Monday, March 8, 2010
Aloha Chinatown Honalulu (ii)
Chinatown in Honalulu has a large reputation preceeding it, one that I felt on my visit wasn't totally warranted. Pictured above is their Chinatown gate -- pedestrian archway on a slightly arched bridge that crosses a canal waterway. Note also the small plaques mounted along the bridge.
Much of Chinatown H has a uniform architecture. That was because of a fire in the early twentieth century. A fire that has been attributed to several causes: burning down the neighborhood as it was the centre of a plague sweeping the island; or it was an accident; or it was designed to set-back the chinese merchants to the advantage of other merchant groups. Whichever cause, the neighborhood was wiped clean and then rebuilt with nice low rise buildings around traditional chinese courtyards which served as workshops, storage areas, and bits of transplanted chinese cities. Many of these buildings have uniform wood-framed metal-roofed awnings that cover blocks of street sidewalk to protect merchandise from the sun and daily showers. A red awning is shown in the background ... I think some where green or other colours.
Also in the area was this memorial tablet:
For comparison, the Chinese Royal Arch being installed in Ottawa this summer is huge, as shown below: 33' high, 300 ton arch, spaning two and half lanes of traffic (the photoshop pix erroniously shows it spanning four lanes). The lions at the foot of each pillar have already been carved from stone and are en-route to Ottawa now, as are many of the molds for concrete superstructure and the roof tiles. Somerset will be closed to all traffic for about two months during the construction period.