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27 May 2014

If HK could be put into words

May 18th, 2014. 30° Celsius. Hong Kong looks moist and rainy. Every shade of grey imaginable seems to cling to the very low sky, so low that it seems like you could reach out and touch it.

Pale grey, dark grey, blue grey, the sky draws interlacing lines, edged with darker, almost black tones. The sea responds in echo with an opaline green, jade green in some areas, dull greens, punctuated by splashes of color characterized by incessant comings and goings of the boats one of the largest ports in Asia. A storm looms. The atmosphere is heavy, sensual, conducive to the scene from the novel by Oliver Lebé “Repulse Bay”, La Grande Ourse Edition.
“The name is both intriguing and amusing.”
The first novel by the French author who fell in love with the former British colony and its particularities, the text book for an initiatory, almost inner journey through Hong Kong, which somehow becomes the main character of the story and vibrates as under the gaze of the contemplative hero.

Hong Kong PlumeTexts in quotation marks by Olivier Lebé and the rest by PLUME. Photos by PLUME, except the HKTB photos
This fascinating, almost unreal city, so straight in appearance, with vibrant contrasting scenes from the moment you enter its inner maze…Hong Kong is like a woman who turns out to be more complex than appearance shows: beautiful, intriguing, passionate, modern and traditional, superstitious, elusive but endearing all at once. A city of glitz, a city of gold and silver, a city of traditions and stories which draws the bridge between China and Europe, Hong Kong is as modern as it is eternal.
Pierre, the male protagonist in the novel will guide us through the city and become the reporter for PLUME VOYAGE for this journey on the Chinese island.
  • Victoria Peak Mountain

    In the distance the Victoria Peak Mountain emphasizes with its curve the verticality of the luminescent properties of the forest of buildings at the edge of the water. The people have built their city between the mountains and the sea to give every chance of success, as the presence of nature is a sign of wealth in China. To be between the mountain and the sea is a call to eternal prosperity.

    « Below the arrival of the tram at the top of Victoria Peak, there is a rectangular house, surrounded by vegetation. It is built on a concrete base reinforced with foothills. The roof is flat with a fireplace.»  – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • The multifaceted city of Hong Kong looks as much towards the West as it does to Asia, constantly evolving and full of unique contrasts. It has also become an amateur lover of contemporary art in recent years with its new neighborhood of art galleries, installed in huge warehouses in the buildings of Aberdeen, and it recently hosted its second edition of Art Basel, profiting from the construction of a new metro station soon to serve the new artistic heart of the city. The former Police Married Quarter Central, near Hollywood Road, will be reborn in a new creative breath thanks to William To, the artistic director of the place and the architect Billy Tam. The place, now called PMQ, hosts art exhibitions, shops and galleries to help them grow and to promote local designers, as taught by Kapok which shows fashion accessories and decorative objects.

  • Repusle Bay Beach

    Only twenty minutes from bustling Central, this public beach is sits at the foot of the Repulse Bay building. Founded in 1910, the beach lies between Deep Water Bay and Middle Bay. This area is one of the desirable residential areas of Hong Kong.


    « At the end of the driveway in a cul de sac occupied by luxury cars, an iron door to which I have the key leads to a passage that offers direct access to the beach. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”


    « Position on the four observation towers aligned on the beach, the lifeguards do not take their eyes off the swimming area. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • The Repulse Bay building

    Established in 1920 by the Peninsula, this residential building was initially a hotel before becoming a building of furnished apartments with a concierge service. Created by the architect Anthony Wong, the building is known for its hole on the façade to allow the dragon to drink the sea water.
    « I’m off to the Repulse Bay Building to knock on Mr. Ze’s door. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”, P 142
    « The architect has provided an opening in the front of the building to allow the dragon to drink in the sea. One must never prevent the dragon from drinking. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”
    « Mr. Ze gets out the bowls which he places on a lacquered wooden tray and goes to set the table in the lounge. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”, P 143
    « You sleep just above the passage of the dragon, she told me. You must have strange dreams. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”
    « Standing in front of the windows, I stand vertical to the void. »- Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « We leave the artificial island via the Tsing Ma Bridge. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « Meet in Central… » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « As two contenders in publicity heaven, we contemplate the skyline. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « We drive to Happy Valley, in his rented car. An eighty year old building on the edge of the racetracks, which eventually landed in the portfolio of one of his client, needed to be approached somewhat differently. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • The Peninsula Hotel

    « I give myself go to the bar on the top floor of the Peninsula Hotel , a classic view over the bay of Hong Kong. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”
    The legendary Hong Kong Hotel, situated on the Kowloon side (meaning nine dragons) has never lost its luster and has been offering guests impeccable service since its inception. Still owned by the same family since 1928, led by Sir Michael Kadoorie, grand son of the founder, the hotel offers comfortable rooms, marble bathrooms, and ultra high-tech technology – twenty five people work full time in this position to maintain its efficiency – while its staff operates in the hotel as if it were a great family home. The same stable of Rolls Royce since the 30s, the helicopter and heliport on the roof to give its guests breathtaking views of the bay, fine dining, the immaculate kitchen recently installed with a new high-performance Korean machine that recycles waste, completes the hotel’s outstanding services. The cutting edge of technology with faultless comfort and service, this is the credo of the Peninsula which will soon be opening a hotel in Paris.

  • « I walk from the hotel to the Star Ferry Pier. »  – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

    « The crossing of the bay is a daily routine for many Hong Kongers as well as being an attraction for tourists. During the few minutes that the journey lasts, the boat appears to be floating in the middle of the towers that rise on each side. »  – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • Hollywood Road

    « I return to the salon furnished with Chinese antiques and oriental designs, like the ones found on Hollywood Road. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « She got up very early to go shoot a street scene in the district of Wan Chai. »  – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre appears to be placed on the bay the way a ship is docked. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « A boat, for free, you interested?
    Where is your boat?
    And so I make my way to Aberdeen: its junks, fishing boats, yachts, floating restaurants for tourists. »  – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay” (P 128)

  • « The lights of Hong Kong have entered into my head. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay” (P 138)

  • « If New York is the city of the first day, Hong Kong is the last. »  – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay” (P.139)

  • « The atmosphere of the port is suffocating. The heavy, overheated air stinks with the smell of hot oil.
    The dark weather in the undulating surface of the water. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”(P.140)

  • « A supertanker glides slowly out to the open sea, leaving a lingering trace on the horizon. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « The light is so low that the pastel colors of the apartment buildings – pink, blue, green, yellow – turn to black and white. The moist air is almost solid. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « From the top of the stairs, I recognize the green roofs of the Man Mo Temple. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « The smoke of incense hanging from the ceiling continuously wafts in the air, so that the spirits don’t disappear. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”

  • « Outside, she returns to the middle of the stream of pedestrians to wait for me. » – Olivier Lebé, “Repulse Bay”


  • Olivier Lebé

    To prepare your trip, don’t hesitate to consult the site www.hongkongtourisme.fr

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