After Xi Men and Xiao You had taken their bowl of soybean pudding (and also takes a 10 minute walk around the place), Xiao You brought Xi Men to a bus stop next to the village.
“We’ll take a bus ride to Tai O fishing village,” Xiao You said, once they queue up at the bus station, with approximately 10 people in front of them.
Startled, “Bus?” Xi Men asked.
“Yes, bus,” Xiao You said. “Why are you so surprised?”
“I… I didn’t expect we will…”
“Don’t worry, alright. It is about 15-20 minutes away… or was it 30? I don’t remember the exact time, but it’s not that far,” Xiao You smiled.
“Umm… okay,” Xi Men said.
She gazes at him, and seeing his facial expression… “Is this your virgin bus ride?” she asked.
He chuckled. “Virgin bus ride?”
Xiao You nodded as that’s what she asked.
He finds his chuckling dies down.
He didn’t know what to say.
Seeing that facial expression from Xi Men…
“Ah, so this is really going to be your virgin bus ride,” she said.
He glared at her.
“Don’t worry. Just follow me,” Xiao You smiled, patting him on his arm. “And this is nothing horrifying. We’ll just get down at the last stop. Be more afraid with the public buses out there where they have multiple stops where you had to get off at one of it, and the chances of you missing the bus stop is higher,”
Xi Men flinched at the thought of it.
She chuckled at his facial expression.
“Stop chuckling or laughing already. I am used to travel with a hired tour guide or chauffeur,” Xi Men said. “That is why I don’t take bus or subway or…”
“Cable car? What about cable car? Is that the first time you took it too?” Xiao You interrupts.
“That, no. I had taken it in Malaysia. The road to Genting Highlands is winding so it is recommended to take the cable car. So I did. So this is not my first time,”
After gazing at her for few seconds and they speak no further, Xi Men lifted his eyes up and looked at a bus coming from far.
“Is that the bus?” Xi Men asked, pointing at the bus.
Xiao You looked over to where he pointed, “No, that’s not the bus. It does not bear the number we should be taking,”
“Oh,” he said.
“We may need to wait a bit more for it,”
“Okay,” he replied. “By the way, why are we going to Tai O? Is there anything specific for us to see or…”
“It is a fishing village. It is the oldest fishing village in Hong Kong. And we can walk a little, you know, just enjoying a slightly different view of Hong Kong, rather than the tall buildings scattering in Hong Kong city,”
“Oh… okay,” he nodded.
“And, are you hungry?” Xiao You asked.
He looked at her, “Not yet. But should be soon. Why do you ask? You already are?”
“Not yet. The soybean pudding helps a little. As Tai O is a fishing village, we can have seafood for lunch,” Xiao You said.
Xi Men lifted his hand up and looked at the time on the wristwatch. “Lunch? Are you sure it is still lunch?” he flashes his wristwatch at her with a smirk on his face.
“Late lunch then,” she corrects herself, but doing so unwillingly because he teases her.
And she instinctively threw a painless smack on his arm. “Excuse me! Be nice to me, okay?! I can just leave you here!”
He laughed out loud, “What’s the worst that can happen, huh? I’ll just call John and ask him to come and pick me up here,”
He laughed again.
‘Okay. The bus ride is not that bad.’
‘My virgin bus ride is better than I have expected,’
‘Or rather, is this how riding bus feels?’
Upon reaching the destination, everyone in the bus disembarked at the final bus stop of the route – next to a car park lot, and heads into the village and disperses.
So as Xi Men and Xiao You.
Xiao You gets down first and Xi Men followed her.
As it is a fishing village, and of course, located by the sea, the smell of the sea hits them the moment they get down from the bus.
Both Xi Men and Xiao You walked into the village, and Xiao You seems to know the way, as she turns here and there instinctively while Xi Men just followed.
He looked to the left and right, seeing the houses and shops built with bricks with just a road wide enough for motorcycles to pass in front of the houses and shops.
Not wide enough for a car definitely.
“Let’s eat first, okay? We’ll take a walk around after this?” Xiao You asked, looking at Xi Men.
“Sure,” Xi Men smiled.
“There are a couple of shops here but I have been to this particular shop the last time I was here and the food is delicious, so… we’ll go back to the same shop?” Xiao You asked.
“Fine with me,” he replied. “Even if you want to go to other shops, I am okay too,”
“Well, I need to make sure it is good for you too, since I am bringing you. I am not saying other shops are not good, but I have never tried them so it is best for me to stay safe by bringing you to the one I know will serve delicious food,” she smiled as she entered the shop.
