Thursday, 9 June 2011

Temple Street

Long-time readers of this blog may recall a post about street chess at Gariahat. Now the median strip of a busy thoroughfare may be an interesting place to play chess, even a very good place, but according to Time magazine, it is not the best place. For that, you must go to Temple Street, Hong Kong.

The author of the piece did a singularly good job of conjuring up the sleaziness and disrepute of Temple Street:

Toward dusk, stall holders lay out their counterfeit wares, fortune-tellers set up their tables, and—in the square outside the street's eponymous temple—the xiangqi players unfold their boards and take on all comers.

Who could fail to be moved by that? So, when I visited Hong Kong nearly seven years after reading the piece, Temple Street was high on my list of places to see.

And it was a fascinating place indeed. The Time correspondent did not exaggerate the allure of Temple Street (OK maybe just a bit, but a little exoticism never did any harm). It is the kind of place that makes you cast sharp backward glances and check that your wallet is still there.

But I will say one thing about the honest merchants of Temple Street: whatever minor shortcomings they may have in other respects, no one can accuse them of beating around the bush.


Anasua said...

i thought i wouldnt comment but your post compels me to. firstly one new word was added to my vocabulary: xiangqi. But even after thorough googling i could not trace the source of this piece. was that written by you? :O It was nice :)

Okay, and the other thing is, this hongkong-bangkok trip of yours has transformed this apparently 'puerile' blog into an adult one. Good for you, and hopefully for the readers as well. :)

Anasua said...

ok, i got it. i thought it would be written in the format of a poem.

Priyanka said...

Hahaha, agree with Ana. All you need to do now is get to Soy Cowboy and do the white-goggled man in your photo proud.

Sroyon said...

Priyanka, that's a different Anasua, not Ana. :)

Priyanka said...

Curiouser and curiouser. Is she a virtual doppelganger Ana created to convince us she's still living in the normal world as a normal human? Speculations. Sigh.

Shrabasti Banerjee said...

I like the lopsided man :P

Sroyon said...

@Shrabasti: I like him too! That man belongs in a movie. Possibly a bit part in a Bond film.