When I was young, I lived in Sha Tin and my uncle lived in Hong Kong Island. My uncle had a full time job, but he sometimes worked part-time on the weekend nights and my aunt was a night-shift convenience store assistant. Whenever they had to work at night, they called my mum and asked me to babysit their two young boys. While I was a primary student, my cousins were in kindergarten and junior primary level respectively. Since the subway route was too complicated to travel alone, I normally took the bus route No.85A from Sha Tin to Kowloon City. It drove through Junction Road, Nga Tsin Wai Road and Mok Cheong Street before reaching the final stop – Kowloon City Pier, from which I took the North Point-bound ferry to meet my uncle. On the next day, he would send me back to North Point Pier and I headed home taking the same route in the opposite direction.
Back in those days when in-car air conditioning was yet available, bus ride could be a misery, especially in summer and winter. It was freezingly cold when the strong north wind leaked through the seam of the closed windows. By comparison, I enjoyed the ferry moment very much. I loved standing at the deck overlooking Victoria Harbour no matter the weather. When dusk fell, the glittering sea surface was breathtakingly beautiful.
My visit to Kowloon City paused after the cousins became secondary students and they no longer needed my babysitting.
I re-visited Kowloon City when I was in university. On Friday after school, I often went to Kowloon City from campus on foot, checking out the exquisite letter writing paper in Kowloon City Plaza. I still cannot remember exactly the name of the street, whether it is Lion Rock Road or Rock Lion Road, which I walked on my way home. I moved out from Sha Tin after graduation and did not visit Kowloon City for a good while.
Later I became a teacher and re-visited Kowloon City as an assistant in a history class field trip to the walled city with my colleague. After the tour, I indulged in my personal memories while wandering around. Again, my visit to Kowloon City came to a long pause ever since.
Thanks to the workshops of the walking trail project, I had the reason to come back. To explore To Kwa Wan where I rarely visited in the past, I arrived several hours to stroll around before the workshop began. I deliberately walked to Hung Hom and San Po Kong to discover different sides of Hong Kong. Not until recent days did I realise To Kwa Wan, Kowloon City and Hung Hom are close in distance!
Change is the only constant in life. We better grab every opportunity to visit Kowloon City before the old neighbourhood vanishes.