Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Off to Lamma Island

Today, rather than wander through the city once more, I'd be headed to a lesser island to hike through the paved beauty of Lamma island.

In Antarctica I met a guy who I discovered, on the last day in BA, lived in Hong Kong. He said I should give him a shout when I get in. I did. He proposed that I go hike the island with him and his friends. What a jolly good idea, I thought, and so plans were made. Today they'd come to a head.

While the weather had been threatening rain, today was a perfectly perfect day and the sun was high, the sky was blue, and the clouds existed only for artistic reasoning. We boarded a ferry and made our way out from the city centre. I love boats. I do. It's the act of being rocked on the water, and feeling at peace with your surroundings. Mind you, there can be too much rocking – Drake Passage? That's less than fun. But everything up to that?

When we got to the island, our group of a dozen and a half collected ourselves and set out. Making our way through the entrance town to the island, we passed by souvenir shops, and stalls selling food on sticks, and other such treats.

While the island's path was a paved one, and less than rough hiking, people had come from all over to experience the route this day. Hiking under tropical trees, we made our way out to a beautiful beach. I don't know what I thought Hong Kong would be – but not this. Surely it was all city, and smog, and shopping. No way could there be an island only twenty minutes away by ferry, perfect for the exploring. And yet there it was.

While most people kept to the path, there was no need for that. No rules disallowed you from going down into the thick, and making your way to the isolated beaches below, where boats docked just outside in safe waters, allowing their passengers easy access to the water's edge.

Rather than going to beaches it seems that people in Hong Kong rent these boats with fifty of their closest friends, and turn them into a floating party. It's easy, inexpensive, and in a city with little accessible land – a brilliant compromise.

The only thing that stands out as odd here is the power plant, resembling the one from Midgar, just off the end of the beach. Built within living memory, the plant is an ugly reminder of the city life, even all the way out here.

Still, it almost seems to be modern art, the way it just sits there, knowing it doesn't belong, and yet challenging everyone who sees it. The juxtaposition is delightful, and even those who hate it still can not help but take image after image of its hideousness.

Near the beach is a woman who sells tofu with syrup. This is a famous Hong Kong dish. Have it. Have it hot. It's much better than you'd ever imagine.

When we reached the end of or trail we found ourselves in other village on the island. What was this place? Mostly a giant restaurant. A giant restaurant where we were to have lunch. And oh the lunch it would be! Fish, and sea food – prawns, clams, and a variety of other foods that absolutely terrified me!

Put down on a giant revolving wheel, the meal was laid out piece by piece. First up? Two types of clams. Normal food to everyone else, but something strange and terrifying to me. For the moment I would just watch a child using a straw to blow bubbles with terribly toxic goo which he would then play with. A normal children's toy here, which would never be allowed in the government-controlled safety of North America.

Alright, alright. I could put off eating for only so long, and with great apprehension I placed a clam into my mouth and... hey – you know what? They're actually pretty good! Alright then, lets have some more, but then came a break – rice and sausage like that which I had, and loved, in Cambodia. Next up though was something far more terrible. Giant prawns. I'm told they're called Pissing Prawns in Chinese? Well after watching people rip into them and tear them to pieces, I figured I needed to at least try them. I was instructed on the best way to rip them apart. I only hurt myself twice on their spikes during this process.

Once their shell had been torn to pieces, their soft flesh beneath was devoured. Watching over a dozen people eat these things this way, it was very animalistic and savage, and... well... fun. It's for that reason that I like ribs. If you could somehow combine these foods with the tastiness of rib sauce, then we'd be in business.

More dishes with seafood I'd never had before were brought out, and little by little I got over my fears. It's just food after all. If whole squids reached the table I don't know how I'd have felt about that, but still – I made peace with what I was eating, and learned that it's not all that bad, anyway.

Some hours later our feast ended. My buddy covered my bill, once more making me realize that I have some terrible karma to pay back. For the rest of ever, I will need to take care of travellers passing by wherever I live. Though I think it would be quite fun to show people around, so I'm good with that.

The boat back was just as delightful as the one across, although this time it was free. If you eat at the restaurant, you get a sticker which allows you free passage back across. It's a good system they have rigged up.

The boat also allowed for views of what can only be describe as a super laser with a giant R2D2 standing in front of it. Seriously – you'll see these office towers and you'll think, yup, that's definitely what's going on. The many buildings that make up the droid are even the right colour.

Once off the island, we wandered the streets, and found some toy shops. No Yuffie action figure for sale, I'm afraid. And then we had some bubble tea before popping into an arcade. I will tell you what, I saw an arcade machine there I'd not seen in all of Japan. It was a black jack arcade box, but it dealt real cards. It was – unique.

For half an hour we watched people play Street Fighter IV and once more I was overcome with the desire to get a fight stick, get the game, and learn to play it. Maybe. We shall see.

Eventually my day's host left to see some other people, and I was ready to go back and crash and sleep. But, as I passed a picture of the Iron Man 2 poster, I knew I could no longer resist ScoJo in her form fitting bodysuit. I made my way to the threatre, bought one of the last remaining tickets (second row neck craned way back) for the show about to start, and set in to watch.

Apparently the movie wouldn't be playing for another week in the rest of the world, but here – May 1st and it was good to go.

And it was worth the neck pain, and the time, and everything. I liked it as much as I did the first. I dug on war machine, and I loved how they worked in the red and silver suit. Everything was just so much fun to watch. And that's what Ironman comes down to.

As the credits rolled, I wondered if they would do something after the text finished is scrolling. I looked behind me, 3/4s of the audience were still in their seats. It was a safe bet the answer was yet.

And oh the teaser they left.

Excited, and charged up, I headed back to my hostel ready to do battle with the forces of evil, or – you know – do something.

But there were no forces, no evil to be seen. Off to bed – ready for what would be my final day in the city.

1 comment:

  1. glad you liked our island :) just don't tell too many people OK ?


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