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Stanley Market, Hong Kong – a walk down leisure lane


A dog, cigar dangling from lips and teeth slightly bared, seems about to spew “What is the interest for my family?” (‘Godfather’) or some such dialogue from a mafia based movie. His neighbor, a cow in a tie, stares at me with tiny, gleaming eyes. This isn’t some weird dream, though.

I’m at Stanley Market in Hong Kong and these are just harmless creatures painted on canvas. A street market stocked with reasonably priced souvenirs and sundry impulse purchase items like hats, Stanley stands out in my mind because of quirky paintings like these, and that of Tintin and the inimitable Captain Haddock racing down a street in a Ford.

The Tintin painting, and perhaps the presence of a promenade romancing the sea kindle memories – not just of a boy-faced man who barely spent time off turquoise green waters and an assortment of vehicles on adventures that I as a kid longed to join, but also of borrowed books whose pages were turned with the utmost care, and of simple pleasures like sharing ‘imli ki goli’ (tamarind candy balls) with friends.

With e-books in the picture the experience of reading has changed, but a few other pleasures have transcended generations. A man stands at a corner, making rainbow colored soap bubbles humungous enough to wrap a baby, and when a child stops wide-eyed and open-mouthed to watch, you can see a tiny pot at the end of the rainbow for the balloon man. Sure enough, his parents give in to the toddler’s demand.

Bubble Man at Stanley Market

This is the stuff childhood memories are made of

Older kids of different colors, personal styles and dispositions, accompanied by parents or not, walk around. I’m happy to see they’re not lost in electronic devices which have consumed the life of millions of young adults the world over, a phenomenon that’s also seen on Hong Kong’s MTR every day. Despite warnings against being sucked into their phones as they step on and off trains, several do exactly that. It adds to the impression of Hong Kong being a city perennially on the move, much like Mumbai – it’s a comparison I subconsciously keep making, having lived in the bustling Indian metropolis for many years now.

Food outlets add a lot of color to the waterfront

Eat, drink and be merry at the waterfront

Stanley Cave at Stanley is one of the options for a quick bite or coffee

Stanley Cave is one of the options for a quick bite or coffee

At cozy cafes and bars lined along the Stanley waterfront, locals and visitors alike chat and relax with a beer or two. The area seems to be a favorite with families. Apart from the main beach at Stanley, the Repulse Bay beach a few miles away is a big draw and the Deep Water Bay beach finds folks grilling their own food over barbecue pits.

The reconstructed Blake Pier stands tall at Stanley's main beach

Stanley’s Main Beach is home to people fishing, wind surfing, and boating (Blake Pier is to the right)

Blake Pier was earlier known as Pedder Wharf and stood at a different location

Blake Pier was earlier known as Pedder Wharf and stood at a different location

The roof of Blake Pier is original while the rest is modern construction (the picture is an edited montage)

The roof of Blake Pier is original while the rest is modern construction (picture is an edited montage)

Boats dock at the Harbour and there's even a red sail Sampan (Chinese boat) that ferries visitors from the city

Boats and yachts dock at the Harbour and there’s even a red sail Sampan (traditional Chinese boat) that ferries visitors from the city to Stanley

Stanley and Deep Water Bay seen from Ocean Park

Stanley and Deep Water Bay seen from Ocean Park

Behind the island is Repulse Bay (Pic taken from Ocean Park)

Behind the island is Repulse Bay (Pic taken from Ocean Park)

It’s not unusual to find kids carrying beach paraphernalia as they excitedly rush to the upper deck of double-decker buses that ply this route. Along the way, trekking enthusiasts disembark and set off on paths that vary in difficulty, ensuring there’s something for each fitness level. I don’t have that much time, though. Visiting Stanley on the day of our departure, I can only join those looking to add a few more things to their backpack apart from memories.

(P.S. – I couldn’t take a photo of the Tintin painting because the shopkeeper didn’t allow it. Not all shops permit photography and in fact, some even display signs prohibiting it, so tread a little carefully on this front)

From street shops to high-end boutiques at Stanley Plaza, there are numerous shopping options

From street shops to high-end boutiques at Stanley Plaza, there are numerous shopping options

Stanley Market is open from 10 am to 6.30 pm

The market is open from 10 am to 6.30 pm

A list of shops at Stanley Plaza in Hong Kong

A list of shops at Stanley Plaza in Hong Kong

LINKS

More about Stanley Market and Village and how to get there– click here

Things to do in and around Stanley – click here and here

For Stanley restaurants– click here and here

For VEGETARIAN food – Lucy’s at 64, Main Street, Stanley Market (Phone no: 852-28139055 ) or Curry Tiffin at 118, Main Street, Stanley Market (Phone no: 852-28990565 ) seem like good bets

 

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13 Comments

  1. You got me with the mention of old comics, Tintin and Captain Haddock (and the elk) whom I also longed to join like you. The golis of imli bring back memories of my elder sister who was also my classmate and friend. Your pictures are well framed and crystalline as ever, and they pull me in as they never fail to do. Someday, I plan to walk those streets and beaches, saunter in Stanely cave for a quick bite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vibha Ravi (PixelVoyages)

      Hi! The illustrations in Tintin comics were quite something, and coupled with a child’s imagination they were fodder for many a summer afternoon. Even to this day, I can’t get over that turquoise green color.
      Thanks for sharing your memories and for liking the post. I hope you visit soon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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