG'S BIG YELLOW DUCK, VINTAGE HONG KONG BAR CARDS AND A STOLEN RED TAXI...

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Wanchai Duck (All Rights Reserved, Art Work by William Banzai7) Bar Card Collection courtesy of m20wc51 on Flickr

Once upon a time, Hong Kong was first and foremost a very busy rough and tumble port city. In other words, a place with plenty of rambunctious and randy military and sailor folks looking to have a good time while on proverbial shore leave or R&R.

Not surprisingly, the city's notorious bar entertainment districts, led by the Lockhart Road vicinity of Wanchai, but also establishments in Kowloon (the "Dark Side" as it was known), were ready and eager to oblige them. It was that way from the very beginning, starting in 1842 when the nascent colony opened its doors for business as an entrepot (free port) aimed at the China trade. In the early days, the red light districts were situated in early Wanchai but mainly in the Western District of Hong Kong Island where the migrant Chinese population was concentrated.

Into the the 20th century, Hong Kong's military "water trade" peaked during the Vietnam war years, when scores of American naval vessels frequently dropped anchor opposite Wanchai.  Local touts would situate themselves at locations frequented by military tourists, such as Fenwick Pier in Wanchai, flinging colorful bar cards at wide eyed and bushy tailed American males fresh off the boat hoping to find Richard Mason's World of Suzy Wong in all it's brilliant technicolor glory.

Today, there remain a handful of neon lit Go Go Bars in Wanchai, that appear to be engaged primarily in some sort of "money laundering operations" as my Mom used to say about chronically idle car washes in Queens NYC. There are also many other clean fun bar establishments such as Carnegie's Pub, and yes there are others where freelance working girls are tolerated and their clientele are typically loaded Wall Street and City of London types, a far cry from the merchant traders of yore!

Around 2011, I came across a fellow on Flickr (his handle is: m20wc21) who collects fascinating American military ephemera (primarily photographs and slides) from the Asian Pacific military theater circa 1940s, 50s and 60s at garage sales and on ebay. I noticed he had a trove of Hong Kong bar cards, so I asked him if he would scan them in high resolution so I could put together a nostalgic poster graphic for those who recall the golden years of Suzy Wong's Wanchai. With his permission, that is precisely what I did.

This image is a collage incorporating many of the bar cards, Hong Kong's famously adopted Big Yellow Duck (notice the eye reflection?)  and a photograph I once took of the neon soaked Pussy Cat Club on Lockhart Road (now operating under a different name).

So why am I posting this image today? Well this morning I noticed a story in the SCMP concerning a certain drunken middle aged "expat male" (in other words a gweilo/white ghost) who stole a red taxi from a driver who didn't know where the bar district in Wanchai is located. This evening, I see the article has been heavily edited.

It used to be all one had to do was say Wanchai and every red cabby in Hong Kong including those from Kowloon, just like the bicycle rickshaw men in Macau and the tuk tuk drivers in Bangkok, knew exactly where to go!

My how times have changed! No wonder the expat bankers are keen for Uber to be legitimized in Hong Kong. And by the way, as those who join me on night tours well know, Hong Kong's indigenous red light district is actually located parallel to Nathan Road in West Kowloon! And no, it is not primarily aimed at expat bankers. And finally, how do they know this guy is an expat as opposed to a Hollywood honcho on holiday?

To learn more about the story of Hong Kong as a rough and tumble port city, complete with bandits, pirates, triads, opium dens, flower boats and floating brothels, join me for a Premium Private Walking Tour on the Streets of Hong Kong!

And don't forget to ask me about Kowloon Walled City, the infamous Street of Happiness in Old Macau (Rua de Felicidades) and the frontier bar scene in the first Star Wars movie.

To view more of my images of Hong Kong and Macau, please visit my Flickr Stream or visit me on Instagram: @williambanzai7.

Hope to see you soon on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch

 

Red Cabs and Neptune II, Jaffee Road, Wanchai District 2008 (All Rights Reserved William Banzai7)


ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

HK_Map_1841header.jpg
American-Flag-Yin-Yang copy.jpg

I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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VIEWS FROM THE STREETS OF HONG KONG


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Streets of Hong Kong Premium Private Tours--Dispatch #007: MAIDS IN HONG KONG

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HSBC HQ Building Central, Hong Kong, February 2018 (All Rights Reserved, William Banzai7) (Camera, FUJI XT-1 into Fuji 16-55 XF)

On any given Sunday or public holiday, one will notice that certain parts of Hong Kong are inundated with young and happy Filipina women (Indonesian as well) partying and having a good time in various public spaces such as parks, closed off streets, underpasses, overpasses and all kinds of public nooks and crannys. And, most surprisingly, as is depicted in this photograph, in the open atrium underneath the local headquarters building of HSBC (a/k/a "the Bank").

In bygone times, it was said that no major decision could be made in Hong Kong unless it was first run by the Board of Directors of "the Bank".

