Jungle fever

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Scarlet relaxing in the Mighty Mini – next time we’ll be bouncing up those steps to the hiking trail.

Scarlet was off school sick today. Typically with these childhood illnesses, she was right as rain by midday and bored of reading Harry Potter. I was on a deadline for a story for Sai Kung Magazine and urgently needed photos of a local village so I could file the piece, so there was nothing else for it but to strap Scarlet into the convertible and motor off down the mountain.

The editor is running a rather lovely series at the moment, looking at New Territories villages local to the Sai Kung and Clearwater Bay areas. There are hundreds of them, so it’s a series that could be running for a while.

Next month is the turn of Tai Lam Wu, a tiny little place up in the hills, sort of just below Fei Ngo Shan (as the crow flies). The sun had come out so we cranked up RTHK on the radio and beetled down the mountain with the roof down. Scarlet even popped her sunnies on. We then took a sharp left off the highway into Ho Chung (a large village which had the dubious honour of hosting a bomb scare last year, you couldn’t move for tourist buses and Pearl TV vans for a while).

Anyway, all was tranquil today and the road wound its way through the rambling concrete jungle that is Ho Chung, past the derelict Asia TV studios, and then up, up, up into the glorious mountains. We passed banana trees, flittering butterflies, village dogs dozing in the sunshine and finally crossed the infamous “blue bridge” (a 12ft python lives underneath it apparently) and then we were there.

The village boasts just a few houses, but makes up for its size with oodles of charm and a fascinating history. It was even the focus of a 2011 Chinese indie film, Big Blue Lake. You can also access the wonderful Wilson Trail (stage 4) from steps at the far end. Anyway, we snapped away and you can read all about it in the May issue of Sai Kung magazine. The story’s not exactly a front-page scoop, but I love pootling about in out-of-the-way places, so, along with the sunshine, the afternoon really put a spring in my step and a smile on my face. And we were back in time for Scarlet to pop into school for her after-school sewing club. I know. Don’t say a word. I might be a reasonable writer, but I’m a terrible mother.

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