Week Two Program Wrap-Up

 

 

As one of the only white foreigners in this program I was really quite happy that I was chosen for a site that embodied the less flashy, touristy, or western oriented districts of Hong Kong. The instructors could easily have given me a suburban or distinctly “safer” site to make my transition into the new culture less of a blinding contrast from my American roots. However, this was not the case and I’m thankful for the site I was given in Tai Kok Tsui. It’s a place with a surface level appearance of being uncomfortable at best and downright insufferable at worst, especially during the day. With it’s lack of trees, oppressive heat, bustling and endless intersections, Tai Kok Tsui is easy to write off as an urban jail cell which holds captive aging residents destined for exhaustion. In the afternoon sun, grandmas line the park benches to escape the heat of their air condition-less apartments, shop owners nap lazily along their storefronts waiting for customers to come through the empty streets, it is a place that begs for relief. This was the view I took on the area within the first minute of stepping off the MTR, but that feeling did not last long. While the district presents a façade of ecological absence and discomfort at times, it’s livability comes from it’s life unseen during much of the day. It’s a place that serves the needs of its people, people who are at work escaping the midday sun, and come home at night to give the community its charismatic vibrancy.

 

Streets of Tai Kok Tsui

Streets of Tai Kok Tsui

This unseen image of Tai Kok Tsui is what I hoped to express in both the video that my group made and the board we created. Molded by Chinese tradition, Tai Kok Tsui’s people and energy are what created a cultural image that’s now burned in my mind not soon to be forgotten. So how did that translate into a three-minute video? It was my utmost intention not to make a descriptive video about the site with overlaid writing and narration required to give the viewers an understanding of my feelings about being in Tai Kok Tsui. I know other groups did a great job in creating often times humorous videos that gave a straight forward idea of their site’s identity, but I wanted to carefully compose a video that spoke for itself with it’s pace and emotional tone. Much like our board which had a near-scrapbook-like quality about it, detailing our movement through the district, I wanted to make the video a similar account of how we navigated through Tai Kok Tsui without unnecessary formal explanation. With the still panel board presentation, we were a bit clearer about the actual layout of the district with a map showing certain nodes, edges, and landmarks. Since we could be explicit in talking about the detail of our site on the board with elements that effect the physical condition, the short video was a way to visually represent these scenes in motion. We show the idea of nodes, edges, and landmarks from our site during the video in the way they are used throughout the day the same way we explained them from the presentation of our A0 board, but now the viewer can experience them with feeling rather than just as an idea.

Andrew A0 board

A0 Still Board

TKT Ghost Festival

Ghost Festival in Tai Kok Tsui

 

In the beginning of the video we start with long, slow, still shots of the empty streets and parks being used mainly for relief. The melancholy music used in the first half of the video describes the pace and struggle of the older generation in the daily heat. We transition into an account of traditional practice as we came across a football court that was being used as grounds for the ghost festival celebration. The orchestral sounds of gongs and other traditional instruments could be heard ringing throughout the blocks as the burning in respect of the dead scented the air. The next scene shows a woman who we interviewed who discussed the area’s difference in time of day, and how people and vendors really become lively at night. Unfortunately, the actual audio didn’t come through on the clip because of the loud street noise and a jackhammer blaring at a neighboring shop. This was our segway into the exuberant night scene we found ourselves in when we revisited Tai Kok Tsui. People overtook alleyways, sidewalks and restaurants with temporary seating for dinner, street vendors sold fresh fruits and produce to businessmen coming back from work, the MTR exit buzzed with people frantically brushing past one another in the tight crowds to return home. We used more dramatic music in this section of the video with quick cuts, freehand shots, and time-lapse footage to create a sense of energy and liveliness. Scenes of people using their space contrasting from similar locations used in the first part of the video were used to show how the way people fill the spaces that surround them is what gives that place an identity. Just because the impression of the day seemed bleak at first, people were still filling the streets with tradition and feelings that if you keep an eye out for, aren’t hard to find. I will not soon forget the culture so alive on those streets, or the scent of incense burning in respect for the dead on every corner, and I can only hope that people get the same sort of understanding of Tai Kok Tsui from the still board presentation and accompanying video my group mates and I created.

Video

 

Andrew

HKU Week 2

During the second and last week of the study abroad program, we had to create a video about the place that we researched for the first week. My role in this assignment was to partly video record and piece together the video, as my teammates did not exactly know how to do that. To remind everyone, my place was Ma Wan Island, which is the home of some luxurious residents that can afford so in Hong Kong. Filming here was easier than expected and we did the first part with ease. The second part of the island however, was a little harder to record since the villages that still reside on Ma Wan Island do not like to be filmed and asked questions.

