Sunday, March 30, 2008

Slow boat to Lamma

Every Lammaite has the ferry timetable imprinted on their brain. People in town can spot a Lammaite easily. At the bars from Wan Chai to Lan Kwai Fong, Lammaites start getting tetchy circa 10 past the hour, especially ten past midnight, for in twenty minutes the final ferry back to Fantasy Island departs, and there isn’t another for six hours. Hasty goodbyes, and a much flagging for taxis take place; a couple of cans of Tsingtao for the boat ride, the shrill ringing like a school bell that signifies time’s up … all aboard.
For those that miss the 12.30 there’s two options. Stay in town or take a HK$70 cab fare to Aberdeen on the western shores of Hong Kong Island overlooking Lamma. From there old grandmothers tend to their sampans. They know tow things about you. 1. You have no other means of getting home and 2. You’re drunk. Your bargaining position is tough to say the least and HK$150 is about the minimum to get back home. These classic wooden motorised vessels leave busy Aberdeen harbour, normally by which time I am komatose on a bench, and enter the Lamma Channel, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, where 350 metre long steel giants of globalisation plough through the waves, the little sampans bobbing like corks in their wake. If it’s rough, it’s a green faced way to end the night. After 45 minutes the lights of Yung Shue Wan pier hove into view and then 15 minutes later I’m wrapped up in bed, promising myself once again I really, really should have got that last ferry.

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