Posted by: Sam Olsen | October 5, 2011

Fiddler on the mud

It is another Bank Holiday today (must say these mid-week days off are rather discombobulating). This time in aid of Chung Yeung; honouring the deceased and elderly. I also read on Wikipedia it is to honour Mountain Climbing. My colleague told me this actually means that traditionally one is meant to scarper onto higher ground to avoid death. Instead, the Olsens set off for an alluvial plain in the furthest point Northwest in the New Territories. One taxi, two tubes, and then an intriguing tram called the Light Rail where you just hop on and off without checking the number on the front and it magically gets you to the right place (as designated by Ginger’s colleague in the other Hiking Guidebook).  

The New Territories looks like exactly that. There are lots of roads, convenient and well-laid out public transport systems, malls a-plenty and thousands and thousands of high-rise flats. At this point you realise just how populous HK is.  Our purpose was to visit some of the very few remaining heritage sites from from the Qing dynasty and earlier by following the Ping Shan Heritage Trail.  This encompassed a temple closed due to termite infestation, a couple of large ancestral halls and a guest house with some impressive tiling and shrines.  We finished up at a Pagoda in the new town of Tin Shui Wai. They sure do make you work for your glimpse of history here.  It seems a shame that there are so few ancient buildings and monuments left, and so much money in HK, and yet no-one can afford or be bothered to get the termites out of the temple! 

Rather tired and hungry, we moved on to the Hong Kong Wetlands park, modelled on the London Wetland Centre we presumed. This kid-friendly park looks out just across the Pearl River Delta into China. It was rammed. It might have been kid-friendly but the kids weren’t exactly friendly to the wildlife. All the birds had been scared off and the local children seemed happiest when stamping on ants and other insects to kill them. Ah well! We spent a happy quarter of an hour on the mangrove walk watching the fiddler crabs and mudskippers skittering about. Very few westerners up here today, only a few who were with local friends or family. Lawrence enjoyed chatting to a little boy on the train on the way home, who had a new toy still in it’s box. “Three and up” he read out sternly when our laddie tried to get his clammy paws on the toy.  Good English!


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