House Sitting with Canines

I live in the middle of a city on the 27th floor in a 450 square foot apartment. I have roof access, so I feel like I have some space, but often I would just like to spread out without a building looming and walls pressing in around me. Hong Kong is not for the claustrophobic.

Naturally, when a friend was worried about who would take care of her dogs when she went off on a business trip, I jumped at the chance to take over her large house on the beach an hour out of town.

I spent the first day walking the two large dogs on the mountain, reading in her spacious kitchen, taking a stroll down to the beach. Heavenly. The week was off to a good start.

The next day, I decided to go up Lantau peak. It was a half-hearted decision, but I took a dog with me, up to the trail entrance about a mile from her house, and started up the stairs. After the first set (roughly 200m up), I was tired. I gave the dog some water, drank some of my own. Sat for 5 minutes. My run tracker has a nice big dip in my pace down to 0 for that point in time.

I considered going back. But I was only 3 k from the top. 3 k flat, 500 meters uphill. I thought I’d keep walking on the flat, and if when the flat bit ended, I was only 2 k away, then I would do it.

I got to a turn, and it was 2.5k left. So I was going to keep going, thinking “I’ll see how I feel after the next set of stairs.” I didn’t feel great. But then it was only 2k. No turning back. I could even see where the mountain disappeared into the cloud.

I would occasionally take breaks on the way up, with the dog running off in all directions. She would be 20 feet above me, and sit down, cock her head, and wait for me to start moving again and catch up. I think she was mystified by how I didn’t have infinite energy. When I made it to the top, I could see about 20 ft visibility, and promptly returned to sea level by running straight into the ocean.

We went for Indian near Tung Chung the next evening, at Handi, which was delightful. And following evening we went to what seems to be the local pub for all of south Lantau: The Gallery in Tong Fuk. The chef/owner makes amazing pizzas (artichokes are lovely) and random specials. That night he had fire grilled squid-which was excellent and perfectly flavored.

And then our friends (a part of the South Lantau Paddle Club) had a fund raiser/bbq/beer filled party on the beach. We walked home that Saturday night, and the road was empty; we were surrounded by trees and the sound of the ocean.

The location doesn’t really get any better. You can stroll down to the beach, take a bus to a ferry to town, eat delightful food, climb a mountain. The longer commute just lets me read more (i finished a book and am halfway through a new one). We might move.

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