Saturday, September 1, 2012

Roger the Grouper

I am nothing if not a stubborn man.
And on top of that, I'm completely ridiculous. As the situation gets more extreme, I scale right with it, hiking up my bravado and enthusiasm while soundly killing doubt and trepidation.
 Today there was a typhoon warning in Hong Kong, but I had already made up my mind to take a ferry to a nearby island. I wanted to see the fishing villages, lounge on a beach, and have some seafood. And no "maybe gale force winds" was going to stop me. Twenty students gathered at the university. A quarter of them immediately opted out. Fifteen made it to the ferry station, where another nine decided to bail. Six of us in all were there, who despite pounding rain and wind hopped on a ferry boat bound for Lamma Island.

When we arrived, it was beautiful. Bright sun with some cloud cover, slight sprinkles of warm, tropical rain.

One of the coolest places I've ever been, the village of Yung Shue Wan is a few-block strip of seafood restaurants, gift shops and residences. There are no motor vehicles on the island, and buildings can't be more than three stories. It's perfect. We spent about four hours trekking over part of the island, stopping at a beach for some grilled pineapple and a quick dip. I saw some of the biggest spiders I've ever seen, and had the best spring roll you'll ever know. A completely stunning little getaway, 20 minutes by boat, and I'll go any day someone invites me. On the way back to the ferry terminal, we stopped at a waterfront restaurant to try some of the local catch. We ordered a few regular dishes, with the highlight being a steamed fish of our choosing. We chose a mid-sized grouper, who we affectionately named Roger. All was well, as we quickly pulled apart his body. A few of our more adventurous members took out his head and eyes. And then, the bill arrived. Now, the food was quite affordable, with each dish being between 70 & 120 HK (between $10 and $17). Except for Roger. Roger set us back 600HK. I'm not even going to do the conversion on that one. He was delicious, but, seriously? That much for a steamed fish? It wasn't a coelecanth. It wasn't a sun fish. It wasn't an incredibly large, delicious tuna. It was a friggin grouper. Steamed.
We learned a hard lesson today.

In other news, after 7 days of nonstop hedonism, I'm finally having a quiet night in. May play some billiards, maybe some ping pong. Nothing with the word "pint" in it.

Tomorrow, we hit up one of Kowloon's best beaches.

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