Sunday, February 12, 2012

Returning to roots in Tai O

Meet Veronica.
She runs Espace Elastique, a cosy upmarket B&B in Tai O.

The building it is housed in (57 Kat Hing Street) belongs to her family.

From the rooms, you have a view of the river and also of the two-storey shophouse opposite, which used to belong to Veronica's grandfather and has now been passed on to her father. It used to house a textile shop.

The building is in the process of being conserved by the family but Veronica very kindly offered us a sneak peak into the place.

The steep, steep staircase. Veronica's cousin once fell down these stairs in her walker... but was none the worse for the experience.

All the furnishings and fixtures in the place have been preserved. The floor tiles are to die for.

How cool is that solid wood bed?

The sad thing is that Veronica and her family have been applying for help from the heritage board to preserve this place but haven't gotten any response.

She wants to open it either as a B&B – she's already put in two modern bathrooms – or as a museum but the official response has been that the stairs are too dangerous, as are some of the original fixtures.

She can get permission if everything were modernised but, as she said, that is really missing the point of the whole exercise.

What a pity. It's a really wonderful slice of Hong Kong's history, which wouldn't have existed for so long without the dedication of Veronica and her family.

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