Mui Wo is a small village on the less developed Eastern side of Lantau Island. You take a 40 minute ferry from Central Hong Kong, and debark in a small windy fishing town. We stopped at a seaside market where we chose our own fish to be fried and 10 minutes later we were eating fish, prawns, and fried eggplant, and washing it down with cold Tsingtao. We hiked up in to the mountains, passing a rather unusual graveyard, multiple racks of fire beating sticks, and many tropical plants that reminded me of Hawaii.
The walk back to the ferry led us though the main part of town which seemed desolate in a way after Hong Kong, in the way that a seasonal town is in the off season. There were fancy-ish three story houses mixed in with dilapidated shacks and overgrown banana trees. Perhaps for no other reason than my growing up in a small beach town on a tropical island, something about Lantau felt not barren, but warmly familiar to me.
In April my dad caught the ferry over from the Peninsula and we drove North to Whidbey Island’s breathtaking Deception Pass where we camped for a few days beneath the trees. We played guitar by the fire, walked on the beach that was just beginning to warm up, and hiked inland to where the wild flowers were waking up. It was a peaceful weekend. On the way back to Seattle we stopped for breakfast in the quaint town of La Conner where the Tulip festival had just taken place. We missed the crowd, but stopped at a field on the way home, just the way I like it. The tulips were gorgeous, and I liked the daffodils just the same. I haven’t seen my dad too much the past 10 years or so. It was nice to dash out of the city with the old man.
Darjeeling My Darling is the name of a poem Katie, Darjeeling’s biggest fan, wrote about her favorite place.
When we arrived in Darjeeling it felt like someone had taken a weight off our shoulders. It was relief in a place akin to a ski town in our jostled minds. People were nice, and unobtrusive, we bundled up in wool scarves and socks and drank hot tea with views of snow capped K3 out the window. While we were there we went trekking and unknowingly embarked for Nepal, we paraglided off the side of a mountain, we saw the town from a new perspective on a cable ride with Caroline and the Aussies boys. We spent Thanksgiving there, and I didn’t expect to do anything in honor of the strange holiday, but I ended up enjoying it more than many years previous. An American, three Canadians, two Australians, and one Brit, we had a delicious Indian dinner and a hot toddy or two and went around the table saying what we were thankful for. Some said the beer, I said I was thankful to be traveling in India and to have met such amazing people to share my travels with.
These images were taken at the Kurseong Macaiberry Organic Tea factory. It was an off season, so the place was a bit desolate. The quiet machines made for a semi-poetic stillness as we walked through the dusty rooms. There were a few men and women still at work, but the place was settling into the winter months when the Pekoe blooms are left untouched. The later pictures are of the family I stayed with in Kurseong. The young girl’s name is Shinju, which her father told me means Lotus in Nepali. She was quite a little character, always running into out room looking for the “makeup,” that we never wore.