A TNT Travel Writing Awards entrant
Author: Megan Jones
The winding streets of Sai Kung are a maze I’m willing to explore. The town displays its origins in the fresh, sometimes sliced fish displayed on tables in the street. Younger children gaze at the tanks of crabs, lobsters and puffer fish. Here it feels a world away from the shopping centres and crowds of most of Hong Kong. I am yet to of spotted a building of above 10 storeys.
Even though life in Sai Kung is slower paced it is exciting. Down by the sea boats have pulled up displaying their latest catch. The fish are fresh and cheap to. It is busiest down here and the noise proves that. But loud though it is it is still pleasant. The essence of a bustling market has been caught and framed in a politer and friendlier beauty.
For lunch we dine at a western restaurant. It is almost full and seems popular. I am informed that the Chinese restaurants, though delicious, are never overly busy.
Later, I am shown the town by my friend. The people we meet seem happy and are incredibly kind. They are all willing to help and we laugh over a few jokes.
As I walk the streets, it becomes apparent that most shops sell fish or hardware. I notice a mother yelling at her smartly dressed twins. After seeing a few more parents telling of their children I realise how strict they are here. Discipline is obviously very important.
We stop for a snack at a bakery. The food is okay though not fantastic. As we head back to the taxi stop we gaze at the lanterns and other decorations gracing the windows. They are most lovely. Passing through a narrow alley the stench of urine becomes quite fierce. Feeling a little disgusted, we peer into a tiny pet shop. A cat and her four kittens are locked in a cage way to small for them. I cannot help but feel pity. The owner glares at us and I imagine that she read my feelings. Uncomfortably, I turn away. We emerge in front of a queue of taxis. I hail the wrong taxis – there are two different colours which go to different places – so I hastily apologise. The driver is very understanding. He talks to us for a little and laughs at my mistake. Luckily my friend lives here and we manage to get to her house safely.
The next day, as we head towards the underground, we encounter two dead snakes. I gaze at them in fascinated horror. My friend then tells me that deadly snakes are quite common here. I go on my way feeling a little queasy.
We plan to board the infamous star ferry to Hong Kong Island. This means all I catch of the temple is a smell of incense and a lingering picture of carvings. But even that’s enough to embellish the already beautiful impression I’ve received of Sai Kung and its inhabitants.