An Afternoon in Chinatown

Hoping to improve my photography skills without actually entering a classroom, I recently joined a photo-walk group and  it’s turning out to be an amazing opportunity to get my creativity flowing, meet fellow photography buffs as well as see my town through brand new eyes.

On last weekend’s walk through Chinatown, between the scents, sights and sounds of the market and the beautiful, peaceful zen of the Chinese Gardens, I slowly but surely fell under the neighborhood’s spell.

At the end of our walk along Pender Street, underneath Chinatown’s dragon-gated entrance, sits what once was Vancouver’s first opium den, now reincarnated into another life as a slightly run down diner. I peered through the smudged windows with my nose against the glass and I swear I could hear, in the shadowy corners, the stories whispering through the layers of flowered wallpaper. Stories waiting oh so patiently for someone to finally stop and hear them. I thought for a moment, then swung open the restaurant door, making the bright, hanging bells jingle and dance, found a tiny table in the corner, sat very, very still…and listened to the whispering walls.

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2 Comments on “An Afternoon in Chinatown

  1. I always thought this establishment had a very jolly name “Foo’s Ho Ho Restaurant”. Sometimes while walking in this neighbourhood, I imagine this image of a black and white town, dimly lit with gas lamps everywhere and people huddled in corners or going about their business late at night. Carts with goods parked on either side of the street.

    Now, reading your post, an image of a dimly lit room with smoke from opium pipes just got added into that scene. Times may change, but not every thing does.

    • Chinatown does bring out those images of days gone by! I think the older architecture gives it such a sense of history (something that’s hard to find in this town). I love your description of a dimly lit, black and white town…

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