Thursday, September 29, 2011

Typhoon tale – More on Nesat

See how gusty the winds and how big the waves are in Mui Wo? This looks like it was taken next to the ferry pier.

For those who are wondering, I did manage to get to work.

After numerous calls to the taxi hotline only to be told: "No taxi, call back later," I got fed up and went downstairs to see if I could pick up any drivers loitering with intent around Park N Shop.

I did finally find a taxi driver who was willing to take me over the mountain pass in a T8 AND use the meter.

He was such a sweetie I asked him for his phone number, which I would be happy to share on request (Note though you need to speak some basic Cantonese to book him).

The ride was particularly harrowing when the taxi reached the topmost point and you could feel it being buffeted by cross-winds.

On the way, I spotted a few lost souls wandering about and waving wild-eyed at my taxi. I would have stopped to offer them a ride but my Cantonese totally failed me at that point.

I wonder whether those of us who need to get to work on a T8 should band together for a Typhoon Club or something and taxi-pool, seeing as there are so few taxis to go round.

Thankfully, the signal was downgraded to T3 by the time I has to get home so I could catch a ferry back instead of having to repeat my two-hour trek.

I did feel a bit sorry for the ferry crew, though. They were braving "rough and very rough" sea conditions (to quote the HKO) for only seven of us. There were possibly more crew members than passengers in board.

But phew, I am home again and have lived to tell the typhoon tale.

Typhoon Nesat

First Typhoon 8 signal this year. I am stuck at home because there doesn't seem to be bus services and the couple of taxis cruising by are asking for exorbitant rates to brave the high mountain pass with wind speeds of over 120 kph.

A few brave souls are venturing out to take in the full glory of the typhoon. We went out for a bit to assess the situation and see if I could get something that will get me to work.

Within seconds my spectacles were so spattered with rain I had to grope my way home.

The weatherman says the signal will be lowered by afternoon. I certainly hope so because I don't fancy having to argue with my bosses tomorrow about why I couldn't get into work at all.

By the way, that poor blue Mercedes in the picture had been parked there all night and been doused with sea water almost non stop. It will need a thorough cleaning to avoid rust in the engine.

I'm not sure that's what the Observatory had in mind when it advised to "park your car where it will not be damaged" though.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Morris dancing

On a wet and gloomy Sunday, the last thing I expected to hear was perky accordion music and the jingle of bells.

Peeking my head out, I saw a group of folks in red, white and green skipping around the waterfront outside China Bear.

"A bit early for carollers, isn't it?" I asked Buffalo Wilbur. "They're morris dancers," he replied, rolling his eyes.
I'd never seen morris dancers live before so I grabbed a very reluctant Buffalo Wilbur out to watch them close up.

I must say it does look a bit silly but fun. And it did brighten up my gloomy Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

PALS needs your "fleas" again

Some readers have asked me when the next flea market at DB is so here's a public service announcement: It's on October 9. Yay!

You know the drill. Jacqui from PALS can be contacted on 2984-1626 or 9197-4371.

PALS needs the money and Jacqui says they will take "anything" so please do make the effort to clean out your home.

Friday, September 23, 2011

More cafe fare

Every month, we resolve to not spend so much at the beginning that we have nothing left the week before payday. But we never do it.

Being down to double digits in our bank account meant cutting right back on eating out.

So I thought we'd check out the cha chan teng next to 7-Eleven to see if we could get an okay meal for less than HK$50. And we could.

The food is nothing fancy. The lunch sets for example, are around HK$30ish and contain exactly what is stated on the board, without even an extra slice of tomato or lettuce to liven up the mix.

The board is in both Chinese and English so you can just point and order.

But it was cheap and filling – and, most importantly, will fill our tummies until payday.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thank you for not smoking

I have noticed Mui Wo is getting more mainland tourists. They're usually in large groups, crowding the ferries during the home commute.

The new management of Silvermine Beach Hotel must have realised that this is where the money is. And tourists are largely good news, because they spend on food and trinkets and keep the local economy going.

That's what I tell myself when I have to endure the noise and the crowded pavements on my way home.

What I can't stand, though, is the way some flaunt the law by smoking on the ferries. You can be sitting in a slow ferry, enjoying the sea breeze when suddenly there is a waft of tobacco, which stays with you throughout the trip.

