This small village, a few hundred houses, in set in a horseshoe shape around the curve of the bay.
On the left as you arrive and walk down the pier are several picturesque houses on stilts - you really could stick a fishing rod out of the bedroom window and catch your breakfast.
It takes all of three or four minutes to walk into the centre of the village. The road next to the seafront comprises small restaurants. Obviously tourism is the big thing here, and Western tourists too - the fish tanks contents are even identified with English-language labels, the first time I've seen that in Hong Kong.
As we walked along the seafront road two things stuck me: it was eerily quiet, there is no vehicular traffic, apart from small tractors; and there are many small 'twee' restaurants and chic shops selling overpriced tat. It seems English-speaking folk have been lured here by the the charm and peace, and have then done their best to turn it into Benidorm-cum-Brighton-on-(South-China)Sea.
There were few visitors, a combination of the weak economy and the fact it was mid-week. Our ferry, which has space for 300-400 passengers, was only about 20% full.
In no time we had arrived at the edge of the village. The small houses, each comprising one to three stories, abruptly ended and the dense vegetation and shrub began. We turned and walked up the hill, along concrete pathways two or three feet wide, past storm drains and squatter huts. Then, I saw my first star fruit handing on a tree. Hanging on a tree!!! I'd only seen them in the shops before.
In fact, there were lots of them on the tree.
Then, we noticed other fruits, banana trees and papaya trees; in fact, the place was a Garden of Eden.
There was even what looked suspiciously like bougainvillea. When I looked it up, I discovered to my surprise that the plant is evergreen in places where there is rainfall all year; I just hadn't expected to see it in mid-January!
We passed Lamma's main temple, to the goddess of the sea, Tin Hau, a deity often favoured by Hong Kong's seafaring communities. There were the usual spirals of incense hanging outside, a note attached to each identifying the family who had paid for it.
There are quite a lot of Tin Hau temples in Hong Kong and the only claim to fame of this one is that the sculpted Chinese-style lions at the entrance were damaged and replaced in 1960 and the sculptor, who specialised in Western-style lions, made them more Western than Chinese...I thought that was quite appropriate - as much of the village has also been anglicised.
|Tin Hau Temple interior|
Actually, there was one other 'temple' that caught my eye, a very small, amateurish hall built on the side of one of the concrete paths that went up the hill. It was absolutely stuffed with figures...I think the expression is 'covering all the bases.'