He chuckled. “Well, I don’t mind. Anything is fine with me. But if you said this place serves delicious food, I will have high expectations, because I trust you and your palate,”
“I need to add a disclaimer; I am not responsible for this if the chef mess it up,”
She smiled as both of them heads to a table and sat down, where the shop owner passes the menu to them.
“Take your time to decide the dishes to order,” Xiao You said.
Xi Men suddenly chuckled.
Xiao You looked at him, “What’s so funny?”
“Just last night, at the restaurant at the peak… you asked me to decide what to eat fast. And here… complete opposite,” he said.
“Because it is not crowded here compare to the restaurant last night. Even if we have to wait for them to cook, at least we don’t have to wait for too long compared to last night,” she eyed him.
He just chuckled, “I know. I just feel how contradicting it is with yesterday,” he looked at the menu. “So, what do you want to eat?”
“Still seeing… but seafood definitely,”
He smiled, “Okay. Anything is fine with me. Wanna eat crab?” he looked at the menu.
It is a rather simple, and peaceful village.
Xi Men had never been to such places before.
He looked at some of the houses made of wood, built right above of the sea; with boats next to it.
Yes, at the entrance, the shops and houses are made of bricks, but the more in depth you entered the village, you will see more houses made of wood.
“Want some dessert?”
Xi Men turned his head to look at Xiao You looking back at her, “Dessert?”
“Just the soybean pudding,” she bares her teeth.
“Soybean pudding? You mean… the same one as we had just now?”
“You mean they have it here?” Xi Men asked.
“Ah! Is that why you said ‘we’ll have more of this later’ just now when I asked you if you wanna have another bowl?”
“YUP!” she admitted.
Xi Men chuckled. “Are you not full? We had crabs, prawn and vegetable with rice!”
“I am. But I can still take a bowl of that deliciously smooth soybean pudding,” Xiao You said.
He lets out a small laugh upon hearing how she described it as though she is the ambassador. “Alright, we’ll go for it,”
“Okay. The shop is just right in front. You can have as many bowls as you want here in the village,” she pointed as she walked.
“Why? Is it different compare to the one we had earlier? Or better?”
“To me, it tastes the same. It’s slightly cheaper here though,”
He smirks. “I don’t really care about the price,”
“I know. It is not about you, but the people here,”
“People here?” Xi Men asked.
“Mm hmm,” she nodded her head, “The people here probably needed your business more than any other businesses out there,”
He frowned, “Why do you say so?”
Xiao You tilts her head, “Do you notice most of the items they sell here at their stalls along the road… are all made locally, and by that it means… by themselves?”
Xi Men gazes to the stalls, looking left and right.
“Do you know what it means if you buy from them? Helping their economy,” she said. “Helping them to make a living, making their life better,”
He looked at her.
“They may be selling these because they are taking the opportunity as tourists are visiting the village. But you won’t know some of them may be selling these because they needed to earn more to make a living. Everyone can be selling for a different reason,” Xiao You said.
He just looked at her.
“That is what I want to do. Help them,” she said. “But I may be wrong; you know, their economy could probably be great right here. But no harm trying to help, right?” she smiled. “If I am right, then I am helping them making a living, and if I am wrong, then we’ll contribute to their local tourism,” her smile widens. “We are tourists anyway. We are expected to spend,”
He slowly smiled. He did not expect to hear these from Xiao You.
“That is why I prefer to spend my money here, for them,”
“Great, so… soybean pudding now?” Xiao You asked.
“Sure. I’ll have two bowls,” Xi Men said.
Xiao You chuckled.
And Xi Men looked at her with admiration.
Both Xi Men and Xiao You are back in the city now, and they are heading somewhere.
They will reach their destination in 15 minutes.
Xi Men smirks, “So, where are we going now?”
“Dinner,” Xiao You smiled.
“In Central? That’s what I heard you said to John just now,” Xi Men said, pointing to John who is driving now.
“Yes,” Xiao You said.
“Are we going to the restaurant we had that day?” Xi Men asked.
“No. A noodles shop. One of the best ones in town,” Xiao You said. “They are famous with noodles with king prawn dumpling,”
“And maybe… we can tour around Hong Kong after that,”
“Tour?” Xi Men asked. “All of a sudden?”
“With tram! You haven’t taken a tram before,” Xiao You said.
Xi Men looked at Xiao You. “Errr…”
“It is something different. You should try it,” Xiao You smiled.
“How different is that?”
