Today was lovely. A proper Sunday breakfast (deliciously decadent French toast and fresh fruit) was followed by a very long stroll east through the gardens and waterfront of suburban Hong Kong.

We went from the obsessively clean and well-to-do streets of Taikoo Shing through lovely urban parks to nearby Shau Kei Wan. We disturbed a man quietly practising tai chi in an alley, and shared shy smiles with runners and fishermen. We even found a foot massage path, which turned out to be a beautiful, sensual strip of black pebbles set sharp-edge-up in cement amongst lush greenery. A little shelf was provided to pop your shoes on, and a handrail down the centre was only marginally less reassuring than the blissful expressions of the two ladies in tabi socks strolling the length of the path.

As we rounded a bend, thinking it might be time to head home, we stumbled across the oldest Tam Kung temple in Hong Kong. A lady bearing incense saw us hovering in the doorway (conscious of our bare shoulders and flipflopped feet) and beamed at us, beckoning us in. She waved us through the prayer gate and shooed us gently into the main shrine to admire their beautiful statue of Tam Kung and marvel at the enormous extractor fan coping with the incense smoke (modern health and safety laws don’t coexist well with ancient heritage it seems!).

We wandered home through the suburbs, happy to be the only gweilos in sight as we got distracted by fishmongers (catfish and crabs), butchers (chicken feet and very large cleavers) and greengrocers (dragon fruit, gourds, and all the melon you can eat). The local 7-11 were pleasantly surprised when we whipped out our Octopus cards to pay for water; we were duly charmed by local menus boasting baby legs and tandoori octopussy (although we didn’t stop to eat any).

We finally knuckled down to do some work this afternoon, and if still less rather than more ready for the week ahead, will be fine. Now to defeat the threatening sore throat (gah, air conditioning) and jetlag, and get a good night’s sleep!