Beach day

As I’ve previously mentioned, now that I’ve moved over to being a Hong Kong employee I only get fifteen days of official holiday. A bit of a drop from the 25 in the UK. However, this is off-set by the fact that they have something like 18 public holidays a year here. As former work colleagues will quickly point out, the lack of holiday allowance shouldn’t be a problem for me as I rarely took all my days off anyway. (2005 being an exception with the month in Australia, and the Kilimanjaro climb) The drawback to public holidays is you don’t get the flexibility of when to take them, and everyone else is off at the same time – so everywhere is busy as a result. And, apparently, if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday that’s just too bad. We had our last public before Christmas yesterday (Friday, 19th October), I’ve no idea of the reason for it, as you lose track of whatever we’re celebrating. A plan was hatched with some of the guys I’ve met through watching the rugby world cup to go to the beach, drink beer, and have some food at a South African restaurant (The Stoep on Lantau island).

The final plans for this were laid the previous night which turned into quite a late one, so it was with something of a hangover I was woken up at 10:00am by the cleaners about to service my apartment. Fortunately, they heard my shouts of ‘No’ through the door and left me to suffer a little longer. [It seems the serviced apartment cleaners do not have a public holiday] Steeping outside of the apartments and we’ve been lucky with the weather – it’s not great air quality, but it’s blue skies and sunshine, although I did immediately think it might be a bit cool to spend all day on the beach. I guess I’m beginning to acclimatise here as it was about 25 degrees celsius and not very humid. In fact, humidity has dropped noticeably and it’s very comfortable here now. So, it was really a very good day for the beach, and 25 degrees in October does seem very strange to think of as cold…

Getting to Lantau is easy enough via a fast ferry, and then it’s onto a bus to get to Lower Cheung Sha which is where the Stoep is, right on the beach apparently. Of course, as a group we had no idea where to get off for this section of beach and there was a degree of confusion, especially when another group of Brits got off who were clearly heading for the beach. Fortunately, there was another passenger on the bus who did know where we wanted to go and she was able to signal to us when our stop came about. Although, for a moment it seemed the driver wasn’t going to stop at our stop however it turned out he was just looking to stop on the apex of the bend in the road. Not exactly safety conscious, but then the way he’d swung the bus up and over the hills and round the corners this behaviour wasn’t out of the ordinary.

The beach was just down a little hill and the Stoep, as advertised, was right on the edge of the beach. Considering it was a public holiday the beach was not very busy at all, was clean, had the usual roped off swimming area, and also the capability to hire wind surfs, and sea kayaks. All in all it was a great location and a perfect way to just spend a day chilling out. I was able to spend some time reading more the Alistair Campbell diaries that I’m currently reading my way through, throw a rugby ball about for a bit, take some pictures (should have some good sunset pictures), and chill out drinking beer. A better way to spend a Friday I can’t think of, and it made me realise I would never have imagined myself in this position 12 months before.

The meal at the Stoep was excellent – I opted for the mixed BBQ which consisted of a lamb chop, chicken breast, sirloin steak, and boerewors sausage all cooked on a braai. Sadly, the braai wasn’t out in the open so you didn’t get to see the meat cooked in front of you. All washed down with either Tafel or Windhoek lager. Unfortunately, they don’t sell biltong, so I’ll have to keep searching for this South African delicacy.

We got back to Central in time to have a few more drinks in Lan Kwai Fong, and then head back home. Didn’t feel quite so hungover this morning, and will be taking it easy whilst hopefully England win the rugby world cup (another ungodly 3am kick off here), and then play hockey tomorrow. Unfortunately, with the public holiday we only have 11 players on Sunday, so it means we’re all playing the full 70 minutes. I’m hoping it won’t be quite as hot or as humid as the last time I played, otherwise it could be pretty unpleasant.

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One Response to “Beach day”

  1. daP Says:

    Don’t worry Jon, here in sunny Finland we get around 50-60 days per year (Last year I had 2 months off from work).

    Have fun in HK =^_^=

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