HONG KONG - PEARL OF THE ORIENT
HONG KONG - CHEUNG CHAU ISLAND
The village has become quite built up, but it is still fun to explore, with narrow alleys, old creaking homes and shops, burning incense and drying fish. There is no motorized transport (not that I have seen any), which adds to the casual atmosphere. However, the island becomes a zoo on weekends when swamps of city dwellers come out to feast on seafood or play at the beach.
On board of the forty-five minute ferry, just about seven minutes prior to arrival at Cheung Chau Island, lots of Chinese buy instant cup noodles and fried luncheon pork - kind of a delicacy local snack for brunch. Smell - intoxicating.
Alighted, I was caught by the radiant hues - rows of trishaws stationed at the jetty. I whipped out my camera and was wondering if these were for hire, a couple jumped on it and paid an old lady for the vehicle. She smiled mischievously with a pleading look "No..no..don't start with me!" For all that is worth the price, he was being persuaded. He has been chauffeuring her in agony while she's taking in the sights. The couple didn't make it though. By the tormented look on the poor boy cycling up the slope with wobbling pedals and whistling for more oxygen, my heart just go all out for him, wishing "driving Ms. Pretty" was easier.
The main beach is always crowded - about ten minutes walk from the ferry pier straight across the narrow isthmus of the island. I chose this part of the beach, which is quiet and enchanting. The whole while here, there were one golden retriever and a mongrel playing in the sandy beach. I was so immersed with their burst of energy, chasing each other from one end of the shore to the other rocky end. They didn't seem to be defeated by the strong rays and gusty wind, in fact the fur shines out handsomely in the hot sun.
Taken some photos at the long shore on the west coast of the island. Scattered with only a few souls who chose to listen to their CD player and for some it was a great reading place on the rocks and guitar by their side.
The sidewalk along the waterfront is filled with seafood restaurants. It still surprised me how this place is buzzing with crowds, both locals and expatriates, despite of its run-down appeal. There are no specific patterns to these waterfront stalls, the way to differentiate between cooked and dried food. I am intrigued always by those little home front stalls, pushcarts and what the local would term it as "run away stalls". I asked the "ah-pou" (old woman) how long these "dried salted fish" have been basking in the sun. My attempts were never good. I either get a mouthful of loud words or "get-lost" hand gesture. Passerby was obviously tickled that I'm a hopeless in instance like this. And I did not find it worth a day out at the island to be scolded just because I find the dried fish intriguingly cute.
At the southern end of Cheung Chau Village along the waterfront, this is as lively as one could get. The elderly take time out to relax in their own way. I was so tempted to take more photos here. Yet having the last dried fish experience, I was terrified to be scolded again. While urging him to be the "look-out", I have wasted almost sixteen shots just to take a picture with clustering old men resting at a long bench under a cypress tree in the waterfront, which is not quite perfect in any way.
Cheung Chau is an island filled with sampans to me. From the start of our journey to the end of the trip, the magnificent coastline, beautiful greens and mills of villagers make a perfect picture. For a small fee, one can take a sampan around through the fishing junks moored in the harbor. At any one time, there bound to be fisherman either mending their net or cleaning the sampan.
It is amazing how simple life can be here. Nobody cares about city trend or fashion, what you see is what you get. I could stay here the whole day through dark, just to catch a glimpse of the harbor night-lights. Thinking of the poor chap who gave up the turf and iron, to accompany me with my haversack of camera lenses, would be happier driving up at the fairway.
I dislike thinking that one man's happiness is another's grief. My day has been fruitful and asked if the same feeling persists, "oh yes, seeing your reaction when you were scolded, was hilarious enough!" See what I mean?