There was one last ferry route from North Point that I hadn’t yet taken and I had deliberately saved it for last. It went to Hung Hom, an area of Kowloon that I’d always thought was a bit bedraggled, but from there another ferry would take me back to Hong Kong Island. The ferry to Wanchai was a longer route than the Star Ferry but had much the same view of the skyline, with the same expansiveness of the other North Point seascapes. If I made a complete round trip, it could take hours perhaps and I couldn’t think of a better way to end the day.
The sky, water, and distant mountains had all taken on different shades of blue, from azure to cerulean to the pale and smoky navy of spectral shapes silhouetted against the horizon. When I stood on the open lower deck of each ferry, I was wrapped in a brilliant monochrome, broken only by buildings and the surprise of green hills that rose behind them. A sailboat with a black sail floated in front of me, followed rather improbably by one whose sail was pure white, and suddenly I realized the day I was living had become visual poetry.
Then the ferry pulled into Hung Hom, where I learned there was no other route. The ferry to Wanchai had been discontinued several years earlier.
Drowning my sorrows in a drink from Starbucks, I looked at where I had ended up. There was a luxurious hotel in a park-like setting that was edged by the waterfront walkway that every neighborhood seemed to provide, but this one was studded with signposts that said the Hung Hom Promenade would lead to the one that ended in the Star Ferry.
One reason I rarely went to this part of Kowloon was because it seemed so cut off from the rest of the world, broken and scarred by highways and railway lines. My walks there had never been ones I’d cared to repeat or expand upon, so this promenade was an unexpected present. It was a wide and almost empty path with an unfamiliar sense of space that gave me a fresh jolt of energy, until it came to an end.
A sign directed me toward a new walkway that curved up a tree-covered hill and I obediently followed. Suddenly I was above the harbor, with the entire Hong Kong skyline on my left and a thick screen of greenery on my right. Beyond that was the ugly elevated highway that Hung Hom had turned into an asset.
It ended in construction when the path descended into the harbor neighborhood of Tsim Sha Tsui and the Star Ferry. Even so, I was delighted by the unexpected beauty of a neighborhood that I had been quite certain had none and the promise of an expanded harbor walk to come. Kowloon was capitalizing on its gift of space, turning that portion of Hong Kong from a grim and dingy sprawl to a destination point that would match its more sophisticated neighbor across the harbor. Although many of the area’s changes made me queasy, this was one I looked forward to watching.