Kau Lui Ha to…Kau Lui Ha…?

Introduction

Today didn’t work out as planned. After I finished work I planned a walk. My intended route was from Kau Lui Ha, passing the Botanic Union down the path onto the Lam Tsuen River. Along the River to the Ngau Kwu Leng bridge.  It was my intention to continue past Fong Ma Po (the Wishing Tree), and follow the single lane road through the villages to San Tong. I have actually done the latter part of this route several years ago.

I failed to take several things into consideration. They were:

My age, I’m not as young as I used to be.

I was not familiar with the first part of the route, and,

the 31 degree Centigrade temperature!

The Best Laid Plans…

In order to get to the start of the route I had to walk for 2 kilometers. Normally this would not be a problem as I have done this walk on numerous occasions. The problem was, the heat. Although I had brought water with me, it was obviously not going to be enough. I was already feeling the onset of exhaustion by the time I arrived in Kau Lui Ha.

Whether it was due to the heat, or my poor planning, I completely missed the route. At the Botanic Union I should have turned right and headed in the direction of the Lam Tsuen River. Confused, I carried on along Hang Kai Lane until I realised that I had made a mistake.

I then turned back in direction of the Botanic Union and found the correct path.

The problem was, at this point in time, I was exhausted and definitely feeling the heat. The first part of the route along the Lam Tsuen River was a commitment. Once started, the nearest exit point was the Ngau Kwu Leng bridge. If I had gotten into difficulty though exhaustion during this stretch, my only choices would have been either carry on, turn back, or, in a worst case scenario, seek assistance. This would clearly have been irresponsible on my part.

The following is an excerpt from my walk to the Tai Po Contour Sitting Out Area which you may read here:

It has been a long hot summer with week after week of hot weather warnings, interspersed by torrential downpours. Sadly, the hot weather has resulted in several fatalities due to people ignoring the warnings. We chose to be more sensible and waited until the weather was more conducive.

In previous posts I have mentioned the cavalier attitude of some hikers, many of whom should have known better. Sadly, within days of my attempt there was a series of rainstorms, one of which resulted in the death of a hiker who, incredibly, decided to visit a popular waterfall area near Tai Mei Tuk.

So, it was without regret that I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and made my way back to the Botanic Union. Where to my delight, I was welcomed with open arms and cold refreshments.

I had visited the Botanic Union in previously and you can read the report here.

The Botanic Union Hospitality

Entering the Union I made my way to their small but well appointed tuck shop. They served me with a cold drink which I enjoyed in the unique surroundings.

 

From a previous visit
Conclusions

With the onset of the warmer weather it is vitally important to plan your outings carefully. Plan your route and study the available maps. Not all of the routes are clearly shown so do your homework.

If you are hiking alone let someone know where you are going. Regardless of the temperature take some munchies with you and WATER! I can’t over-emphasise this last requirement. In the past I have had several outings ruined due to not taking enough water. Once you get thirsty you just want the hike to be over and hurry past what should have been a pleasant route.

Thank you for visiting stewartgoeswalkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can send it to stewartgoeswalkies@gmail.com

Help us to make a commitment to the reduction of plastics in our environment. Don’t buy drinking water in plastic bottles when it’s easy to bring it from home. Let’s work together to save the planet.

 

My Travels in Turkey Part 4 – A Contribution From Our Old Friend, Allen Lai

Introduction

Stewart Goes Walkies continues with the fourth and last instalment of Allen’s travels through Turkiye. (Note: On the 3rd of June, the United Nations announced that they had received official notification from Ankara that they wish to change the spelling of the country’s name – “Turkey has told the United Nations that, at the behest of its president, it wishes from now on to be called “Turkiye” in all languages, the UN announced Thursday.”).

You may read parts 1, 2 & 3 of Allen’s report here, here and here.

Allen continues

Leaving Cappadocia, writes Allen, we continue to move south to Konya, the most religiously conservative metropolitan centre in Turkey. It was once known as the “Citadel of Islam”. The highways are well designed, clean and modern. The highway was dotted with modern factories, farmlands, and ranches. Turkiye has problems with corruption, political instability, and terrorism. But it certainly didn’t show on this Anatolia peninsula.

