Cheryl Marie Cordeiro at Avenue of Stars, Victoria Harbour, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

Along Victoria Harbour, Tsim Sha Tsui’s Avenue of Stars (Chinese: 星光大道).
Photo © Cheryl Marie Cordeiro-Nilsson for CMC 2010

As you walk around Hong Kong, you realize that there are those who visit and who even do business in the country, but who never get involved, like a bystander that avoids the puddles when it rains, and then there are those who are living the very heartbeat of Hong Kong because they must.

Hong Kong Museum of Art, Tsim Sha Tsui, Victoria Harbour.

Hong Kong Museum of Art, flanks one end of Avenue of Stars along Victoria Harbour, Tsim Sha Tsui, providing visitors a perfect starting point for walking down the waterfront.

These two sides of the same coin is most poignantly illustrated at Tsim Sha Tsui, along Victoria Harbour that shows the two facets of Hong Kong still meeting in this day and age, one of old China and one of what is modern China demonstrated literally by two vessels of different times passing each other. It is at this waterfront that western savvy gathering in The Peninsula, Intercontinental and Shangri-La meet eastern traditional that is just a stone’s throw from the harbour, down from Nathan Road at Mong Kok’s street stalls and wet markets.

Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong at Victoria Harbour.

Jackie Chan and Jet Li, Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui, Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong.

Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong at Victoria Harbour. Of course modelled on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s here that one observes the import of western concepts and culture, yet you can’t help but wonder if a sidewalk full of people’s names and hand imprints where others can casually tramp on really fits with the Asian culture, where one would consider it taboo to have their names stepped upon?

But it isn’t just an east meets west factor that fascinates with Hong Kong but the mixture of glamour and real life that captured my attention. A bronze sculpture of Bruce Lee, the Avenue of Stars in contrast to the old lady bent over in her daily work of gathering cardboard boxes for sale in the heart of Kowloon. And nobody gives her a second glance. Life goes too fast for second glances in Hong Kong, and to each their own. The juxtaposition of realities in itself lends an air of the surreal, you’re there but you’re not really there, and you cannot mentally capture or absorb quickly enough the happenings around you.

Victoria Harbour, old and new China on the waters, Hong Kong.

Victoria Harbour, in the evening light and rain, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, where old and new China meets.

In fact, Mong Kok (which appropriately means ‘busy corner’ in Cantonese) is one of Hong Kong’s busiest areas, a perfect place for you to visit and feel the vibrant pulse of Hong Kong, if only for a few days.

Of course, if you’re living it, then there’s nothing romantic or surreal about Hong Kong but everyday affairs that turnaround quick, are efficient and put that rice bowl on the table for you – very Chinese, very nondescript. And for a little escape, a surfacing of sorts, Avenue of Stars along Victoria Harbour front gives the perfect location to breathe.

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