Y’all. Something’s happened.
I have a sunburn. I almost never sunburn (thanks to my native Pacific Islander skin, right?). But alas, after a few months in Edinburgh where the sun is something most Scots see in movies and read about in books and a couple months in the Alps where only my nose saw any sunlight on the slopes, my body was unprepared for the warm, bright sunshine here in Hong Kong.
But I was craving it. So with a full Saturday morning free my friend, Peter, offered to give me a lift to Shek O beach, a popular destination that is about a 25 minute motorcycle ride from central Hong Kong.
The ability to go from city life and a concrete jungle that’s packed with people to a lush, exotic landscape in an hour or less is one of my favorite things about Hong Kong. It is one of the few places I could really see myself being satisfied with a so-called “staycation.”
So before I knew it, I had left the heart of the city and was digging my toes in the sand for the first time in ages.
After parking the bike, Peter haggled for us to rent an umbrella and mats from one of the many women selling supplies on the beach. We noticed that other visitors (mostly gweilos) were paying the women a lot more than we did for our rentals so I definitely think it helped that Peter speaks Cantonese.
Peter parked himself under the umbrella anticipating that this would be too much sun for him but I laid out in the sun (sorry, Mom!) to try and get a wee tan. It was such a warm day and actually for me, it was a really hot day considering I had been living in the Swiss Alps. I was shocked to see people walking around in jeans and boots and anything that wasn’t purely shorts, tanks, and swimwear.
There were a lot of hikers stopping through and paragliders in the sky, but I was one of the few people above the age of 5 that wanted to get into the water. It was pretty chilly at first but after the initial shock of cold I was lovin’ it. But again, I think I was the only one.
As we were getting ready to leave I noticed my skin getting a bit irritated, but thought maybe it was from the sand. Turns out- nope, a light sunburn. Lucky for me my Filipina skin managed to stay strong and after tons of moisturizing, my sunburn has now turned into that light tan I had hoped for.
Peter on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. After skipping sunscreen, but staying under the umbrella the entire morning, he still ended up looking like a lobster.
I can’t wait to explore Hong Kong’s other beaches (with sunscreen on) and possibly make some trips to other beaches in Southeast Asia.