Konya
Due to COVID, the tourist business is down to zero. It seemed we were the only tourists in this part of the land. There was one event that I particularly recall.
 At one roadside view point, we were the only tourists. There were an old couple selling dates and dried fruit. In general, none of us paid them any attention. But our local tour guide. Bulent Gok, a Muslim, had a big heart. He suggested to us that we help by shopping local. The result was we all start buying, their produce. And, this was the first time we didn’t bargain, and just bought happily. When we parted, we saw the joy, relief and contentment on the old couple’s well weathered faces. It cost us very little, but we knew we had done the right thing. A few years down the road, we might forget the thousand-year-old ruins we visited, but we will never forget the happiness of the old couple and the little good deed we had done.
Pamukkale UNESCO site.
Turkiye’s most famous natural wonder, because of its special white topography, which is shaped like cotton. The temperature of the spring water is always at 36~38C. During the Roman Empire, European nobles traveled far and wild to bath here to heal their diseases. The layers of white calcification pools, coupled with the blue sky and beautiful scenery, are a paradise for photographers.
Right at the top is an antique hot spring pool. It is said to be where an Egyptian Enchantress came to admire the ancient Roman hot springs. It is thought to have once been the private bath for Cleopatra, queen of the Ptolemaic kingdom, Egypt. At the bottom is you can see the Roman temple pillars and ruins from the last earthquake.
Hierapolis UNESCO site.
Due to the popularity of Pamukkale, a city was formed nearby in 133 BC. It became one of the most prominent cities in the Roman Empire in the fields of the arts, philosophy, and trade. The town grew to 100,000 inhabitants and became wealthy. It was abandoned due to war and earthquakes. We visited The Roman Theatre – Built in the 2nd century AD. It had a capacity of 8500 – 10000 spectators and was divided into two parts as upper and lower parts of seat by a diazoma. The number of spectators reveals the size of the city at that time.   Nearby is the business area of the city, The Frontinus Street was wide and long, with shops on both side. The entrance to the main street is guarded by castle like watch tower. I tend to compare it with the Champs-Élysées these days.
Continuing our journey further south to Kusadasi, the famous tourist town by the Aegean sea. A sea that embraced numerous loves stories, both happy and tragic endings. Along the highway, the pit stops are modern, spacious and clean. And the prices are cheap. There’s about 10 liras to CAD$1. A Cappuccino tall is C$2 at Starbucks.
Ephesus UNESCO site.
The city was once considered the most important Greek city and the most important trading center in the Mediterranean region. Exquisite stone carvings, an open-air theater which house 25,000 spectators, one of the three major libraries in the contemporary world, Marble Road, Hadrian Temples. Ancient brothels and luxurious toilets.
An Ancient Advertisement
It was here that we saw what was probably the oldest advertisement in history for the oldest profession in the world.
The brothel seems to have been hidden, but it was certainly no secret, as the advertisement shows. It’s a carving on a marble stone. The carving features an image of a cross, a woman, a heart, a foot, a money purse, and a library, plus a hole dug into the rock. One interpretation of the carvings is as follows: up at the crossroads, on the left, you’ll find women whose love can be purchased. But please, only stop in if your foot is at least this big, young men, and you have enough coins to fill this hole. Otherwise, we kindly direct you to the library on the right.
At least they suggested a more enriching experience for those who were too young to enter the brothel. Having said that, rumour has it that, at the library, there’s a tunnel which joined the brothel house. That’s where the gentlemen went for their evening reading.
The Public Toilets
Then, of course, there were public toilets. Imagine a public toilet where there was no partitions and people sit side by side, shoulder to shoulder, it’s a place where businessmen conduct their business…. say ” Hey, what do you think of the DSLR vs Mirrorless camera?” In winter, slaves were employed to sit on the seats prior to their use in order to warm them.
Original caption: A humorous reconstruction of the communal nature of a Roman public latrine. Note the sponge-on-stick tools. Gemma C M Jansen
Troy UNESCO site.
Troy is a 4000 year-old ancient city and archaeological site in modern-day Turkiye. It is also the setting for the legendary Trojan War in Homer’s epic poems the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey.” I have been to Rome and Greece. And yet,  it still stunned me looking at the size and the thousand years of historic changes of the ruins.
Temple of Artemis UNESCO site.
Much of Ephesus’s ancient history is unrecorded and sketchy. What is known is that in the seventh century B.C., Ephesus fell under the rule of the Lydian Kings and became a thriving city where men and women enjoyed equal opportunities (hard to imagine). It was also the birthplace of the renowned philosopher Heraclitus.
In 356 B.C., a crazed man named Herostratus burned down the Temple of Artemis. The Ephesians rebuilt the temple even bigger. It was estimated to be four times larger than the Parthenon in Greek and became known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. What is left of the Temple of Artemis now, is a single column and inhabited by a family of vultures.
Conclusions
That ends my Journal in Turkiye. I like to take this opportunity to thank my buddy, Stewart, for allowing me to share my experience. By writing it, it helps to put my thoughts in order and review the trip one more time in depth. To conclude, I extracted what I wrote on the return flight while sipping the 15 year-old Glenfiddich single malt scotch the airline provided.
“I am on a long flight home, 10 hours, my mind is full of fond memories. I knew nothing about Turkiye, the Ottoman Empire, or Islam before I signed up for the trip. But as I started looking into it I realised there’s so much to learn. I wasn’t even aware a Turkish airlines, not to mention that it flies to more countries than Air Canada.
For the past two weeks, I traveled over 3000 km. Saw the city, the countryside, the historic ruins. I am totally impressed. Everywhere was clean, orderly, not necessarily rich, but beautiful. What impressed me most was the people. They are polite, religious, well educated, content and happy.
Well, I love this country, more importantly, I love the people. I felt so safe, so comfortable here. It’s a wonderful experience after the long absent from traveling. I am getting long winded, better finish my 15 year-old Glenfiddich single malt and catch some sleep before landing.”
Stewart Goes Walkies is very grateful to Allen for letting us publish his report. And we are grateful for his kind comments. We wish him safe travels for his future exploits and look forward to seeing them here.

