It was my birthday last Friday.  I still had to work, so I brought it forward to my day off on the Wednesday.  I had booked an hotel in Wan Chai and had had great plans to go visit the big Buddha as the weather was not meant to be nice.   But then it dawned blue and clear. A local MN had been in touch and she suggested we meet in the park in the morning, as she was there with her two blonde charges.  She has lived here for 20 years and gave me a wealth of information about working over here.  She was also celebrating her birthday on Friday (seriously, I know so many people who work within the childcare industry whose birthdays are in May) and was flying to Vietnam for the weekend.  Pretty jealous, I can tell you 😉

Anyway, after a bit of discussion, she recommended the Dragon Back hike, which brings you down to the beach at Shek O.  Sounded perfect. I dropped my belongings off at my hotel (very bijou, but a big enough bed) packed several bottles of water and then caught the MTR to Shau Kei Wan.  Once there, I boarded one of the red minbuses that would apparently drop my off at the start of the hike.  15 mins later I had been deposited at the beginning. Supposedly, it should take me an hour…

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Doesn’t seem too tricky…

I had been told that it was pretty straight forward so, after a quick glance and snap of the map, I set off.  One intrepid explorer.

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Looking back at the start…

I walked up and up and passed people coming back the same direction.  I overtook a female walker and she remarked, as she let me by, that she was glad to see another lone female hiker.  Funnily enough, earlier in the day I had mentioned what my plans were for the day, whilst at the Feel Good Factor.  “Alone?” The owner asked. Yes, alone. Finally, I turned a corner and came across the view.

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Shek O

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Stanley, on the other side

That was Shek O and that was what I was aiming for.  There was a guy with a guitar, strumming away to his friend whilst admiring the view. As you do.  I carried on walking and passed some teenagers on their way back.  They were playing music on their phone.  I then came to another look out point and more teenagers were there, playing music on their phone!!! Is it me?  Am I getting old? Can the teens of today not appreciate silence and to not have to have constant noise going on?  Very odd behaviour.  I had by now walked for about 30 mins.

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On the other side of Shek O

The path started to go downwards quite steeply and I wondered if I was still going in the right direction.   A couple of men were walking up towards me so I asked if I was going the right way and where had they come from. I was coming up to a junction and I wasn’t overly sure which way was correct.  The guys had said that they had gone one way, but it hadn’t felt right.  (They, too, were on a mission to get to the beach to have a nice cold beer).   Gareth and Craig invited me to join them in their walk and, as I felt like company that day, I agreed.   They turned out to be two airline pilots on a 48hr stopover.  After a couple of false starts we eventually got on, what we thought, was the right path and set off, talking about children, 80’s and 90’s music and work. And then we reached a part I recognised.  I had done a complete circle. After much hilarity, with me forgetting that I had taken a photograph of the map, we decided to flag down a bus, and get down to Shek O that way.  That’s the beauty of HK.  You can’t really get lost.  Head to a main road and there is either a taxi, bus or MTR to get you where you need to be.

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Finally got to that beach!

The name Shek O literally means rocky bay.  As it was the middle of the week it was fairly quiet.  We made our way to Cococabana, one of the few restaurants on the beach (I challenge you not to sing the song now) and ordered our beers and fries.

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Fellow hikers, Craig and Gareth

As it had taken longer than we planned, we only had time for the one drink and then had to make our way back to our respective hotels.  They were off to the races and I was meeting a friend for a cocktail or two in Central.  If I ever come back to HK (and I really hope I do) I shall do the Dragon Back hike again and finish it properly.  Such a fun day off.  From someone who was originally looking forward to being on her own, it turned out to be extremely social.

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Martini time…

 

 

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