33 tai tam road

A few months ago, a friend and I rode the #6 bus to Stanley, then took a taxi to the apartment where we both lived as children. We lived in Block H: he was on the 42nd floor, I was on the 23rd.

There are things that I have always remembered.

Gray tiles.

Curved walkway.

The letters G & H.

Of course, the mountains.

I remember the long, narrow staircase at the farthest edge, immediately beyond which were the hills, sleepy and quiet. How everything on Podium 2 felt like a secret wilderness, a place for hiding, full of high walls and unexplored corners. 

A lot of Hong Kong feels this way to me, perhaps because its architecture–schools, parks, neighborhoods–so often is built on multiple levels, necessitating a haphazard interconnectedness of myriad staircases, ledges, alleys, pathways. And then, especially on the south side of the island: the feeling of the mountains coming up around it all, like a giant green cocoon or a nest of some sort.

Its a feeling I can’t ever quite articulate and has so much to do with childhood, and loneliness, and the sunlight coming in through our flowery yellow curtains, and the hollow of space beneath our apartment staircase, next to the slippers and shoes.

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