Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hong Kong Diary Day 20 Tung Chung Fort Part 2 of 2

Last week was complete chaos, there was no energy for words, a haphazard China post would not suffice so I skipped a post, many apologies for this. Excuses aside, let's continue with our tour of Tung Chung Fort, the flight of stairs led us to the row of cannons pictured below. We counted a few of them but were they an effective defense? History mentioned pirates occupying the fort, imagine men scrambling back and forth with gunpowder as surrounding armed forces closed in.Bordering the fort were residential low rise of similar height, I was glad for this, one could still enjoy the distant mountains at this level.
Hammering noises drew us to a corner, construction on a Sunday afternoon at the neighboring site. The lone worker pounded away, everything looked very clean and organized, would this be the case on a weekday?
What were they building, another low-rise we hope, the hi-rise on the fringe presented an uncomfortable possibility.
An older neighboring low-rise, the corner unit had a tiny wrap around garden, numerous pots cramped with plants, another reminder that space is still a prime commodity in less populated areas of Hong Kong.
Past the cannons and residential structures a stone paved trail led us into the forest, a change of scenery, the trees were much easier on the eyes, the air felt clean and moist.
Crickets chirped from the thick grove, the rugged texture of the stone bricks was very intriguing, where would this path take us?
Step by step I was pulled away from David and Peter, the pavement became more uneven and unstable. As I ventured deeper into the bush I kept hoping I would find a forgotten piece of treasure from the pirates loot.
It just screamed with so much possibility until the boys pointed out the path further ahead may be unsafe.
So this ended my mini adventure at Tung Chung Fort, we turned around and faced the looming hi-rise as we headed back to the car, returning to modern reality.
One last look at the basketball court at the school yard, a calm present compared to its interesting past. The government declared the fort a monument in 1979, I hope they continue to keep their promise.
The fort was small so our visit was short, but we found it interesting, it transported us back in time.
I would have loved to stay longer, peruse the articles on the museum's walls, absorbed all there was to know about the fort.
Reluctantly I followed the boys back to the car, they were watchful to ensure I was close behind.
The same corridor that was the main entrance to the fort led us back into the real world.
A closed restaurant we passed by before had opened for business, hefty wooden furniture its interiors looked fascinating, would the food be good we wondered.
A few steps later we were back at the car driving off to Tai O, more next week as our China adventure continues!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Bit of Peace

A hectic week
no time for minute chores
laundry and dishes piling up.
It is all over now.

Yesterday finally some time for cleaning
followed by a steak dinner at home
some toasted bread and BBQ vegetables
some fresh salad with apples too.

Then a movie
The King's Speech, an enjoyable performance.
A small piece of cheesecake for dessert,
a sweet end to the day.
A bit of peace at the end of the week.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hong Kong Postcard Day 20 Tung Chung Fort Part 1

Hello Thursday! Let's continue our China trip! On the way to Tai O, we decided to stop by Tung Chung Fort but directions were needed so we stopped at a residential area where a kind gentleman pointed us the right way. Some shots captured below as Peter, David and I returned to the car.A back alley was recorded on site, many homes have back entrances, judging by the vents the kitchen must be located by the rear. I noticed pipes were visible on the outside, I remembered this was standard practice in Singapore too, the tropical climate permitted exterior pipelines. They did not look aesthetically pleasing but problems were easier to access and fix should they arise.
At the front of the building residents shared a common pathway that led to main entrances, various seating accommodations were left out for chatting and relaxing in the evening. The metal fence provided a boundary for the small recreational space, but also served as a drying post for mop. Scattered about were a few potted plants, it was heartwarming to note gardening was not forgotten in this limited space.
As we drove away, a shot of the numerous flats, living spaces stacked one on top of another, a reality in highly populated areas. I'm not entirely keen about this congested lifestyle but land is a prime commodity in any big city.
A framed view of the hi-rise neighborhood from the car, things always looks better with a bit of greenery.
Back on the highway, the bus stop area was clearly marked with painted signs on the road, in English and Chinese. We were told to follow the road and turn right where there would be a small parking lot.
There was parking capacity for only 5 cars, we took the last spot and found the sign that directed us to Tung Chung Fort.
Along the way we found an outdoor vending machine for soft drinks, it was surprisingly clean and seemed to be in great working order. Who were the customers? The little trail on the right called out to us and onwards we went towards the residential building.
A small group of multiple dwellings, a few pieces of laundry hung outside to dry, just like the rest of China.
More smaller buildings, but they were not all residences, the bottom floor housed several businesses, most of them were closed on Sunday.
A grove of banana trees, some were bearing fruit, it has been quite some time since I walked under its shady canopy.
If I recalled correctly, I think the admission to Tung Chung Fort was free. A small but quiet area, it was surrounded by luxurious growth, the air felt warm and humid.
Peter pointed out one of the stone huts was a museum, the doors and windows were open but there was no attendant. It housed a small collection of old farming equipment, historical literature hung on the walls but after 20 days of non-stop intense travel in China I merely glanced at them briefly, took a couple of pictures and moved on.
Looking back I wished I paid more attention, what was that interesting looking wooden machinery? Regardless, I remembered liking what I saw.
The outlook at one of the windows, a capture of old and new, the fort was surrounded with more recent developments.
The fort was built in the late 12th Century, it served as a defending post for pirates, was occupied by the Japanese in World War II, later a police station and college, now a Rural Committee Office and a public school. This explained why there was a school yard with a scoreboard and a basketball hoop. Looking at this I recalled exciting games with my Singaporean schoolmates, cries of encouragement as the ball bounced loudly on the concrete.
By the school yard were some stone steps, as we headed up I captured this scene, another shot combining future and history. Where do the stairs lead to I wonder, we will find out next week, stay tuned for another China adventure!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Few Blues

At first glance there was just a few blues,
a peaceful color, one of my favorites.
What is the name of this star shaped flower?
It's companion, the marching grape hyacinth,
the whole troop of them occupying a very small lot
by an old home, the owner is so very lucky
to have this to look forward to
every Spring.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Young Buds

There is nothing that speaks of Spring like young buds, I don't know why I like them so much, but I do know I'm always fond of their plump shape, bearing the anticipation of what is to come.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lavender and White

Off to a very damp start of the week, attempting to lift the spirits with some lavender and white crocuses. I didn't get to finish the last 2 colors of Poppytalk's Spring Color Week 2011, last week took a wild spin, not sure where the time went, let's hope this week is better.