Today, at last, we went to Tai Long Wan. This involves one or two changes within the MTR, then catching a minibus to Sai Kung, then another bus to Sai Kung Country Park. We, then, alighted and started down the Pak Tam Au trail.

It was eerily silent and spookily devoid of people walking in our direction. Since the bus took us up the mountain we were immediately plunged into a green vista. When we did encounter people they shocked us by saying “hello” and “morning”, already a different world from Hong Kong. Later, we discovered that contrary to the urban parts of HK, here the Chinese are friendly and the expat stony. Hmmm.

The most strange thing, however, was that the trail – although the description said for ‘the fit’ – was mostly level. This was later to prove to be too good to be true. After about 40 minutes we came upon campsites set along the waterfront. We seated ourselves on the pier of a deserted village, complete with overgrown ruins, and just gazed out at the beauty before us.

Unfortunately, the rest of the hike was to be not so pleasant. When trekking, the laws of reverse-gravity also apply and what goes down must always go up to. So we tortured ourselves up a mountain and then began a steep descent down to Tai Long Wan. En route, we stopped at another village and got drinks – iced lemon tea never went down so easily. Again, I was surprised by how the old village houses, though falling into disrepair, were still there.

It was then only a short walk down to the beach, fronted by two food shacks. The first thing that struck me was how unbelievably white the sand was. Then I got changed and threw myself into the oceaan. The temperature was just right and although there were waves (the name translates into Big Wave Bay), the moment I plunged in, I felt a moment of absolute peace. It was like the water was washing everything, every thought, away.

I didn’t stay in the water long, but it was enough.

We then headed to the shack and had some fried rice and awesome salt and pepper fish. Happily sated, we started looking for a way back. Unbelievably, there wasn’t one. Well, there wasn’t an easy one. It appeared there was actually a place untouched by even a minibus. We had to trek 40 minutes back up and down the hill and then flag a boat.

Even, this turned out to be eventful. Apart from almost getting thrown off it, a water police boat drew alongside us and demanded we show them identification. They then needlessly asked us where we had come from and where we were going. If they were really serious about it they would have at least taken down the name and number of the German guy who didn’t have any identificaition. But it helps to be German and not Indian I guess.

At last, we arrived at Wong Shek Pier where a lot of people were behaving like they had never seen buffalows before. And that was how I hoped to lose five kilos but given the fried rice, probably didn’t.