Hidden Gems

Hong Kong is similar to New York in that it has a magical quality. It’s such a melting pot of people and cultures, and it shouldn’t work but it does. People grow to hate it but find they can’t leave, or yearn to return. And you really never know what waits for you around the corner – literally.

On Saturday we went on quite a mission to go out for lunch and check out some shops in Sheung Wan, followed by a street party a friend of a friend was throwing. At some point Heike decided she’d had enough, understandably, and promptly refused to walk any further.  I had to use my best manipulative techniques and explain to her that we were not only almost there, but we were walking down a magical street where we might find fairies or crystals – we just had to look really hard.

She looked at me sceptically but decided to give it a try. So off we went up the street, which turned out to be quite a steep hill. She was doing really well and I encouraged her, keep going, almost there. And then she SCREAMS with delight. Because lo and behold right before our eyes is a giant bloody crystal!! On the side of the road?! A big purple one, with a few smaller bits nearby that had fallen off. It was pretty much abandoned there so we said she could take one of the smaller pieces, and thus guaranteed utter elation and perfect behaviour for the rest of the weekend.

(I still can’t quite believe that story, but it happened!)

Anyway, this week Miss Heike has started catching the bus to and from school. For Hong Kong locals this probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal – it’s fairly standard for small private buses to pick up children from outside apartment blocks all over the city. But for us this was a big deal! It caused a lot of anxiety (okay, it was only me who was anxious) and it was definitely a milestone moment as I waved her off on Monday morning. She’s growing up, not a toddler anymore but a little girl, with funny ideas and opinions and a scary amount of independence.

This meant that Walter and I had the morning free, and we decided to check out what turned out to be another hidden gem – the Bowen Road Hiking Trail, which is easily accessed out the front of our building.

The first great thing about this trail is that for us to access it we need to power up a very steep hill, which in Hong Kong’s crazy hot/humid weather works up quite a sweat. I love this because you quickly get the heart racing, and it can be easily sustained with a brisk walking pace.

The second great thing is that it is super pram friendly. Once you get to the top it is flat and paved, and there is also a playground right off the track in the Bowen Road Garden, so you can stop for a play after your workout. This garden also has some outdoor exercise equipment installed. It’s a 4km track, but you can break off or turn around at any point if you’re short on time (or energy).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat’s amazing about this track is that you feel like you’re in a tropical rainforest (which you kind of are) but you’re sitting just above the bustle of Wan Chai/Mid Levels, and in fact the city is in full view to the north for much of your walk. There’s a fabulous sense of tranquility amongst madness.

This beautiful city...
This beautiful city…

All in all, a perfect way to burn off all the Tsing Tao we’ve been drinking.


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