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Hiking in Hong Kong

We spent last weekend on the neighbouring island of Macau, which was lovely apart from the fact that everyone there had at least six children. Up until a couple of years ago it was administered by Portugal and obviously their Catholic values were administered there as well. On Saturday evening we watched the International Fireworks Contest between the UK and Japan - Japan won by a long way! Macau was very different from Hong Kong - a bit like Lisbon compared to New York.

When we returned to Hong Kong, we applied for our Chinese visas, and a couple of days later, collected our passports complete with a page of glorious Chinese characters which I think say that we are allowed in. We are, however, restricted from taking part in any religious activities so I shall have to conduct my strict regime of prayer undercover! We were planning to book a train to Beijing for the following day, but we soon found out that there's a big holiday in China right now and the first train with space was five days later. This coupled with the fact that we had problems finding seats for our return flights to Europe in October means that we won't have as much time as we hoped for in mainland China.

So, on Monday we leave for Beijing, and our return flights to London are booked for the evening of the 17th October. Nina then flies back to Copenhagen on a connecting flight and I plan to stay with Chris in the UK for a week or so (is that ok, Chris?). After that, Nina and I hope to fly over to Florida to spend a few months on the boat and move her out of the US.

On Thursday we took the ferry over to another island called Lantau, which is about 30 mins from the centre of Hong Kong, but feels like a completely different world. We planned to spend a couple of days hiking around the island and make some use of the one-man tent we've carried around Asia for the last 4 months! It was a sunny day and the temperature was about 32c, so we were looking forward to reaching a youth hostel where we were going to camp for the night and have a shower. The path we were on ran along a cliff and we were glad to look down and see the hostel about 100m below us, however, as we continued it occurred to us that our path had no intention of joining up with the lower path which led into the village where the hostel was. By this time the sun had set and we continued walking nervously along for several kilometres into the impending darkness until finally we met up with a route going down. When we finally arrived, it was fairly dark, and we found the youth hostel deserted, surrounded by a high fence, and the gates locked. There were few other places to camp unless you were prepared to cut down some jungle with a machete so we were not too happy. We did manage to gain entry, however, and proceeded to pitch the tent whilst being eaten by mosquitos. We lay down and fell asleep at 20:30!

The following day we awoke early when the rising sun made staying inside the tent unbearable, packed up, and walked down to the beach for a swim in the South China Sea and a nutritious breakfast of McVities Ginger Nuts. Then we hiked over to the village of Pui O, passing a large snake and some water buffalo on the way. It was a lovely couple of days and we were amazed to find that Hong Kong still has so much wilderness.

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