Cheung Chau is a wonderful island and
I prefer it now as my rural bit of Hong Kong.
There is a bit of griminess to it, as
the streets are not as well-groomed as those of Shenzhen, nor is there the range of food that that big city has, though the
prices are easily half of Lamma Island.
On Lamma, Joe and I were asked for 100
HK for 7 small prawns - sans vegetables, sans freee appetizers of nuts or pickles, sans garnish of curled carrot - .
Not even a cup of water, just a large price for
bare minimal food.
We got up and left after being quoted
that price, as we actually wanted to be full of food after we ate our evening meal!
The magazines here are full of nouvelle cuisine,
which I define personally as food that arrives on a plate that shows you more of the platter than of the food itself.
And usually a flower or two, or some peeled vegetables as a garnish.
It seeks praise for being decorative.
Now in Cheung Chau, I discovered a place
that offers real squid with well-cooked vegetables for under $5.00 US. With an extra bowl of white rice and a fake European
beer - a large bottle for $1.25 USA, you have a whole gourmet meal.
When you exit the boat at Cheung Chau
the tourists veer to the left, you will see a long row of checked tableclothes, red and blue. If you veer to the right you will see more local places with slightly
lower prices, most with English menus.
There are also desert shops, with
sweets made of wholesome ingredients, such as sesame seed, peanut, tofu, black herbal jelly, coconut, mango bits, red beans,
and if you didn't know Chinese had sweets, you can educate yourself here. These desserts are low priced here, between 5 and 15 HK. One of my favourites
is a soy custard with pureed ginger added to it.
The village takes up most of the island,
though the local council has added a broad avenue that circles the waterfront.
There are no sharp hills like on Lamma,
and the port is so broad, and full of light, and a huge amount of boats of all sizes and shapes - if you half-closed your
eyes, you could be anywhere in the world there is a wide and sunny harbour.
Greece, Barbados, Antigua, Bermuda....other harbours
I have seen.
Cheung Chau is full of young people,
having a riotous time with their simpler life, chatting to one another on their bikes, yelling loudly around the computer
The presence of the sea is overwhelming,
the sound of the surf pounding against the white sand beaches is truly loud noise, as loud as that of a car engine running,
I did not remember that the sea made such a roar.
The street facing the ocean is full
of major activity, the police patrolling, the ferry boats arriving and departing, and also the library well-stocked with English
and children's books.
There are all the major Hong Kong businesses
represented here, a short walk between them all - the pharmacies, the supermarkets, the banks, and even a Japan Home Store.,
There is one large and respectable hotel,
which looks lovely and safe, like something from forty or fifty years, a large tall old-fashioned block, with a square of
empty space in front of it, lined by three storey housing blocks, all facing towards the ocean.
On the back streets are interesting
places: a store that just handles the Chinese medicinal brew pitch-black and popular with all, I think it does something for
my health everytime I ingest it.
There are stores with Thai-imported
dresses, skirts, and blouses, and also a store I like with just seashell mobiles and jewellery. I had never seen a real
chunk of mother-of-pearl until I picked one up there today.
This seashell store is to the right
when you come of the ferry boat and walk along the main street, a few minutes away.
I hope things will go better here on
Cheung Chau, as I believe in destiny, and so many blockages occurred for Joe and me, and for me, on Lamma, though I
must just take life one day at a time.
I definitely recommend travellers to
Hong Kong to explore other places than the City Centre, and this pretty island, with great photo opportunities and fresh seafood,
is half an hour by fast ferry and forty-five minutes by slow ferry, from the Central Ferry pier.