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Week 3 - Freedom

Third entry of my year in HK. Fresh out of quarantine and moving into my school accommodation for the year.

sunny 36 °C
View Bham->Dam->HK on David Zhao's travel map.

Posted on 16th August 2020

Huge thanks to Dr and Mrs Holliday for awarding me the Nick Holliday Travel Scholarship, in memory of their son Nick who was a geography teacher at KES. He was an avid traveller, explorer and climber, and died tragically in a climbing accident doing what he loved. The Scholarship helps fund the travels of KES students who aspire to travel, which I am sure Nick would be very proud of.

00:00 on Thursday 13th August. Quarantine finally over. First time outside the apartment in two weeks. Felt immense happiness after walking on a pavement which was a strange experience. But yeah, I'm now free to travel around Hong Kong.

A day of freedom and celebration of the other five's A-level results was a good first day out. Went for a midnight walk and swim at the Gold Coast Dolphin. Yachts seem to be a fairly standard thing to own in the Gold Coast, with more than twenty harboured at the yacht club along the pier.
First night out at the dolphin

Given the events of the night, the moving in process - due to take place the next morning at 7:30am - was a bit more stressful than ideal. Nonetheless we arrived in due time. School is genuinely unreal. The building is similar to the White House; ridiculous to think that it's a school. Boarding house I live in has table tennis, pool and a games console, as well as toastie grills and a fridge. Teachers I've spoken to seem very nice and down to earth. School is fitted with modern equipment and a multipurpose astro as a front lawn which we can use whenever we want; if I don't have 99 freekicks by the end of this year I'll buy everyone reading this a pint.
School campus

Spent Saturday exploring Tuen Mun, a local town. First taste of traditional Chinese culture since I've been here with red archway or 'paifang' structures. Seafood market with huge boxes of live lobster and authentic Chinese restaurants serving bowls of soup, noodles and 'cai' (meat/fish and veg cooked in a specific way in its own bowl) were the highlight. Spent over an hour in the fishing shop, bought two very nice rods, excited to go out on a boat with a local fisherman one of these days.
Paifang structure [left] and fishing pier [right] in Tuen Mun

Walked along part of the MacLehose Trail on Sunday; would've walked the whole thing but it was 100km. Mountains here look similar to those in Wales from a distance, though once you get up close everything is different, from the vegetation to the birdsong. HK has a reputation for being a crowded, bustling business hub, so I was surprised to see how much greenery there is here. High humidity and sweltering heat makes walking under trees in a park/along the road feel like a rainforest at times.
Scenery on the MacLehose Trail

Excited to be out of quarantine as it means I can start exploring places. Planning to go to Kowloon this week, renowned for being the home of the best streetfood market in the world. Also planning to go to Sheung Wan, one of the more traditional areas of HK with lots of Buddhist monuments. Looking forward to visiting the temples and historical buildings there.

HK is still coming down from the peak of its third wave meaning schools are still closed. Apparently the government can only reopen them once 28 days pass without a single new case. Current best-case scenario is welcoming the kids into school after half-term, which is far from ideal. Guess all we can do is wait.

See you next week.

Posted by David Zhao 06:07 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged landscapes

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