Having had enough of skyscrapers, shops and subways, I decided to take the ferry to Lamma Island, where my sister Kathy (1951-87) lived for a year or two in about 1980. She always chose the most low rent district to live in, wherever she was, and I was curious to see whether this was similar to the more dire parts of Cairo/Edinburgh/London. Lamma is utterly gorgeous! There are no roads, only tracks, and it is a green, hilly, haven of peace just half an hour from the madness of HK city, via a ferry that costs £1.50.
Everyone walks or cycles to get around. I took a trail between the two main villages, through shady groves and up and down the hills. How dreadful to find myself at an unpopulated sandy beach, with a turquoise sea and warm sunshine, and, worst of all, a cocktail bar! With Christmas decorations! I tried a Lamma Mamma, which consists almost entirely of vitamin C with a splash of vodka to sharpen it up a bit.
A kite circled more or less over my head as I paused to enjoy the view. It is the strangest thing but these birds make me feel that I am not alone – they are a sort of comforting, familiar presence watching over me.
When I reached Sok Kwu Wan village there were more kites, a heron and an egret, possibly because of the fish farming in the harbour!
The Chinese like their fish fresh (still breathing ideally) and each harbour front restaurant had tanks of live fish, crabs, lobsters, squid, prawns, sea snails, clams….. I had lobster for lunch – nice chap, very attractive purple eyes, seemed a bit quiet. Tasted delicious steamed with garlic sauce.
I headed back to HK and decided to do the uber-touristy Peak Tram. This is an insanely steep, ludicrously expensive, 6 minute ride up The Peak to where the rich folk live. The view was marred by smog and there were ‘12 caverns of tat’ to fight your way through to get out, so all in all, not brilliant.
And tomorrow I go to China. I’m feeling more relaxed about it now – HK is a good introduction to the Chinese way, but with translation into English to make it easy. I’m over the jetlag and my gut seems to have surrendered to the local flora and fauna without too much of a fight. I’ve reread Dad’s escape story and can’t wait to get to Shaoguan tomorrow where he spent ten days on a floating brothel (unintentionally!).