The culprits are very sly, cupping the cigarette in the palm of their hands so you can't spot them easily. The only clue is a wisp of smoke escaping from their noses – and possibly a butt left behind when they leave.

Plus, I think the ferry crew are too intimidated to tell them off as these illicit smokers are usually in one rowdy group.

Pity, though. Think of what a few HK$5,000 fines could do for the local economy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Silvermine Beach Hotel's rebirth

The new owners of the Silvermine Beach Hotel certainly didn't waste any time reopening it.

I guess, in the hotel industry, every day of closure translates to hundreds of thousands in lost revenue.

They seem to have breathed new life into the place, if the buzz at the buffet is anything to go by.

If this upward trend continues, we may just give the place another chance. That suckling pig really looks too good to miss.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cafe fare

Being Chinese illiterate, I haven't dared step into the cha chan teng opposite Wellcome. But I have seen loads of people in it so I knew the food had to be cheap and good.
Today I woke up with a craving for the local fried beef noodles so I finally screwed up my courage to walk into the place.

As expected, they didn't have an English menu but the waitress speaks English so she translated the daily specials for me.

I did get my beef noodles. And it was all I'd expected it to be: juicy slices of beef, oil-slicked noodles, sweet cabbage and an amazing smoky wok hei (wok breath).

All for HK$33, with an iced lemon tea.

It was worth going off the beaten track, food-wise, after all.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy Mid-Autumn!

It may not feel like autumn, with temperatures hovering at around 30 Celsius, but the lunar calendar says it should be.

So Happy Mid-Autumn! Have lots of mooncakes, then burn off the calories by going for a walk around town with your lantern. You did buy one, I hope.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

More pavement parkers

We were sitting outside Bombay Cafe when this Land Rover drove up and parked on the pavement.

Before anyone could say anything, the well-dressed driver got out and nonchalantly made for the ferry pier.

As I've said before, it's not big, it's not clever... and if you can afford a car like this you surely can afford to pay for parking next door.

Sunday sundae

Watching from my window, I saw a yacht berth but only two get off. Minutes later, the girls return, each clutching a distinctive white-and-blue cup with a thick straw. Ahhh, McSlurry.

Then the crew cast off and the yacht was on its way... leaving me with an unbearable craving for a McFlurry myself. It would be the perfect accompaniment to a warm Sunday afternoon.

I got my Oreo McFlurry while the yacht was still within sight. Such is the power of advertising!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First BBQ in Mui Wo

We've passed the BBQ pits at the beach so many times and always said: "Let's do a barbecue there." Especially as the pits are free, on a first-come-first-served basis.

But it took us two summers before we finally got our arses in gear.

Being BBQ novices, we took a while to get the fire going. When it did, though, it was all a barbecue could be. Lovely even heat, slightly (ok, very) charred food, good company.

As we got all our supplies from the BBQ food shop in town, supplemented with forks and wire mesh from the shop by the river, everything was surprisingly hassle-free.

We're planning one again, this time for autumn, when we can sit by the fire and warm ourselves and tell scary stories... of salmonella poisoning, perhaps?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's not big, it's not clever...

Just because you have a Lexus SUV does not mean you are entitled to park on the pavement.

More ways to spend money

We've walked past this shop in Chung Hau village for the past two years and have never seen it open. In it was a pair of silver earrings shaped like the Chinese character for double happiness with a HK$28 price tag on it that I absolutely coveted.

So you can imagine my excitement when I saw it was open during our walk today, with leather curtains up and everything.

The shop isn't very big, just a small lean-to tagged onto the hairdresser's next door. But it has lots of quaint items such as earrings made of guitar picks and picture badges.

The owner, Arale, also owns the pet shop opposite so if the shop's closed and you see something you want to buy in the window, just pop across and ask her to open it for you.

If I'd known that, I'd have been the proud owner of those silver earrings two years ago.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tribute to Uncle Tofu

Isn't this such a sweet tribute to Uncle Tofu?

It was placed at his usual hawking site just outside Chung Hau village.

I must say I miss his tofu fah. It was my favourite tea time snack during the weekends.

Uncle Tofu will be missed.