A Travellerspoint blog

November 2021

First Day of Freedom.

Hiking a Dragon's Back.

sunny

This is the first day when I should have been at work, but wasn't, as I have resigned, so I decided to spend my first free morning walking The Dragon's Back.

The Dragon's Back is the most famous and popular hike in Hong Kong. For these reasons I have not done it before. When would I do it? On a weekend with half the population of Hong Kong!!! But today is a weekday and I'm not working and most other people are, so there is nothing to hold me back.

I actually left my alarm set to 5.50am. This was when I used to have to get up to go to school. Admittedly when the alarm went off, I initially declared " Sod it, I'm going back to sleep." But in the end I actually got up and started getting ready at 6.10am.

It's a long way to the Dragon's Back from where I live. I had to take a bus to Sunny Bay, then a train to Hong Kong Station. From there I had to walk across the concourse to Central, then take a train to Shau Kei Wan. At that point I had to catch the number 9 bus to To Tei Wan. This is stop number 12 on the number 9 bus route to Shek O. The bus was quite busy and I initially thought even on a Monday this hike will be crowded, but it actually wasn't too bad at all. Most people continued on the bus either to Big Wave Bay, Shek O or Cape D'Aguilar.

The start of the hike is right next to the bus-stop. Across the road from here there are beautiful views. I had a look at these, then made use of one of the many portaloo cabins next to the trailhead before I started walking. The Dragon's Back hike has cute little dragon signs. The hike is called The Dragon's Back because it undulates up and down like this mythical creature's spine. This walk was featured as the eighth best walk in the world on a CNN list of twenty-three of the world's best walks.

The walk starts right next to this bus-stop.

The walk starts right next to this bus-stop.

Dragon's Back Sign Post.

Dragon's Back Sign Post.

View from across the road from the bus-stop.

View from across the road from the bus-stop.

The start of this hike is the hardest part as it involves climbing quite a few stairs, but there are viewing points along the way and these distract from any wear and tear on the legs. There are also beautiful polyspora axillaris shrubs everywhere. These are more commonly known as fried egg plants due to their large white flowers with their bright yellow centres. This plant is found all over Southern China, including Hong Kong and Hainan Island.

Stairway.

Stairway.

Stairway and Rocks.

Stairway and Rocks.

Interesting plant along the way. It's called a necklace fern.

Interesting plant along the way. It's called a necklace fern.

I just liked the look of this tree.

I just liked the look of this tree.

Fried Egg Plant.

Fried Egg Plant.

Fried Egg Plant.

Fried Egg Plant.

Dragon's Back the first viewing point.

Dragon's Back the first viewing point.

Looking over Tai Tam Harbour from the viewpoint.

Looking over Tai Tam Harbour from the viewpoint.

Looking over Tai Tam Harbour from the viewpoint.

Looking over Tai Tam Harbour from the viewpoint.

After this viewpoint there's a fairly long steep staircase and then there's a viewpoint looking out over Shek O. I left the trail and headed right here to go to a large rocky area with great views over Shek O and its surroundings.

Me at the viewpoint.

Me at the viewpoint.

Shek O Peninsula from the rocky area off to the right.

Shek O Peninsula from the rocky area off to the right.

Shek O Peninsula from the rocky area off to the right.

Shek O Peninsula from the rocky area off to the right.

Shek O Bay.

Shek O Bay.

Interesting rock formations.

Interesting rock formations.

Interesting rock formations.

Interesting rock formations.

Summit of rocky area to the right.

Summit of rocky area to the right.

Summit of rocky area to the right.

Summit of rocky area to the right.

Shek O Country Park and Golf Course.

Shek O Country Park and Golf Course.

Views.

Views.

After this stage the hike starts to go up and down the dragon's spine which sounds hard but really isn't as the ups and downs are fairly small and not too difficult. Eventually the trail climbs up to the highest point known as Shek O Peak. Again there are beautiful views and lots of colourful flowers.

It's possible to see why it's called the Dragon's Back in this picture.

It's possible to see why it's called the Dragon's Back in this picture.

The Dragon's Back.

The Dragon's Back.

On the Dragon's Back.

On the Dragon's Back.

Walking along the ridge.

Walking along the ridge.

Walking along the ridge.

Walking along the ridge.

Mountain Scenery.

Mountain Scenery.

Typical stairway.

Typical stairway.

Mountain view.

Mountain view.

Lookout point near Shek O Summit.

Lookout point near Shek O Summit.

This marker shows the highest point on the trail at Shek O Peak.

This marker shows the highest point on the trail at Shek O Peak.

Signpost at the Summit.

Signpost at the Summit.

Smiley Selfie at the summit.

Smiley Selfie at the summit.

Tall grass and Views.

Tall grass and Views.

Lovely Flowers. I think it is a daisy plant.

Lovely Flowers. I think it is a daisy plant.

I think this might be Smilax zeylanica, which can be used in the treatment of ulcers.

I think this might be Smilax zeylanica, which can be used in the treatment of ulcers.

I think this is Millettia. This or one of its close relatives is being investigated for use as a biofuel.

