On the weekend I had the opportunity to re-visit one of Hong Kong’s best known hiking trails, Dragon’s Back AKA Hong Kong Trail Stage 8.
There is a lot of hype about Dragon’s Back, but to be quite honest with you, I really don’t see it.
When I go out hiking I do it for 3 main reasons:
One, to get away from everything that is Hong Kong. Although I do like Hong Kong, let’s be honest: It is overcrowded, polluted, and the mentality of most people is rather unbearable.
When I’m walking down the street in Causeway Bay people are pushing through the crowd with total disrespect of everyone else. This is now a necessity because without doing this, you are simply not going to get anywhere at all because everyone does it. It has become the norm.
A while ago I had an accident (head on with a taxi on my bicycle) and was consequently on crutches for 3 months. It was a total nightmare. The mentality remained. Push, shove, and disregard even the guy on crutches. No one offered their seat on the MTR, even when asked.
I remember one woman in particular that was sitting in the “offer your seat to people in need” seats with her 6 year old son. I asked her if I could sit down, and she turned to her son and asked him, “dear, can you get up for the man on crutches”, in which case the son turned to his mother and said “No”. And that was that. Hong Kong can really get on your nerve and after living here for more than 5 years, you will start to change your ways and become someone else without even realizing it.
I’ve been in Hong Kong now for almost 15 years. I think for the best part that I have remained the person that I was when I first came here; kind, caring and honest. Meanwhile I have watched everyone else fall into the trap of becoming arrogant, ignorant and money hungry fools who will put their jobs and their needs in front of anyone else who might get in their way. If you have the opportunity to move to Hong Kong for your job – DON’T DO IT. Hong Kong is a place where people come for 1-2 years and end up staying for 10+. It seems that I’m not the only person who has formed an ill opinion of Hong Kong.
My mother told me that a daughter’s colleague was coming to Hong Kong for work for a year. I explained to her how that was not the case. The first year after moving to Hong Kong, you realize that your ‘western’ salary is way too low, so at the end of the year you ask for a raise, and your boss consequently gives you 50% more. After year two you realize that it’s still too low, so you go for an extra 50%, which is granted. Third year in you decide that it’s time to return to your home country, give in your resignation, and your boss doubles your salary. You cant say no, so you sign on for another year. The following year you consider the option of moving back, but think to yourself that there is no way that I could earn this much back home, I should stay for another year so that I can save a bunch of money for a house, car, etc. It’s your sixth year in now, and your daughter is ready for kindergarten, and with a good choice of semi-affordable international ones, you decide to stay for another two years. Year 8, your job is taking up most of your life, you don’t see your family all that much anymore, and stress is weighing you down. Before long you are here for good and wonder whatever happened to your life and the choices you made. There were 22,271 divorces in 2013 alone. You can guess what happens next. Sigh.
So anyway, that’s one reason why I go out hiking. Because of the peacefulness of the trail. The other reason is to think. Hiking gets ideas and thoughts moving around like you just cannot get in the office. In the past I’ve even encouraged co-workers to come out hiking during their lunch break, and it became a regular thing. I wish that more people would go out hiking in Hong Kong. Perhaps they would find that there is another side to Hong Kong that is not all work, push, shove, and get ahead. The third reason is for the wildlife. I love seeing butterflies, dragonflies, and other insect and animals enjoying their peaceful existence.
However, Dragon’s Back is becoming a hiking trail which conforms to the ways of Hong Kong. It is overcrowded due to the hype that it has received and it has become noisy with people who talk with their friends about their life’s problems. Anyone would think that you just stepped into a counseling session when passing fellow hikers. And because of this, wildlife is practically non-existent. For most of the trail I was stuck behind fellow hikers who had obviously never been hiking before since they were wearing full length tight jeans and carrying no water with them. Their converse sneakers with practically no grip ensured their ultra slow progress on the dry sandy slopes and rocks. Passing was not an option unless I wanted to risk twisting an ankle in the scrub and besides that there were more than 10 people in a row ahead of me at any given time. It was not a hiking experience that I care to revisit any time soon.
Dragon’s Back has only one thing going for it now. The views. They are quite stunning in their own right, but by gosh, go on a weekday when there are less people. A weekend hike is unbearable.