The Ladies Market at Mong Kok, Kowloon (right across Hong Kong island) is exuberant and overwhelming. Crowded with smells and voices. There is to much to see for the foreign eye: fruits and vegetables, baskets and trinkets, and piles of shirts, socks, brassieres, stockings…
(This is the market where I drank that delicious watermelon juice)
As impressive as the market is, the images that have stayed with me are the ones that I found beyond it: in a bridge above the market.
At first glance, it looks just like any other bridge.
The bridge is an ecosystem. Women and girls line its sides.
Blankets spread out.
Voices clamoring. Phones ringing.
The smells of food ripe in the air.
All women. They sit, they eat, they share.
It was a typical Hong Kong day. Humid. They sat in small groups. Fanned each other, and talked.
The food looked freshly cooked. As if it was made specifically to match the blankets it was placed on.
This is the view from the bridge, overlooking the ladies market. Kowloon in all its might and glory.
I walked past, at least, a thousand women. The ones I crossed eyes with questioned me with their glances. The others were too caught up in their own worlds.
What is that world of yours?
Where do you call home? What does it look like?
What is your story?
What brought you today to this bridge? Or are you always here?
I still wonder, as I look back through my pictures.
I hear their chatters and the background noise of the market. What is your story?
Why is this bridge the place you gather together at? What are you looking for here?
As I walked through the bridge, and back down to the street, I felt as if I crossed a bridge of perspective. Never had I seen so many women gathered together. Never had I felt so much community in one public space. I wondered about these women and their individual worlds and stories and families. I was cultured shocked in so many levels. All these people and their lives a mystery to me.
Although I’m still ignorant of their stories, there is one thing I now know for certain. Community, whether in a bridge or a home, threads knots that cannot be undone.