What: Trestles, planks and mats like these can still be seen in Hong Kong's fishing villages. They are used to dry seafood and so preserve it.
There are a couple in use in the photo. Rows of fish on the left:
And round trays (shrimps maybe?) on the right:
Several of the planks rest on sturdy wooden tubs. I believe they were used to hold fermenting shrimp paste. Can anyone confirm?
Where: The wooden tub in the foreground tells us where we are: "大澳"
They are the characters for Tai O, the fishing village on Lantau Island. Do you think they're showing a brand? Or is it just an owner's mark to stop people from pinching them?
If any readers are familiar with Tai O, can you recognise where this photo was taken? I remember seeing old buildings along the streets there, so there's a chance one of more of these buildings are still standing.
Who: From the shadows it looks to be mid-day on a sunny day. Good for fish to be out drying, but not for people to be out working. The only people we can see are a couple of men hurrying past in the background.
When: There aren't any dates or notes on the back of the photo. The only clue I can see is the Topee the right-hand man is wearing. Based on previous conversations about Topees , I'll guess the photo was taken in the 1930s.
Trivia: Tai O's fermented shrimp paste has a strong smell - delicious or stinky, according to taste. My mum & dad once packed a jar of it to take back to a Chinese friend where they lived in Wales. Unfortunately the jar cracked en route...
The good news was that it was easier than normal to find their suitcase on the Heathrow conveyor belt! I don't know what the sniffer dogs made of it. The bad news? Despite several attempts at cleaning it, the smell of shrimp paste was there to stay and they never used that suitcase again.
- A comment to the photo '1930s Hurrying to TST'