My Team: Bernice, Edward, and Bella

My Team: Bernice, Edward, and Bella

Doing this video and seeing it in film reminded me of a place near San Francisco called Sausalito. Sausalito is small, and is home to some wealthy residents who like to be in a “quiet spot” of their own. There are small restaurants and stores, just like Ma Wan Island, and the residents like to walk along the shore throughout the day. The only difference there is between these two areas is that there are no twenty-story apartments for the residents at Sausalito! But they do have the same height because most of the houses in Sausalito are built on the hillside. Ma Wan Island was also the same, except I had no idea there were two kinds of residents on the island: the rich Park Island residents, and the Ma Wan villagers. Still seeing that there are still the old ways in Hong Kong makes me happy to know that there is still an authentic part of Hong Kong left.

View of the Tsing Ma Bridge: Ma Wan Island

View of the Tsing Ma Bridge: Ma Wan Island

When presenting this video, it was very different than what we had to present for the poster board. The first is that, there is animation! There are a lot of things you can do; the possibilities are endless with animation. I had to be careful to piece clips together to make sure that the video would tell some sort of orderly story, or else it wouldn’t make sense in the slightest. And making a video brings life from the stillness of the board; it brings out the noise and small activity you would never have guessed.

Taking a break from filming

Taking a break from filming

Making the video was fun, and having my teammates’ opinion on some parts made it even better in the end. Without their help, the video wouldn’t have ended with such a dramatic ending! And hearing the audience laugh along while watching the video also gave me a sense of relief that they also enjoyed watching the video as much as I enjoyed making it. My group consisted Bernice, the camerawoman who filmed some clips that were most enjoyable, and Edward, who was the “director” of our little film crew! We each had a part but we also shared each other’s parts. We weren’t scared to voice our opinions out and give suggestions to what might make the video even better.

The original entry gate of Ma Wan island

The original entry gate of Ma Wan island

I’m sure everyone had a great time making his or her videos, and hopefully everyone enjoyed the experience as much as I did!

Cheers,

Bella

HKU Academics / Final Overview

For my studies at HKU, my group observed the area Jardine’s Lookout. Working in groups is always an interesting experience, and even more so when you’re mixing them with different languages and cultures. I enjoy the process of meeting new people, and figuring out a way to make the group its most successful, and hopefully most enjoyable for each team member. There’s a need to quickly assess each others skill sets, and devise a team plan for the project, especially under short deadlines such as we had. Then next, it is set out tasks and get to work. One thing that I learned no matter your culture or background, is the importance of finding a connection with each-other. While academics, and work are important, at the heart of life is human interaction. I thoroughly enjoyed working with my teammates, even through the sometimes extremely long days and nights.

Our group consisted of myself, the dashing designer extraordinaire, Sherlock, the charismatic leader, and Susan, the one of a kind behind the scenes hard worker. We headed off to our site to understand it’s people, location, history, and overall and most importantly its story. What is this place now? What did it use to be, and where is it going? How do the people interact in this space? We observed, but knew that we would have to interact with the inhabitants as well. The area was very inactive, with the majority of people that were on the streets waiting at bus stops. An occasional dog walker, some housemaids, and lots of nice cars.

The area was named after the businessman William Jardine, who used the hillside to spot ships to get information on the world markets quickly. As time progressed the British used the hill to fight the Japanese, but ultimately got defeated. The site continues to be used for its views, but now mostly for pleasure. The area is occupied by very wealthy business people and celebrities, and is very closed off from the public. High walls surround the houses, and lack of public space keep outsiders from staying and enjoying the area. Space really defines this area. The hillside attracts a certain demographic of people that can afford the view, and keeps those out that can’t.

For project one I was in charge of researching the history of our area, as well as creating a visual timeline showcasing how Jardine’s Lookout has changed over the years; taking lots of photos to highlight the area, its people, and the housing; creating and coloring 3D models for housing development; making graphics and maps of housing, and migration from other areas of HK to Jardine’s (these didn’t make the final cut); and a couple of graphs highlighting demographics, and income. On the second project I was the host and film editor. Both projects were very different, yet worked to inform one another. They both took a lot of hard work to make, and I’m very proud of what our team accomplished. Not only was our work great, but I think the class as whole really produced outstanding work.

