Saturday, 31 January 2015

Old Wan Chai Post Office and The Blue House

Wan Chai, with her literal meaning "tiny bay", has an interesting heritage. It is home to many fine historic buildings from different periods.

One of my favourite routes when visiting Wan Chai on a weekend afternoon is Exiting from Exit A3 that leads me to Johnston Road. I then turn right and walk past the Southern Playground until I am in front of The Pawn. 

I cross the street past the noisy Bird Shop until I reach the Queen's Road and see the Hung Shing Temple. I turn left and walk past the old Wan Chai Post Office, Sicis Showroom at Queens' Cube and then towards the Stone Nullah Road to see the Blue House.

First Stop at The Pawn - the name of the bar and restaurant  in the pre-war Chinese tenement offers a clue to the type of business that was previously run there.
Second Stop - Hung Shing Temple
Third Stop - Old Wan Chai Post Office

Fourth Stop : The Blue House is a four-storey Lingnan-style house built in the 1920s with has a mixture of Chinese and Western Architectural features.
It is, by no means, special from a traditional point of view. The building itself is neither glamorous nor grand. Instead, its value lies in its relative rarity. Building of similar designs have been demolished, and for this reason the Blue House remains one of the very few of its kind.

The 80 plus year old house is an example of the historic “shophouse” archetype that more or less is disappearing in Hong Kong island.

You’d think the most obvious reason the Blue House is unique is its eye-popping color. But its bright facade is an accident; the blue finish was added relatively recently. 
If you look closely, one part of the building retains the original gray walls. Here’s the story: In the 1990s, when the government carried out maintenance, officials used vivid blue paint left over from some Water Supplies Department work to repaint the exterior. However, one section of the Blue House was still under private ownership, and so that wall wasn’t painted. 

The Blue House with its Tong Lau balcony type.

Nowadays most people think that the color adds liveliness to the neighborhood—but at the time kaifongs actually were against the idea because the color reminded them of funerals and had an unlucky association.

Chinese Masks on display. This is inside the Wan Chai Livelihood Museum, where visitors can visit the Blue House’s typical living quarters.
I met my daughter later to go shopping for shoes. We head to Palladium Shop at Hennessy Road where they were having a big sale for old stocks.
We passed by the Wan Chai Market on the way to the Palladium Shop. Colourful Chinese Silk Dresses on display.

On our way home - the Wan Chai MTR Station.
My daughter wearing the shoes that was on sale at Palladium. It is made of dark blue distressed leather with pink edging.
"Let my soul smile through my heart; and my heart smile through my eyes; that I may scatter rich smiles in sad hearts..."
The walk route that I took in Wan Chai starting from Exit A3 Wan Chair MTR and ending at Cinta J Restaurant for a quick dinner.

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