It has been a couple of weeks since I last wrote …. mostly filled with one diploma examination after another. There was a typhoon here two weeks ago, so that weekend was mostly spent indoors, as we were warned not to go outside much in any case. However the following weekend was bathed in polluted sunshine – enough to burn a little.
On Sunday, I was taken out to Saikung and then to an Island in the South China Sea, fifteen minutes ferry ride away. The Island (like much of the rest of Hong Kong) is owned by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and is basically an eighteen hole golf course. We had a lovely lunch in the South China Sea and a walk around the parts of the Island where non-golfers were allowed to meander. The course is apparently one of the few public courses in Hong Kong, so there was an emphasis on learning how to play the game, with a large driving range and learning centre. It was a beautiful day – relatively clear – and with good company, it was most enjoyable.
After arrival back at Saikung, we wandered into a coffee shop – twice! – once for good coffee and once again to retrieve a lost Oyster Card (not mine!), which we found on the floor next to some people that had already taken our chairs. Saikung is quite a long way out from Hong Kong Central, but I am told that quite a lot of expatriates live out there, as the district is pretty much bush with little settlements dotted along the coast line. I am told there are a lot of good tramping walks out there. Saikung itself has a large fishing market on the waterfront, where the local fisher-people come in with their catch of the day and sell it. The sights (and smells) were extraordinary, with both fresh and dried fish products being added to many shopper bags during the afternoon
On the two Mondays, I decided to rent a bicycle and go for a ride (HKD$80 the first week and HKD$90 the second week – I bargained, because he wanted to charge me $100 the second week….). My first Monday, I rode from Tai Wai to Tai Po and back. Apparently about 20km each direction. The cycle path goes along beside the Shing Mun River for about 10 km and then one can choose to go to Tai Po, or to Ma on Shan. It was very peaceful after escaping busy Tai Wai, to ride along this perfectly flat path. Some of it was a shared path, but mostly the cycle path was separate from the walking paths and the parks. I remembered it a little from having examined out this way 5 years ago, but I really enjoyed having the bite of some “fresh” air on my face – and I did get burnt – despite using some sunscreen – on ONE arm. Silly boy! It wasn’t too badly burned, but definitely red…October in Hong Kong!!
I did get lost a couple of times…the bike path might be well signposted if you read Chinese, but I do wonder if not all the English signs were there. So I saw the centre of Shatin before turning back. When the path came to an end at the Tai Po waterfront park, I met some men who were flying their kites and they persuaded me to take over for a while. I tried to tell them about the many hours I spent flying a kite in my childhood, but their English wasn’t good enough and my Cantonese is little more than non-existent!
The next Monday ( today), I rode out along the same path but took a turning to go to Ma On Shan, which basically looks over toward Tai Po. I did get a little lost in the parks and building construction at the end – taking a few paths that I am sure I was not meant to ride along, but nobody shouted at me, so I eventually found my way around and back again – only to lose myself on the return journey and end up by the Hong Kong Baptist University. Exciting stuff isn’t it!!
During the week, my time is of necessity taken up with work, but I have had a few vacancies, so have managed to get over to see more of the Nan Liang Gardens next to where I examine. They are beautifully cultivated gardens, with a little lake in the centre and a small temple in the lake. It is connected to the Chi Lin Nunnery by a bridge going over the road. I know I put some photos into my last meanderings, but here are some of the Nunnery and the shrines there. I was told to put my camera away at one of the shrines. When I immediately just went outside and walked along the windows looking in, the lady official, proceeded to follow me, so I waved at her, received the typical grimace in return and so I smiled and left.
I have had some amazing meals, but one that I should mention is a vegetarian hamburger patty . It included Beet, which many of you may know I don’t really eat after a childhood of choking on red beetroot in sweet vinegar. However this patty was amazing. It was a lot more beefy than any MacDonald’s burger I have tasted. Now, that may not mean a lot, but this was one of the best burger patties I have ever eaten. We had to barbecue it ourselves and it was really worth waiting for.
So life in Hong Kong has been pretty busy. Everything here is expensive. I think you can still get cheap clothing in the markets, but I am not really interested in clothing that falls apart after been worn and washed a few times. The electronics I have been interested in are mostly cheaper or comparable in New Zealand, so I shan’t be disturbing Her Majesty’s Customs when I return. However I have enjoyed seeing even more of this fascinating place on my meanderings.