Take a look below, and I hope you enjoy our work.

UPDATE 9/14/15

Finally looking back over the trip the biggest thing that I wish we had was more time. The experience was amazing, and we learned and explored so much. Things just felt a little time crunched as we packed everything together. There weren’t a lot of huge hurdles to cross per se, when making the transition to Hong Kong. It was just adapt and take in as much as possible. The food was amazing, as was the culture. The biggest transition was coming back to the states and trying to readjust to life here. The biggest thing I noticed about people in general is that we can adapt to any situation. So no matter the area you live in whether in the states or in Hong Kong and its many diverse communities, people will adapt and make a life there. That being said, life can always be improved through better created environments which is a large part of why we study what we do. Looking back to the studies and moving forward, I’ve taken away the insight of humans being able to adapt and create communities even where none existed before. As a designer it’s part of my responsibility to create better resources for people so that quality of life can be improved no matter where you live.

Processed with VSCOcam with c8 presetProject One PDF Link

Processed with VSCOcam with c8 presetTeam Awesome

 

 

Week One

Last week was intense but full of excitement and surprise. On the first day, the walk tour gave us a really good image of Hong Kong. We visited the most expensive tree around the world (for preserving the tree, the construction work had to dig a large amount of earth around the tree to work underneath it without moving the tree off site), which totally changed my impression about Hong Kongnese never care about nature. And with a series of lectures we had a glance about different types of housing that gathered different communities. 

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Gavin & Banyan tree

And I feel so lucky to work with my teammates, Jack and Yuyu. To me it was actually  working with people from my own culture, but I can feel the difference between my group, which is made up by 3 people all speak mandarin, with other groups that made up by people who have to speak in a language that is not the first languages for all of them.We worked on the Yat Tung site, which is a public housing on Lantau island. After visiting the site, we researched a bit history about this relatively young community that just established less than 15 years. Those tall blocks are not human scale, but they create shade for people in such climate, and most people seems enjoying their time just sitting in the community space. We drew our mental map onsite, we found out that the circle plaza is actually not the geography center of this estate after comparing with the real map. However, all of us three drew it in the center of this estate because people’s daily life is centered here – it is not only the commercial center for this estate, but also has different functions that supports residences’ other daily activities, like barber shop, ATM, etc. We are eager to find out if people living here feel the same as us from interviews next week.

yat tung final 1

Our first weekend also impressed me with its heat and humidity. On Saturday, thanks to Crystal, and Bella as well, we went to the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant – Tim Ho Wan. It was definitely good, but the best thing of the day was walking along the Woman street. It was so Hong Kong style, local venders and delicious street food crowded together. After we went to the Time square and took a group selfie with Gumdam, enjoyed our shopping in totoro shop. 

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On Sunday, our trip to Macau probably created a long lasting memory to everyone. Like what they says “The road to happiness is strewn with setbacks,” there was a little drama happened at beginning, but everything turned out fine. We visited the Venetian casino, the pineapple casino. It was interesting to walk around in traditional Portuguese house and to discover remains of old streets and architectures. But nothing can compare to the experience at the plaza in front of st. Paul’s cathedral – our strong Bella opened that coconut.

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First Week Summary

The sights of the day ranged drastically, from the various skyscrapers to nature landscape to colorful local stores to very old buildings. These scenes refresh my memory which comes from thousands of Hong Kong movies. I am so excited to witness one of the most high density cities in the world.21 11 13

 

The first week is so intense, and everything seems fast and efficient. We walked the city and got the new perspectives of Hong Kong historically and visually.

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We attended the lecture with HKU students and worked with them for the study of specific site. My group studied walled villages located in Kam Tin, it is lucky to be arrived by MTR because it is really far from Hong Kong Island. Kat Hing Wai is a typical Hakka settlement, the most distinctive feature is its grey brick wall. However, it is kind of frustrating because various heights of new housings have substituted the traditional one and the surroundings looks disorganized. The garbage station is quite close to the only entrance and it is not smell good. The history of this site shows us that the strong walled system was used to be the defensive function previously but it contributes more as historical value now. It looks like a boundary limited the residences inside, it is hardly to take a breath when you were standing in the alley which is three feet wide.  As our footprints cover the whole site gradually, some interesting parts were found, like some abandoned units were remodified to private garden between new housings and many ancient trees contribute to the huge area of shade which is used as rest area and the elderly women sitting at the entrance charge to the tourists. Thus, the emotion of people reflect from the strong wall system is the start of our study. We tried to dig out how did the wall shape the activity of those settlements  and look forward the changes of feelings when people get rid of this limitation.

