New Home, New Roof

Last October I moved to a new apartment — and with a new apartment comes to a new roof to explore. Unfortunately, my new building’s rooftop is far from spacious, with just two narrow platforms accessible through the fire stairs. Ladders lead up to two higher platforms, one atop the elevator shaft and another on top of what I assume is the water tank. The only things up there are satellite dishes, antennae and mobile phone receptors, which makes for a kind of depressing space. There isn’t even room to dry laundry.

There are, however, some pretty good views. To the east, there’s Langham Place and the highrise jungle of central Mongkok. To the east, there’s a view down Argyle Street towards Ma On Shan, one of Hong Kong’s tallest peaks, and to the west, a view over the Diocesan Boys’ School towards Kowloon Tong and the Lion Rock.

DBS occupies a leafy hilltop campus that is mostly invisible from the streets below. From above, though, you can see kids running through corridors (which, in Hong Kong, are usually outside, wrapped around the exterior of school buildings) and playing sports in the ample track field that is off-limits to the public. I frequently hear teachers yelling at the students through loudspeakers during outdoor assemblies. (“Boys, be quiet. Quiet! We won’t start until you’re quiet. I said quiet!”). There’s often special events on Sunday. Once I heard choral music drifting up from the school; another weekend, I heard what sounded like a lively drum circle. It was amusing to think of a bunch of prep school boys and their parents dancing around as if they were at the tam-tams in Montreal.

Some of the other rooftops in the area are much more functional than mine. The older buildings next door have large, open roofs that are used to dry laundry. Across the street is a building with three rooftop terraces, each with a different kind of flooring, all of them empty. Empty, that is, except for a toilet that sits in the corner of the roof.

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Wednesday February 24 2010at 05:02 am , filed under Asia Pacific and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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