Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dave's Travelogue, Episode 3

This was sent August 12, 2005.

I wouldn't want to leave Hong Kong without touching the South China Sea,
so on Monday I took bus A35 to Cheong Sha beach, reputed to be beautiful.
Nice enough, kinda rocky, wish there weren't bits of garbage here n there.

That was the warmest ocean water I have ever been in, room temperature
or warmer. I didn't swim, just walked in the surf for a half hour.

There are these tiny crabs, just an inch wide including legs,
but they scuttle at an amazing speed. When they stop, they match the
sand so perfectly they are often invisible. I chased one around in a
circle for two minutes. I tried to get a picture of another, but settled
for a picture of his sand hole. I finally got a shot of a third.

Sitting there under a shade tree, it occurred to me that no one in the
world knew where I was.

The A35 bus goes once per hour, and apparently they don't wait if they
see you running for the bus. I got on the next bus that came, route 11,
and transferred at Tung Chung. Noticed that "Passenger talking to a
driver is an offence in law". Oops. Done that.

Hong Kong island faces Kowloon city on the mainland. Really, Hong Kong
and Kowloon together are one big city, with a harbor in the middle.
Tunnels and ferries make the crossing.

Took another shower and boarded the train after dark, to try to get to
Temple Street in Kowloon. Decided to get off at the Kowloon bus station.

Again, this is a building that expects no foot traffic, and they make it
difficult to exit the building. A couple others like me, who just can't get
the message, were searching for the exit, and we escaped through the
bus doors to an industrial neighborhood. I carry a compass, and turned
northeast towards Kowloon.

Kowloon is a city of small storefronts, and as you walk towards Temple Street,
the tempo picks up. More people selling more stuff to more customers
under more neon light. On Temple street, they setup street stalls, so as
you walk down the three foot wide center aisle, you see two sellers on the left,
and two more on the right. Shirts, hats, watches, CDs, DVDs, knives,
and novelties. I bought six items I didn't know I needed from four stalls.

From there, I wanted to walk south and take the required ferry ride to
Hong Kong, but Kowloon, like home, doesn't always allow you to
go the direction you wish. After some frustration, I found Nathan Street,
which is listed as a tourist attraction itself. Few stalls, but practically
paved with neon, and apparently the Rolex capital of the world. The Canon
20D camera I keep looking at still costs about US $1500. Walked maybe
ten blocks south.

Some very friendly young ladies said hello to me as I turned west towards
the ferry. I took a couple of shots of Hong Kong by night from the pier,
but I can't get this camera to do well with city-by-night shots. The
seats on the ferry have hinged (reversible) backs, so that they can face
forward or rearward. Roughly Kennywood style woodwork.

A youth symphony had just let out, and dozens of well-dressed youth,
mostly with violins and beaming parents, got on board ahead of me. Crossing
took maybe 20 minutes, watching the city through smeary plastic windows. Then
a ten minute walk to the train to the Airport/Hotel.


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