Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hiking in Hong Kong at night

Hong Kong By Night
... or perhaps I should title this The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill And Came Down All Sweaty. After the irony of not being able to sleep last night because the air conditioner wasn't making a loud dripping noise, I was feeling pretty shabby all day, but I put off going to the gym at lunchtime to blow away this ennui, because of an invite to go hiking from Tai Koo over to Repulse Bay.  That's 10 km in real money; rather than a flat walk in the countryside, it was going to be hour upon hour of walking up stairs, the greatest gift that the concrete industry of Hong Kong ever gave back to its citizens.

There was a motley crew of ten or twelve people waiting at the MTR station, including one man who felt that 30 degree heat wasn't enough, so he was wearing a hooded top with the hood pulled up tight over his head.  Not that I could criticise him for inappropriate dress, given that I was carting around a great big SLR and a tripod on my back (carefully placed to snag on overhanging branches, spider's webs and ill-maintained overhead wiring).  We set off up into the hills.

And we walked up, and up, and up some more.  Hiking in Hong Kong at night is much like hiking in Hong Kong in the daytime, except it's not quite as bright, although it's still just about as hot.  Or perhaps I was sweating from the exertion of carrying half my body weight in Pocari Sweat up the hill: it wasn't like I wanted to get dehydrated, after all.

We got to the top of Mount Parker in about 90 minutes - that included a hideous 250 step flight of stairs, that didn't seem to ever come to an end.  Of course it did, which meant I could finally take my camera out, put it on the tripod and discover that (a) the lens was smudged and foggy from the ambient humidity, and (b) the tripod wasn't tall enough to get the lens above the huge bushes that had grown up.

However, it was a jolly clear night - after a day with bright blue skies that left more paranoid people than myself remarking that the Chinese had probably bribed the weather to be nice for Hong Kong Establishment Day (although all that guanxi was a day early - it will probably chuck it down on Thursday and everyone will get in a massive strop).  So I have some blurred and out of focus shots of the clearest night in Hong Kong in recent memory.  If you can't remember past the Great Sand Storm Of Deeeeeath from a couple of months back.

Having got this far, I chucked it in and walked back down the hill to pick up my girlfriend and ensure that she had at least one functional knee.  The many splendoured steps of Hong Kong can be rather harsh on an innocent's legs.  And besides, if we got home early enough, we could go to sleep out again.


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