Hong Kong 1974

Man mo temple. Cat street

I visited Hong Kong many times from 1974 onwards. It was the most exciting place I had ever visited. I loved the food in the restaurants and the street market in Temple street. Temple street included many restaurants with the live food on display outside, tanks of every type of fish, lobster and eel. Street vendors would have baskets of snakes and offer to give you a drink of the bile from the snake and cut open a live snake in front of your eyes. Supposedly good for virility it was an option I never dared to take. Taking the ferry from Aberdeen side where all the junks were in the harbour to Hong Kong island was a great adventure and there was a street of bars along the water front of bars where pretty Chinese girls would serve drinks topless. Climbing up to the top of Victoria peak, one was rewarded with the most fabulous view of the high-rise buildings across the island. Amazing at night when all the buildings were lit.

Cat street had an amazing array of old antique and junk shops where I bought a bone Buddha, but the highlight was the Taoist temple, a most mysterious place with the hint of the black arts that Taoism encompasses.

One time I went to Lantau island with a young sales man from the Wiggins Teape office. We took a ferry and arrived at a remote fishing village. We climbed the hill in the centre of the island, a slow hot, sunny climb. On the top was a huge Buddha which dominated the view. However, half way up we stopped at a nunnery and were welcomed by a toothless old nun with a shaven head. She steered us to a table and chairs in a clearing in the jungle and offered us a drink. Much to my surprise she poured hot water from an old vacuum flask into a small porcelain cup. After a long hot walk it was the most refreshing drink I ever had. A delicious bowl of noodles followed. A most memorable and unusual visit.

Following the handing over of Hong Kong to the Chinese, Lantau island has now become one of the biggest and most impressive airports in the world.