beach / Bethany / Hong Kong / insects

A day of adventure…

Today we decided to take a drive. Thirty minutes later we were at a beach called Shek O on the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. It has one road in, and is relatively isolated, so it actually was a relaxing little spot, with shack like stores selling food, sand toys, etc… 

The sand was coarse grained, but Bethany loved it. I was more fascinated in the amazing rock outcrops (behind her in this picture) and can’t wait to go back to try and grab a closer look. We didn’t stay long.. it was more just a ‘lets go see what’s down this road’ trip.. but we definitely want to go back before winter arrives (if it ever does get here).

On our trip back, we drove over this cute dam, which was like something out of another time, and aside from the cars, you would probably never pick it as Hong Kong. Was really nice to find some unexpected scenery… 

Speaking of cars… here is an interesting, albeit scary, statistical sign just outside the Aberdeen tunnel on Hong Kong Island:

Certainly puts things in a different perspective for those of us from New Zealand and Australia – ay bro?

En route back home, I thought it would be ‘fun’ for Bethany and I to do a bit of exploring. I’m always one to try a short bush walk to see what sights can be seen. Bethany and I jumped out of the car and took what I assume(d) was a walking track at the back of one of the playgrounds in our area of Hong Kong. Bethany and I thought it would be fun to walk through the ‘jungle’, not unlike walking through the bushland reserves back home… or so I assumed.

About 20 metres into the walk, we encountered a wasp/hornet. Now, normally that wouldn’t be anything significant, except it was the largest bee-like insect I have EVER seen. It was an easy 3 to 4 cm long, and chunky as a human pinky finger. Black thorax/stinger.. it still stands out to me and I’m no insect person. It was also stinging the life out of a (approx) 7 cm leaf/stick insect on the path in front of us. I’ve done a little research, since I wasn’t organised enough (or willing to take my sight off the wasp/hornet long enough) to grab the camera out, however I believe it was a hornet called ‘Vespa soror‘. Given it was pre-occupied with the poor insect it was attacking, I figured we could safely wander by, and to be honest, ‘rumour’ has it there are no ‘dangerous’ insects in Hong Kong, so what did I have to worry about? As soon as we moved to go past the hornet, it stopped what it was doing, and moved to face us. I pushed Bethany in front of me and further away from the hornet down the track (because if it was going to sting someone, I’d rather it be me than my child). I ran after her for about 2 metres, and turned back to find the hornet had followed us, was hovering about a metre away facing us (eye level to Bethany).. it was eerie.. I felt like it was ‘measuring us up’. About 5 seconds passed, and it flew back to continue ravaging the poor insect it had been attacking before we ‘interrupted’ it. I will never underestimate a wasp/bee/hornet again. I had never seen a hornet before… so wow! But both Bethany and I were pretty rattled. She has proudly been telling everyone about the ‘big bee’ that chased her… Deciding to give the hornet time and space, since we were now further down the walking track, we opted to keep going, and Bethany loved the plants and dense tree canopy above us. It wasn’t anything major just a little bit of tropical vegetation between a road and a cliff, but when you are cooped up in high rise buildings all day, adventure in a bit of greenery can be fun. 

We got to the end of one track… it lead to no where, but we did have a slight glimpse of the Hong Kong Stadium down below (where the rugby is held). So we headed back the way we had come, and encountered this little chap…

I use the term ‘little’ loosely, because this snail was the largest land dwelling slug I’ve ever seen (I swear Hong Kong’s insects and slugs don’t seem to believe in being small!). Its shell was at least 4 to 5 cm long, and it seemed unperturbed by our presence, even as we knelt down and had a good look (I know – you’d think I would have learnt from our hornet incident.. but it’s a snail… and it didn’t attack us). I think it is healthy for Bethany to know about the world around her, although I have no idea what species of snail this is… so anyone who wants to offer up an educated suggestion, please do. 

We wandered back up the track, a little apprehensive, keeping an eye out for our hornet friend, but it and the insect it had been attacking were nowhere to be seen. *phew* 

To top off our little adventure, it decided to bucket rain for 5 minutes while we started the 15 minute walk home. Will it put me off showing my daughter the ‘bush’ in Hong Kong? nah. Will I be more wary of large flying insects? definitely!!!

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