In early December members from all four locations of the Pottery Workshop (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Jingdezhen, and Beijing) descended on Hong Kong to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a weekend of festivities. It was great to meet the HK staff and see the original location in the basement of the Fringe Club. This small but quaint space has become the springboard for the largest privately held ceramic organization in the world.
My travels took me by plane to Shenzhen, P.R.C and then by bus into the city. The hour long bus ride was a great chance to see the transition from the mainland to HK. The closer you get the more obvious the British influence becomes. The organization of the city, the street names, and the double decker trams all point to the 156 year British occupation of the territory. (For more HK history click here) It was refreshing to be in a western style city where the taxi drivers spoke English. I found myself starting to speak my broken Mandarin (which is doubly funny because they speak Cantonese) only to have them say in English "So where do you want to go?"
Over the weekend I walked around the city soaking in the lights and the people. One afternoon I spent a few hours on a boat that was generously lent to us by a supporter of PWS. I was amazed at how quickly you could reach remote locations in the cluster of islands that surround HK. We cruised back to High Island to have lunch at a small beach-side seafood restaurant. With full stomachs we laid in the sun like iguanas and took a dip in the chilly South China Sea.Our weekend culminated with a large party at the Foreign Correspondents Club. Each PWS location gave a slide show and Caroline Cheng spoke about the development of the organization. At the dinner PWS unveiled a book that chronicles the history of the organization. We will have them at our NCECA table for anyone that wants to take a look.
As a side note, Shanghai is a much larger city (20 million) but HK (7 million) feels more dense. It is a vertical city with closely packed high-rise buildings. The city pushes up against steep hills that look very similar to the topography of the Caribbean islands. This picture looks down onto Stanley where we spent the afternoon at the beach.