To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Middleburgh: Lamma Field Trip

The sun cresting the hill wasn't dispersing the mist in the Channel but the day held promise...

There was a hint of anxiety as we worked fast to assemble and check our stuff .We had an appointment with a boat and didn't want to miss it, as we had so frequently done before. After all New Year only ocurs .. once a year...

Although sailing times were confirmed, there was a moment of low sugar panic, when we realised we weren't sure which quay in Aberdeen to head to. Fortunately, the taxi driver recognising an imminent crisis, assumed command and deposited us with time to spare.

The usual suspects were there. Over nighters who had done down town fireworks and clubs had been and gone on the earlier boat and were now probably tucked up counting their red pockets. Mainlanders, sans local relatives, would be following later (what else could they do when the shops were shut) Those waiting now were on a mission - to walk the walk, to be one with ancestors and nature, to inspect the Wind Turbine and to live the dream which is LAMMA... Hong Kong's answer to Bali.

The ferry eased past the boats in harbour for the festivities, and nosed out into the channel, negotiated Magazine Island heading for Pak Kok Tsuen to pickup more passengers for Yung Shue Wan (and breakfast). Last time we breakfasted in Aberdeen. and missed the boat. Sandwiches on board was not a viable option.

Arriving we stepped ashore and moved down the pier between the bikes chained to it's railings. Someone had clearly gone to work that morning. Briefly I wondered whether the small hotel at the end of the pier would meet #2's strict standards - probably not. There were few people about: A couple of bin men collecting yesterday's rubbish on their narrow "tractors" with little old ladies seasonally palming them red pockets. Lamma has no cars and only a couple of normal width roads to service the power station and reservoir: It's not a candidate for Google street view. We looked hungrily down side lanes for signs of breakfast, and were unexpectedly confronted, upon turning a corner, by a cafe serving croissants stuffed with a creamy egg Benedict/ham and tomato filling. DELICIOUS

Fortified we pressed on, out of town towards the Hung Shing Yeh Beach. The walk proper and the WHY? questions had began: As we delved into hedgerows and ditches on route looking at the flora and fauna we had to explain to #3 that bananas DO grow on trees (and look there is a such a tree!), That flowering or indeed any other cacti are not native to these parts. That butterflies were just sleeping until it was warmer and the bugs who weren't sleeping weren't roaches but probably related to the asian long horned beetle . That the thing that looked like a pinapple up a tree, was not (and was probably poisonous) and otherwise proving that daddy is not all knowing. That the arial 300 metres from the nearest habitation pointing up a valley was there because the reception was good (and cable TV didn't come out this far).

The climb began when we reached the turn off for the wind turbine. Gentle at first it grew steeper and side stepping dog poohs we had to avoid caucasian cyclists on mountain bikes and foot, staining uphill in training for next Lamma Man/woman of the Mountain contest.Lamma is famous/infamous for its laid back expat lifestyle encompassing beer gardens, curries, maloderous farts, drunk and disorderly whilst in charge of a bike, walking the dog and conversion of derelict pigsties into bijou residences.I could go on...

Finally after negotiating the hairpin with the mirrors the wind turbine came into view; We were so early that the soft dinks vendor had yet to arrive with his supplies. Worse there was no wind which meant there was no alien wooshing noise as the turbine turned and no wind to dispel the sea mist which still obscured the view of South Horizons across the channel.

After a brief rest, reading the displays and explaining the concept of renewable energy to a 2.5 year old (I am always up for a challenge), like pilgrims who have visited the holy of hollies , we headed back. Half way down the hill some dogs poured out of a side entrance of a pig sty followed by a Gwaipaw (european woman) who called "don't worry they don't bite children !! Under my breath, but loud enough to hear, I muttered "Not like in the New Territories then?". Startled she stared at me, then stepped closer "No, They are Village dogs there, aren't they, They're taught to be aggressive, the people there don't treat them right!! Satisfied that she had adequately spoken on behalf of Lamma dogs and bagged off the residents of the New Territories, she moved off after her pack of hounds.(pooper scooper conspicuously absent)

Reaching the main path we turned eastward against the rising tide washing in from the ferry and headed back. The cafes/restaurants were open and full (including those never frequented by locals); main landers were checking out the second hand book shop for banned books and fashionable dressed residents were rushing to catch the boat into town (to visit relatives).

now see the the movie

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