Webster Asia Trip 2015 travel blog

Curry is Available

Tasty Looking Treats

Money Changers

Indian Foods

Elevators to Hostels

Gifts Galore

Chungking Mansion - Diversity and Fascination; Feared by Locals

I was born in Hong Kong and lived here until I was about 7 years old. However, one of the most dreaded memories I had was an attempted abduction in Chungking Mansion. (A little more on that later.) Chungking building is located on Nathan Road, a busy street in Tsim Sha Tsui,one of the busiest districts in Hong Kong. This building is well known to tourists for cheap accommodation (albeit small closet-like rooms), curry houses, stores of all kinds, and foreign exchange. You can probably trade with half the world here. It is a place with cultural reference and is notoriously discussed by journalists, academics, and film makers. The activity in this building might be compared to things that took placed in the former Kowloon Walled City.

On this trip, I visited my godmother's family and told godsister that I wanted to go to Chungking to have a look and take pictures. She reminded me that despite hundreds of CCTVs and security guards patrolling 24 hours a day, there are many petty and not so small crimes that take place in Chungking. Old electrical wiring also make the building a potential fire hazard. (There have been fires in the building's past history.)

I related to Godsister my childhood memories of getting separated from my mother at a park next to Chungking Mansion. Since I could not find mother, I decided to return home to Chungking Mansion on our own (where my father owned a guest house). Holding my little brother's hand, my brother and I went inside the mansion but decided not to take the elevators as they were taking too long. We opted for the stairwell which was a mistake. We opened the doors to the stairwell and climbed about one flight of steps when a Chinese teenager wielding a knife appeared and told us to follow him. I was pretty sure that we would be abducted and sold soon if I did not stay calm and think of something quick. In my mind the only thing I could think of was to whine in childish fashion for a doll. I told this would-be kidnapper that my favorite doll was upstairs and I needed to get it before we could follow him. The teenage kidnapper got very agitated during this verbal exchange. Within a few minutes, a man entered the stairwell and started climbing the steps. I pretended to know this stranger and ran to him calling out "Daddy, daddy!" The kidnapper quickly left and I ran as fast as I could upstairs to the 5th floor where we lived. I remember being completely out-of-breath from running. I then pounded and screamed at the door of our apartment until someone opened the door.

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