Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Sometimes it is better to travel than to arrive

So I decided to post only for today the news that we finally made it to Sha Tin, to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

I'd like to say we finally made it because we idly strolled along Hong Kong streets looking over the good fortune shops selling lucky money and happy plastic tat for kids on festival days. Or perhaps we finally made it because we lingered with jasmine tea back at the restaurant where the gritlets had seven minutes to learn how to use chopsticks last Thursday, or starve to death. Or perhaps we finally made it to Sha Tin because we took up that offer of the foot massage and had our fortunes told and found them delightful.

Well it was none of those finally made it reasons. Sha Tin is way over there, up north in the New Territories. It may be part of Hong Kong but it is miles away from the frenetic business of the Island or the shiny shops of Kowloon. A clean new residential town, it spreads over a spacious seat from which the foothills around it rise, evoking those beautiful soaring mountains reaching beyond the clouds, hills of China.

Given its setting, it would be easy to be distracted. These mountain names are said to us, but I forget already. They blend together like poetry fragments, and this is, I think, how Chinese translates into English. The hills are the higher wisdom or the wandering dragons or the jasmine princess. Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, we are told, are similarly lost in counting nouns and become in Chinese pieces of girl, like pieces of gold, dragon daughters and sister of heaven.

So we finally made it because I may have become lost in Sha Tin, lured away by Chinese-English, which is a gentle antidote to the busy new town plaza, shopping mall, intersections, road junctions and walkways where we become confusingly lost by passageways held up in the air, from which we can't get out and back down to the ground. And when we do, there is the beautiful park, luring us on with shades and long necked turtles posing for us on the rocks by the garden pathways.

But we finally made it, really, thanks to the slow hours threading our way across the Island, over the water, through Kowloon, into the green hills of the New Territories, by tram, on foot, by overground, underground.

And when we arrive, when we finally make it, the museum at Sha Tin is huge. There are permanent collections of Chinese expressive arts. There is the Children's Discovery Gallery, with Life in a Village and Undersea Garden. Perfect for pieces of girl. Indeed, the museum deserves our special attention for several hours. The education to be had is wonderful. Here is a rich and splendid resource on all painting, history, arts, Chinese life, culture, all Hong Kong.

And when we did get there, when we finally made it, do you know that it is always closed on Tuesdays?


Mr Farty said...

But you'll be going back, right? It sounds amazing.

Grit said...

i hope so mr farty! we are already planning!

Rubberbacon said...

HA! Tuesday's! That's hysterical.