Page 10 - Before we travel to Lantau Island, one shot of the Stanley
This beach adjoins the market (a real tourist trap), altho there is one
fine antique dealer there, up about 4 flights of stairs - not for the
Lantau Isaland is the largest island in the archipelago around Hong
Kong. The new airport was built on landfill on the north of the island,
and a new village was established for the 50,000 people who work at the
On Lantau Island, there is a Tanka village of fisherfolk. The young
people have left to make their livings elsewhere because they did not
want to work so hard. The village used to be home to ca. 6500
people, but now houses ca. 700. The government is trying very hard to
move them into government-built housing, but the old people who are
left do not want to go. It used to be that Tai-O villagers were
involved in smuggling, but supposedly they have abandoned this to
broker fish from Thailand, and dry their innards.
On the hillside are temporary burials. The dead are placed there
until the flesh rots (lovely idea, huh?), then gathered up and reburied
in urns (secondary burials).
The old village is built on stilts. These are somewhat newer than the
main village houses. Sometime ago, around 30 houses burned, and the
government will not allow them to be rebuilt (part of their plan to
relocate the villagers).
There is electricity and telephones here. Many villagers have TV sets,
and satellite dishes. The mudflats used to be where they would collect
mussels. Unfortunately, the Pearl River is so polluted now, this is no
longer possible. The villagers also used to make salt, but the bottom
fell out of that market, too. Nowadays, the old fishermen sail 2 days
to Thailand to buy fish and then re-sell in Hong Kong.
There's a wonderful old (1840's) temple in the village of Tai-O. It is
Taoist, and very popular with the villagers. They come in to toss the
bones for fortune-telling often.