Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong, 1991

During my first visit to Hong Kong, I stayed in the Chungking Mansions, which was a building consisting of shops and and rooming houses on various floors. I had a deluxe room, which had a bathroom. The shower consisted of a nozzle on the sink and drain in the floor.

There were two elevators the size of telephone booths. One stopped on odd floors and the other on even. The line was too long for me to wait so I took the stairs and noticed that several patrons used the stairwells to dump their garbage. Years later I read in a guide book that a group of prostitutes ran their business out of the Chungking Mansions but got so disgusted that they left. I shouted out, “I stayed there!”

The Chungking Mansions feature in Wong Kar Wai’s film “Chungking Express.” If you haven’t seen it, you should.

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