Out to Hong Kong’s outlying islands

Boats in harborToday we took the ferry to Cheung Chau, "a picturesque island with a waterfront that bustles with activity." Only a thirty minute fast ferry ride from Central, Cheung Chau was indeed picturesque when we arrived. Fishing boats were moored along the water's edge. School children walked through the streets in their school uniforms. An old woman with a large straw hat placed small fish on a screen for drying. A man worked to repair very fine wisps of fishing net in the bow of his boat. And everywhere people biked to and fro, as the island has no cars. We disembarked with the enthusiasm of tourists ready for a new site. And then the heat nearly felled us.

Outside Pak Tai TempleMy God, but it was hot! The clouds that hung above the skyscrapers of Hong Kong were gone, and in their place was relentless blue. Within minutes we were sweating heavily, and all thoughts of renting bicycles to tour the island were forgotten. We shuffled down the main drag, taking note of possible lunch spots, then ducked into the shade of the Pak Tai Temple, where we lit incense for long life. We should have lit incense for cooling breezes instead!

At Tung Wan beachThen over to Tung Wan beach, which was littered with sea glass of all sizes and colors. I collected two green souvenirs as we walked its unshaded sandy length. Then it was back to the harbor-side of the island for lunch, but not before my sandal had a blow-out. On day two of a twenty-one day trip! Sandal blowoutLuckily, the blow-out didn't seem to effect the mechanics of the sandal whatsoever, and I walked along almost in more comfort than I had when it "worked" as we headed to lunch.

Shade and a checked tablecloth alongside the water's edge beckoned us to Hing Lok restaurant. Looking over the menu, we bemoaned our lack of gastronomic capacity. So many delicious choices, but an emulation of R.W. Apple's culinary adventures was not to be. Jason ordered fried noodles with soy sauce and pork, I ordered "salt and pepper shrimps" and a (what turned out to be quite large) Tsing Tao. As we waited for our food, a woman came out from the restaurant with a live lobster in her hand, its tail flipping and flapping, showing it to the table next to us for approval before cooking. Again I cursed our small bellies with room for only one item each! Secretly I hoped she'd show me a handful of shrimp, but it didn't happen.

Eating yummy shrimpsSoon they whisked a heaping platter of pink shrimp to me and I dug in. By "pepper" I think they meant hot pepper, and by "salt" I think they meant garlic, but no worries, these shrimp were delicious, and I decapitated, peeled, and consumed with relish! When we were finished, we strolled back to the ferry, content to return to its air-conditioned comfort and our return journey "home," a delightful–if slightly shortened–outing to the outlying islands complete.