On Tuesday, after our initial introduction to the city, program, and Hong Kong University [HKU], the head of the department took us out to Tai O — a more rural area where there is still a lot of fishing going on, and tourism is growing. It was really beautiful, and there were so many different [good and bad] smells — I wish I could capture them!

We took one of the metro lines to the end, and ended up in a quasi-suburb called Tung Chung, and then grabbed a public bus for an hour or so out into what seemed like the middle of nowhere.

The government built housing towers here in the 1980s or 1990s, but people liked living in their stilt homes more. The community is actually very cohesive and navigable, which I would not have guessed until hiking through it.IMG_1513 Hi mom!

IMG_1506 Former rice paddies in the foreground, public housing towers in the middle, and the dreamy Hong Kong mountains!

Apparently all of the vegetation that is currently on these hills was reintroduced after the British cut it all down for construction and firewood at the beginning of the 20th century, when there were several wars they had to attend to.IMG_1472 Market street in Tai OIMG_1473 IMG_1480Coconut tart sogoood!IMG_1471 IMG_1470 Fish drying on the bridgeIMG_1469IMG_1511IMG_1498 Temple in the main plazaIMG_1486 IMG_1485 IMG_1484 IMG_1482 IMG_1481 IMG_1493 IMG_1491 There were several of these shared outdoor living rooms; very cozy and colorfulIMG_1496 Mailbox on a stilt houseIMG_1497Emergency call, fire hose, street signs and bulletin board for the stilt home communityIMG_1510 A different side of the town, with more modern homes

And just like in Milan [another humid climate], TILE FACADES!!!:IMG_1505IMG_1504 IMG_1502 And incense which, ‘they burn for dead people’, as one shopkeeper told me….IMG_1503 IMG_1514Lovely temple, constructed in the 1500s!