At the moment I’m living in the neighborhood Prince Edward, a neighborhood at the north side of Kowloon. It is at the far north of what I perceive of as the “urban” part of Hong Kong. Last year, I lived in Sheung Wan, on the west side of Hong Kong Island, right in the heart of the most busy part.
Yesterday, I met a good friend of mine for a great dim sum lunch in the Central district on Hong Kong Island. After lunch, we stepped outside – right onto the extremely busy Queen’s Road Central – extra busy because of the time we stepped outside (it was during lunch time). My friend asked me where I live now, and I answered
“I live in Prince Edward now. I really like it there. It’s so much more quiet than here on Hong Kong Island”.
My friend’s reaction was: “Really?!” She looked at me puzzled.
I realized that “busy-ness” and “quietness” are in the eye’s of the beholder. While I find Central Hong Kong busy and chaotic (too much traffic of cars, buses and trams, and too many people on sidewalks that are too small and overcrowded), my friend finds it structured and thus quiet. When thinking of Prince Edward, she sighed, probably because of what she perceives as the chaos of the neighborhood – a chaos that consists of the exact same things I love about the neighborhood, since they give it (in my point of view) a “local” feel. It are the many (wet) markets, the small Chinese cheap restaurants, the people walking on the streets, and the relatively low buildings which overall aren’t more than (“only”) 15 stories high.
I love living in Prince Edward, because it is so very different than where I lived last year. I’m not the only one who realizes the differences between the far north of Kowloon and the west of Hong Kong Island; my friend also acknowledges these. However, for her the differences make her want to live in Central Hong Kong, in Soho, along the longest escalator in the world, whereas for me, for now, Prince Edward is a great place to live.