willbryant.net

Morning in Hong Kong

Published Tue 12 August 2008 16:51 (+0800)
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Tai Chi in the park in Quarry Bay
Tai Chi in the park in Quarry Bay
Talk to the trapped passenger
Talk to the trapped passenger

It's already 26°C by the time my flight from Melbourne landed in Hong Kong at 6am, and it's only going to get worse. I had a shower at the airport lounge place and then dropped by bag off at the hotel, then headed straight back out.

It's a bit overcast so I decide to take advantage and do get some outdoor time in, since this might be the only day I won't get absolutely roasted. I walk east along the coast, which takes me though a park/facilities area interspersed with people doing Tai Chi and playing tennis.

Kowloon/mainland Hong Kong, from Quarry Bay
Kowloon/mainland Hong Kong, from Quarry Bay
Hong Kong harbour
Hong Kong harbour

Unfortunately the fireboat museum place there is closed for maintenance but I get a good panorama looking across to Kowloon, the mainland area opposite the main Hong Kong Island settlement, and decide to keep on with the outdoors stuff.

Contains disappointingly little cocktail, but does have random poetry
Contains disappointingly little cocktail, but does have random poetry

I by an Octopus card (Oyster card in London, Octopus card in Hong Kong, Snapper card in Wellington… hmm) and take the trains along a couple of stops and then follow my GPS towards some geocaches up in the hills immediately above the city. It's inching closer to midday and the temperature's definitely rising so on the way I get some stuff from the corner store place. The iceblocks here have real fruit in the middle which is nice. The Cocktail Bread slightly disappointingly contains 0% cocktail, but the wrapper does have some poetry in English on it, so that's something I guess.

WWII communal kitchens
WWII communal kitchens
Flowers in the Hong Kong Island hills
Flowers in the Hong Kong Island hills
Flowers and butterflies in the WWII kitchens
Flowers and butterflies in the WWII kitchens
Flowers in the WWII kitchens
Flowers in the WWII kitchens
Flowers in the WWII kitchens
Flowers in the WWII kitchens
Vibrant cactus in the WWII kitchens
Vibrant cactus in the WWII kitchens
Unknown spiky plants in the WWII kitchens
Unknown spiky plants in the WWII kitchens
Brightly colored flying bug on the hill trails
Brightly colored flying bug on the hill trails

The walk up the hill is not bad, there's nice plants along the way and the views are good, but the most interesting stuff is on the tracks leading off the main way up; after giving up on one under-described geocache due to too many muggles in the area I try out a couple of directions till I find a path leading towards another cache, this one at the second of two sites dating back to WWII.

They're communal cooking facilities built when Hong Kong expected to come under sustained attack; in fact Japan took the territory very quickly and they were never used. Now, plants grow in them, including a number of lovely flowering plants and some interesting spiky guys too.

Attracted to those flowers and those along the trail there's some nice butterflies (mostly a black-and-white kind, but also yellow, light purple and a very fast-moving orange kind) and colorful bugs – an orange and iridescent-blue flying one certainly shows I'm in Asia.

Theraputic pebble walk
Theraputic pebble walk

It's only just going midday by the time I've finished up there with the geocache and taking photos, so I take a chance on following the trail down the other way. As well as the popular BBQing areas there's several exercise areas with a few static props for people to use, and a couple of them have ‘Foot massage’ theraputic pebble beds to walk on – thin-soled shoes required apparently.

Clone buildings vs. dense green bush
Clone buildings vs. dense green bush
Lush red subway-station tiling
Lush red subway-station tiling

The walk down continues to provide good contrasts of city with landscape, with seemingly endlessly-repeated clone buildings juxtaposed against the lush green hills. The colors here seem quite bold – even the subway stations, tiled in a beautiful deep Chinese red.

Back to the hotel via the busy city (more about that tomorrow), check in properly at the hotel and have a shower. Spend an hour or two sorting things out & posting this stuff… BBC World is on with the Georgian situation. There's a bird of prey circling outside my window on the 22nd floor and it seems to set the tone as the nice Finnish chap can't get much out of the Russian guy who's talking hardline. The feed dies for a couple of minutes in the middle of the Russian throwing around some curious statements about international relations, and the world seems a little fragile for a moment.

The afternoon's disappeared and it's time for some dinner…