Cheung Chau

The next day we slept in a little, and then went down to the docks to catch a ferry out to Cheung Chau. Cheung Chau is a small island not for from HongKong that has no motorized vehicles. Sort of like Venice, without the canals. We went out there to see if we could find Joe, and to see if his 'Frog and Toad' was open. Joe is a story unto himself. He is Chinese, but is a native of HongKong , specifically Cheung Chau. He is a bit of a strange bird. He plays the evil villain in many "B" movies that are made in HongKong, and when he is not doing that, he is either working at his bar called the ‘Frog and Toad’ or he is doing both. The ‘Frog and Toad’ is Joe’s bar, which is on an island even more remote than Cheung Chau. You have to take a san-pan (a small independently owned watercraft, usually piloted by 70 year old guys who speak no english) over to it. The bar is usually only open if a group signs up to rent it out for a party. When its rented though, its open to the general public as well. I guess there’s not enough business to keep it open everyday.

In any case, we went to the garden pub, which is where Joe can usually be found if he’s not at the F&T. Once we got there, we noticed the only soul in the place was someone passed out in one of the booths. My dad went to wake him ,and low and behold it was Joe. We tried to get him to have a beer with us, but he said something about still being drunk from the night before. This was about 2pm or so.

The Garden Pub is an interesting little place. Sort of a hole in the wall, but one with character. The signs for the bathrooms don’t read "ladies" and "gents", but rather "sitting" and "standing". The rest of the bar was equally as quirky.

We played darts with Joe and a guy named Steve, who had just moved to HongKong from the UK. As we were in the bar, a small procession walked by that resembled a parade, although it was only about 20 people and one dragon. It was one of those dragons that had about 5 or 6 people in it and a really big mouth. They were headed to the temple on the island for the annual Bun festival. It was a religious festival held at the temple. We stopped by before we left the island. I actually had no idea until I left HongKong and read some of the guide books, that the bun festival is the biggest event on the island of Cheung Chau all year. It is a festival that the people of the island put on to appease the islands hungry ghosts, the spirits of those who were killed by pirates. Large 16-meter towers are built and covered with buns. At the end of the festival, after the ghosts have eaten the ones that they want, the rest are handed to the people. They are not eaten, but rather taken home and put them in the family shrine or feed them to the carp fish.

The temple that the bun festival was held at was equally as impressive. This was the first time that I had ever been inside a buddist tepmle. It was pretty neat. It didnt seem as solemn as a catederal. It seemed as quiet, but not on purpose. It just seemed as though no one was talking, but not that you werent allowed to talk or talk loud for that matter.

When we got back to HongKong island, we went to Victoria peak, which is only accessible by a cable/rail car. Its actually a train, but the tracks are so steep, that there’s a cable that helps it up and down. The view from the top is incredible. You can see the entire city of Hong Kong and the Kowloon Peninsula.

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