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Goodbye Hong Kong

HONG KONG | Sunday, 30 November 2008 | Views [874] | Comments [1]

After two nights on Lamma Island exploring the beaches, villages and mountain walking tracks - today I got a flight back to Xiamen and now I'm back at Dad and Junes place in Zhangzhou.

Leaving Hong Kong, I felt quite sad. I've become very fond of the place during my nine days there. It really is a cool city and the outer islands are just so beautiful. 

Being back in Zhangzhou, a tiny city that I've already explored all of, I feel a bit lost. I really want to do more traveling around Asia and I'm  here in Zhangzhou for another 20 days before my flight to Vietnam. Although I am grateful to just be anywhere and experiencing cultures so different to my own - I can't help but think I should have stayed in Hong Kong for a bit longer, or traveled to Macau for a few days. Oh well, I'm here now and I should make the most of it.

I's very much looking forward to going to Vietnam on the 19th. There's such a rush that comes from traveling and exploring a completely new country. I loved my time traveling around Guangzhou and Hong Kong by my self. It really gave me some time to experience life and learn a lot about my self. When you're traveling by your self, you don't have anyone else to bounce ideas and plans off, which can be good and bad. On one hand you can go where you please, but on the other hand it can get quite lonely. I think it's all about getting used to being happy spending time WITH your self, which is SO important in this life. It teaches independence and gives you the ability to think for your self and not just fade into a group.

I should probably talk about my last two days in Hong Kong, on Lamma Island. :)

In the afternoon on Thursday (yes, it was Thursday!) I got the ferry over to the Lamma Island village of Yung Shue Wan. I arrived late (after picking up my new Chinese visa after 2pm), but still got my self a room at the same hotel I had booked that morning. I use the term "hotel" as LOOSELY as possible. I would have described it as "a building with some rooms next to an open sewer." Aw, it really wasn't so bad. I was on the third floor, which I think was lucky because the smell faded the higher up you went. I was willing to put up with it for two nights so I could explore the other side of Lamma Island.

The village of Yung Shue Wan is a coastal fishing village and the main village of Lamma Island. Its a fairly small village but the many shops, stalls, restaurants and pubs make it flutter with energy. The residence are mainly a mixture of ex-pat British people and island born people. All of the buildings are very small as island regulations state that no building can exceed three stories. The shops are crowded with produce and customers and are very narrow. 

After exploring the village I decided it was time for dinner, so I tried one of the seafood restaurants that overlooked the water. I got a little table by the water and choose whole crab with spring onions and ginger. I haven't eaten fresh crab for many years and I remember loving it, so I was really looking forward to trying it again. The waiter brought my crab to me in a bucket and asked if it was okay. I peered in the bucket and nodded at him "lovely!" I said. Its so funny to get to meet your dinner before you devour it. The crab was very delicious, but its just SO much work for such little crab meat! I think I got more on my finger and the table that I did in my stomach. :)

After dinner I visited one of the small local pubs and had a few beers while listening to 80's music on the juke box. I had a great time meeting some of the locals and some other travelers. I did meet some friendly people, but there aren't really that many young people and backpackers around at this time of year (winter). I haven't met one person yet who isn't on some kind of schedule.

The next day I work up at 7am and headed straight off on a walk of the island. I had had a rough idea where I was going to go and my first destination was Hung Shing Yeh Beach, which is about a 25min walk away from Yung Shue Wan. The walk took me through quite a lot of other villages, all of them very quaint and when I finally got to the beach I was amazed at how lovely it was. Golden sand and beautiful calm blue water - it reminded me of a Sydney beach. Who knew such a place existed in Hong Kong!I walked all around the beach and over the rocks and then sat on the sand to soak up some early morning sun. It was just beautiful there.

I also hiked up a mountain walking track to where the HUGE Lamma wind power generator is. It looks like a huge fan and stands 80 meters tall. Its really pretty impressive and I think it, at the very least, looks better than the huge coal burning power plant on the north side of the island. I wonder how efficient wind generated power is when compared to coal burning? I don't know why they don't use more of the wind generators as (obviously), wind is a sustainable resource and coal isn't!

