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Phespirit goes to China
Hong Kong     March 2003

AROUND CHINA

Map of China

1 Hong Kong

The usually-reliable intuitive radar that has steered Phespirit round many a great metropolis was found sadly wanting in Hong Kong.

It is very much a city in three dimensions. Consider:

  1. the MTR underground train network;
  2. the roads and sidewalks at ground level;
  3. the covered walkways elevated above the traffic.

Layers often run contrary to the lines of their adjacent layer(s) and each layer has its own annoyingly deceptive dead-ends.

So getting about can be a bit of a challenge.

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2 Aberdeen

Phespirit dutifully participated in the essential tourist activity when he visited Aberdeen: he toured around the harbour in a sampan.

As well as the fishing boats and house boats, junks and sampans which cram Aberdeen harbour, there is the Jumbo Restaurant: the largest, tackiest floating restaurant in the world.

It is a sight to behold, if not a place to dine.

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3 Stanley

A little town with a big market aimed at tourists, but none the less interesting for that. It has a couple of nice-looking sandy beaches, and generally has the air of being a peaceful, pleasant place.

Phespirit stayed for less than an hour, so his savouring didn't last.

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4 Kowloon

Now what did Phespirit do in Kowloon?

Well, first he almost decked the leaflet monkey who had the nerve to grab his shoulder after Phespirit arrived by Silver Star Ferry and ignored all the garbage that was being proffered around the pier.

Next up: strolling through the themed sections of Kowloon Park.
Then on to the particularly fine Hong Kong Museum of History.

And finally back to the harbour front via Temple Street Market and Nathan Road to admire the glittery Hong Kong skyline by night.

That is what Phespirit did in Kowloon.

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5 Yung Shue Wan

Island location: Lamma Island
Getting there: 20 minutes by fast ferry from Hong Kong Central

Yung Shue Wan is a genuine fishing village with a small cluster of restuarants and other amenities for the visitor.

Phespirit walked from Yung Shue Wan to Sok Kwu Wan via:

  • the golden sands of Hung Shing Yeh south beach;
  • a couple of tiny pavillions with panoramic views en route;
  • a detour to the small and cosy Lo So Shing beach;
  • Cave Kamikaze, built for Japanese suicide attack boats.

This most leisurely of walks lasted about an hour by footpath over gentle hills on an island with no traffic. Nice.

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6 Sok Kwu Wan

Island location: Lamma Island
Getting there: 25 minutes by fast ferry from Hong Kong Central

Sok Kwu Wan is essentially a parade of seafood restaurants with outdoor seating and rows of tanks bubbling with fresh catches.

Phespirit walked past them all and headed straight for the ferry to Hong Kong. Apparently they do a good trade by night, though.

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7 Ngong Ping

Island location: Lantau Island
Getting there: 45 minutes by #2 bus from Mui Wo ferry terminal

Phespirit visited Ngong Ping to see the Po Lin Monastery and the gigantic Tian Tan Buddha which squats on an overlooking peak.

Po Lin Monastery is a large complex of Buddhist temples located amid hills on the Ngong Ping Plateau. One building has a strange Avatasaka-Sutra: portraits of the Bodhisattvas painted in blood by Master Xin Che from Beijing which were completed in 1946. Of 81 original chapters only 64 remain intact; of these 64, only chapters 23, 24, 25, 26 and 29 were on show in all their grim, faded beauty while Phespirit was there. Precious things indeed.

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8 Mui Wo

Island location: Lantau Island
Getting there: 30-35 minutes by ferry from Hong Kong Central

Phespirit didn't hang around in Mui Wo.

When he arrived, he immediately caught the #2 bus to the Po Lin Monastery at Ngong Ping. When he returned, he immediately set out walking over the hills to Discovery Bay.

The walk was arduous, taking all of two hours up and down steep slopes on a stepped concrete footpath under an unforgiving sun.

Phespirit has done it ..... and was done in by it.

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9 Discovery Bay

Island location: Lantau Island
Getting there: 25-30 minutes by ferry from Hong Kong Central

As a foot-sore Phespirit emerged from the forests on the fringes of Discovery Bay his first priority was to find the ferry for Hong Kong.

This proved unexpectedly tricky, however, as he made successive false starts and had to backtrack long distances from dead ends.

Phespirit blames it all on the annoying absence of signposts, plus the sterile uniformity of residential streets in Discovery Bay, which seem to be settled entirely by the families of well-monied ex-pats.

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  1. Hong Kong
  2. Aberdeen
  3. Stanley
  4. Kowloon
  5. Yung Shue Wan
  6. Sok Kwu Wan
  7. Ngong Ping
  8. Mui Wo
  9. Discovery Bay
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Hong Kong Aberdeen Stanley Kowloon Yung Shue Wan Sok Kwu Wan Ngong Ping Mui Wo Discovery Bay