Wednesday, February 2, 2011

no cars go - Lamma Island

I have found a place where there are no roads, no cars, no highrises, no neon lights, no cats and very few people. It is a place where each family has a boat, where each bird song is heard, where each view is uninterrupted. This place cleans your lungs and your stomach and your soul - refreshing your perspective on life like a god almighty F5.

Disembarking the ferry - your introduction to Lamma Isl.
This is the main road and the most populated part of the island.
Because everyone needs aircon in their seaside tin shed.
This door was as tall as my belly button.

Stepping off the jetty, you walk straight through the island's 'hub' - if you will. Narrow streets are barely filled with people and their dogs, and I get a good-natured feeling from the numerous vegetarian restaurants around me. The air is fresh, like drinking rainwater after chlorine. A different taste entirely, and although it seems foreign, you can just tell that its good for you.

Less than twenty minutes of strolling and you find yourself on the outskirts of 'town'. A small temple marks the end of recognisable civililisation as you begin the journey to the other side of the island. A couple of hours fly by. Paths lead you past crisp white beaches, lush and noisy forests, over breathtaking peaks and down through gulleys.

Honestly, it's easy to think that you are the first person to have ever stepped foot on half of Lamma island. I think perhaps even more powerful than the panoramas, however, are the small characteristics which make this island all its own. I encountered beautiful puppies wherever there were houses - well fed and adorable. There were whole families everywhere - real families that spanned three generations. A secluded section of pathway saw me meet an old man pushing a cart up the steep cliff - he was carrying canvas and a palate and wearing a painters coat.

There are hardly any people on Lamma during the week, but when I did meet them, they were all awesome. I came to a resting spot by the name of "Herboland" which I soon came to realise was not really a shop, but 'the only organic community garden in all of Hong Kong'. They had wooden signs with Gandi quotes everywhere, and bunnies. Real bunny rabbits - lots of them - just hopping around! Like this place couldn't get any more chilled (read: hippie)...

They offered cups of organic tea with over 30 varieties of freshly-prepared brews, so I went with "Forever Young". Customary brewing time was five minutes, and I was anticipating some goooooood tea!!!  It smelt a little like dirt and tasted like thick honey. Perhaps my body just can't take this many good vibes in one day - I watched bunnies and waited till it cooled and no one was looking and poured it into some poor scraggily (read: organic-looking) pot plant. It was pretty funny.

Another hour of rejuvinating walking and I was on the other side of the island. With it's own "main street" that felt like a ghost town at 6:00. I sat down at the only open restaurant for a smooth dinner before the 7:30 ferry, and I felt invincible. They day had gone so perfectly. Lamma Island was exactly what I needed. I nonchelantly ordered something good-sounding and began to read the novel I had brought with me. A hot cup of tea warming my hands as the cool breeze whipped off the ocean. It was perfect. As if the universe was in harmony.

And then my meal arrived.

Next time I will ask for an english menu. Hahahha, not to worry though - a beatiful ferry ride along the lights of the harbour carried me back to Central where I had cake and soymilk for a late-night snack. Now my belly is full of food, and my lungs can hang on to the memory of fresh air for another few weeks!

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