We've been having really clear weather this past week in HK, and practically all week while I was at work at the ICS kindergarten summer school (more on this in a later post), I kept thinking how nice it would be to get out and go to the beach. Well that very opportunity presented itself when I heard that a group that I go hiking with regularly would be going out to Saikung for a 17 km hike that would pass by one of HK's most beautiful beaches, Tailong ("big wave") beach. I decided to go with them, but planned to part ways at the beach, and get some beach time in while they continued the hike. Going on the hike involved leaving the house at about 6:40 (not normally my cup of tea, but I did it!) and meeting the group out at Saikung. We hiked around part of the High Island Reservoir and then met up with the MacLehose trail. It was a good hike, but difficult because of the extreme heat. Here are some photos.
Here's the hiking party, sans Michelle. An interesting note: I'm the only one in the group under 50.
A view of the High Island reservior. What a beautiful day!
This is Saiwan beach, the first beach we came to.
A view of Hamtin beach (and Tailong beach in the distance).
At Hamtin I split from my hiking friends. I think that Hamtin translates into "salty field." But from the incomprehensibly large number of cow pies I saw on the beach, I think it deserves to be renamed. How do you say "giant bovine litterbox" in Cantonese?
Here's one of many very large spiders that I came across while making me way on a small path between Hamtin beach and Tailong beach. After taking this picture, I tried to get another shot from a different angle and must have actually touched the web, because the hand-sized spider started running down the web towards me. For someone who claims not to be afraid of spiders, I was pretty freaked out.
My perfect day on the beach begins. No, this is not Thailand or Hawaii -- it's Hong Kong!!
When I arrived at about 10:30, there were all of 3 people on the beach!
This picture is for you, Sal (and you too, CR!). Yes, it's the infamous rock where I nearly got us killed 2 years ago. For others that might be reading this, let me explain. This little hill separates Hamtin and Tailong beach. Two years ago Salome, Cristy Rose and I hung out at Hamtin for a while, and then wanted to make our way over to Tailong. The rocks on the Hamtin side were pretty easy to climb on, so I suggested just climbing around the hill to the other side. Well, what this picture may or may not illustrate well is that the rocks become a bit more treacherous on the Tailong side. I definitely remember doing some full-on rock-climbing, not to mention jumping over chasms, all the while being splashed with salt water. And if I remember correctly, we did all of this in flip flops. Seeing this rock made me thankful all over again that all three of us are still alive.
A view of Tailong beach (left; Hamtin is on the right) from the top of the hill that I grudgingly hiked over. I left the beach at about noon, and hadn't really considered how hot the rest of the hike would be. I had plenty of water and Pocari, but still had a few moments when I was sure I would die on the trail... or at least go into heat-induced convulsions. I was comforted by the fact that there were many other beach-goers on the trail, so if something did happen to me, I would most probably be found, and my remains returned to my family.
I saw these interesting flowers/fruit (?) that reminded me of a story I read to my classes last week -- The Grouchy Ladybug.
This was the last beach I came to on the hike back. I think it's called Chek Keng, or something like that.
One of my favorite things to do while hiking in this part of Saikung is to explore all the old villages along the way, and since I was hiking alone, I was able to stop as much as I wanted. Here's some kind of old threshing machine inside one of the abandoned village houses.
Ugghh... I found out that the Civil Engineering Development Department are tearing down some of the interesting uninhabited houses.
This village is only accessible by boat and hiking trail, so I guess they had to bring all the equipment in by boat.
So that was my trip to Saikung. Other than sunburnt shins (I didn't think to put sunscreen there), I made it back safe and sound.
Then later that day...
Yesterday was Athania's birthday (Happy 28th Athania!), so a few of us went to Felix for drinks to celebrate. I'd always been curious about what Felix would be like. It's on the top floor of the Peninsula Hotel, so I guess I was expecting a pretty exclusive club. It turned out to have a very welcoming atmosphere, and was much brighter than I thought it would be. Here's Athania and Chris posing with my lovely green drink, "Jade". Yay for Athania's favorite color!
And here's Chris, in the spirit of "The Dude", with a white russian.
Athania posing with another green drink; this time it's Kaiser's funky heinekin (sp?) bottle.
Felix has a great view, but we never figured out what the blinds were about...
Sal and Kai in front of the harbor-scape. You can sort of make out the top of IFC2 (AKA the giant nose-clipper building) in the background.
More posing in front of the blinds... I mean, the harbor.
Athania and I did the girly thing and made a trip to the bathroom together. What a view. Actually, I think I heard about Felix's bathrooms before I heard of Felix itself.
After the Felix festivities came to an end, some of us headed over to Aqua Spirit, another restaurant/club with a spectacular view. It's at the top of 1 Peking Rd, and get this, doesn't have blinds on the windows! They had these cool blue lights in the tables that I thought looked pretty, well, cool. Here's Kaiser trying to look candid, though he knows I'm taking his picture.
So that was my day. I have some more things to post, but they will have to wait until later.