Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Home at last
The day is as lovely as only a non-polluted summer day in Hong Kong can be. The sun is out and tourists streaming out from the ferry terminal tilt their heads to enjoy the full warmth of its rays.
Tony the hairdresser waves to a regular from his salon while Tom enjoys a quick gossip with his customers outside his cafe. At the bus station, two dogs hold up an incoming bus from Tung Chung by refusing to budge. The driver just waits patiently and finally one dog lifts his head and ambles off, followed by the other. There's no rush, everyone seems to slow down the moment they emerge from the pier.
Ahhhh, this is why we have decided to move to Mui Wo, the southern gateway to Lantau island. People population: 5,000. Dog and buffalo population: Probably just as many.
I fell in love with the town the first time I saw it. We'd just done a two-hour hike from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo and, knees trembling from the long stairway down from the mountains, we stopped for a snack at a beach hotel that looked like a throwback to the 70s, complete with kitsch fountains and chipped statuary. I ordered spring rolls and orange juice. The drink was as flourescent as a safety vest and tasted like those Tang drinks I had as a child -- the one which made you feel like an astronaut. It was absolutely delightful.
With such an introduction to the town, it was no wonder that I was predisposed to it even before I saw it. I loved that it, like the orange drink, looked like a throwback to the 70s, when life was slower, quieter and unplugged. My husband was won over by the very professional looking second-hand bookshop on the corner, known as The Bookshop. Duh.
That was three years ago. And finally, after a lot of humming and hawing, we are going to move here. We've bought ourselves an absolutely tiny flat with a sea view. Many people have asked us why we bought somewhere in the town, their attitude being: "If you want country living, why are you not getting a village house instead?"
The reasons are:
1) We can't afford the minimum 30 percent downpayment on a village house.
2) With so many Cathay pilots snapping up the village houses, the prices are so high we can't even get a mortgage on one.
3) Lazy gits that we are, we like being three minutes from the ferry pier so we can see the ferry coming in and run.
4) The Wellcome supermarket is just downstairs. Told you we were lazy gits.
5) Most village houses don't have a sea view and the ones which do have are perched so high on the mountainside they take ages to get to.
More on Mui Wo living later.