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Archive for October, 2008

return to lamma

On Sunday, we attended the 8th annual Lamma Fun Day event, held at Power Station Beach. I’ll get to the name of the beach later. We love going to Lamma. As you may recall, we tried very hard to live on this Island. In hindsight, thank goodness we didn’t (need to qualify that E still wistfully thinks of living on Lamma). The commute to work would have been murder, and F would eventually have had to take a ferry to whatever school she went to. Plus most of the apartments are crap, and you usually have to live on Lamma for a while to get a decent but small flat. Anyway, it’s still a fun place to visit. The people are extremely laid back, and there is this definite hippy element to the population there that kind of appeals to us.

And that’s what greeted us when we got to the beach. People sold jewelry and garments and trinkets from tables propped up on the path just above the beach. A snack stand sold burgers and soggy fries. There was a drum circle. Further down there was a small beer tent with Tsingtao on tap. People roamed around in bathing suits, buying stuff, eating, lounging on the beach. When I came back from scouting a spot on the sand, E informed me that she’d lost her phone on the ferry. I called the phone several times to no avail. I swear one person hung up on me. Then E’s phone called me, and it was a nice man on the other line, who happened to be the ferry engineer who happened to have found E’s phone. He kindly arranged for us to pick it up and even gave us his cell number because E’s phone was running out of batteries. I texted him a “thank u” the next day.

There was a cool jazz band playing under a make-shift stage. There was a kids area where if you paid HK$100 per child, they could get their faces painted, decorate cup cakes, shoot a pellet gun (we opted out of that) and play other games—plus free entry to the jungle gym set up near the shore. F squirted seven kinds of frosting on her cupcake and dumped rainbow sprinkles on top. With a colorful, and slightly weird looking finished product in her hand, she bit into the cupcake, only she never reached the cake part. It was essentially a snack of raw frosting. T decorated her own as well, with the help of some nice volunteer ladies.

This was a gathering of pretty low-strung people for the most part, as expected on Lamma. People made friends with us. We made friends with them. F even decided to take part in a relay race (she was the only girl). I thought for sure that when it was her turn (or earlier) she’d drop out, but damned if she didn’t go for it—with a little help from me.

Later we met our friend Mark and his wife Carolyn and their two kids who F loves. I gladly bought into the bar special of 3 beers for HK$100, splitting them with E over the course of a few hours (the bar ladies let me grab them one at a time). There is was a fairly serious beach volleyball tournament going on. The sun was hot and a bit intolerable in the beginning, but by 4 pm it was perfect.

Okay, so the one imperfect part is the giant, coal fired power plant next to the beach. I can’t believe that the people on Lamma haven’t come up with a better name for this plot of sand. “Rocky Beach,” “Little Wave Beach,” “Little Lamma Beach.” The three power plant stacks are quite ominous, though I’ve never seen smoke coming from them. If I have, it’s the fluffy white kind, not thick black soot.

I suppose living in this region you get used to this kind of thing. A beautiful spot tainted by the presence of an industrial beast that never should have been located there. Or shouldn’t it have? Perhaps that was the only spot it could successfully power Hong Kong with electricity. What strikes me is that in the US and elsewhere, there are town hall meetings and civic votes on the making of these things. Not in China. I imagine the Lammans saw some cranes one weekend and three months later they woke up to a power plant. That’s the way things work around here. That’s how this area has Power Station Beach. A pleasant, rocky alcove tucked into a wooded corner of Lamma, 100 yards from rows of vegetable patches and a popular tofu stand. In the background, an ugly power plant.

We rushed to grab the 5:30 pm ferry, and barely made it, after picking up E’s phone at the front desk. The ferry bounced over choppy waves on the way back to Hong Kong. F, T, and I pointed out birds, fish and floating items on the water from a ferry window. This was the only way to keep T at bay. If we’d have let her, she would have run up and down the ferry aisles, waving at sleeping passengers.

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painting in the raw…

Last week I decided to let the girls paint on large strips of paper on the balcony. I stripped T to her diaper and F to a pair of shorts. Very quickly it went down hill from there…

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