I think this is Millettia. This or one of its close relatives is being investigated for use as a biofuel.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

From Shek O Summit and beyond there are lovely views over Big Wave Bay, too. Behind Shek O Summit there's another smaller summit with a huge information board to tell people what they are looking at.

Looking at Big Wave Bay.

Looking at Big Wave Bay.

Beautiful coastal scenery.

Beautiful coastal scenery.

Big Wave Bay.

Big Wave Bay.

Big Wave Bay.

Big Wave Bay.

The other summit with the viewpoint.

The other summit with the viewpoint.

When I came down off the ridge, I reached a signpost and this is where I made a mistake. I had intended to walk all the way to Big Wave Bay, which would have begun by following the sign to Tai Tam Gap, but I followed the direction marked To Tei Wan and this meant I actually did a loop back to where I started. I realized my mistake very quickly but by then I was entranced by the views on the loop walk, so I decided to keep going and redo the whole walk ending at Big Wave Bay on a later date. I have done most of the final stretch into Big Wave Bay earlier anyway when I walked from Sai Wan to Big Wave Bay which I wrote about in my blog 'Making Waves'.

The Marker where I went the wrong way.

The Marker where I went the wrong way.

The reason I loved the loop back to the start of the walk was that it had superb views over Tai Tam Harbour and Tai Tam Reservoir and D'Aguilar Point. Like the other parts of the walk it also had beautiful flowers everywhere.

The Way Through the Woods.

The Way Through the Woods.

In the distance lies Tai Tam Reservoir and dam.

In the distance lies Tai Tam Reservoir and dam.

Tai Tam Harbour and Red Hill.

Tai Tam Harbour and Red Hill.

Tai Tam Harbour and Red Hill.

Tai Tam Harbour and Red Hill.

Looking towards D'Aguilar Point.

Looking towards D'Aguilar Point.

Blue Skies above the scene.

Blue Skies above the scene.

More fried egg plants.

More fried egg plants.

Fried Egg Plants at my feet.

Fried Egg Plants at my feet.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Beautiful Flowers.

Lovely red berries.

Lovely red berries.

Beautiful Purple Flower. It's Sticky Adenosma, which has medicinal properties.

Beautiful Purple Flower. It's Sticky Adenosma, which has medicinal properties.

Bright Green Ferns.

Bright Green Ferns.

Hiking the trail. These people were just starting out. I was glad I started early as it was getting hot.

Hiking the trail. These people were just starting out. I was glad I started early as it was getting hot.

Final view before descending.

Final view before descending.

Finally, I arrived back at the bus-stop where I had started. The whole walk was around 5km. I caught a passing red minibus - always available when you need one - then started my journey back home. When I got there I took Peter out for a lovely, cold water swim.

Posted by irenevt 02:17 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (8)

The End of an Era

Last days of Work.

I guess the first step in leaving Hong Kong is to leave my job and I have now done just that and worked my notice. My original intention was to work for this academic year then leave, but with Peter's eyesight now so bad, he really needs me at home looking after him, so I had to quit.

It has been a very hard time for me and Peter. I've felt I've been letting him down and by leaving I have felt I'm letting my kids down, too. I really regretted ever taking my last contract.

Although I have quit, we have no plans to leave Hong Kong yet. We are going to enjoy a bit of relaxed time here before we go, without me being constantly worn out from my job. Plus sorting out our stuff, our house, my m.p.f. etc is going to take quite a bit of time

This blog entry is for me to save some of my final memories of my career.

In my last few weeks there always seems to be a beautiful sunrise when I go to my seven a.m. ferry.

In my last few weeks there always seems to be a beautiful sunrise when I go to my seven a.m. ferry.

And another one.

And another one.

It's not just me who has left work recently. One of our very hardworking and friendly amahs left a week or so before me.

Goodbye to our lovely amah, Jenny.

Goodbye to our lovely amah, Jenny.

I am so fat in this picture. I need to spend some of my retirement exercising.

I am so fat in this picture. I need to spend some of my retirement exercising.

The week before I left there was an Art lnset Training Day run by one of our most artistic teachers. We also had a huge, delicious lunch, generously paid for by one of our head teachers. Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten to photograph the food.

The artistic teacher is the one wearing the poppy, which she crocheted.

The artistic teacher is the one wearing the poppy, which she crocheted.

We had to make our own paint brushes from twigs as part of learning about stone age art.

We had to make our own paint brushes from twigs as part of learning about stone age art.

This somewhat faded newspaper display was on the wall of the home economics classroom where the inset was. It had been up since 2002!!! The year I started working there.

This somewhat faded newspaper display was on the wall of the home economics classroom where the inset was. It had been up since 2002!!! The year I started working there.

I will miss many things from work: the lovely friends I've made over the years, the children and the view over the harbour from our corridors.

Harbour View.

Harbour View.

Harbour View.

Harbour View.

My dear friends organised a leaving and birthday lunch for me and gave me a huge framed picture with many photos taken at school over the years. So thoughtful of them!

Me with my gorgeous gift and my cup. Everyone tells me I've had the same cup for 19 years. I think they are probably right.

