It’s difficult not to make all of these entries sound the same – on one hand each day is new and exciting and different, but on the other, they all follow the same template – interesting lecture, thoughtful discussion, tasty lunch, MTR trip to some gorgeous new destination, satisfying dinner, lesson learned. Strictly, today was no different – but nevertheless it stands out as probably one of my most memorable yet. Class was on the languages of Hong Kong, and I learned a ton about the linguistic diversity of China and the way that language influences how we think and how we identify ourselves and others. After a quick canteen lunch (which, despite all the local students’ griping, I actually think is pretty good) we hopped on the train and commenced the three-ish hour ordeal of getting to the literal opposite side of the territory. The three trains were simple enough, but then we spent maybe a half hour wandering around the multi-leveled bus stations of Choi Hung (only to discover that the minibus we wanted was immediately next to where we exited the subway), and even more time trying to find a “local bus” in Sai Kung which may or may not have existed. Ultimately, we gave up and got a taxi to our trailhead, Sai Wan Pavilion, deep in Sai Kung Country Park. The actual hike was actually pretty civilized – it was paved in concrete or brick pretty much the whole way and had little severe inclines, and before we knew if we were spilled out on a long, flat beach straight out of an advertisement. Bounded on both sides by distant mountains, the fine white sand seemed to stretch almost forever, and the gentle waves were a welcome relief after a long hike. The wildest part, though, was that the place was entirely deserted. A few restaurants and snack bars in the nearby town suggested that at certain times of year, it’s a getaway destination (and with good reason), but we had the amazing fortune of only sharing the entire beach with a few cows. We relaxed there longer than we probably should have (but it was too picturesque not to savor) before heading on to another beach a little further on, with a small pavilion serving simple (but delicious) seafood and some Australian campers that said the nearest drop out was only forty-five minutes due inland. Not knowing where else to go, we set out in that direction, climbing up a ridge as the sun began to set. The actual terminus of the trail turned out to be more than two and a half hours on, so in the dusk we found a small pier in front of a hostel, and asked some fishermen about the easiest way to get back to Sai Kung. Thankfully, they were able to call a speedboat, which took us to a different pier, from which we could walk to a bus station that would take us to the bus station that would take us back to the MTR. Three trains later, we were back at Lingnan, in record time. I’m honestly not sure what the point of that whole story was, but in aggregate today has been the most satisfying day yet. Maybe it’s the satisfaction of successfully navigating to the actual farthest point in the territory in just an afternoon, or meeting all the local people that were so kind in directing us around, or the sheer bliss of happening upon our own paradise after a convoluted journey, but something about today’s excursion leaves a warm spot in my stomach that I hope I can recreate.

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