Seasonal Almanac

Major cold: pheasant hens brood (2 of 5)

January 22nd, 2009

Major cold 2 of 15Before my brother, sister and I reached our teens, my parents were very diligent in exposing us to the slightly wilder side of the city: places where you could climb down to running streams, walk on trails that weren’t paved, fly kites in big open fields, swim in bays that had real (and not imported) sand. Every now and then they would take us to the Hong Kong Zoological and Botantical Gardens where we could look at birds, plants and animals.

When the British first colonised the island in 1841 they set up a temporary residence for the governor on the slope of Victoria Peak. Later a permanent government house was built further down the hill, the former land was re-purposed as a botanical garden. From the photographs it looked like the colonists built themselves a little bit of England in this faraway post.

Like me, my mother hasn’t been to the gardens since I was a child. And when we paid a visit today we found the place has changed quite a lot, so much so that it hardly brought back any memories for either of us. Nevertheless we enjoyed spending the afternoon there marvelling at the plants, birds and animals. My mother was especially transfixed by the gibbons swinging effortlessly from branch to branch. Later, we visited the enclosed aviary in the nearby Hong Kong Park. We watched the birds flitting amongst the real and artificial trees.

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