Posted by: Sam Olsen | August 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Islands

Saturday morning, someone gets home at 1.30 am so two other people have had to share a room and as a consequence neither have slept very well. But, we have a plan for today, a tight schedule and we are jolly well going to have fun even if it doesn’t feel like it rushing to get out of the house in time to catch Ferry No. 1. We are going to Discovery Bay, also known as Disco Bay, which makes it sound a lot sexier than it really is. This is a residential, largely expat area on the same island as the airport (Lantau). The ferry is only about half an hour, and Lawrence snoozed with the ocean lulling him to sleep.

Disco Bay is like a cross between a golf resort (complete with golf buggies, no cars allowed), and Centre Parc. There is a beach, a Club for residents that organises things like table tennis tournaments, and a little shopping area with a few supermarkets and some very nice restaurants. There are shuttle buses to ferry folks around to their apartments which are called things like Costa Villas.  And we saw two pet shops. Everyone here has dogs or children. I can’t see imagine this place holds much appeal for anyone who doesn’t have either, but I’d quite like to live here! Would add even more to the feeling of being on a permanent holiday. We had a lovely breakfast at one of the restaurants to revive ourselves after the late night and early start.

After a stroll along the prom, it was time to catch Ferry no. 2 to Peng Chau. This ferry felt very back-packery, with no glass in the windows or a/c, but it was a pleasant short journey. Peng Chau is a tiny island nearby, and all along the harbour and the streets there were flags fluttering. We had hit local Hong Kong!  Hardly a western face in sight, and certainly no high rise buildings.  There are no cars here either, but people get about on bikes instead of golf buggies. We disembarked, ready for a cold drink. But this seemed easier said than done. The couple of cafes we encountered were completely full, so we wandered on with me getting hotter and hotter and yes, a bit cross too. A group of what looked like scouts were preparing some costumes and enormous drums, so we asked a shopkeeper what was going on. A festival! For Tin Hau, Goddess of the Sea, to protect fisherman. All the shops had dishes of fruit and burning candles in the doorway. (To be honest some were shops, some were people’s houses I couldn’t tell the difference!).  At 1pm the parade began. What a racket! Constant banging of drum and cymbals, with lots of flags and papier mache silvery fish on the end of poles. The dragons were a little scary when they came up close, even the locals backing away. Lawrence was unperturbed when one approached him, what a tough little boy! Or perhaps rather like a ferocious little dog on a lead, it was because he was securely attached to Daddy in the sling.

Finally, craving some a/c, we returned to Central on our third ferry of the day, Lawrence wolfing down a portion of fish pie on the way.   The adults instead enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea overlooking Victoria Harbour from the IFC building.


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