Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Lamma Commute

I'm still taking a ferry to a bus every day even though I moved. We get up even earlier and stumble down the hill to the ferry pier. It's lined with the bicycles of all the people who converge each morning and evening for the commute. One of these pictures is of the weather before the typhoon. The other is after the typhoon cleared the air - I like typhoons not just for days off school.

The main difference in the commute this year is that it's an ugly ferry. Instead of comfortable airline-type seats we ride on vinyl in a dark box that smells like goats. The commute should be just as beautiful except the ferry line never cleans its windows. So there are many fewer opportunities to take pictures out of the windows. I get a shot every now and again, though.
The typhoon came on Tuesday last week. During the night it passed by, rattling the metal awning on my roof and making me nervous enough that I was glad a child joined me in bed. But nothing was damaged at our place and we got a day off school, but barely. The Hong Kong Observatory predicted it would lower the T8 flag between 6 and 7 a.m. That's the signal that closes schools and businesses. The timing of it was such that the Education Board cancelled school for the day rather than letting kids start the morning trip to school in a T8. But if the typhoon had passed one hour quicker we would have had to go to school. I had to take a kid into the doctor's, so this last picture is the remnants of the storm we got to travel through on our way to Hong Kong Island. It's hard for a camera to see the darkness of menace contrasted with the luminosity of the water stirred by storm but lit by sunlight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Living on Lamma

Two Saturdays ago I moved into a new flat on Lamma Island. Lamma is known for its weed, its artists, its seafood and its expat hippies. I haven't encountered much of any of that so far, though I do know one cool artist who lives here.

Here are some pictures of my new place and my rooftop.

I am not yet happy with my commute. The connections are bad and the ferry is ugly and kind of stinky. If I get organized, though, I may get to take a very slow, non-air conditioned ferry straight from Aberdeen to Lamma. Last Thursday I did that for the first time. I got off at a tiny village before the main village and walked the 20 minutes home. It was very peaceful - green and overgrown. Unfortunately I have some sort of foot/ankle injury and can't enjoy the plentiful hikes and runs that are all around me yet. Inshallah soon.

But the rooftop...
The rooftop deserves its own post.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Joshua Tree

Despite this blog being about Hong Kong, I'm still not ready to face my commute and the bustle of the city. So I'm taking a moment to reminisce about one of my favourite parts of my summer - camping in Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree has always been one of my favourite places on earth. It's much more than an album, though I do like that, too. From the time I was little, I went camping and rock climbing there, so I was appalled to realize that my kids hadn't experienced the same thing.

Granite, Kestrel and I went out in July for a few days. It's usually way too hot in the high desert that time of year, but it's still fun. I expected to spend the days lolling in the shade panting and then venturing out in the late evenings and early mornings just like the coyotes.

But we had the strangest weather and even got rained on. It made for a perfect, comfortable, relaxing trip. The kids got the idea perfectly: Granite lay about reading on the tops of rocks and Kestrel found little holes to hide and play in.

It was the first time I'd taken the kids camping by myself, and it turned out to be a triumph. We didn't have a very deluxe camp set-up, but I didn't expect any sort of weather. We saw lizards and ground squirrels, hawks, coyotes and lizards. We even saw big horn sheep, which I'd never seen before in all my years of visiting the park.

I took dozens of pictures of the world reflected in Granite's cool sunglasses, but only a few of the world in the side mirror while I was driving. It's always important to be safe.