What I’ve Learned From Visiting Yick Cheong Building in Hongkong
Maybe it’s not a proper adventure, but if we are talking about deep feelings, my second time visiting Hong Kong was definitely the one.
I’ve being living in Shanghai for more than a year now, working as a Head Chef de Cuisine, so I’m pretty used to big Asian cities… but HongKong has something different, and in particular, I would like to share my experience at the Yick Cheong Building.
You need to know that the Yick Cheong Building is one of the most famous spots in the world for photographers. This building is, first of all an apartment complex, with lots of people living in it, like a lot! And for this reason, the locals sometimes close the entrance gate to avoid hundreds of tourists flocking-in to take a photo.
However, when I got there, the weather was not exactly the best, hence, there were no tourists, but despite this, the entrance was closed. Quite unfortunate as it could be, cause I needed to leave Hongkong the next day as well, so I just told myself to return next time on another trip.
I’ve visited HongKong several times since then and on my second trip, I took the opportunity to head to the Yick Cheong Building again. It was close when I arrived but I found a way in, and sneaked to the courtyard, Italian Style! haha I will always remember that moment for life.
Inside, I was alone and the atmosphere was moody. The silence, interrupted by just the sound of some people cooking food or some children running around. It was cloudy, with only a weak ray of light hitting the façade, adding more drama to the atmosphere.
A place that is normally bombarded by loud tourists and photographers, but was so quiet during that time. Then I realized that I’ve been staring at the building for quite some time that I couldn’t tell how long I’ve been there already. And there it came the perfect moment for me to take the photo I have been dreaming to take.
Timer was set, remote control from the phone was activated, and camera position has also been set!
I took a photo, but I can’t seem to remember if I have heard any “click”, as my eyes were lost again staring at the wonderful but contradicting piece of architecture.
Lost in thought, trying to think about the fact that Gucci has one of its stores just several meters away from the Yick Cheong Building… and that bus advertisement I’ve seen just a few minutes earlier on my way to Yick Cheong, with the ad of Cartier on it… and then this… people living in apartments as large as their mattress… often with no walls, just some cage-like barricades, and people eating on the corridor because they have no space inside their own home. . . It was just quite overwhelming.
Then a shout from somewhere broke the silence, and there I saw one of the security guards signaling that I wasn’t allowed to be there, so I left. Well, at least this time, I was able to achieve my purpose before being told to leave.
Traveling is not just for fun. Traveling changes you, gives you opportunities to think a lot about what you have and how lucky you are, even if some days you don’t even realize it because you take everything for guaranteed.
Traveling leads us to places which often leave a huge impact in our lives. From my experience, traveling has brought me to Yick Cheong and it has strongly changed my view towards life. It is true, few minutes of observing something significant can really change our perspective towards all aspects of life, that’s what happened to me on that day.
Marco Erba is an Italian chef de cuisine, a traveler and a videography & photography enthusiast currently based in Shanghai. On his spare time, he likes to edit photos and videos which he took from his previous trip. He also travels a lot across Asia and often wanders around unfamiliar places in search for great photo locations.
Camera body: Sony Alpha 7iii
CAMERA LENSES: Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 AND Zeiss 55mm f/1.8
DRONE: DJI Mavic Air
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