Saturday, February 25, 2012

Life's a bi...errr, beach

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Secret beach

I know it isn't peak tourist season yet but the Silvermine Bay beach is beginning to fill up already. So we decided to take a walk to the quiet "secret" beach along the road to Man Kok Tsui.
It takes a bit of walking to get there but it is so worth it. Even when the main beach is crowded, there are hardly more than two or three couples here.

I wanted to live in this building – until Buffalo Wilbur pointed out that it probably used to be a pig sty.

The beach is surprisingly clean, considering there are no armies of cleaners sweeping it every morning.

Can anyone tell me what fruit this is and whether it's edible?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kinsmen home?

I wonder what it takes to be a Mui Wo kinsman as there is a wonderful house halfway up the hill overlooking Mui Wo town that seems to be a Fourth Round Table Kin Refugee Housing.

Where do we sign up for the Young Men's Association of Round Tables and what would it take to be a "refugee" from Canada?

Mui Wo Inn-formation

Some people have been asking me to get more information on the room rates at Mui Wo Inn (Tel: 2984-7225/8597), which doesn't have its own website – so here it is:For those who don't read Chinese (me included), garden view rooms are HK$400 (HK$600 on Saturdays), sea view rooms are HK$500/$750 and sea view with balcony rooms HK$580/$850.

I suspect though that they don't take credit cards as they have also provided a bank account number in their name card.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Foggy mornings

A sign that Spring is in the air.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And here's the flip side...

I ordered McNuggets from the Mui Wo McDonald's (which always seems to look sleepy all weekday).

The cashier took my money then came back: "Sorry, we're out of McNuggets. Can you wait five minutes?"

Normally I would but it was late and I was hungry. "What do you suggest?" I asked her.

"Chicken McWings?"

The wings were HK$3 more expensive so I got my wallet out to pay her when she gave them to me. She waved away my money. "It's okay, I'm sorry we didn't have your nuggets."

So sweet! It totally took the sting out of the cheese incident a day ago.

That's how you get return customers, especially in a small town, Wellcome.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cheesed off!

A hunk of cheddar cheese we bought from Wellcome turned out to be mouldy when we cut into it so Buffalo Wilbur took it back to complain.

They didn't apologise but they said he could have another one in exchange.

The thing was, the only one left was HK$39. The one we'd bought was HK$38.10.

They wanted the 90 cents difference. Believe it or not!

Wellcome Mui Wo certainly sucks when it comes to customer relations. It's going to be Park N Shop from now on... or shouldn't we expect too much from service in Hong Kong after all?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Returning to roots in Tai O

Meet Veronica.
She runs Espace Elastique, a cosy upmarket B&B in Tai O.

The building it is housed in (57 Kat Hing Street) belongs to her family.

From the rooms, you have a view of the river and also of the two-storey shophouse opposite, which used to belong to Veronica's grandfather and has now been passed on to her father. It used to house a textile shop.

The building is in the process of being conserved by the family but Veronica very kindly offered us a sneak peak into the place.

The steep, steep staircase. Veronica's cousin once fell down these stairs in her walker... but was none the worse for the experience.

All the furnishings and fixtures in the place have been preserved. The floor tiles are to die for.

How cool is that solid wood bed?

The sad thing is that Veronica and her family have been applying for help from the heritage board to preserve this place but haven't gotten any response.

She wants to open it either as a B&B – she's already put in two modern bathrooms – or as a museum but the official response has been that the stairs are too dangerous, as are some of the original fixtures.

She can get permission if everything were modernised but, as she said, that is really missing the point of the whole exercise.

What a pity. It's a really wonderful slice of Hong Kong's history, which wouldn't have existed for so long without the dedication of Veronica and her family.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pun choi feast in Shap Long

We met a lovely man on our walk today who said he was on his way to the pun choi (big basin) feast in Shap Long. So that explained the yards of tarpaulin stretched across the beach area.

When we got there, it was still early afternoon so we got a preview of the feast.

Outdoor cooking. Do you see how huge the woks are?

As we hung around, a half-hearted lion dance came along to bring in luck to the celebrations.

It was followed by quite a delicious looking suckling pig.

The atmosphere was great and if we'd stayed longer I've no doubt we'd have been invited to dinner. But it was still only lunch time so we proceeded onwards to our usual lunch at Pui O Delicious.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Those irritating announcements

A few months back, when Rainbow won the village elections, he got his minions to give out feedback forms about ferry services. One of the questions was: Are the announcements too much, just enough, too little. I circled "too much".

I might as well have thrown my form into the bin because soon after that First Ferry upped the number of announcements. There are additional ones about wearing seatbelts and coughing into tissue papers. In fact, there are so many announcements now that they are still droning on even after we have left the bay in the morning.

The worst one is the new welcome announcement. The English announcer alternates between drawling and over-enunciation and emphasises all the wrong syllables: "WeeALcome to the FIRST feARRY..."

Argh! As if putting up with cockroaches, the smell of stale food and chewing gum is not enough. Was the fare hike just so they could pay someone to make more unwelcome announcements?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

DB Farmers' Market

The new Farmers' Market in DB North is really, as Buffalo Wilbur noted: "More of a farmer's market as imagined by John Lewis or Waitrose." Everything was so posh and well-packaged... where were the farmers, where was the dirt?

The only organic raw produce we could see came in the form of leaflets by Homegrown Foods advertising their vegetable boxes.

But it was a pleasant day out, nonetheless. After all, we hadn't been to DB North before so this gave us an excuse to explore and make use of the free shuttle bus.

The food on sale included chocolates, homemade sauces, Iberico ham and truffles... so you can see how upmarket it was.

The cupcake stand did a roaring business.

They were sold out and packed up by 1pm, before most of the other stall owners.

Hill fire

Can't be someone burning offerings on the graves, it's the wrong time of the year for that. Maybe a farmer creating a big bonfire?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The house in the woods

We were getting a bit bored with our usual Mui Wo-Pui O route so we decided to try another one that went a little over the mountain.

And we were glad we did because we came across this charming village house tucked among an overgrown orchard.

The old couple who lived there were as charming as their house. When we asked them the path to Shap Long, they came out and showed us the way... speaking in English.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tour groups galore

I've been watching the ferries coming in and have seen quite a few unfamiliar ones these past few months. They looked like the kind of kaidos we get to Discovery Bay so at first I thought we had a new ferry service (direct to Lamma, perhaps?).

But today I realised they were actually chartered ferries for tour groups. One stopped at the pier and disgorged an inordinate number of people.

Just one ferry load was enough for three coaches.

Pity the people just got on their tour buses and left. They could have done so much for the Mui Wo economy if each just bought a bottle or water and some snacks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mui Wo's God of Fortune

This little prosperity god made an appearance at the Dynasty Finance for Chinese New Year.

Hope he gets a permanent spot to improve the wealth feng shui around the area.