Thursday, 13 July 2017

Hong Kong, a place of contrast - Tai O and Temple Market

 Tai O is a village on the west coast of Lantau Island, Hong Kong. It is relatively remote and is the home of the Tanka boat people. Fishing is the main occupation of the people in Tai O although now the village is also very popular with visitors, fascinated by this traditional way of life. The tourism provides welcme additional income.

I was taken to visit Tai O by Fu Ho, a good friend who was one of the lay workers in the Chinese Methodist churches in the Darlington and Newcastle Ditricts. Tai O has been home in Hong Kong for the last 3 years but has maintained friendships with people in Middlesbrough and it was very good to see him again. I doubt I would have ventured on the trip to Tai O without a guide.
With Fu Ho on the boat at Tai O

we walked into the village past stalls selling dried fish, puffer fish, star fish, shark, sea snails and many other varieties. We ate crayfish balls from a street stall and later some tofu desert.
 A speciality of the village is shrimp paste, often served in a wrap with green vegetables and minced pork. I simply didn't have enough room to try one after the fish balls and a late lunch.

 Houses in the village are built over the water on stilts - it is sometimes known as the Venice of Hong Kong. We took a boat ride up the waterway and then out into the bay in search of the Chinese pink dolphins, but they didn't come out to play with us. I always love a boat ride and this one was especially good in a small baot with only 4 passengers and a wonderful cooling wind.

Bamboo scaffolding is used for building in Hong Kong and it was being erected in the centre of Tai O. There were also flags going up, apparently for a forthcoming festival.

we returned to Kowloon from Tai O, driving back along the beautiful coastline which gave way to the phenomenal high rise buildings and lights of the city.

Back in Kowloon we met up with Joann, another of the former lay workers in the north east of England. We walked through Temple Market, a night market bustling with tourists and offering a huge variety of goods for sale - a real contrast with the traditional market in Tai O.
Looking back to the entranceto Temple Street

In the market

After a traditional Cantonese meal in which I was introduced to oyster omelette and duck fish I returned to the hotel, said goodbye to my friends until tomorrow and slept for 10 hours in the air conditioned room that is my home for the next week.

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