The Chinatown Alleys
Today the alleys are home to all manner of small businesses including hairdressers, massage parlours and fortunetellers. We heard the sounds of industry coming from tiny workshops and stopped to listen to buskers on the street corners.
After we left the alleyways we walked for a while along the main roads which were festooned with banners and red lanterns and full of places to buy jewellery, jade and statues of Buddha. However, this is very much a place where people live, so you could also find shops selling just about anything you might need.
As you might expect, there are lots of cafés and restaurants. We opted for the Pot Sticker on Waverly Place, where we had traditional Chinese food including my favourite green onion pancakes. Opposite the restaurant was a music school and we spent some time listening to the students practising Chinese songs. And I climbed three sets of stairs to the Tin How Temple, a small peaceful area crammed with colourful artefacts and laden with the smell of incense.
We left by the Dragon Gate, a huge archway at the end of Grant Street. This was once the red light district but as we looked back at the bustling street, full of tourists and shoppers, it was hard to imagine the area’s impoverished past.