Parks in Hong Kong are quite different to British parks in many ways. First of all, there’s very little in the way of grass here. Whereas British parks tend to be wide expanses of grass with some plants and trees and other things dotted here and there, the parks here are much more landscaped and ornamental, with flower beds and benches everywhere.
But one main difference that has struck me is that they are so well used. I suppose this is partly because of the number of people in such a small area, but I think it’s also down to the culture. People utilise the parks well; old people socialise, people exercise, play with children or just sit and watch the world go by. The following photos are from a park very near me. I hope they illustrate my point!
This park (like most parks) is beautifully landscaped with pagodas and waterfalls, and is kept immaculately clean.
There’s a large pond where terrapins and fish can warm themselves in the sun (can you see the terrapins on the rocks?)
There’s a well-equipped playground with swings and climbing frames and other equipment.
There are lots of pieces of equipment dotted around the park for the elderly to use to stay fit and healthy – and they’re well used! More often than not when I walk past a piece of equipment there will be someone on it. In the UK, something like that would never get used, but I feel like lots of the older generation here are very serious about looking after themselves. It may be part of the reason why Hong Kongers have such a good life expectancy.
In the early to mid-mornings there are often several groups of (mainly) middle aged ladies practising dances. One morning I was walking around the park and counted 9 separate groups – and the park isn’t that big! (Yet another sight you would never see in the UK)
First thing in the morning there are also usually groups of people practising tai chi, sometimes with fans or swords. I’ve not managed to get a photo yet but I’ll keep trying, it’s quite a sight!
Other forms of exercise are common too. There’s a jogging route around the edge of the park and there are usually a few people taking advantage of that, some with more effort than others! There are often people doing strange stretches and clapping their hands or hitting other parts of themselves (which I think is to boost circulation). Some people even run backwards! I feel like the locals have no inhibitions when it comes to exercise – anything goes!
I’ve seen a man practising his Chinese calligraphy with a sponge on a stick dipped in water. That’s quite a fascinating sight, and something that you wouldn’t see outside of China (or east Asia at least).
I’m very lucky to have such a lovely park close by, it really is a nice place to spend some time!
Thanks for reading!