Cheung Chau

I took a trip to Cheung Chau on the Saturday of the FA Cup Final. There’s a pretty good walking tour round pretty much the entire island. The first part of this tour involves saying no to the various restaurants you walk past. This led on to a sports pitch (notably basketball courts) which was being prepared for the annual Cheung Chau ‘tree climbing, bun retrieval’ festival. I was able to get some pictures of the ‘bun trees’ being prepared as well as various pictures of a temple before it started to rain. To be honest, the rain was pretty much expected – it was a grey day, humidity was it’s usual near 90%, but it was still hot. The rain lasted only about fifteen minutes and I foolishly thought that might be it and continued on my walking tour down towards the beach. There weren’t very many people on the beach, and in the water there was one lone kite surfer – and it started to rain again which emptied the beach. Even the kite surfer looked like he’d had enough. There was a bar on the beach which provided some refuge from the rain, although the staff seemed a bit peeved that I wasn’t ordering anything. Much pointing (by me) at the rain was followed by many words (from the staff). Now, they could have been saying “It’s a good idea to stay here to shelter from the rain” but I got the impression it was more along the lines of “Get out of our bar if you’re not buying anything!”.

The rain did stop quite shortly afterwards so I made a hasty exit and walked along the beach to the ‘famous’ stone carvings under the Warwick Hotel. These carvings have been encased in glass/perspex to protect them – they’re apparently 3000 years old or something. They’re not very impressive really – childish squiggles really. I’ve taken some pictures of them, and the pictures fully do them justice. They really are that unimpressive. Following on from this exciting landmark there was another temple on the route – very similar to the first one with lots of dragons and lions and burning of incense. The temples are pretty cool to have dotted around the place.

The signposts on the island aren’t very clear – and didn’t really correspond to the route shown in the lonely planet. I walked along what I assumed to be the right road to take out towards the caves where a pirate, Cheung Po Tsai, has reputedly buried his treasure. He is apparently the basis of Chow Yun Fat’s character in the latest overhyped Pirates of the Caribbean film. After about 10 minutes of walking I realised this was not the way to the caves, but I was in fact back in the ‘town’ centre. Normally, this would have annoyed me, but at that moment the rain truly did start this time. I’m now aware that the first couple of showers were just a warm up to the main event. The sky is considerably darker, and all of a sudden the streets are empty as people look for cover. I decide now is a good time to have some food – unfortunately the restaurant I’d picked earlier seems to have decided that the rain is a good excuse to shut up for the day. So I’m back to walking up and down the street – in the rain, to decide which one to go to. They nearly all have fish tanks outside from which I imagine you can choose your dinner. I decide on a restaurant and have beef and noodles… washed down with Tsing Tao beer.

My plan at this point was to eat slowly and wait for the rain to stop. Had I followed that plan I’d have been on Cheung Chau for the next 3 days. When it rains here, it stays raining. Back to Central to pick a bar to watch the FA Cup final – my first choice, The Whiskey Priest in Lan Kwai Fong doesn’t look too promising as they’re closed due to their toilets flooding… but hope to be open in about half an hour. In the meantime I decided to have a beer in Hong Kong bar just up the road a bit. They’ve only got tiny televisions in the corners and as a result there’s not many people in. After a couple of beers (it’s Happy Hour – 2 for 1) I’m about to get up and leave for another pub with a big screen, when a big screen is dropped behind the bar and they start showing the football on a big screen. As I’m sat at the bar, I now have an unobstructed view of the football. Result. Boring match though. Shame that Chelsea won it in the end.

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One Response to “Cheung Chau”

  1. johniebg Says:

    Really enjoyed this Mr Ervine. Brings back so many memories, hopefully you will be out there (purely from an experience point of view) for the April typhoons. There is usually at least one occassion a year that everyone gets ordered to stay home because they are so violent. YOu wonder about the giant skyscrapers but apparently their foundations are so far drilled into the ground they would survive a earthquake .. allegedly.

    Well written despite your disclaimer.

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