Tai Po is considered by the standards of Hong Kong to be kind of rural. In a way it is: there is a lot of green space and long hillwalking trails nearby; there is this beautiful river along which it is possible to walk without the jittery movements one must make in order to move along the crowded city streets of Kowloon. My gran lives in a small village five minutes' walk from where this photograph was taken; a village of three story buildings with doors open, people's houses and lives almost as much outdoors as indoors. Five minutes' walk in the other direction is a huge mega mall containing almost any high-street name I can think of among a cluster of multi-story high rises. There is something for everyone, and I love this fact.
Tai Po is, in this respect, a microcosm of Hong Kong as a whole: a small, dense area of skyscrapers and megamalls, luxury brands and fancy restaurants, roadside stalls and ancient temples, all encircled by hills, mountains, beaches, water and quaint villages: something for everyone, as I have described Hong Kong in this set of images: "In Hong Kong, one can swim in the sea without another human being in sight and, an hour later, swim in the crowds, among the sounds, sights and smells of some of the planet's most densely populated streets. One can stand atop a mountain and look over the the hills and water and, in the same afternoon, atop one of the world's tallest buildings. For lunch, one can have pig ears and chicken feet, and cross the street to have a McFlurry for desert."
Tai Po is a wonderful place - home to my gran and my earliest memories of Hong Kong - and if I ever live in HK I imagine I will live here, even if I could afford to live more centrally.
Hong Kong, 2012.