Monday, April 15, 2013

where the wild things are

A lot of Singaporeans go to Hong Kong to shop and eat. 

We went to Hong Kong for five days to HIKE and eat. It's called luxury hiking: you go out for a nice walk every day, somewhere you can get to by some combination of subway and taxi, and then come back every night to eat a lot and have a hot shower and sleep in a real bed. Why didn't I think of this before? 
The temperature was 15 to 20 degrees C. Perfect weather! Pity about the fog.

<--  a lot of my vacation looked like this.

Day 1: Wednesday 

Quarry Bay to ? Park View

Take the MTR (subway) to Tai Koo MTR station.
Turn left; walk all the way up Greig Road to the start of the Mt Parker trail.
Don't ask me for any more directions. We promptly got spun around A LOT, crisscrossed Mount Parker Road, got as far as Mt Butler, went up and down Sir Cecil's Ride, and finally were spat out onto Mount Parker Road again.
This took about an hour. By then it was 5pm and starting to rain and get dark...

before it got dark.
we also met up with friends for dinner and ice cream.
that's leanne in the foreground, levi in the middle.  
Day 2: Thursday. It rained the entire time.

We left the hostel three times: 
- for a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, milk tea, and that curious Hong Kong delicacy, macaroni soup with ham, at Capital Cafe 
- for lunch with Jeanette, my former colleague who now works at South China Morning Post
- for dinner at Mak's Noodles with Lee, a kid from the UK we met at our hostel. 

Clearly a very productive day. 


    Day 3 was even more productive. 

    How to hike Lantau Island: 

    1. Take the MTR out to Tung Chung, at the end of the orange (Tung Chung) line. 
2. Take a rollercoaster bus ride to Mui Wo, at Lantau's eastern tip. This is where the Lantau Trail begins. 
3. Walk a lot. 
4. Climb every mountain.
And I mean all of them. 

You're in luck; there are stairs. 

There are more stairs about twice as steep as this, much higher up, atop Sunset Peak and Lantau Peak which are fairly exposed. 

And then stairs all the way down. 

After this you will not want to look at a staircase again for some time. 

5. I don't know how you feel about the Buddha. I was quite happy to see him, or at least the giant statue of him at Ngong Ping. It meant I was definitely still alive. 
6. Sorry about the mist/ fog/ smog. As you can see, the views were few and far between. Sometimes this was a good thing - especially when I'm afraid of heights. 
7. When you get to Ngong Ping, which is a big tourist destination, TAKE THE FANCY CABLE CAR BACK TO TUNG CHUNG. By no means take the rollercoaster bus, if, like me, you have a very motion-sensitive stomach and have not eaten a full meal all day, only snacks. The cable car would've been worth the extra, oh, ten bucks. 

At the end of all that we had an enormous dinner of crab, razor clams, clams, whitebait, oyster porridge, salted-egg prawns, etc. at Qiao Tei with friends. (I think we earned it.) 

"You Singaporeans," laughed the lady at the hostel reception desk when we announced where we were going for dinner. "You come prepared with a whole list of places to eat!"

Day 4 was more sedate. 

Still sore from the 13km/ 5-hour walk of the day before, we took the Peak Tram up Victoria Peak and did the 3.5km Peak Circle Walk. Fortunately the sky was clearer - we even had some sun...

As my husband put it: "Yesterday was lots of effort for no views. Today - no effort, lots of views."

wok-seared rice rolls (chee cheong fun) with sesame and sweet sauces
And then it was off to Happy Valley for some dim sum at Yu Man Fang on Sing Woo Road. 

(I am a very bad Asian and keep forgetting to take pictures of my food. My husband has all the food photos on his phone.) 

After all that food we went back to the hostel, vegged out a bit - and headed out for more food: 
- fish congee and pig innard congee at Congee King at Heard Street,
- and traditional 'tong shui' desserts at Tsui Yuen across the road.  

What about Day 5? 

I woke up bright and early and took myself for a solo run up the Wan Chai Green Trail (ok, trudge - this part of the trail goes pretty much straight up and feels like a 30-degree gradient, but there were a lot of very fit little old ladies power-walking it, to whom I said a lot of 'zou sun'/ good mornings), and to the end of Bowen Road and back - about 7km. 

It was probably one of the best runs I've had in a long time. 

managed to take a photo of myself on the run.
still not sure how I did it. 

After that it was showertime and time to head for the airport - 
but not before stopping for MORE dim sum at the Tim Ho Wan branch that is very conveniently located inside Hong Kong Station - right where the Airport Express train is. 

At the end of this great adventure when we touched down back home I managed to be hungry again. I really must have done something to anger my metabolism.

I'm a little sad we didn't manage to make it out to Sai Kung or Lion Rock or any part of the Maclehose Trail... we can save that for next time though. 

Workouts this week: 
- None
- My entire holiday (is it really a workout if my brain is so relaxed?)
- Monday night: easy shake-out-the-legs 10km at the canal, half of which was run with my friend Lin. Took my new Oiselle shorts for a run on a very soggy evening, and at the end they were bone-dry. Either my behind does not sweat or...holy wicking magical powers. Perth Marathon training starts TODAY. 

As I write this it's Boston Marathon Monday and I'm virtually following it online

I do wish they would start an hour earlier though. It's 11.45pm and the lead women still have a good 7km to go - not to mention the friends I'm tracking online who started in Wave 3. I'm propping my eyelids open. Husband has long since gone to bed. Time zones...uff da.

It seems pretty clear this morning that Marathon Monday was not a good Monday
I'm particularly mad about this because what have runners (or their families, or spectators, or race volunteers) ever done to hurt anyone?
But that's the way terror works. right? 
Fortunately there is still goodness in people: people finishing the race and giving blood, helping each other up, offering a place to stay for the night. That's what a community is for.

1 comment:

  1. Do you know, I had a dream that I commented on this post already and I knew exactly what I had typed out and then I woke up this morning and realised that I haven't!

    What I wanted to say was: I really enjoyed this post! It's an entirely different side of Hong Kong than I've seen before (I saw the Buddha from directly below). And those stairs! You are made of far sterner stuff than I.

    And agreed with you on the bit about the runners. You couldn't pick a more random group of innocent civilians, living and enjoying their lives as they should be doing, to attack.