are many islands that make up greater Hong Kong. Some are
very small while a lot of them are barren and uninteresting.
Lamma is covered with vegetation and is green in contrast.
I got off the ferry and made a mental note about the departure
times. My fear was that I would miss the last ferry and
then remain stranded there for the night. But I need not
have worried because there were ferries on the hour until
has many Buddhist temples and a large statue of Buddha.
Throughout the island there are many small pagodas also.
I started to walk away from the jetty and into a small market
place. The houses were all small and flat-roofed and reminded
me of houses in Dhaka. There was no traffic here except
occasional bicycles. Over the years several narrow cement
paths have been laid down and one could follow these around
the island. Intersections have small signs telling you which
way went where.
walking for about 45 minutes I came upon a small shop on
my right. It had small artefacts from Nepal and I chose
two for the kiddies. When I went inside to pay for them
I could hear a very beautiful bamboo flute playing on a
small portable CD player. In another 15 minutes I had left
the small hamlet behind me and the terrain began to incline
the narrow pathway I began to climb the small mountain.
The incline was quite steep in some areas and it was a bit
of an effort.
day was not hot, yet the exertion made me warm and sweaty.
A side route branched away from the main walkway to my right.
Curiosity guided my feet that way. But I was glad I took
the detour. So far there had been a lot of large bushes
and shrubs. But this route went through a small wooded section
with trees all around me.
walkway was covered with dead eucalyptus leaves. All of
a sudden I reached a clearing and placed at the very edge
of the mountain was a small pagoda. I sat under the roof
and took off my shirt entirely. After a while I took off
my shoes also and let my feet cool off. I was quite high
up now and I could see all around me. The sea was far below
me and I could look out well into the horizon. The sea was
a glitter far below and the ships at a distance seemed hardly
to move. There were a few other people there, but they left
presently and I was glad of the solitude. Without the intrusion
of conversation I could hear small birds chirping somewhere.
A cool breeze came in from the sea adding a slight rustle
to the leaves. It was soothing and I loved being there.
The afternoon had an air of laziness and I was in no hurry
to leave. Looking down to my left far below I could see
a small crescent beach in a lagoon. Half an hour passed
before I stirred and made my way back to the main concrete
pathway again. From here on the terrain inclined down. At
some places the angle was so steep that grooves had been
placed in the cement to offer better footing.
brings no rain here. Everything around me was still green
but all the leaves were wilted and listless. I walked along
a passage where the branches of the trees on either side
of the walkway formed a canopy overhead. The roots of many
of the trees were above the soil. They were twisted and
grappled, as if by some internal anguish, and some of them
reached out and clawed at the cement pavement.
was another detour to the right. Once again I took it. It
went through small bamboo groves and finally after a flight
of broken stairs I stumbled upon a small crescent beach.
It was the same one I had seen from the pagoda high above.
It was a very small place and I could pace the beach from
one end to the other in about five minutes. But I had no
intention of doing that. There was a small embankment there
and I sat there under a tree. Nature seemed to be in a stupor.
waves broke not with a roar but with a soft plop. The water
did not rush onto the beach. It crept up the sand instead
and seemed to be in no hurry to roll back. It was rocky
to my left. Everything was sluggish even there. With each
lazy wave the waters funnelled in the nooks and crannies.
They seemed to like playing with the rocks and lingered
there for as long as possible before finally slithering
back reluctantly into the sea. Looking around I noticed
that there was a restaurant farther away from where I was.
But everything was closed and there were not too many people
there. All the adults seemed to be smitten by the permeating
lethargy. But the children invented games and busied themselves
on the beach. Children must play I suppose.
about 45 minutes I decided to go back to the main pathway.
The path wound itself down, twisting here, turning there.
I was coming upon the valley and there was more water here.
As I turned a bend I came upon a carambola (star fruit)
tree. I am not too fond of carambolas. But I always loved
looking at them as they ripened on the tree. This tree was
fruiting and there were long tendrils of carambolas here
and there. They were at various stages of ripening and the
colours ranged from green, to yellowish green, to yellow
and to orange. They were lovely to look at. I would have
plucked one but there were none within reach from the pathway.
Others with a similar desire had been there before me.
pretty much in the valley now. I came upon a woman tending
to a small farm. She was slightly bent with age. Time had
etched many tales on her face. She was totally oblivious
to me as I stopped to watch her. Her garden was doing well.
There were cabbages, lettuce, onions, coriander, garlic,
etc. It was a small garden, but adequate. There was a small
ditch at one side where water seeped in and collected. She
had a large plastic bottle attached to the end of a long
pole. This is what she used to carry water from that dirty
pool to her garden. The garden provided her with sustenance.
But it seemed that this was also recreation for her just
as surely as it is recreation for us to sit in front of
road finally came to a clearing and across the water on
the other side there was the village I wanted to reach.
The sea had narrowed here into a lagoon and then finally
to a creek. There was a bridge across the creek and that
is where the path was leading me to.
the bridge brought me to the outskirts of the village. I
came upon a house that looked rather well built. It was
a small two storied house, but larger than any I had seen.
It was situated very well with an excellent view of the
lagoon. The grass was all brown now but you could see the
lawn was cared for and had no weeds. The doors and windows
were ornate. The front wooden door was large and especially
etched with a floral design. There was a wall around the
compound and the wrought iron gate also had an interesting
design. The lawn was small but it was lapped by the sea.
I am sure that sitting on one of the lawn furniture would
offer a very good view. A German shepherd served as a sentry
and stopped curiosity from going too far. This was obviously
the "cottage" of someone well-to-do.
more crowded as I proceeded until I finally came to where
there were many seafood restaurants one after the other.
I looked at all of them. Most of them had menus and many
small tanks with all sorts of fish and shell fish. After
inspecting all the restaurants I came back to one I liked
most. The proprietor spoke English pretty well with a heavy
accent. But he was an honest fellow and even suggested that
the items I chose would be too much food for me alone. He
suggested alternatives and I finally settled for an order
of deep fried shrimps with garlic and black pepper, and
a lobster with garlic butter. It came with tea of course.
I had the pick of any table I wanted as there was hardly
anyone there at that time. So I sat right by the water.
The food was very good and I took my time eating it. The
service was rustic just like the surroundings. But it was
politely given and adequate. I thanked them with whatever
Chinese I knew.
where I sat I could see the ferry come in. The return ferry
was larger and a bit more posh. I chose to sit upstairs
by the window and made sure I sat on the side away from
the shore and looked out to the see. That way I could gape
at the large container ships as they passed by. Somehow
they hold a fascination for me.
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