Well we left Heathrow an hour late due to some small problem with the door ( a beer bottle top caught in the groove apparently !) on the BA 747 to Hong Kong ! The good news however was that they started the movies whilst the engineers were fixing it, so but the time we took off I was two thirds of the way through World War Z !
We landed about the full hour late, it got our shuttle to the hotel anyway. The new airport is on Lantau Island, and as the shuttle drove us over the bridge to Hong Kong Island, a sleepy S suddenly looked very animated and frantically pointed out of the window saying that is Stonecutters Island where I lived ( it is now joined to Hong Kong Island through reclamation of land), and then speechlessly thrust a finger in the direction of a yellow colonial building on said island and mouthed that it was the house in which she lived for 8 years or so ! I pinched her and said to take a photo quickly which she did, and then she sat back breathless with shock and surprise.
It is now a barracks for the Peoples Liberation Army of China, and strictly a no go area for civvies, but she saw it !
After a recovery stop at our hotel we ventured into the searing heat and re stomped my old ground from adjudicating, over to the Star Ferry and on to Kowloon side for a short jaunt. We were both tired, but needed to stay awake for a few more hours to put our body clock in sync with being 7 hours ahead. We found a most interesting restaurant, a Duumpling House, where not a soul spoke English, and we ordered recklessly not having a clue of the dishes which would be brought. Fortunately it was very tasty and a good mix of rice, dumplings and soup, all beautifully presented with a suitable sense of culinary Feng Shui !
We slept for 12 hours and rose refreshed and ready for the first outing to Stanley Market. On the bus from Gloucester Road we swung around all the bendy corners watching the lovely bays, Deepwater Bay, Repulse Bay, where the first British sailors landed, and eventually Stanley Bay. Again it was a searing 30 - 32 degrees so it was slow going for me, whilst Sara bathed in the heat. She reckons that being born here gives her the right magical thermostat for this climate. Mine is definitely rooted in the cold north !
I took her back to the old Naval Building for lunch where I ate on my very last day in 2012, and we had a splendid lunch of Banana Flower Heart salad with lemongrass and shredded chicken and mixed seeds, with coconut rice and delicious prawn crackers, then Sara toddled off to shop alone, faster and more concentratedly than with a middle aged lady who looked like a boiled lobster ! I remained on the cool balcony and had a superb pudding and a Vietnamese coffee. Such breezy splendour !
In the evening we met up with Sally Martin, a beloved old pupil of mine who was out first Mabel when we did Pirates the first time around ! She is now teaching singing in Hong Kong and doing very well indeed. She teaches full time and lives a full ex pat lifestyle whilst still retaining her sanity and her pennies! She was utterly delightful and we three generations of Middleton Stable singing teachers, all at different stages in our careers, reminisced until I was falling asleep and left the younger generation to go out and party somewhere very loud (I assume!).
Sally is now a mezzo, her voice having matured and dropped to its present range, and when she finally returns to the UK she wants to pick up her singing once more. Meanwhile she is carrying on the wonderful tradition 5000 miles,away on the other side of the world. She sends her love to all on Paradise, and says she thinks about us often !
Just how many lives has the marvelous Middy touched, directly and vicariously ?
Lunch in colonial style
Red Bean and Coconut Cream with fresh Mango, Dragon Fruit and strawberries and Sweet Ice Cream AH...............
Sally and Sara Generation 2 and 3 !