Happy Valley, Hong Kong


Walking to Happy Valley Hong Kong every morning was a magical time. It was several miles from Tai Tam to Happy Valley and the walk was more than a thrill. I very often would listen to my cd player while I walked and listen to my favorite Canto-Pop music. Canto-Pop sounded so romantic to me and seemed to fit perfectly with that chapter. It was all the sights and sounds that you entertained during the walk that made it so special. Once down the long winding hills you were greeted by the little oasis of a town. Happy Valley held a personality different from the rest of Hong Kong Island. I would visit the bakery and buy a delicious almond roll and then head over to the flower market. Behind all the main streets lie the marketplace. Smiling vendors sold vegetables, meat, fish and other goods. My favorite spot was the flower market. Fresh flowers were displayed from New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and many other exotic places. The flowers were truly amazing. I would buy individual flowers and gather them in a bunch and the flower lady would wrap them for me. Then I would go home full of inspiration and creative energy and display them in special Chinese vases to paint. I love New England, but I wish I could walk to Happy Valley just the same.

Every morning I would walk passed hundreds of morning glories that covered part of the mountain by Tai Tam Reservoir. Paddle boats were in the distance and the mountain road was so steep you had to be careful as you walked briskly down what I called "Killer Hill." There are many killer hills in Hong Kong. Just as I turned the corner I would walk passed the Cricket Club and watch all the British ladies in matching outfits playing tennis, then onto the view overlooking many buildings. Happy Valley was indeed one of the happiest little communities I knew. Not too many ex-pats would be there, just the locals and they were a delight. The racetrack is there also, and at night people flock to watch the horses. There is a wonderful tea house and so many shops that carry all kinds of wonderful things there. That is where I bought my schitzu Twinkles one Sunday morning.

When we had our first encounter with a Typhoon the supermarket had lines that led all the way out the door. I had gone in to buy a few things. I took one look at those lines and headed for the Taxi line. I got a taxi right away and said "Happy Valley", and he scooted me there so quickly. I got out of the taxi and was stuck at how calm all the locals were. A Typhoon watch number signifying quite a substantial storm was posted. Yet you would have never guessed that it was anything but a typical day in Happy Valley. I walked into the market bought my goods and paid for it without a line. By the time I got back to where we were living, I peeked into our market and the lines were getting worse. I was so grateful for learning about wonderful Happy Valley and what it meant to understand the local culture, instead of remaining only with the other ex-pats.

As I walked on Stubbs Road to get to the narrow steep hill that led to Happy Valley I would pass this scene every morning. One day I stood for several hours painting this postcard size watercolor. I love washlines, and from Stubbs Road you could see the tops of the buildings in the distance. Just beyond this building you could see the balcony of the Catholic Chinese School. Beautiful little girls all wearing white sailor dresses would be walking back and forth carrying numerous books in their backpacks. High above the school building a tall tower holding a large bell could be seen. I only wish I carried my camera back then. This watercolor is one of my favorite paintings, because it brings to life the sights, smells and lovely feeling that I had the entire time I lived in Hong Kong. My soul is painted with the Chinese influences, and my perspective has been altered to take what is simple and cherish it's beauty. The song playing is called "How could I stop thinking about you"...how could I stop thinking about lovely Hong Kong?
molly jean said...

Sounds lovely, Karen! I wish I had pictures or better pictures but memories are clearer when you go to the "trouble" of writing about it!

KarenHarveyCox said...

You are right Molly. I always think about that line from Peter Pan when he asked Wendy to sew his shadow back on...I think writing and journaling is like that, we seem to sew it somewhere for keeping. To recall lovel images whenever we want.

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