December 19, 2010

Not exactly Giant's Causeway

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I got up this morning for a photoshoot of 3 generations' of BMW M3s, as Tigger got all excited about his new toy.  After a couple of hours of sticking my camera out of the sunroof of a car while traveling along the winding roads around town, I left the guys to meet up with Froggie for my second photo expedition of the day.

We'd been talking about going to explore the Hong Kong Geopark (香港地質公園), and wanted to check out the East Dam section of the High Island Reservoir (萬宜水庫), including Po Pin Chau (破邊洲).  This area is home to hexagonal columns of rock, which evokes images - in my mind at least - of the Giant's Causeway.

Froggie and I took a long bus ride from Diamond Hill, and got dropped off just inside Sai Kung West Country Park.  We began our trek along the Sai Kung Man Yee Road, which also happened to be Stage 1 of the MacLehose Trail.  This 10km section winds its way around the High Island Reservoir, where the water was surprisingly clear and reflected a beautiful shade of blue from the sky.

The trail was actually reasonably flat, the weather was beautiful, and this was a scenic, leisurely walk.  We made many stops along the way and took lots of pictures.  The journey took us a little longer than expected, and I was absolutely starving when we arrived at the East Dam around 2½ hours after we started.  We immediately found ourselves a rock to sit on and broke for lunch.

I was in a hurry this morning and picked up a couple of riceballs from QQ Rice (西龍傳香飯糰)'s outlet at Diamond Hill station.  These were pretty miserable as riceballs go.  Besides the pork floss (肉鬆) stuffed inside, the braised pork belly (魯肉) tasted kinda like it was supposed to but the "triple delight chicken" (三杯雞) tasted nothing like the famous Taiwanese dish.  Oh well... at least they served the purpose of stopping my hunger pangs.

We spent about an hour exploring the area, looking at various rock formations.  The volanic rock has been molded into series of polygonal columns and these were exposed on the cliffside.  Not exactly the same as Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway since we can't walk on them, but still interesting nevertheless.  Apparently Hong Kong used to have a volcano, but it collapsed and formed the caldera that is the Sai Kung of today.

I was dreading the thought of walking another 10km in the wrong shoes, so we hopped into a taxi and headed for the Sai Kung Promenade.  The first thing I did after getting out of the cab was to grab a cone from Mister Softee.  It's not the best ice cream you'll ever have, but it was exactly what we needed after our expedition.

When we got tired of breathing in fumes from the boats and the smell of salted fish (鹹魚) no longer piqued our interest, we walked around the area and eventually settled down at Classified.  One can always find something satisfying from this group of restaurants, and this location next to Man Yee Playground seemed a perfect place for us to unwind.

We ordered a small portion of assiette de charcuterie to go with our cold drinks.  Can't go wrong with cold cuts made from pork, and the jamon iberico was succulent and melted in my mouth.  Should've gotten the big portion...

As the sun went down, the area became a little cool.  We used it as an excuse to order the cheese fondue.  Unfortunately, this was disappointing.  What came in the caquelon was much too thin and liquid for my taste, which meant we couldn't twirl the pieces of bread or potato and wrap strings of cheese around them.  There was also a distinct grainy texture to it, making me think that the kitchen had added mashed potato to the cheese and wine mixture.  At one point we were even questioning whether this was made from "fondue mix"...  Froggie and I were not happy.  I guess I'll stick to Chesa or Swiss Chalet whenever I'm in the mood for melted cheese...

Lugging around a camera bag all day can be pretty tiring, so we dragged our aching bodies (with blisters on my feet) back home for that hot shower...and my welcoming massage chair.

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