The view from up there was amazing. I could see right across to Hong Kong Island and could also make out Kowloon and most of Victoria Harbor in the distance. It was really stunning and there was no one around up there because it was so early!

After my walk back down to the village and lunch, I went exploring the other side of Yung Shue Wan. I passed the cute little Lamma Island Library and walked right up over the hills and around. This is where I came across more graves scattered by the side of walking paths and in the middle of mountain slopes. They seem to have no actual designated grave yards, but prefer to bury people where ever takes their fancy. It felt kind of wrong to take photos of graves, especially when most of them had a small photo of the deceased stuck on the top of the head stone. It felt quite disrespectful to be loud of take photos around the graves, and I believe in respecting other peoples beliefs and religions (as long as they're not hurting anyone).

I walked for a good two hours, up and down hills, through farms and villages and eventually back down to the main village of Yung Shue Wan. I had remembered seeing some interesting looking houses on slits from the ferry and I decided to go and see if I could find out more about them and maybe take a few photos. I walked down what looked like a public pathway that went behind the houses...then the path seemed to go right through the middle of the house. I stopped, not knowing if I was allowed to go on, and I certainly didn't want to invade anyone's private property. After a few seconds of standing there considering my options, a woman came out of one of the houses to my left. "Hello!" she called at me. "Is okay!" and she gestured with her hand towards my intended path and smiled. "Oh thank you!" I said back and smiled. "Um, how long have you lived here?" I asked her "In this house?"

"Many years!" She replied. "My house is very strong, I like to live by water and my husband fish and I-"  She pointed up to some fish that were tied to string like drying laundry. I assumed she meant her husband caught the fish and she cleaned and dried the fish. I thanked the woman again for her very kind help and kept walking. Going through the houses was very strange and I did feel quite invasive, but I kept telling my self, this is a public path, so I guess its to be expected.

These stilt houses seem to be vicariously stuck together with strips of timber and uneven squares of plywood. They are RIGHT on the water and the first thing that springs to mind is HOW ON EARTH do they survive typhoons? Granted that the South China Sea is to the other side of the island, so this side would be somewhat protected from the harsher winds, but even despite this, I fail to see how these houses could last for very long. But the woman I met had assured me they were very strong. I wonder exactly how long they've been there for?

On the other side of the stilt houses there was a small path. One way led to a lookout pavilion and the other (after clambering over some rocks) eventually led to a pretty little beach that was completely deserted. I explored the beach and sat in the pavilion for a while watching the harbor. It was a really lovely afternoon.

That evening I decided to rent some DVD's and get a take away pizza - luxuries I have missed being in Zhangzhou. There's a small Lebanese restaurant on the island set up by an ex-pat a few years ago, so I got a small vegetarian pizza and two DVD's from the local rental place and went back to my room to enjoy a nice evening in.

The next day was the day I had decided to head back to Kowloon, so I could stay my last night in Hong Kong a little closer to the airport. In the morning I went to the beach and I also went on one last walk around the island, which was lovely. I got the 1pm ferry back over to Central (HK Island) and then the smaller ferry back to Kowloon. I decided to stay in a cheaper hotel for my last night, so I found a small one near Nathan Road and checked in there. The prices were pretty decent for a Saturday and my room was massive!

The next morning I got my flight from HK back to Xiamen with no issues and Dad and June met me at the airport.

Crazy stilt houses on the shore at Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island.

Crazy stilt houses on the shore at Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island.




Hello my darling! We just received your delightful postcard & have stuck it on our cooling device :D :D :D
Sounds like your enjoying yourself -that run-in with the woman sounded amazing, like out of a movie or something.
Can't wait to lie on the beach with you in Mexico... hopefully if you come while I'm on holidays we can fly over to Cuba together or something adventurous
Love you muchos baby xxxxx

  Aallecks Dec 4, 2008 1:21 PM

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