Camping on Po Toi island

Camp­ing on Po Toi island

Sit­ting, watch­ing the nev­er-end­ing ship lights on the hori­zon. They look like Christ­mas lights, I think to myself. A steady breeze blows against my tent and keeps the mos­qui­tos down — most­ly. Every few min­utes the light­house above me flash­es. A few hours ear­li­er the sun light up the sky in a bril­liant dis­play of col­ors. I’m alone here, savor­ing the peace and qui­et as I watch the end­less flow of con­tain­er ships. They are head­ed to the port of Hong Kong one of the busiest har­bors in the world. The near­by neigh­bor­hoods of  Kowloon & Mong Kok, one of the most dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed places on the plan­et, just 12 miles from where I sit. Yet here I am on an island, look­ing out over the South Chi­na Sea, alone.

Hong Kong Islands on an overcast day

Hong Kong’s Islands on an over­cast day

An over­cast day as the plane descends into Hong Kong. Forest­ed islands, I expect­ed more city.

Victoria Harbor Skyline

Vic­to­ria Har­bor Sky­line

My first trip was in May this year and last­ed about two weeks. I fit in a lot of explo­ration around Hong Kong: Two days of canyoneer­ing, tem­ples, a hike to Sui­cide Rock tow­er­ing over the city (prob­a­bly the best city view I’ve seen),

a drink in Ozone, tout­ed as the high­est bar in the world and wit­nessed a bizarre “ladies night” at a bar/lounge where we were greet­ed by “See any­thing you like?” from a most­ly naked black man with a gold snake chok­er as his pushed his body up to my small Asian friend Kathy. Inci­den­tal­ly, I was expect­ing a tea house.

It was def­i­nite­ly an inter­est­ing trip, and while I fit in a lot it wasn’t quite long enough and I missed out on the islands, set­ting up my tent some­where far removed from the crowds of Kowloon.

Camping atop Lantau Peak

Camp­ing atop Lan­tau Peak

Return to Hong Kong

So when my Visa for Chi­na need­ed to be renewed I decid­ed to return to Hong Kong and stay for a week or two, that was about 5 weeks ago.

Tung Lung Chau Bay

Tung Lung Chau

In the last 5 weeks, I’ve explored the islands and beach­es, camped alone under the stars, noth­ing but the sounds of the waves lulling me to sleep. Count­less hikes, explored more tem­ples and learned much more about this city and its his­to­ry, includ­ing the bizarrely unique drag­on holes (Read more about it here)

Over the past ten days I’ve slowed down (for at least a few days at a time) and start­ed writ­ing about Hong Kong and now I’ve real­ized what a mon­u­men­tal task it is, but I have to start some­where:

What I thought was just a busy city has revealed itself to me as so much more than that. On one side it’s a crowd­ed con­densed city, but if you’eve got some time and a lit­tle patience to look fur­ther you will see a unique blend of East and West. You will find unique tem­ples, cul­ture and some beau­ti­ful and tran­quil places, so close yet so far removed from the chaos of the city. Hong Kong as I see it is a case in which the usu­al­ly harsh hand of colo­nial­ism has cre­at­ed a sanc­tu­ary of cul­ture and pro­tec­tion of the great out­doors, a place I have fall­en in love with

Dragon Holes

 

Kamikaze Tun­nels of Hong Kong- A sto­ry of War and Occu­pa­tion

:

Hong Kong’s Mon­ster Build­ing

Leav­ing Hong Kong I plan on return­ing to main­land Chi­na and then onto Viet­nam where I will buy a motor­cy­cle and ride through the coun­try over a few months stop­ping at beach­es, explor­ing caves and hope­ful­ly learn­ing a lot about the local cul­tures.

 

 

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