Some photos from my first 2 weeks in Hong Kong, before I started work. Apart from unpacking and tidying and getting used to the humidity, I got out and saw some of the country:
The first couple of pics are of Shing Mun country park. It was here I discovered that people in HK like to listen to music while walking in the country. But not through headphones, no; through hand held speakers. Strolling around the reservoir you would at first hear a faint sound drawing closer, then realise that it was Lady GaGa playing before a middle aged woman power-walked past with the music pumping from her back pocket. I love GaGa, but it did seem mildly out of place. There are also lots of monkeys in the park (yes, the one in the photo is picking at the other’s fanny). I still smile to think that I actually live somewhere with things like wild monkeys and beaches. Of course, the UK has beaches – but I mean proper beaches where you can sunbathe rather than be blown off your feet by gales, and swim rather than dip a toe in the shallows before contracting frostbite.
The next photo is off 24 decorative flowers that I stuck on our living room wall. I have since spent the last 5 months sticking them back on after they have fallen off, one by one.
The three photos after that are of the Kowloon Walled Garden, which stands on the sight of the notorious Walled City. 20 years ago this was the most densely populated place on the planet. At its height there were 33000 people living an an area of o.o1 square miles. It was basically lawless, ruled by neither Britain nor China, and was filled with triad members, drug addicts and prostitutes. A bit like *insert local, scaffy provincial town of choice here (I’d personally go for Kelty)*. Anyway, in the early ’90s it was demolished, a park built with nice gardens and pagodas, and all the druggies and gangsters renounced their ways and became law-abiding citizens elsewhere in Hong Kong. As if…
The next 2 photos are of Wong Tai Sin – a big temple in the north of the city. It was big, and there were lots of people burning incense and praying. I can’t really offer much more of a description than that.
After that are 3 photos of Peng Chau which means (I think…) Little Island. Hong Kong is a sweaty, steamy seething mass of humanity but it is surprisingly easy to escape by heading for an island or the New Territories. As you can see from these pictures, it’s not a scene that you would usually associate with Hong Kong. The man with the dogs kindly opened up his living room and gave us a can of coke. Which was lovely.
The 2 city views are from a cocktail bar at the top of The One shopping centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. There is something strangely beautiful about a city at night. In fact, the bigger and shinier the city the more picturesque it becomes when the sun goes down.
Then there is a picture of a typical ‘hot-pot’ – a common way of eating for Hong Kongers. I can’t remember what all the foods are on the table. I probably had not idea what they were at the time, either.
The final three photos are of from a bike ride we took from Sha Tin to Tai Mei Tuk, around Tolo Harbour. I can see the mountains in the picture every day, from the staffroom at work. On this trip I managed to get myself burned to a bright shade of pink, even though the sun never actually came out. Rule #7 for gingers in the sun: you can still get burned through the clouds. In one photo I’m pretending to pee in the water – but you can clearly see the bottle. Oh well…