Sunday, February 4, 2007

Fantastic Fan Tan

The famous Fan Tan Alley in Victoria is the very heart of Canada's oldest Chinatown (second oldest in North America after San Fran). It is a narrow thoroughfare-- just five feet wide in places -- full of eclectic shops and rich history. The alley used to contain many opium dens, brothels, and gambling clubs back in the day, hence the name fan tan referring to a type of gambling game played widely among the Chinese immigrants. The looming weather-worn red brick walls, unchanged since establishment in 1858, stretch three towering stories above the street giving the impression of a deep, dark chasm chiseled between two buildings.
Quite often this little stretch is used in Hollywood films, such as the famous motorcycle scene in the comme ci comme ça movie "Bird on a Wire."
The alley is a formidable place to walk through... like taking a step back in time.

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