Hong Kong Rooftops: Peng Chau

Here on Peng Chau, thirty-five minutes by ferry from Central, the city is but a distant memory, a row of skyscrapers on the horizon. I make my way through sleepy streets to the tallest building on the island, a seven-storey apartment block. It has no guards and no doors to prevent entry to its upper floors. I walk up past the sounds of children playing and dinners being cooked behind closed doors.

When I emerge onto the roof, stepping out into brilliant sunshine, I’m greeted by a sweeping view of the entire island. Village houses sweep up the surrounding hills like waves on a beach. I can see the ferry pier where I arrived, the French café near the main square, the beach lined by wooden fishing boats.

Most people on Peng Chau seem to have made good use of their village-house rooftops, covering them with awnings and stocking them with tables, chairs and laundry. This roof, overlooking all the others, seems more unsure of itself. Its railings are festooned with rusting television antennae. Beyond a few potted plants, its ruddy tiled floor remains open.

As the sun dipped lower in the sky, an old man emerged from below and beings jogging laps on the roof. He ran methodically, eyes fixed at some point in the horizon, acknowledging my presence with a barely perceptible nod. I left him to catch the next ferry. I could still see him from the street as I looked back on my way to leaving Peng Chau.

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Wednesday May 12 2010at 11:05 pm , filed under Asia Pacific and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Response to “Hong Kong Rooftops: Peng Chau”

  • C. Szabla says:

    This is one rooftop that looks familiar!

    I like this series. It strikes me that Hong Kong can’t be properly explored on the ground alone; its vertical dimension (even on Peng Chau) adds too much perspective and texture to be ignored.