Page:Twentieth Century Impressions of Hongkong, Shanghai, and other Treaty Ports of China.djvu/692

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

684 TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS OF HONGKONG, SHANGHAI, ETC.

who also make all arrangements to have passengers met on arrival at Canton, and conducted round the city by a reliable guide.

Chief among the objects of interest in Canton are : — The Temple of the Five Hundred Genii, the flowery Pagoda, the five-storey Pagoda, the Temple of Confucius, the Water Clock, and the various local industries. There is only one hotel at Canton, the Victoria, situated on Shameen, the foreign settlement. In making purchases, visitors are recommended, when striking a bargain, to see that they obtain the current premium on their Hongkong notes. This varies from 8 to 10 per cent., the price being quoted in Chinese dollars. If purchases of any magnitude are made, the merchants will usually pack and forward the goods to Hongkong without any extra charge.

Visitors who have the time should combine with the Canton trip a run up the West River. This is an ideal excursion for the amateur photographer, and can best be made by taking direct steamer from Hongkong to Wuchow, returning as far as Samshui, and proceeding thence by train to Canton, where the British steamer to Hongkong can be joined. The round trip occupies about six days, and the fare is $36. The railway journey (about two hours) will give travellers an excellent idea of Chinese village life.

The scenery on the West River is magnificent. A succession of gorges, high mountain ranges rising directly from the water's edge, and fertile valleys is passed; monasteries, pagodas and temples being visible here and there picturesquely situated in almost inaccessible positions. Near Samshui is situated the third largest Buddhist monastery in China, and it is well worth a visit. Built about 400 feet up the side of a cliff, it is approached by means of steps cut into the rock, and, with beautiful waterfalls in the background, presents one of the most interesting pictures on the river. The water from these falls is supposed to possess many virtues, and is shipped by the monks in jars to all parts of China.

Wuchow is a city of considerable antiquity, and, if time permits, visitors can profitably spend one or two days in exploring the neighbourhood. The town is typically Chinese, without any of the innovations which have been introduced into Canton. There is no hotel in Wuchow, and visitors will, of course, remain on the boat.

The West River excursion can also be made as a side trip from Canton, the fare being $25 and the time occupied about five days.

A railway is now in course of construction between Kowloon and Canton, and another between Canton and Hankow, which, when completed, will link Kowloon with the Trans-Siberian Railway, thus forming direct rail communication between Hongkong and the principal cities of Europe.

Between Hongkong and Macao two steamers run daily in both directions, the distance being only about 40 miles. Macao is known as the "Gem of the Orient," and is especially interesting from the fact of its having been the pioneer European settlement in the Far East. It was founded early in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese. The principal places of interest to be visited at Macao are the Camoen's Gardens and Grotto, the Facade of San Paolo, the Public Gardens, the Fantan Gambling Saloons, and the various local industries. There are two good hotels, the Macao and the Boa Vista.

Travellers desirous of visiting Manila can make the round trip from Hongkong in about a week. Local steamers leave Hongkong and Manila every Tuesday. Friday, and Saturday, in addition to which there are four companies running to Australia which usually make Manila a port of call.

KOWLOON HOTEL.

The Praya East Hotel was purchased in 1906 by Mr. O. E. Owen. He had had considerable experience in the management of such establishments in different parts of the world, and so large and remunerative a business was done that in two months he had fully paid for the property. In the following year he took the Kowloon Hotel upon a six years' lease, and here again his speculation has proved successful. It is practically the only first-class hotel of its kind in Kowloon, and is situated in the midst of well-kept grounds and gardens. There are a number of excellent bedrooms commanding fine views of the harbour, and the premises throughout are prettily fur- nished and lighted with electricity. The MR. O. E. OWEN. hotel is within easy access of the regular ferry service from the Kowloon wharves to Hongkong. P'ew men have had a more varied career than Mr. Owen. He started life with very fair prospects, but was destined to meet with many dil'iiculties. Thanks to his perseverance and business ability, how- ever, these have been successfully encountered. A son of Mr. Elias Owen, a merchant who has now retired and is living at Julfa, Persia, he was born on January 15, 1881, at Julfa, and was educated at the Church Missionary Society's mission school there. He joined the Church Missionary Society's dispensary and hospital and, at the end of three years, proceeded to the Medical College at Calcutta. Financial difficulties, however, prevented him from completing his studies, and, after being for a short period in Dr. Handy's dispensary at Singapore, he accepted a position as assistant at Raffles' Hotel. The climate of the Straits Settlements, however, did not agree with him, and he migrated to Hong- kong, arriving in the Colony with only five dollars in his pocket. For a long while misfortune seemed to dog his footsteps, and several hotels in which he secured positions failed on account of the slackness of trade, In spite of these disappointments, however, he managed to save a little money and, when the opportunity came, he invested it skilfully, with the result that his future is assured. li SHANGHAI. It is frequently alleged that there is nothing to see in Shanj;hai, but, although the Settle- ment cannot boast of much in the way of natural beauty, acquaintance may be m<ide within its boundaries of all the interesting pliases of Chinese life — temples, cemeteries, native theatres, shops, and industries. On landing in the foreign settlement the visitor cannot fail to be impressed by the many evidences of prosperity that are afforded by the imposing buildings. Conspicuous on the Bund are the Customs House, in the Tudor style of architecture, surmounted by a square clock tower ; the Club Germania ; and the massive premises of seveial of the big banking houses. The two leading hotels are the Astor House and the Palace Hotel, at either of which accommodation can be obtained for from $7 to $10 (Mexican) a day. The principal European stores are to be found at the commencement of the Nanking Road. Further along, Chinese sliops, easily distinguished by their unglazed fronts and hanging shop-signs, continue in an almost unbroken succession until the Defence Creek is reached. Many of these shops, although of no great external pietensions, contain within them some of the country's finest productions. Here it may be mentioned that although Shanghai itself is not actually a silk-producing centre, it is situated in one of the chief producing districts of China, and some of the finest silk may be purchased on advantageous terms at the native stores. The jewellers' shops contain interesting specimens of native workmanship in silver and gold, and make a feature of jade orna- ments, which are regarded by the Chinese as bringing luck to the wearer. By means of the electric tramcars, carriages, and rickshaws, which ply for hire at very reason- able rates, the whole Settlement may easily be explored. Pidgin English is the medium of communiciilion between the foreigner and the native, and, although it is not sufficient merely to add the suffix "ee" to English woids, the jargon is easily acquired. Sports may be seen in progress on the splendid recreation grounds on the Bubbling Well Koad, and at Hongkew, and music is provided daily during the summer months by the municipal band in the public gardens on the Hund. A museum, under the direction of the local branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, is situated within a minute's walk of the British Post Office in Peking Road, and a public library and reading room are to be found at the Town Hall in Nanking Road. The chief temple is Zen Sung Aye Temple, at the corner of Peking and Kweichow Roads. This is dedicated to the Queen of Heaven, to whom are addressed the petitions of women desiring sons. The Dai Wong Miao Temple in Sinza Road is also worthy of a visit, and on no account should one or other of the native cemeteries or mortuaries in this vicinity be overlooked. The most remarkable is the Cantonese Cemetery in Sinza Road. A broad drive, flanked by hundreds of tiled brick graves, leads to a number of temples, council rooms, and other buildings. On all sides may be seen the earthenware urns in which the