Today, it can be said that without the dedicated service of the thousands of Filipina and Indonesian maids partying on their day off around the premises of the Bank on Sundays, this global financial metropolis would come to one big grinding halt.

The area occupied by the housekeepers under HSBC and other locales around the city, is a fine example of what has been referred to by academics as "messy urbanism", the improvised use of public space in a manner not originally contemplated by city planners and designers. A street manifestation of spontaneous human self organization. A fascinating cultural subject for those who have traveled all around Asia. Every Asian culture/country has it's own unique but interrelated style of urban messiness.

One can spend a whole day photo-documenting the messy urbanism of the happy and ubiquitous Filipina maids all around the Central District on Sundays. And one very popular image capture is the view of all the maids aiming from the street or the upper level of Hong Kong's beloved "ding ding" (trolley cars) into the HSBC atrium where the maids are all picnicking behind their precariously but cleverly jury rigged cardboard screens. 

I tell my photographer clients to wade into the area where the maids are situated and aim their cameras out into the street. By doing this you can see that you will wind up with an image that tells a slightly more intriguing story. Here you are with the maids parked in their improvised cardboard cabanas and you can see one of the famous HSBC Lions, the showcase Ralph Lauren shop in the tony Prince's Building, and the two security guards having a slightly heated exchange. I like the way this image came out. Plenty to draw the viewer's attention. Plenty to talk about. Try this camera angle when you are there on any given Sunday. And remember to shoot wide!

Naturally, I have plenty more to say about the socio-economic phenomena of large scale South East Asian maid immigration, the Bank, the actual building, the plight of the two Lions, Hong Kong style messy urbanism and the fascinating history of the entire area immediately surrounding this locale on my Premium Private Walking Tours of Hong Kong Island.

To my way of thinking, there should always be more to a compelling image than simply what meets the eye!

To view more of my images of Hong Kong and Macau, please visit my Flickr Stream or visit me on Instagram: @williambanzai7.

Hope to see you soon on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch

 

Queen for a Day, Central District, Hong Kong SAR, February 25, 2018 (all rights reserved William Banzai7)


ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

HK_Map_1841header.jpg
American-Flag-Yin-Yang copy.jpg

I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

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VIEWS FROM THE STREETS OF HONG KONG


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Streets of Hong Kong Premium Private Tours--Dispatch #006: CENTRAL RECLAMATION PROJECT, HONG KONG

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Central Reclamation Project-Hong Kong, February 2008 (All Rights Reserved, William Banzai7) (Camera, Leica M8)

Few visitors realize that the iconic Central Waterfront on Hong Kong Island is in its entirety sitting on landfill. In fact, when the British first took possession of Hong Kong Island in 1841, the mountain the British called Victoria Peak and the local people called Tai Ping Shan or Mountain of Peace, was characterized as a barren rock dropping precipitously into the harbor. Lord  Palmerston, the Foreign Secretary at the time, characterized the entire island as such: "All you got us is a barren rock!".

Today when you are standing by the Star Ferry Terminal in Central, there is a huge expanse of undeveloped land. That too is all landfill. Incredibly, the public has no idea what the government is planning for this site. I suspect the real estate developers already know.

In any event, I show this picture whenever anyone asks when this latest tranche of landfill occurred. The answer is it was finished sometime after I took this photograph in 2008. I remember being stunned at the size of this construction site, having spent some time working cement and demolition on holidays during law school.

This is just the segment at Central. In fact the project runs through Admiralty and Wanchai all the way down to Causeway Bay. There was a public outcry during all of this and a law was actually passed to prevent Victoria Harbor from becoming a simple river. I remember humming the melody of the jazz standard "Cry Me a River" featuring two greats, singer Julie London and the jazz guitarist Barney Kessel (check it out!).

You can view more images of the Central waterfront on my Flickr.  And yes, there is much more to this story that I have to share on tour...

   Central District, 2015 (All Rights Reserved, WilliamBanzai7) (Camera, Fuji XT-1 into 16-55 XF)

Notice anything about this photograph? Its the middle of the day and there is only a single vessel out on the water opposite Central, the approaching Lantau Ferry. This vessel free view was simply impossible back in the shipping hey day of Victoria Harbor!

See you on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch


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ABOUT STREETS OF HONG KONG PREMIUM WALKING TOURS

HK_Map_1841header.jpg
American-Flag-Yin-Yang copy.jpg

I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

Whether you are into simple travel snapshots, social media image sharing or serious landscape, architectural or urban street photography or just enjoying the Hong Kong experience, I am in a position to maximize your time spent in Hong Kong and its surrounding locales to the fullest.      

Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

My premium walking tours are ideal for acclimating and orienting first time visitors to Hong Kong as well as for returning visitors eager for a new experience.

I accept engagements up to one year in advance or, subject to my availability, last minute and/or same day. Families with children are always welcome and children 16 years and under are free of charge. Special needs clients are also welcome.

You can book a tour or send me an inquiry now by going to my Contact/Booking Page.

SAlutation 2.jpg

VIEWS FROM THE STREETS OF HONG KONG


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