16-Mar-2003 -- In keeping with the "revisits encouraged" policy (News Archive, 19-Feb-03), this revisit to the closest land confluence to my home enabled me to provide Emily with the taste of confluencing that she had been craving for some time. We set off across the border on a warm and sunny spring morning to see what new developments had transpired at Lake Side Villa since my previous visit over nine months before.
The biggest surprise turned out to be the monument, or rather the absence thereof. In its place now stood a majestic Canary Island date palm, Phoenix canariensis.
Considerably more buildings had been constructed since my last visit, but I was disappointed to discover that the confluence point itself, just a few metres to the east of the monument-turned-palm tree, was still nothing more than a pile of rubble, including what looked to be the foundations of the ill-fated monument.
According to the site plan, this spot is destined to become a ritzy, free-standing, three-storey unit of 3,500 square feet, with another 2,000 square feet of private garden enclosing a private swimming pool. All this will set you back HK$2.5 million (US$320,000), plus another HK$0.5 million (US$64,000) should you opt for the default furnishings. Construction is slated for later this year (2003), so act now if you fancy "owning" your very own Chinese confluence!
I put "owning" in quotations because, upon careful examination of the fine print in the glossy sales brochure, it turns out that what you really wind up with for all that money is a 70-year lease--not all that dissimilar to the deal the Brits got on Hong Kong, come to think of it. Suffice to say, if you're tempted to invest in this prime bit of confluence real estate, don't count on handing it down for generations to come.
The prices of units in Lake Side Villa are much lower than those of comparable dwellings in Hong Kong, and for that reason most of the estate's early residents hail from the territory. (That's also why the prices are in Hong Kong dollars, and the measurements are in square feet.) Construction of Lake Side Villa began in 2001, and is not expected to finish until 2005. The clubhouse and swimming pools are due to open in October 2003. When fully complete, the entire complex will consist of 3,700 units.
Heading out towards the main entrance, we stopped to take a photo looking back across the lake towards the confluence. The large fountain in the middle of the lake, which had been spewing forth in all its glory on my previous visit, was no longer in operation.
Continuing on our way, we had the good fortune to run into four of the estate's top brass, who were out cruising around in an electric vehicle normally used for taking prospective buyers on the grand tour. I explained the purpose of our visit, and Mr Huang, Vice President and Deputy Managing Director, seemed quite flattered to learn that there was such a unique spot within the grounds.
Emily and I were invited to hop on board, and with Mr Lam, the Legal Adviser, holding my GPS and counting down the distance to go, we headed back to the confluence point once more. When we arrived, Mr Lam shouted excitedly for the driver to stop, and we all piled out for some more photo opportunities.
Later, Emily and I were treated to a detailed inspection of one of the show units by a salesgirl named May. Also three stories, and sporting a spiral staircase, futuristic bathroom fittings, and no fewer than six bedrooms, it was still priced considerably lower than our yet-to-be-constructed confluence unit, weighing in at a mere HK$1.2 million (US$154,000).
To round off a very successful visit, May then arranged for us to be chauffeured back to the Dongguan railway station in the estate shuttle bus, a free service normally reserved for residents.
All progressive-minded Chinese enterprises these days must have their own English-language slogan, which is proudly emblazoned on business cards, sales material and the like. Lake Side Villa is no exception in this respect, and I shall conclude this report with the Lake Side Villa motto:
"Save The Best For Yourself..."