Me with my gorgeous gift and my cup. Everyone tells me I've had the same cup for 19 years. I think they are probably right.

Me with my lovely gift.

Me with my lovely gift.

Admiring my lovely gift.

Admiring my lovely gift.

The food was delicious. I loved the homemade spinach paneer, the fried rice, the seven layer dip and the wonton dumplings most of all.

The food was delicious. I loved the homemade spinach paneer, the fried rice, the seven layer dip and the wonton dumplings most of all.

Cutting the cakes. I discovered a new talent as a candle clapper outer. Much needed nowadays as you can't blow out candles any more due to covid.

Cutting the cakes. I discovered a new talent as a candle clapper outer. Much needed nowadays as you can't blow out candles any more due to covid.

Cutting the cakes.

Cutting the cakes.

One of my bosses had scheduled a staff meeting on success criteria but this was just a facade for a surprise afternoon tea she had organised for me. Of course, I knew nothing about this and was already stuffed senseless by then, but it was still so lovely. I was starting to get very emotional. As a Scot, and a Glaswegian to boot, I'm not very good at emotion. Except that I'm quite good at anger. My boss made a lovely speech about me and it was obvious she had put so much effort into it. I had to get up and make a speech, too. I started off alright, then I broke down and started crying like an oversized baby until I finally had the good sense to sit down and shut up. I somehow managed to do all of this while being covered in jam. Not my finest hour, but probably how I'll be remembered.

Afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea.

Me with the afternoon tea spread.

Me with the afternoon tea spread.

My lovely ta Sam.

My lovely ta Sam.

This was all just too emotional for me.

This was all just too emotional for me.

On my final day my kids were understandably very unsettled. We made toucans, an art activity they had previously lost by being naughty, but managed to achieve this time. It was fun. We posed for a whole class photo. I wouldn't normally put photos of my kids on here, but naturally they were a huge part of my last day.

Shame we all had to have masks on.

Shame we all had to have masks on.

Right at the end of the day, a group of parents arrived with a huge bouquet of flowers for me. Yes that was me in tears again! So emotional!

Parents bearing gifts.

Parents bearing gifts.

My beautiful bouquet.

My beautiful bouquet.

One of the parents made a speech thanking me for all my hard work and called the children out to give me a big cuddle. I was so worried they'd squash each other or that I'd end up falling on top of them. Teacher mentality till the bitter end.

Mass cuddle.

Mass cuddle.

Mass Cuddle.

Mass Cuddle.

Mass Cuddle.

Mass Cuddle.

Posing with some of my children.

Posing with some of my children.

Some members of staff came to say a final goodbye then it was finally over.

Goodbyes to close friends.

Goodbyes to close friends.

We start them young in my school.

We start them young in my school.

Posted by irenevt 22:09 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (10)

Take a Walk on the Spooky Side.

Hong Kong Halloween

semi-overcast

Happy Halloween.

Happy Halloween.

Halloween is a big event in Hong Kong and one of the areas that celebrates it most is Discovery Bay where I live. Yesterday I decided to go for a stroll along the two streets that are the centre of the Halloween celebration here and see what was going on. These streets are Headland Drive and Seabee Lane and they are unusual for Hong Kong in that they are low-rise and have gardens.

The Halloween celebrations here mainly centred around children, whereas in somewhere like Lang Kwai Fong, they would involve lots of adults, dressed up and partying. Many houses on Seabee Lane and Seahorse Lane are decorated at Halloween and provide sweets to little children who go trick-or-treating.

Entrance to Seabee Lane.

Entrance to Seabee Lane.

Sunset over Seabee Lane.

Sunset over Seabee Lane.

Children on the look-out for Halloween candies.

Children on the look-out for Halloween candies.

Kids in search of candy.

Kids in search of candy.

Little kids enjoying Halloween.

Little kids enjoying Halloween.

Posing for photos at Halloween.

Posing for photos at Halloween.

Posing in costume.

Posing in costume.

Out for a stroll.

Out for a stroll.

A Row of Pumpkin Decorations.

A Row of Pumpkin Decorations.

And the real thing.

And the real thing.

Trick or Treat.

Trick or Treat.

Halloween decorations.

Halloween decorations.

A terrifying looking guy.

A terrifying looking guy.

And another one.

And another one.

One more.

One more.

And yet one more.

And yet one more.

It takes all sorts to make a world.

It takes all sorts to make a world.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Decorations.

Scary Costumes.

Scary Costumes.

The Skeleton Family.

The Skeleton Family.

I think this one is a good witch, don't you?

I think this one is a good witch, don't you?

Dinosaurs were a popular outfit.

Dinosaurs were a popular outfit.

Fancy-dress dinosaur costumes.

Fancy-dress dinosaur costumes.

More and more dinosaurs.

More and more dinosaurs.

More and more dinosaurs.

More and more dinosaurs.

Adults get just as excited as the kids.

Adults get just as excited as the kids.

Even the dogs get in on the act.

Even the dogs get in on the act.

Here's Cruella with hers.

Here's Cruella with hers.

Posted by irenevt 12:04 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (4)

(Entries 6 - 8 of 8) Previous « Page 1 [2]