Kowloon

MTR: Inconvenience for Convenience

Whampoa Gardens will be opening a new MTR station as the final stop of the Kwun Tong line. Construction has been happening for the last three years, and is scheduled to finish by 2015, but may be delayed. Although Hung Hom is connected to the subway network by rail, it is not the most convenient station to get to: it is a full thirty-minute walk from Whampoa, and most people prefer to take the bus to the station or to their destination.

The subway construction has affected everyone in the Whampoa area. Shop owners have complained that business is hindered, and the air and noise pollution cannot be helped. They do, however, look forward to the completion of the station, because it could bring more potential customers. Though all types of land transportation are slowed down during construction, the opening of the new stop should free up the roads when it is completed.

The queue for the green minibus grows longer in the Whampoa Gardens Bus Terminus. Buses are the main source of transportation in Whampoa. This particular bus goes to the Hung Hom Train Station, which is thirty minutes away by foot.

The queue for the green minibus grows longer in the Whampoa Gardens Bus Terminus. Buses are the main source of transportation in Whampoa. This particular bus goes to the Hung Hom Train Station, which is thirty minutes away by foot.

An 8P double-decker bus arrives at the Whampoa Bus Terminus to pick up more passengers.

An 8P double-decker bus arrives at the Whampoa Bus Terminus to pick up more passengers.

A woman sits in her seat, waiting for the green minibus #2 to depart.

A woman sits in her seat, waiting for the green minibus #2 to depart.

Bus drivers have complained that congestion is making it difficult to stay on schedule.

Bus drivers have complained that congestion is making it difficult to stay on schedule.

A green minibus squeezes through Tak Ting Street, which has been narrowed by construction road blocks near the Whampoa Gardens bus terminus.

A green minibus squeezes through Tak Ting Street, which has been narrowed by construction road blocks near the Whampoa Gardens bus terminus.

MTR construction runs along the roads, and every time the construction area changes, new road lines and markings must be repainted.

MTR construction runs along the roads, and every time the construction area changes, new road lines and markings must be repainted.

Roads are rearranged with large plastic road blockers to keep pedestrians safe from construction areas.

Roads are rearranged with large plastic road blockers to keep pedestrians safe from construction areas.

Equipment of every size and shape are left on the construction sites, which often makes seeing shop fronts more difficult.

Equipment of every size and shape are left on the construction sites, which often makes seeing shop fronts more difficult.

Construction workers walk past the shops blocked by high plastic walls. Mrs Yeung, owner of Sing Song Piano Co., Ltd., says that her pianos are dusty and business has gone down due to the construction right in front of her shop.

Construction workers walk past the shops blocked by high plastic walls. Mrs Yeung, owner of Sing Song Piano Co., Ltd., says that her pianos are dusty and business has gone down due to the construction right in front of her shop.

Whampoa Pharmacy continues to do business while the construction fences block the road in front of the shop. Business has suffered from pedestrian crossway diversion and lack of visibility.

Whampoa Pharmacy continues to do business while the construction fences block the road in front of the shop. Business has suffered from pedestrian crossway diversion and lack of visibility.

Traffic is backed up far down the block on Hung Hom Road. Traffic flow in the already busy Whampoa area has become more congested since the construction began.

Traffic is backed up far down the block on Hung Hom Road. Traffic flow in the already busy Whampoa area has become more congested since the construction began.

The intersection leading into Whampoa Gardens is always busy, as Whampoa Gardens is a major stop for many buses.

The intersection leading into Whampoa Gardens is always busy, as Whampoa Gardens is a major stop for many buses.

Even at night, the intersection of Hung Hom Road and Tak On Street is bustling with pedestrians.

Even at night, the intersection of Hung Hom Road and Tak On Street is bustling with pedestrians.

A crossing guard directs pedestrians across the large, busy intersection at Hung Hom Road and Tak On Street. The traffic lights change depending on where the road blocks are placed.

A crossing guard directs pedestrians across the large, busy intersection at Hung Hom Road and Tak On Street. The traffic lights change depending on where the road blocks are placed.

A construction worker signals a large truck to back up on Hung Hom Road.

A construction worker signals a large truck to back up on Hung Hom Road.

Construction workers watch as a machine is driven down a road in Whampoa Gardens.

Construction workers watch as a machine is driven down a road in Whampoa Gardens.

A construction worker exits the site on Tak On and Man Tai Streets for his break.

A construction worker exits the site on Tak On and Man Tai Streets for his break.

A lot of pedestrian and vehicle space on the road has been blocked off by construction. The road blocks have created more hazards for driving due to reduced visibility, but have protected pedestrians with clear, tangible barriers.

A lot of pedestrian and vehicle space on the road has been blocked off by construction. The road blocks have created more hazards for driving due to reduced visibility, but have protected pedestrians with clear, tangible barriers.

A passenger alights from the 6 green minibus, which stops in the middle of the road due to construction blockage ahead.

A passenger alights from the 6 green minibus, which stops in the middle of the road due to construction blockage ahead.

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Angelini: Guest Chef Mascia visits Shangri-La Kowloon

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Two-Michelin-starred chef Massamiliano Mascia made a guest appearance at Shangri-La Kowloon’s Italian restaurant, Angelini, for a short three days, March 9th to 11th. Known for his preference of simple ingredients to create complex flavours, Chef Mascia made his Hong Kong debut an impressive one. (The review’s a bit long; here’s a quick summary of the meal.)

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T’ang Court: Two Michelin Stars of Disappointment

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On Sunday, November 23rd, I had a reservation at T’ang Court, an award-winning restaurant in the famous Langham Hotel of Tsim Sha Tsui. Such a distinguished reputation creates an expectation of quality, so I walked in with pretty high hopes. (If you don’t want to read the whole review, here’s a quick rundown.)

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The Bag

She sprinted.

A bus paused twenty meters ahead, at the little metal awning marked “12A, ” and spit out a pair of silhouettes.

She extended her left arm at the double-decker, hoping that the driver would notice and wait. Dashing as quickly as her short legs would carry her, a weight suddenly released from her shoulder. A red metal canteen spilled out of her black cloth bag and onto the street, barely a foot from the headlight. Her school papers slid out, scattering onto the brick sidewalk.

She panicked.

Grasping at her papers, she silently cursed the bag. A wave of embarrassment flushed her cheeks as she attempted to grab all her things at once. Her right hand reached for the scattered pages as her left hugged what little she recovered to her chest.

A hand appeared, scattered papers gathered in its hand. She looked up, and a warm face greeted her with his kind eyes. Humbled by his kindness, the young woman brushed her hair out of her face and thanked the man profusely, then shuffled her way into the bus.

Apologising and thanking the bus driver, her hand grabbed her wallet from the front pocket of her loose grey trousers. The toot of the card-reader confirmed her bus payment, and she stuffed her wallet back into her pocket, ready to find a seat. The driver asked her if she had picked everything up, so she peered out the door and into the dark night.

“Yes, I should have everything.”

She exhaled.

Climbing up the stairs, with arms full, she plopped down on a pair of empty seats in the front. The bag was useless now; both straps ripped from the seams. She moped as she reorganised her papers; this bag lasted through no more than eleven months of medium use.

Still, her heart was warmed. The driver had waited for her, and even made sure she was alright. He was a rare breed.

She settled into the seat and closed her eyes. Soon, she’d be home.