Do You Remember the Good Old Days Before the Ghost Town?

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Oddee surveys 10 ghost towns around the globe, from the sand-buried city of Kolmanskop in Namibia to a longtime libertarian favorite, the anarchic Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.

reclaimedbythedunes

[Via Infocult.]

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  1. Cue Joe in 5…4…3…2…1…

  2. I didn’t get very far in looking at this article as the ads that appeared when I brought it up are NSFW.

  3. man, that is a lot of vacuuming

  4. Cool article. The walled city of Kowloon was anarchtopia. It certainly is a crime that that oasis of freedom is no longer populated.

  5. AWESOME!!! It’s easy to forget that modern ghost towns are created all the time. The only ones I’ve ever seen were in West Virginia.

  6. What, no Raccoon City?

  7. It’s clearly a case of global sanding.

  8. *sigh*

    Now I’ve got this song stuck in my head…

    Ok… what trumps Ghost Town?

    Nephilium

  9. It’s easy to forget that modern ghost towns are created all the time.

    You got that right.

  10. C’mon… would any of you have actually willingly inhabited the Kowloon Walled City when it was around?

  11. Rhywun, I would have gone in and bought stuff, and in doing so would check it out. Possibly start going more often. Live there? Depends on the amenities, I suppose. If it’s dirty and shitty, probably not.

  12. “To run the pumps and to light up the City’s many alleys required electricity and initially this challenge was tackled in a similarly robust fashion: it was stolen from the mains, often by Hongkong Electric employees who lived within the City boundaries. Only in the late 1970s, after a serious fire (much the most terrifying hazard in the City), were the authorities allowed in with their meters.”

    I like the idea of the walled city, but still, they did depend on the outside world, either by theft or later because they were afraid of fire actually let the outside in world in. I’d’ve been more impressed if they’d created their own electricity.

  13. would any of you have actually willingly inhabited the Kowloon Walled City when it was around?

    If that’s the Kowloon Walled City that was run by triads, no way in hell. Those fuckers are mean.

  14. If that’s the Kowloon Walled City that was run by triads, no way in hell. Those fuckers are mean.

    I have a suspicion that any “anarchtopia” is going to get run by organized crime in the end.

  15. “C’mon… would any of you have actually willingly inhabited the Kowloon Walled City when it was around?”

    I don’t know. I would definitley have to have been armed. Unarmed, not in this lifetime. If they had drug dens and casinos, it had to be safe for some people. You can’t run a business by killing your customers. I suspect Kowloon would have been just fine if you were connected and knew where to go and not go.

  16. would any of you have actually willingly inhabited the Kowloon Walled City when it was around?

    No, but the little island in Long Island Sound looked pretty nice before the homeowners were evicted

  17. Rhywun, I would have gone in and bought stuff, and in doing so would check it out. Possibly start going more often. Live there? Depends on the amenities, I suppose. If it’s dirty and shitty, probably not.

    Epi, you’re a braver (or more foolish) man than I. I had the opprtunity on each four seperate visits. Yeah, it was off limits, but that never stopped me from frequenting anywhere. Rather it was a finely honed skill of self preservation in alien societies that kicked in.

  18. J sub D,

    Was it like a border town in Mexico in that if you looked like a local and blended in or were connected, you would be fine? But as a white person who would stick out, you were asking to be kidnapped, robbed or worse?

  19. I figure you walk in, get the vibe of the place still near the entrance, and get out if it seems threatening. If you are totally ignored by people just going about their business, you look around.

    I would of course want to be armed.

  20. If “Bloodsport” taught us anything is that Kowloon Walled City is no place for outsiders.

    “…it’s time to protect your nuts, guys.”

  21. If Gymkata has taught us anything…oh, nevermind.

  22. Was it like a border town in Mexico in that if you looked like a local and blended in or were connected, you would be fine? But as a white person who would stick out, you were asking to be kidnapped, robbed or worse?

    As a rule, white people did not go into the walled city in Kowloon. I haven’t visited, but have talked to Chinese who have. From those accounts, it made TJ seem like Bel Air.

  23. BTW, the rest of Kowloon is very nice for shopping, eating and nightclubbing. One of the James Bond flicks had a scene filmed in a Kowloon tittie bar. And yes, some of the girls are as pretty as those in the Bond movie.

  24. They don’t describe the history of Kowloon walled city very well. When Britain bought out the rest of Kowloon (in the 19th century), it was ambiguous whether that included the walled city (a tiny part of the whole of Kowloon).

    China never stopped their diplomatic finger wagging — don’t you DARE exert sovereignty over the walled city — so Britain kept out.

    Meanwhile, it’s a tiny enclave in the middle of British territory, even more separated after the British leased the New Territories, so China didn’t exert any authority, either.

    Presto! Terra Inlegatio!

    Once Britain had agreed to hand Hong Kong and its neighborhoods back to China, the ambiguity disappeared, and so did the walled city.

    I lived in Hong Kong for a bit, and met an born-again evangelist who had set up church in the walled city. You definitely want to have introductions before you move in. And, since said evangelist was not at all disinclined to meet her Maker, it wasn’t much of a tourist recommendation for the rest of us.

  25. I would of course want to be armed.

    If by armed, you mean, with a gun, that’s not an option in Hong Kong.

  26. There is a [citation needed] in the middle of the text for Prypiat in that article. Glancing at wikipedia, it looks like the author simply lifted the wiki article wholesale, at least for that section. Didn’t check the others…

  27. J sub D
    >One of the James Bond flicks had a scene filmed in a Kowloon tittie bar

    BZZZZZZZTTT

    The Bottoms Up club is in Central, not Kowloon.

    The Bond movie was “The Man with the Golden Gun” (Tatoo! Da plane!). The Peninsula Hotel and their green Roll Royces were also featured (love doing high tea at the Pen).

  28. BZZZZZZZTTT

    The Bottoms Up club is in Central, not Kowloon.

    Nay nay, moosebreath. From the good folks at TIMEAsia,

    URBAN LEGENDS: The topless bar Bottoms Up in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district was once a iconic, seamy hangout

    (its a caption under the photo.)

    You really should try to avoid Wikipedia as a reference source. 😉

  29. J sub D: Ah, you’re right! Now I check Wikipedia and it was in Kowloon but moved to Central.

    Me check wikipedia first? Sorry, it was on the cheesy tourist map in my room at the Intercontinental. Far more accurate! 🙂

  30. Doc, you’re cool.

    I pounded a few there in the mid ’70s – mid ’80s.

    The oldtimers claim that being featured in a Bond flick ruined it. Goddam tourists.

  31. I have a suspicion that any “anarchtopia” is going to get run by organized crime in the end.

    And if organized crime is running it long enough, they get to call themselves government.

  32. Waterhouse: And if organized crime is running it long enough, they get to call themselves government.

    Exactly. They just fill the power vacuum.

  33. Kowloon Walled City is not my ideal of a lawless society.
    Of course, I doubt that anyone’s ideal is an incredibly dense outpost of vice where piles of trash make the streets unnavigable.
    Of course, if we had a whole country or even at least an isolated city without government, well, that might be something!

    Second thought: I think that’s exactly some people’s ideal – to live next door to a ghettoized free-zone.

    And
    This page needs a link to the video for everybody who gets that wonderful song stuck in their heads.
    Here ya go!

  34. Exactly. They just fill the power vacuum.

    Which is why “anarchtopia” is a figment of overheated imaginations. Someone’s gonna grab power – it might as well be someone you have some small measure of control over.

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