 

 

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Week One Wrap Up

This week was exceptional to say beyond the least! Even after all of my trips to HK, this has to be the best one yet! This first week of this program came with expected and unexpected turns. I expected everyone to be students who want to work hard, yet have fun in the process of making the project. The most unexpected, I never would have guessed that this would be so hard! Although it is a simple assignment that the professors have given to us last week, there was so much thought put into the process that we simply did not have enough time to do what we wanted for the first project!

But let me start off with the beginning of the week where we got to meet the students of HKU for the first time. We started with a physical activity that was creative beyond words and had hidden depth and imagination to it. During this activity, I basically met half of the HKU students in 10 minutes! In the afternoon, we went to basically walk from mountain to seaside of Hong Kong and it was breath taking to say the least… literally! It was hot that day and we were all sweating crazily where I couldn’t feel that I was drenched. The next day, we were introduced to our assignment for the first time and I was put into a group that had the wonderful and beautiful Bernice from HK, and hilarious Edward from Guangzhou area! Luckily, all of us can speak Cantonese so that it is easier for us to communicate each second we’re together! Although I have to say, they were extremely surprised to know I could speak Canto. It’s a wonderful feeling to work with fellow students who can speak in the native tongue that you were brought up in. Although I wish sometimes that we had a fellow student who could only speak Mandarin and English, that would have been fun to be talking in three different languages all at once!

Andrew and Austin hiding from the sun

Andrew and Austin hiding from the sun

My site visit was at Ma Wan Island, which is only a twenty-minute ferry ride from Central. This island, in the past, was for fishing villagers only and they lived a content life until the British decided to make it into their land and buy it off from the villagers to create a more peaceful and better environment for Hong Kong people. My group has to study the well-off residents of Ma Wan Island, also called Park Island (for them). We quickly took pictures, sketched a couple drawings, and walked around until I had to leave for the UO alumni dinner, which was great because we all got to meet successful architects who graduated from UO!

Panorama of Park Island, view from the ferry entrance/exit

Panorama of Park Island, view from the ferry entrance/exit

Delicious, rich and creamy tiramisu. Complimented with white wine, which was an excellent pair

Delicious, rich and creamy tiramisu. Complimented with white wine, which was an excellent pair

The rest of the week was basically doing the project, which, I think, turned out splendid. My group had a simpler approach towards the project that is both fascinating and unique from all the other groups. After the presentation time, all of us went to celebrate a HKU student’s birthday with a wonderful seafood dinner and a visit to Lam Kui Fong. The weekend was packed with a personal afternoon tea session with my guardian, Clare, on Saturday and dinner with my other family friend. On Sunday, we all went to Macau where we had the most unusual entrance! But afterwards, we each had fun. The most hilarious thing is, I got to split open a coconut with my hands! And meeting with some family afterwards was also great, I haven’t seen them in 12 years!

 

Delicious Portuguese sausage :) it goes great with bread

Delicious Portuguese sausage 🙂 it goes great with bread

 

Cheers,

 

Bella

Week One (第一周)

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With 7 million people densely compressed in and around the walls of clustered high-rise vertical towers, escaping to Lei Yue Mun (my studio site on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong) felt like I’d set foot in an oasis. What historically served as a home to indigenous Hakka people, turned farmland, turned home to granite minors, turned refugee squatter settlement… presently identifies as a fishing village tourist attraction. Naturally, the spontaneous identity patterns within the community reflect the nonsystematic and scattered arrangement of the village. But it was mainly the landscape that informed the morphology of Lei Yue Mun as it is rich in natural resources. The village alignment follows the natural contours of the topography and extends out into the sea on stilts and platforms. And more obviously, the village’s orientation between the sea and mountains shape its long linear form.

 

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I have to admit though, before that feeling of landing an oasis set in, I felt completely disoriented and out of my element. It wasn’t until I got past the market and posted up on a large rock that overlooked the sea, when I was overcome with a feeling of bliss. Despite the large paifang indicating a transition between two districts, it was unclear where the entrance to the village actually was. Navigating my way around the harbor and past the sleepy fish markets, it seemed as if I’d left the public space and entered someone’s private territory. The narrow paths that were only one shanty separated from the sea were no more than 8 feet wide and draped with line-drying clothes. There were no cars, only people commuting on bicycles with dinging bells or walking on foot which was commonly seen burrowed inside a rubber boot. The corrugated metal roofs were rampant and stacked like the skewered meat from the night market. Had I been transported in the MTR tube from the cosmopolitan metropolis of Hong Kong to a distant underdeveloped country?

