Sunday, August 19, 2007

Discovering Discovery Bay

With the rigors of summer travel fading (actually with summer itself fading- Tori starts school next week!), we were again inspired to start exploring all the various places in Hong Kong we have not yet visited. We eased back into the day trip thing with a jaunt out to Discovery Bay, a residential community which we heard had lots of amenities, space and no cars. As I write these selling points I realize they might not sound worthy of a 1.5 hour trip to anyone but a Hong Kong resident. But we went and enjoyed every minute of it.
Discovery Bay is located on Lantau Island, the same island that has the airport and importantly, Disneyland. (We are on Hong Kong Island). Discovery Bay was built in the early 1980's, though construction is on-going (and one of the issues residents have). Now with Disneyland close (you can see Space Mountain) by there is a nightly fireworks show. First a vacation resort area and then a residential community, with both private developers and government involved at various stages, the result is community of single family homes, apartments, a big open plaza and plenty of upscale restaurants. The whole plaza area had a run down feel but we read the marketing materials there and realized it was just redone this year and that we should now be calling it the "water margin." About 15,000 folks live there, mainly expatriates, and notably cars are not allowed in the area. Folks get around by golf cart and we saw a lot of them.

To get to Discovery Bay, we took a ferry from Central but not your average ferry. This one was enclosed space, with air conditioning with more of an airplane feel than the usual ferry "in the open back of truck." The 30 minute ferry ride drops you off right at the plaza. We wandered around amazed by it all. We bought a new coffee machine and this in and of itself speaks to the ease of Discovery Bay. Our old machine has been broken for months but there is nowhere on the south side of Hong Kong island (where we live) to buy a replacement. With our new coffee machine in tow, we hit Tai Pak Bay beach, a 500 meter man made beach. It was blazing hot and within minutes the girls were in the water in their underwear, surrounded on all sides by expat kids in designer swim wear.

When it was time to leave, Adam cried "Do we have to go back to Hong Kong?" While technically he was right (we were on Lantau Island and not Hong Kong Island), I think he thought we were in a different country altogether. It did feel like that at times. Adam loved the space out there, where a boy can dig and run and not have to watch either the pedestrian or car traffic. As we walked back to our ferry, past the Pacific Coffee kiosk on the pier, the ease of access to cafeine won me over. Discovery Bay can make even the easy living of the southside and Stanley look hard.


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