Countryside in Hong King

Many people think of HK as about high rise buildings and 7 million crowded into a small space. But there is plenty of countryside and today we got to appreciate a quiet and peaceful enclave. Today promised to be the busiest day of my trip and some 12 hours since I left my hotel this morning and having walked nearly 5 miles during the day, which I’m afraid for me is a long way, I have survived, and more than that I have had a wonderful day with great scenery and great company. I was picked up this morning by two of my closest friends here in Hong Kong and we were joined by one of my closest working colleagues during the 14 years that I have worked here.
Our first stop after about an hours drive was at the Wetland reserve of Hong Kong. I was very hopeful that my rather big, heavy and, ok, pretentious camera lens would enable me to take some good quality bird photographs. It did not quite work out that way as i had problems with my equipment and ended up with rather too many blurry outlines of Lake land birds. I think also there was a paucity of small birds around at the Wetlands. Thus my real interest in capturing local birds remained unfulfilled. In fact I did much better yesterday.
But this did not detract from a lovely morning out and I managed to get one or two ‘satisfactory’ pics which I have included below. A light lunch at the visitor centre there and then we made our way to the Peak. The Victoria Peak is the No 1 tourist attraction in Hong Kong and over the years I have taken many people up there and today the four of us went up there somewhat more easily by car then the normal route. We enjoyed the scenery around us. Unfortunately as is often the case at the Peak slight mistiness meant that we were unlikely to capture the magic of the harbour views way down below but nevertheless it was good once again, possibly for the final time, to visit the attraction. We were able to sit down for coffee and just share our experiences of working together and of our friendship and that was in itself an important part of the day.
One of our party had to leave at this point as we made our way down to Wan Chai. Here we met with the head of the leading voluntary sector organisation working with offenders in community rehabilitation. He gave us some time to chat about the work that I have been doing in England and it was interesting to renew my acquaintance with him. He was unable to join us for dinner but they are having a big event next year and it may be I can come over and do a seminar for them. Be nice to return.
We then went to a new restaurant that is a social enterprise run by this organisation. We were treated wonderfully. We were given the private dining room and a special menu had been prepared. The restaurant is a fusion of Japanese, Korean and French food. So we had a salad for us to begin with, then spicy kimchi soup, Cheese croquettes and prawns wrapped in a light pastry. We then were treated to a Korean barbecue followed by a desert of chocolate fondant which was enjoyed by my friends though I politely refused. It did look very good though. I also tasted for the first time a Japanese beer which has a frothy head which is actually made of icicles. Always nice to have something new and I enjoyed two glasses.
Again we chatted about what was going on in our lives and also some of our experiences together of the past 14 years. I had now recovered from the walk in the morning though was now a bit stiff though felt that I had survived the day quite well. (Another bonus was my stomach did not cause me a problem). I knew this day would be the most demanding but also offering me new experiences with trusted friends. The food at the end of the day really brought the day together so well and as I try and write this Blog before I go to sleep I do feel relaxed and fulfilled.
Tomorrow I meet up with other friends for lunch and coffee in the afternoon but will make a point of taking it a little more steadily so I do not tire myself out for the remaining few days. Already half my time here is over and it always goes so quickly when I visit. It is encouraging that people talk to me about coming back and in engaging in various new activities. Whether it will be possible to do this I do not know but it is nice that people want me to return and for my part of course if I stay well enough returning would just be joy.
I think it’s time to rest, more tomorrow I hope.

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