IMG_4752I was lucky to be accompanied by two amazing HKU Cantoneese and Manderin speaking students.  With their help we were able to verbally communicate with the residents, visitors, and workers onsite.  After several interviews with visitors and workers, we were finally able to interview a group of long-time residents of Lei Yue Mun.  The residents cluster against the back side of this bathroom wall everyday around 2pm shadowing the sun patterns.  They explained that they enjoy their home, but feel a bit isolated and would like to improve the connectivity for convenience to amenities.

Week 1 – Recap

Week One was full of non-stop adventure. The views pretty much say it all in these pictures as we explored Hong Kong through its history, architecture, and most importantly food. After the weekend of orienting oneself to the fast paced life of the city, Monday arrived along with our first day of classes. We did some morning exercises with the class to meet each other; not the workout kind, but walking around the campus could qualify as such. Taking class tours, group tours, and personal walks, have made me appreciate Hong Kong not only on the surface level of aesthetic and design, but on a personal level and all its people that make up the city.

To be honest since I’ve arrived, the trip has been stringing each day together as we’ve been going non-stop; so it’s nice to take time to write a post and collect oneself, or sit down at a meal with the HKU students, our own group, and the UO alumni to just appreciate simple human connection. It’s been great getting to know each person on this trip, and I hope we continue to keep in touch and maybe one day join the great UO alumni in this amazing city.

The first week was a blur in my mind, as we went non stop from place to place, morning to night. There was so much to process, but a lot that can’t be processed until after the trip really. In order to make the transition to a place like Hong Kong you kind of just have to jump in and live at its pace. Granted this was a short academic trip, so we were on the move even more so than a normal study abroad or visiting trip. I attribute most of the pace to just that, trying to see and experience as much as we could in such a short time period. This could be the best way to experience a culture such as Hong Kong; jump in quickly and learn fast. By the second week I felt more confident in my understanding of space and environment and could see myself living in a city such as this. In a lot of ways I was reminded of the larger bustling cities in the states, but they still didn’t compare to the dense non stop life of HK. Life was abundant here late into the nights, seeing even families with kids walking around in the crowds as the clocked ticked further on.

To be honest I still am not sure of how I feel about the place. I mean I love it here, the city, the people, but I feel like I still need time to truly appreciate it. It’s like watching a great movie or reading an amazing novel, sometimes it takes time to appreciate and understand the experience that you just went through. Sometimes you need to experience it a second time to really understand something more on a deeper level. That’s the way I feel about the trip right now, its been a lot, but not enough at the same time. I need time to sit and think on it, and I need to revisit Hong Kong again to really solidify my relationship with it.

 

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Hong Kong Week 1

The first few days of our stay in Hong Kong now blend together like a distant memory as the work involved in our program begins to take shape. It was a wild start to experiencing Hong Kong as I was overcoming jet lag, and toured the city with little regard to the time of day or even day of the week. When we finally started in the classroom and began interacting with our international peers, I adopted a whole new perspective on the city. The whirlwind tear through Hong Kong reminded me of trip I took with my dad when I was young, making sure to hit every local attraction in hopes to see it all, but as we settle into our schoolwork my time here feels less and less focused on being a tourist and instead focused on experiencing life in Hong Kong.

Tai Kok Tsui

Restaurant, Garage Facility, and Liquor Store, one next to the other in Tai Kok Tsui.

Each of the Oregon students were put into groups with the other HKU students and were required to visit a site, many of them in far reaches of the Hong Kong area. My site, Tai Kok Tsui, was very centrally located on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong, shrouded in urbanity and flourishing with historical significance. On the surface the steamy concrete landscape seemed void of natural life and relief from the heat, but as we worked our way through the site the space became clear to us. We wandered along the empty sidewalks quickly making our way towards the nearest shaded spot we could find in a small local park. It was there that we met an older woman who we spoke to briefly about what she was doing there. She explained to us that she didn’t have an A/C unit in her apartment, so every day she would come down to the park to get some air in the midday heat and meet with other friends of hers from the area. While our group and this elderly woman came from very different backgrounds and places, our purpose here was the same when thrown into the harsh urban landscape of Tai Kok Tsui. The dense buildings and lack of any real outdoor eating and resting places forced people to take use of the public space into their own hands, making use of sidewalks, storefront, parking spaces, and alley ways. The way the residents use their space, especially at night, is part of what gives the Tai Kok Tsui area the culture and flair of a organic local neighborhood which serves the purpose of providing for the people who live there.

