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An extreme change in scenery

CHINA | Sunday, 27 March 2011 | Views [494]

Took the TUrbojet back (no upgrade this time)to HK Island pier, found the MTR station numerous floors below and took a train (with one change) to Lantau Island. At CityGate, we changed to a local bus and enjoyed another hairy mountain ride for an hour to the fishing village of Tai O. It was great to see so much greenery belonging to HK at last- gorgeous mountains with new roads perfect for cyclists and hiking trail signs splattered along the roadside. Tai O does attract the tourist buses so is busy at times but the place is tiny with only a few main streets. After being seen to our room at Espace Elastique B&B, we went for a squiz and had seen the area in less than a couple of hours! Out of the tourist area of market stalls and shops lining the streets, you can walk to some temples, to various lookouts and past genuine local housing including an abundance of stilt houses often covered in tin. It was a delight to have a break from teeming HK and enjoy a slower pace of life. At the point, we were nearly blown away in the icy wind. The weather has been cold again - I think we've had one warmish day on our trip so far despite being Spring. Stopped at a Cafe on Kat Hing Street, with tables overlooking the canals and mish mash of new and rotting housing. Enjoyed dim sum and local shortbread cookies for afternoon tea. That night, we had Chinese with the locals, as all the tour buses had vanished and we were the only Westerners left. The B&B is the only place to stay here - with 2 rooms though there is a Boutique Hotel under construction. This place is going to take off and lose it's current appeal. When you see photos of the place 10-20 years ago, you can already see the transformation it's had but at present it still shows reflections of it's past. Espace Elastique was a little overpriced for what you get and when you compare it to other accommodation we've had at the same price, however, we were grateful for the opportunity to stay here.

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