Thank you for visiting stewartgoeswalkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can send it to stewartgoeswalkies@gmail.com

Help us to make a commitment to the reduction of plastics in our environment. Don’t buy drinking water in plastic bottles when it’s easy to bring it from home. Let’s work together to save the planet.

The Wetland Park – A Photo Essay

Introduction
By Wpcpey – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54367103

The Hong Kong Wetland Park is a conservation and education facility located in the northern part of Tin Shui Wai in Yuen Long. It was created as an ecological mitigation area for the areas lost due to the Tin Shui Wai New Town development

The Park comprises visitor centre and a 60-hectare (150-acre) Wetland Reserve. There is also a Wetland Interactive World with themed exhibition galleries, a theatre, a souvenir shop, an indoor play area and a resource centre.

Planning and Creation

In 1998 the International Wetland Park and Visitor Centre Feasibility Study Project was initiated.  The Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservations Department, lovingly known as Ag & Fish, and the Hong Kong Tourism Board were involved.

The intention was to expand the ecological area and create a wetland ecotourism attraction. Also, the development of the Wetland Park would enhance the ecological function of the site as a conservation, education and tourism facility. The Wetland Park Project was started and became one of the Millennium projects of the Administrations.

The Wetland Reserve consists of re-created habitats designed for water fowls and other wildlife.  Facilities include the Stream Walk, Succession Walk, and the Mangrove Boardwalk. There are also three hides situated next to the fish pond, mudflat and riverside.

Pui Pui the Saltwater Crocodile

 

Pui Pui is probably the Park’s most famous inhabitant. She was found, swimming happily along the Shan Pui River in the New Territories on 2 November 2003. It is suspected that she was an illegal pet that either escaped from her owner or was dumped into the river after she had grown too big. Pui Pui managed to avoid hunters from Australia and China. Eventually, after seven months she fell into a trap made by AFCD staff.

The crocodile was initially housed at the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Gardens until suitable accomodation was built for her at the Wetlands Park.

In 2006 she was moved into her landscaped enclosure where she can be viewed by the public. Pui Pui’s home provides her with a healthy and comfortable living environment. This includes infra-red heaters and a heat pad. The water in the pool is continuously circulated through a filtration system.

There was a territory-wide competition to find a name for her. “Pui Pui”, was chosen out of 1,600 entries. The Chinese meaning of ‘Pui’ is “the precious one”.

Getting to the Wetland Park

There are several ways but the easiest is taking the MTR to Tin Shui Wai MTR station (West Rail Line).  From there change to Light Rail Line 705/706 to Wetland Park Station. If you are coming from Hong Kong you can take the No. 967 bus  at Admiralty West Bus Terminus (near Admiralty MTR station – Exit B) and get off at Hong Kong Wetland Park bus stop.

Kowloon residents can take the No. 269B at Hung Hom Ferry Concourse and alight at the Tsui Shing Lau bus stop. Then get on Light Rail 705/706 to Wetland Park Station. Alternatively, you can get bus No. 264M at Tsing Yi Railway Station Bus Terminus and get off at Hong Kong Wetland Park bus stop.

Flora and Fauna
The boardwalk system is extensive and allows visitors access to all corners of the park

 

 

 

 

Some of the inhabitants

 

 

Conclusion

There has been announcement by the government that the Northern New Territories will be developed for badly needed public housing projects within six years. This has raised concerns as to the future of areas such as the Wetland Park.

Regardless of whether you are an ornithologist, or just someone that enjoys nature at its finest, the Wetland Park is worth a visit. It is a bit of a trek getting there but you will not regret having made the effort.

Thank you for visiting stewartgoeswalkies. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like us to publish an adventure of yours, you can send it to stewartgoeswalkies@gmail.com

Help us to make a commitment to the reduction of plastics in our environment. Don’t buy drinking water in plastic bottles when it’s easy to bring it from home. Let’s work together to save the planet.