How does one get across this quiet stretch
of the Kam Tin River?
Why, by sampan of course! :b
The ride across the river is short but still
makes for quite the memorable experience :)
Close to a year ago now, I took a ride on a ferry that's been celebrated in a novel and song out in the far northeastern Tokyo suburb called Shibamata. Back then, I didn't realize that that area of Tokyo where history and movies (specifically Yoji Yamada's Tora-san films) meet has an equivalent of sorts here in Hong Kong.
But a couple of weeks ago, I visited Nam Sang Wai out in northwestern Hong Kong -- and found not only a quiet part of Asia's World City with various movie associations (including, I've recently been told, Soi Cheang's frequently overlooked Love Battlefield) but, also, one that offers an atmospherically 'retro' ferry ride on a small rickety wooden boat!
And just like the ride on Tokyo's last remaining human-powered riverboat with the lyrical sounding name of Yagiri no Watashi, the one on Hong Kong's last river sampan with the more common name of the Nam Sang Wai ferry is indeed one of the highlights of a visit to the area. To be sure, the trip is indeed on the short side -- but because rides on a sampan are now so rare in this part of the world, it can make for quite the memorable experience.
Maybe it's my imagination going into overdrive but even without the ride taking place in a location that has featured in movies, I found that there's a movie-esque feel to the experience. If truth be told though, my sense is that few, if any, of the ferry passengers (many of them bicyclists) would view the boat ride as an end in and of itself the way that it can feel like it's the case with Yagiri no Watashi. Instead, their main reason for being in the area really is to get to the scenic parcel of wetland that is Nam Sang Wai.
On another note: I've also belatedly realized that another association that Nam Sang Wai has is with Pui Pui, the crocodile that now resides at the Hong Kong Wetland Park, was found there back in 2003! So quiet Nam Sang Wai may be -- but famous, at least locally, it actually also is! ;b