The reason we selected the room up seven flights of stairs was the exclusive use of the roof terrace. Though ‘exclusive’ does not mean private; as you walk out you are faced with thousands of windows looking down on you from the forest of high rises dwarfing our position. It was still a relaxing spot and working here during an open air breakfast would ease me into a long day’s painting.
Apart from fully realising the height of the mid-level residential blocks that don’t really register on street level, from up here, it was possible to appreciate the native bird life. We saw many varieties, including free flying white parrots similar to ‘Pappa G’ (the white parrot in centre stage of Yuen Po Street Bird Garden) and the ever present big brown birds of prey soaring majestically above. I had already spotted these all over Kowloon and Victoria Harbour but this terrace proved a great viewing platform, sometimes seeing half a dozen at once, stacked on thermals, effortlessly rising on invisible spiralling tracks. They hang like military spy drones watching our every move. They are kites, having a 1.5 metre wingspan and they thrive in the city.
They navigate the gleaming tower blocks of the business district just as comfortably as they fly over lush forest and deep green valleys. These distant guardians of the city add to the unique otherworldly character of Hong Kong.
The soundtrack was not so relaxing, as piledriving foundations to the latest planned skyscraper made for an aggressive round-the-clock heartbeat to the city that echoed around the mid-level towers.
A book featuring this work can be purchased at our Picture Library