Bank Holidays

They have loads of bank holidays in Hong Kong. About 16 days I think. Unfortunately, if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday, that’s too bad. It also seems no-one tells me in advance that there’s one coming up. So it was a bit of a fluke that I realised it was Buddha’s birthday on May 24th. Having had a bit of a washout at Cheung Chau, and the fact that it’s the bun festival on the same day, I’ll stick a bit closer to Hong Kong island and head off to one of the beaches on the south of the island. This involves catching a bus. Normally back home buses seem to be used almost exclusively by crazies. Or maybe it’s just every time I catch a bus the local crazy decides to catch the same one.

So, it was with a small degree of trepidation I set out for the bus station in Central to catch a bus to Stanley. Again, Hong Kong’s public transport is fantastic compared to the UK. Big double decker buses with air conditioning and televisions to keep you entertained during your trip. Payment is by exact fare only – or by the ever useful Octopus card. A massive HK$10.60 to Stanley, which is about 60p. Somehow I can’t see buses in the UK being that cheap or as comfortable. Having said that, I can’t see a television in a UK bus lasting very long either…

Stanley is an excellent little town – with a beach on one side and a harbour on the other. Today in the harbour they were holding dragon boat racing which seems to involve long thin boats stuffed full of people and a drummer. In the race I saw, there were four boats lined up against each other and when the race is started the rowers start paddling for all they’re worth. It’s a bit of a blur of water and paddle as they race down the ‘track’ all the while the drummer is beating his drum in, presumably, an attempt to set a pattern for the paddling. I’ve since found out that what I saw were probably heats to qualify for the real races sometime in June where there will be lots more boats, some of which are made up of corporate teams who will hire a junk ship sail a group of employees out, have a bit of a race, and generally get pissed. Sounds like a fun company day out.

I also took a bit of walk round Stanley – saw another temple, and Murray House. Apparently Murray House used to be in Central, but was taking up some land that someone else wanted to build so it was taken apart. However, unlike most older buildings in Hong Kong, it wasn’t destroyed – simply put in storage for a while. It was dismantled in 1982, proposed to be rebuilt in 1990, and was finally rebuilt in 1999. Once rebuilt there were bits left over which they couldn’t figure out where to put… not too dissimilar from model making and putting together Ikea furniture then.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: