Sunday, May 08, 2005

 

Cheung Chau

One of the many places that are available for us to explore are all the outlying islands. There are a total of 234 islands. They range from piles of rock jutting out of the sea, to huge islands that are the home to thousands of people. Lantau Island has the airport and Disneyland which will be opening in September. In past blogs we have told you about some of the hikes we have done on a few of these islands.

This last weekend we went to Cheung Chau which is a really quiet island. One of the things it is known for is not having any cars, but the few cars it does support are electric. By the way, they have the smallest ambulances we have ever seen. If you had to put Troy in one, his feet would be sticking out the back door while his head would be resting on the dashboard. (Oh what I would do to have a picture of that!!!!)

We didn’t do a hike but just walked along their paths that twist and turn all over the island. Their posted maps are horrible so we were constantly getting lost and turned around. Even Troy with his handy dandy GPS and compass watch couldn’t get us heading in the right direction. Luckily it’s a small enough island that it didn’t matter. One great thing about Cheung Chau is that it has some fantastic beaches where you can go swimming, snorkeling, and even rent wave runners and kayaks.

The island at one point is only 200 yards wide. On one side you have the quiet beaches with great views (on a clear day) of HK Island and Kowloon. The other side of the island you will find small restaurants, shops selling souvenirs and beach wear and women trying to get you to buy a vacation home.

This was also a great island to see how Chinese families live on their boats (junks). The junks are their home and are docked in the bay near the island. They usually only go to shore to get supplies. They have their boats docked really close to the shore so you can see how they live with their dogs, laundry hanging up and women preparing meals. It’s amazing to think that the Chinese have been living like this for years and years and are still doing this.

Next weekend is their famous Bun Festival. They worship a sea god who they believe will protect the fisherman from the sea and will bring them good luck with fishing. It is basically a week long celebration that ends in a weekend parade with colorful costumes and decorations. Even though we want to go, I think we will pass. It is suppose to be very crowded and you have to buy tickets (which are sold out) to get a seat in the stands to watch the parade.

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