Prostitution

All services being provided to the residents as signaled by the neon sign above the apartment door.

As a white foreigner, I didn’t feel in danger at any time or feel that I was truly unwanted by most of the locals, but I specifically felt that I wasn’t being catered to as a tourists unlike much of the rest of Hong Kong. The feeling was similar to when I was 14 traveling to New York City for the first time with my Dad and stepping off the subway into Flushing, Queens. It wasn’t Manhattan, it wasn’t Time Square, it was a neighborhood built for the people of the city. Restaurants were next to heavy industries, next to wedding shops that were connected to liquor stores. Everything that the locals of Tai Kok Tsui needed was in this district. These ideas for me at least, were channeled in the project that me and my group members created for first week’s assignment.

TKT Presentation

My group next to the final “scrapbook-esque” layout to assignment 1

Working with group members from a different cultural and lingual backgrounds was difficult at times, but rewarding as well. The hardest part for me was that I tend to speak my thoughts when I attempt to hash out an idea, however when english is not the primary language for the people who I’m speaking to, this audible thought process comes across more like rambling to them. Another english speaker might understand what I’m getting at, but my sentence structure alone may be enough to throw others off. I’ll probably end up explaining more about my group work in later blog posts, but it shouldn’t be understated how great it is to actually get the experience of improving my communication skills for people of varying degrees of english ability.

Andrew

HK S15 Week One

Group Presentation Board

Mei Foo Housing Complex

Mei Foo Housing Complex

 

Seemingly mere seconds, this past week, teeming with adventures in multiple domains, concluded with a peaceful hike up the hill overlooking the cityscape.

Throughout the week, twelve groups studied various sites through macro/micro scales in order to understand the “natural” and “synthetic” landscape.  My group studied the mass private housing complex in Mei Foo.  The dense structures, tight pedestrian and vehicular roads, and lack of greenery evoked a rather unpleasant initial impression towards the complex.  However, as we ventured onward, we began to uncover its brilliance.

The site, originally used as Exxon Mobil’s petroleum storage site, was chosen for the existing flat land.  Sudden flux in population growth demanded equally large accommodations; it is the largest mass housing project in Hong Kong, occasionally considered largest amongst the world.  Despite this focus on speed and size, Mei Foo complex was still considered grand at the time.  The complex provided multiple schools, health clinics, and market.  The lack of interior space, although typical in Hong Kong, is well compensated through the spacious terraces on the podium level.  We observed that this large open space, enclosed by the wall of buildings, acted as a backyard for the community.  People would go here to walk their dog, read a newspaper, bike around the boxed plants and fountains.  The elevated open space ensured safety for those gathered here, from the chaotic automobiles below.  However, this separation between the road and the community spaces has its disadvantages.  For example (and likely not a hypothetical one), suppose student sketching sections from the podium level finds himself fatigued and dehydrated, therefore, requiring a drink, that student must navigate towards the nearest stairwell, descend multiple floors, then look for the nearest 7- Eleven.  Yet, we discovered through our interviews, that this hardly affected the lives of locals and visitors.  Most of the residents expressed either indifferent or positive opinions towards Mei Foo and were rather content with spaces we found cramped or unsanitary.

On Saturday, we woke up early and boarded the Cotai Ferry over to Macau.  Despite encountering some conflicts with Macau customs, it did not hamper our excitement and eagerness to explore the city.  Firstly, we took a tour of Macau colonial houses, which were painted in bright teal and overlooked a beautiful expanse of marshland.  After eating a wonderful traditional Portuguese meal, we walked through busy streets, filled with combating aromas and voices.  Secondly, we took an adventurous (frightening) bus ride into the heart of the city; it was like stepping into another world.  A composed array of new, outlandish buildings along with culturally rich vernacular structures surrounded us.  While trying to reach the St. Peter’s Ruins, we were funneled through one narrow street completed filled with countless people, all shoving and pushing as we slowly inched towards our destination.  To further enhance this experience, Bella broke a coconut on the steps up to the facade ruins through repeatedly smashing it on the pavement.  Lastly, on top of fort/ history museum, we had a great view of the city.

Peak Galleria Lookout

Peak Galleria Lookout