Monday, April 02, 2018

Maclehose Trail Stage 6

Tomorrow we return to the office.  I am not saying I am returning to work tomorrow since I have not actually stopped working over Easter.  In fact, I wrote almost 1,000 words in Chinese in two hour this morning before going out.  But today, our daughter A led us on a hike through Maclehose Trail Stage 6.  

We set off from Tai Po Road at Shek Kowloon Reservoir (九龍水塘).  We were pleasantly surprised to see few monkeys and few people.  It was a good start.  Perhaps we were early?  Perhaps many people have left town because of the long weekend?  

Later on, we actually found a monkey shaking up a tree. Perhaps it was looking for berries?  At least, it seemed to be doing what monkeys are supposed to do, foraging for food in the forest, instead of begging for food from humans.  

The trail was easy and the views good.  We could see Kwai Chung and Tsuen Wan in the distance.  There are still some old style public housing scattered around.  I think I wen through some of them a few days ago.  My wife and our daughter even thought they saw the Ting Kau Bridge (汀九橋) in the distance.  I am afraid I couldn’t.  

But we did find some defensive works made by the British army in the defence of Hong Kong from the attack of the Japanese army at the beginning of the Second World War.  Mainly redoubts (bunkers? forts?) and tunnels.  Evidently those weren’t enough, because Hong Kong fell to the Japanese quite quickly.  

So did most of East Asia at the time.  Fortunately, the Japanese could not hold onto Hong Kong and most of the areas that they took.  

A perfect sphere of mud bigger than a soccer ball laid beneath a tree.  Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be an ants’ nest built on a slender branch that had fallen off the tree.  It must have fallen not too long ago, because a whole colony of ants were scrambling to move around eggs and stuff.  My wife was marvelling at the perfect roundness of the ball.  I was wondering, however, about this: if the ants were so good in building such a huge, perfectly spherical nest, why did they built in on such a slender branch, only half an inch in diameter? Shouldn’t they have realised that the nest would be too heavy? Evidently their engineering education wasn’t perfect. 

Come to think of it, that’s what happen to most of us.  We can be very smart, and very silly at the same time.  

Again, we encountered quite a bit of Bauhinia variegata (宮粉羊蹄甲).  From our daughter A, I know these are not Bauhinia x blakenea (洋紫荊).  Because they are more pink than purple, and Bauhinia x blakenea is actually very rare in the wild.  

There are all kinds of fragrant flowers, and singing birds.  I cannot recognise most of the flowers and most of the bird songs - except 杜鵑 (Rhododendron) the flower, and 杜鵑 (cuckoo) the bird.  It is a little weird, come to think of it.   But they made the hike very pleasant.  

Sing Mun Reservoir looks pretty from the distance.  Not so much when we actually got there.  Why do so many things look good only if you see them from a distance, but turn out to be not so perfect when you get to know them better?

We could also see the toll booths at the entrance (exit?) of the Shing Mun Tunnel.  

It was a easy hike.  But we still rewarded ourselves with a good meal, and fried durian.  It was really good.  

It was a good day. 

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