On our second day in Hong Kong, No. 1 son and I indulged our interest in nature. More accurately, he over-indulged my interest in birds, by joining me for an excursion to the Mai Po Nature Reserve.
Mai Po is operated by the WWF – the World Wildlife Fund, not the World Wrestling Federation. . .I don’t think.
We did the Magic of Mai Po tour, which include a guided tour around the Reserve. We saw many cool birds – the White Wagtail, the Daurien Redstart, the Yellow-bellied Prinia. These were Magic Mai Po moments for sure, but I’d say the most magical thing was finally getting inspiration for a nickname for the wife. She’s kind of lightly pouted for years that I don’t have a pet name for her. And she apparently wants something more catchy and endearing than her nickname for me (“Don”). So I’m going to start calling her Mai Po. Or, if she wants something more saucy, I could try White Wagtail. . .what do you think?
Oh, also, since our visit to Mai Po, I’ve been getting a least one e-mail a week from the World Wildlife Fund. These are kind of magic too, in that they sport subject lines that say fun things like “Getting Start for the Events!” and “歡迎家大小同參與.”
Since the Nature Reserve was way out in Hong Kong’s New Territories, we decided to explore another attraction out that way, called the Ping Shan Heritage Trail, which features strolls through a 200-year old walled village . No. 1 son is a tremendously skilled navigator, but even he couldn’t figure out the which-way-to-go of this trail. We eventually gave up, although we did traipse around long enough to find a small temple that included a shrine to expectant mothers. We thought it was an omen for No. 1’s sister-in-law (his wife’s sister) who was expecting twins. What we didn’t know at that time was that we visited this shrine riiiiight around the time that No. 2 son and his wife had a brand new bun in the oven!! Which they also didn’t know at that time either.
We booked back into the city center for the afternoon and evening, and chanced to visit a temporary installation on the Hong Kong harbor front – a collection of lighted sculptures by artists from around the world. No. 1 liked this exhibit a lot. And though he hid it expertly, I’m sure he liked it much better than the feral Yellow-crested Cockatoos and Red-billed Blue Magpies that I discovered earlier in the day and spent precious sightseeing minutes oohing and aahing over.
The best sculpture, in our opinion, was “Talking Heads,” by the Hungarian artist Viktor Vicsek. In this work, two enormous heads, each festooned with a couple thousand LED lights, face each other and “communicate” by changing the patterns and hues of their lights. We kind of wondered what they were saying to each other, and finally figured out it was “Getting Start for the Events!”
That evening, for what I believe was the only time on the whole trip, the restaurant we ate dinner at was chosen by me, not by No. 1. Remember last week, when I mentioned we gorged ourselves at Under Bridge Spicy Crab? Well, the spicy bits made No. 1’s stomach – ordinarily made of whatever is tougher than cast iron! – quite crabby. He wanted to eat in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district, and when we got there he was both uncomfortable but hungry, so he left it to me to pick a place.
We wound up dining at Gobo Restaurant. It was a very random choice on my part . . . I didn’t know what his belly could handle, the place had seats available, it looked like a lot of locals were eating there . . . I could come up with scads of excuses why I picked this unprepossessing place.
After the fact, the place had merits I didn’t even know about, that made it a “winner,” even though they served the only food on the whole trip that No. 1 didn’t take any pictures of. For one thing, it had a new-to-him beer he hadn’t encountered after almost a month in Asia – Blue Girl beer. And for another, the name of a dessert on the menu gave me another wife-nickname idea: Cha-Cha. Oooooh! Maybe every time I call her that, she’ll do that White Wagtail thing!!