My son majored in oceanography in college, studying the geography of . . . anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Why, the answer, of course, is he learnt all about oceanographs! Whatever those are. Then he got a Masters Degree in Marine Geology. So he likes rocks and sediments and suchlike.
I should note this isn’t No. 1 son, with whom I traveled through Asia. But on the final, ultimate and otherwise last day of No. 1’s first-ever, paid, month-long sabbatical from work, No. 1 and I tapped our own inner Earth Scientists, and visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site that earned such a lofty distinction for its geographical wonderfulness.
To prep for our rockhounding, we sought out a place reputed to have some of the best Dim Sum in Hong Kong. But the finding was not easy! We were sent in something like 六 ---- sorry, that’s “six” --- directions, by Hong Kong residents, mind you. Some of the directions were the same, some were not, but somehow, and we kept winding up in the same frustrated situation, with our hopes of finding the joint beginning to grow some dim (get it?).
Need an explanation of Dim Sum?: It’s a meal of small dishes, mixing savory and sweet flavors from steamed buns, to dumplings, to cakes, to rolls. That would be rolls you eat, not necessarily the rolls of extra sweet and savory pounds you gain.
(After returning home, I learned that we enjoyed a couple of what are called the Tim Ho Wan “Big Four Heavenly King” dishes. The Big Four are, of course, John, Paul, George and Ringo. But the “Big Four Heavenly King” are: Baked Bun with BBQ Pork; Steamed Rice Roll; Steamed Egg Cake; and Pan-Fried Turnip Cake. I had dumplings instead of that final one, which is kind of an “ewwwww” for me. Not my fault! – blame my taste buds!)
Full to the brim-and-some with Dim Sum, we hightailed it to the GeoPark and Geo Trails. There are a couple of specific places where the bowels of the earth spewed out these remarkable rock formations – the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region, and the Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region.
Near the town of Sai Kung is Sharp Island, a short boat ride away. Sharp Island sits in the South China Sea waters next to an islet called Kiu Tau. At low tide, you can walk to Kiu Tau from Sharp Island, across what’s called a Tombolo, which is another way of saying “sandbar” and additionally, is widely known as a word that brings to mind Pam Tumbiolo, who was in my big brother’s class in high school and who was a nice person as well as, if I may be permitted to borrow a phrase from Wayne Campbell (see “Wayne’s World”), a total biscuit. Okay, that second thing may not be widely known, but I know it.
Another attraction of the tombolo: It’s littered with giant quartz boulders that have weathered and cracked, leaving them resembling a popular Hong Kong baked treat known as the “pineapple bun.”
Now, since I chose this excursion for the final, ultimate and otherwise last day of No. 1’s first-ever, paid, month-long sabbatical from work, I was really betting heavily that we’d experience maximum entertainment value – that the tide would be low enough for us to tumble o’er the tombolo and reach Kiu Tau, where we had a chance for a good view of Hap Mun (“Half Moon”) Bay and maybe some coastal wildlife.
Bet you already know how this turns out. The tide was up. But No. 1 saved my bacon by being genuinely interested in visiting the High Island Geopark, which involved a 30-minute bus ride, 90-minute hike, and 30-minute bus ride back. And that turned out to be a really good call – High Island is spectacular, a place where magma, rhyolitic volcanic rock, tuff, ash, lava and so on and so forth combined to produce timeless and beautiful landforms. It was worth the time and effort to get there, and I thought maybe No. 1’s excitement was high enough to try another boat ride out to see if the tide had ebbed enough to allow for that walk from Sharp Island to the Kiu Tau islet.
We both turned out to be too hungry for that, but at least talking about the tombolo again gave me another opportunity to think of Pam Tumbiolo. Whom I will henceforth recall as a nice person who was also a total pineapple bun. Top that Wayne!