Hong Kong Part 2

Trip Start Apr 30, 2004
Trip End Jan 28, 2005

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Thursday, June 3, 2004

Day 24 - Sun 23rd May
Lazy morning followed by lazy afternoon at the beach with Paul, Kim and Holly. Mike Duggan also turns up with his daughter Kiri who comes swimming with us. Paul is working for Mickey Mouse at the moment on the new disney park on Lantau, due to open next year.

After a pleasant afternoon we have a pleasant dinner in YungShu Wan and to avoid any Rene anxiety due to not having the torch with us , we get the ferry back to Pakj Kok.

Expenses HK$ - bread and crisps 25, beer 50, dinner 170, ferry 11.

Day 25 - Mon 24th
Up and out on the earlyish ferry (9am). It's early if not in the world of work. We hand our visa forms into the embassy and book bus tickets to Nanning. The bus leaves Thursday evening and takes 12 hours. From Nanning we hope to catch the train to Hannoi. Bizarrely we can't book the train till we get into China.

We are back on Lamma by lunchtime. It really is hot, even the locals are complaining. The humidity sucks all the energy out of you in an hour. Rene fills Lucas's paddling pool and submerges herself. I take Nipper and Spam for a walk but they've had enough after 5 mins.

The mosquitos are also particularly busy this year. Rene and I appear to have chicken pocks from the thighs down, which is very attractive. Cita has bought 2 mosquito killers. They are tennis racquets with wire instead of strings. A hold down button on the handle sends an electric charge through the wire, if you catch a mosquito on the wire it flashes and pops and is burnt to a crisp. Its not normally a vegetarians cup of tea but mosquitos are nasty, nasty, nasty.

After an exhausting day of nothingness we watch Finding Nemo with Rosie and Lucas, enjoy another gorgeous feast courtesy of Cita and collapse into our sleeping bag liners.

Expenses: Ferry 44, visas 500, nanning tickets 640, bread 12.

Day 26 - Tues 25th May
Went to Lantau today. Lantau is HK's largest island and is covered in peaks, valleys, beaches and fields.

After a ferry and MTR ride we catch the bus from Tung Chung to Tai O. This is a small fishing village where the houses are on stilts and connected to precarious wooden bridges. The drive was lovely but it wasn't what we were expecting. Tai O was more Heysham than Porthleven,but there you go. We walked through the village, parts of which were fascinating but didn't stay too long.

Au Revoir Mousier Houllier! We have already faxed our application for the job. Rene will be chief executive and players masseuse, while I'll be player / manager with a free roll, just behind the front two. If we are unsuccessful then Mr Mourinto (Porto) Mr Benitez (Valencia) or Mr O'Neil (Celtic) woulddo nicely.

We arrive at the Po Lin Monastry by bus. It is also the site of the Big Budha statue, 26m high and made of bronze. Today is the day before Buddhas birthday, there are flags, people, incense burning and digital cameras everywhere. The big bronze Budha (the largest seated Budha in the world) is impressive, but the whole site has been turned into a bit of a circus,

We taje the slow ferry back to Central, the smog laden clouds hang low and heavy over the barbour.The tugs and cranes, cargo boats and junks fill the horizon making it look like a Lowry painting.

There are dogs everywhere on Lamma, reminding us of Beryl. I'm used to Beryl's company all day, every day at work and I'm missing not having our dog by my side. If we're on a bus I sometimes subconciously reach out to stroke Beryl (as I do in my van at home), luckily it's usually Rene sat next to me and she growls and bares her teeth.

We slip into sleep tonight with thoughts of walks on Ohio with Beryl running through our minds.

Expenses HK$%: Ferry 61, Bus 70, Cards 6250, lunch 24, water 7.50.

Day 27 - Wed 26th May
Paul Disney Duggan is 30ish today and Cita is 20ish, so it's a bank holiday in HK. It's also Budhas birthday who I think is 45 or 46.

After visiting Paul, Kim and Holly we spend a lovely afternoon talking, swimming and eating on Power Station beach, with Tracey, Jerry and Lucas. It's a beach next to a power station. Lovely white sand and blue sea with huge chimenies and industrial buildings to one side. It's surreal.

We call and wish Cita a happy birthday, she's having a BBQ with her firends. Cita has cooked Rene and I a fish, it tastes delicious and was so kind and thoughtful of her.

A hot sunny day on the beachwas a good way to spend our last full day on Lamma.

Expenses: bread and salad 31.

Day 28 - Thurs 27th May
Busy morning in central, sorting out visas, money and bits and pieces for the next stage of our journey.

We're catching the 7.30pm bus to Nanning. It takes 12 hours.

We return to Lamma at lunchtime and during the walk from Yung Shu Wan to Pak Kok it finally happens. It dropped from a wall on the side of the path and darted across into the bushes on the other side, 20foot away and gone in seconds. It was a 4ft rat snake.

Anyone who knows Rene will be ware of her fear of snakes, but having never seen one in the flesh I didn't know how she would react. Rene realised there was a fair chance that somewhere on our trip we would encounter a live snake and that somehow it would be OK. Oh no, no, no,no, no. I won't go into too much detail because I promised I wouldn't and besides it wasn't in any way funny. Until this point I had never seen anybody truly scared, so absolutely petrified that they couldn't breathe or move, and I hope never to see it again.

Cathy: There are no words to describe the fear that gripped my entire body and left me hyper ventilating with tears streaming down my face. I've always known I'm scared of snakes but can't quite believe how badly I reacted to the real thing. I was completely out of control. Luckily my adorable husband was completely in control and managed to calm my breathing, stem my tears and get me safely back to Tracey's where a cold beer was most welcome. I'm devastated at my reaction to real snakes and anxious about my next encounter!

Our last few hours on Lamma are spent sorting and packing our backpacks. Earlier in the week we sent a large box containing clothes, books and bits and pieces back to IOM, in the hope it would make our bags easier to handle, but having packed, they didn't appear any lighter.

From the tiny pier at Pak Kok we bid a fond farewell to Lamma. We must thank from the bottom of our rucksacks Jerry, Tracey, Rosie, Lucas and Cita for being the perfect hosts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Our last ferry trip and MTR ride land us in Mon Kok where we board the overnguht bus to Nanning. The seats are comfortable and reclining, the roads once out of HK are potholed and therfore incredibly bumpy. Still, Rene sleeps like a baby, I sleep like a teething baby.
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