Saturday, 24 May 2014

HK's Noonday Gun

The Noonday Gun wrapped in blue tarp for tomorrow...
After weeks of rain -- and very hard at times -- it was a shock to see blue skies today. In the morning the Hong Kong Observatory warned there would be showers and I dutifully packed a small umbrella, but it was hardly necessary.

Fantastic blue skies and looking over onto a construction site
Following lunch with YTSL consisting of ramen, gyoza, tofu and beer in Causeway Bay, we checked out the path to the Noonday Gun, in front of The Excelsior Hong Kong.

There's a sign at the parkade that instructs visitors where to go: down some stairs and along a hallway that's also occupied by large green pipes that seem to be carrying seawater for the hotel... for flushing toilets perhaps?

In any event on the other side we found the Noonday Gun wrapped up in a tarp and a fantastic view of blue skies and white fluffy clouds.

The firing of the Noonday Gun is done by Jardine Matheson and the reason why is as follows:
Green tanks carrying seawater along the path

While the land is owned by Jardine's, in the 1860s its private militia would fire a gun salute to welcome a Jardine taipan's arrival by sea.

A senior British naval officer was new to Hong Kong and unfamiliar with the practice and found this annoying, as such salutes were only reserved for government officials and senior officers of the armed services.

As a penalty, Jardine's was ordered to fire the gun every day at noon, in perpetuity.

There was an interruption of firing the gun during the Japanese occupation from 1941 when the Japanese dismantled the gun and was subsequently lost. After the British regained Hong Kong in 1945, the Royal Navy gave Jardine a new six-pound gun and then two years later it was back in operation.

However, the geography in this area is literally changing with several construction cranes poking through the sky working on an underground freeway from Central.

A panoramic shot of the area
They've been there for a while and we imagine will be there for some time yet... The only constant in Hong Kong is change...

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