Today was a free day to with as we wish and I can tell you that I got as much as possible out of today. Eight of us were on the Metro shortly after 9 this morning on our way to the Sham Shui Po area in Kowloon. We were off to track down the small monument that marks the spot of the Sham Shui Po Barracks and POW Camp where our Fathers, Brothers, and Grandfathers spend time before and after the 1941 Battle of Hong Kong.
This gave us an opportunity to experience rush hour on the very crowded MTR heading into Central Hong Kong.
Leaving Central Hong Kong was much quieter. The picture below should give you a sense of the size of these trains. I believe this particular picture was taken somewhere around 1/3 of the way from one end of the train. We estimated that each car was about 80 feet long and there were at least 8 of them coupled together making for a train that was close to 700 feet long, but it may have been even longer. I guess it's got to be big because according to the MTR Train Service web site, they move over 2.4 million people every weekday.
The electronic route maps in each car, like almost every sign in Hong Kong, is in both Chinese and English and it lights up to indicate the track you are on, the direction of travel, and the current and next stops, making it very easy to find your stop.
We didn't know exactly where the monument was, so we got off at Sham Shui Po station and went on foot from there.
The first place we searched was Maple Street Playground, because we heard the plaques were between two maple trees. Walking through Kowloon we got to see a few busy streets.
We also walked through an area many city blocks in size full of textile shops one after the other.
Our first stop, the Maple Street Playground.
We didn't find the plaques here, but Anne (the one with the purple sweater) got a tip from a police officer. He didn't know where the plaques were but he gave her the phone number of someone at the tourism center who may know.
We decided to try our second second stop, Camp Street, before making the call to the tourism center. That was in the opposite direction from Sham Shui Po station, so we back tracked through the textile area. Along the way we saw many interesting site like this guy unloading some bails of fabric for the shops.
Our maps of this area of Kowloon weren't that great and we over shot our second stop, Camp Street, and found these interesting old factories. They were all numbered 2, 3, 4, and 5 and it appears they are all slated for demolition. Number 1 was already gone and something else was already being built in its place. Number 3 and 4 looked like there were in the process of being taken apart.
As you can see in the above picture, we passed right by a pay phone, so Anne decided to try that number she got back at the Maple Street Playground. It turned out to be well worth the effort because the person at the tourism center was very helpful and provided the directions we needed. The spot we were looking for was only a few blocks away to the south of us. We likely would have found it on our own eventually because we did plan to head to the park in question, but the street we had considered taking just north of us to get back towards Camp Street didn't look that inviting so its good we changed directions.
The small monument that marks the Sham Shui Po Barracks and POW Camp is in Sham Shui Po Park.
The plaques are located in the north west corner of the park as shown on the map below. The entrance to the park highlighted below is along Lai Chi Kok Road.
Here are the two plaques that mark the Sham Shui Po Barracks and POW Camp.
And here's the search party (from left to right): Yours truly, Justin Mondor, Bernard LeBlanc, Anne Trick, Jim Trick, Ann Allison, Ken Skelton, and Muriel McDavid.
An innocent child in the park. What a contrast to what happened here 61 to 64 years ago. I wonder if this child will learn the history of this park some day?
A souvenir I brought home from the park, a leaf from one of the maple trees next to the plaques.
This is the closest MTR station to the park, Chueng Sha Wan Station.
This is the closest MTR station exit to the park, Chueng Sha Wan Station exit A1.
Here's how you get from Chueng Sha Wan Station exit A1 to the plaques in the park.
After we found the plaques it was time for a beer, so we headed off to the Peninsula Hotel.