Windows are opened, allowing breeze to enter the tram when it moves.
HA. Yes, cheap.
A very interesting way to see Hong Kong; as in, not the entire Hong Kong but just where the tram goes.
It did scare him slightly when he hopped onto the tram.
Part of him wondered what is he doing here, following a friend he had not seen for 12 years and just randomly gets onto a tram.
“We have no destination,” Xiao You uttered earlier when he asked her the place they are going to, and that answer plays in his mind.
Then… where will they be going to and… what are they doing actually?
He isn’t keen with aimless ride.
He is not someone like that.
Both of them are sitting at the upper deck of the tram.
In the beginning, he asked himself why he agreed to this since he isn’t keen after all.
But he then remembered he is agreeing because it is Xiao You’s suggestion.
Nothing to do other than just sitting on the tram.
He turned his head to look at Xiao You, who is looking out of the tram.
He isn’t sure if she brought up the idea of sitting tram for him (as he is a tourist) or for herself (that she probably wants to sit tram).
He then continued to look at her.
That question slowly fades off from his mind while he begins to trace her facial feature.
She’s just so beautiful.
So damn beauti…
“So how do you find it?” Xiao You turned her head to look at him, just as he was beginning to get immersed in her beauty.
‘Me?’ he thought to himself.
“Find… what?” he asked. “I mean, what did I find? I don’t remember finding anything,”
She chuckled at his respond, “I mean the tram ride,”
“Oh…” now, he forces himself to think of how he felt about taking tram.
He smiled, “Like you have said it, this is something different,” he said. “I am used to travel by car, having a destination in mind…”
“But I guess…” he looked at her, “You actually like sitting tram?” Xi Men asked.
“It is nice,”
He smiled. “Do you go around like this in Hong Kong?”
“I took subway most of the time, but there are times I would take tram, that is if I am not in a rush,”
Xi Men chuckled.
“I am sure you know not all countries have trams. So I quite enjoy sitting the tram here in Hong Kong. Tram is somewhat iconic to Hong Kong,” she smiled. “So it is kind of a unique experience,”
He smiled, “I know,”
“It allows you to explore the city slowly, and at a very affordable price,” she said. “Some budget travelers said this is the budget version of exploring Hong Kong,”
He laughed for a while. “Makes sense,” he said. “And have you done something exactly like this prior to this; as in, taking the tram and travel with no destination in mind?”
“Yes. Done that a couple of times,” she said.
“Mm hmm,” she nodded. “Sometimes it is nice to just sit in the tram and look at the places the tram will pass by,”
He smiled briefly, but couldn’t grasp the concept on why one would do that.
“Don’t you feel that… by taking a tram; sitting right here at the upper deck of the tram, it allows one to enjoy the view and see things from a different beautiful angle (of view) that no cab or car could provide (such views)?”
After gazing at her, he looked out to the view.
“A tram is slow, that is why it gives you ample time to look around, thus giving you the best Hong Kong experience,” she adds.
‘It feels the same as taking a car…’
“Oh,” he answered anyway.
“Sometimes I can relate a tram to human’s life,”
He gazes at her. “Huh? What do you mean by that?”
“I feel… as a human, everyone is chasing after something endlessly, and stressed up unnecessary,”
He frowned slightly; does not understand what she is implying.
“Some people are too busy chasing after wealth and expectations in life; they forgot about people around them; they forgot about things around them… and they forgot about living their life and missed out the best things of their life,” she said.
His frown eases as he understood now.
“For me, I did not chase after wealth, because I know you could never get all the money in the world. I am not wealthy. I don’t earn a lot but I earn more than enough to feed myself and probably some shopping but definitely not enough to buy a villa. But I won’t chase after that, because to me, there are other things in life that are more important. Family… and time,”
“Time?” he asked.
She nodded. “People tend to forget they have limited time, and they did not realize they’ll never get back them back,” she said. “Time is just like an opportunity of a lifetime; once it is gone, it will never come back,”
He looked at her.
Her words… it somehow… grasps him.
“I picked to live my short life to the fullest. Work, have fun, spending time with my family… I ensure all of them are balanced, instead of spending hours after hours working in the office til late at night and neglected my parents,” she said. “The smiles on their faces when I was with them are priceless,”
He smiled briefly as he looked at her.
“I don’t care what people say; whether I am not ambitious or something. Most importantly, I am happy and feel fulfilled. A fulfilling life is not about earning the most, I mean, I didn’t say you shouldn’t be earning; you should, as you still needed money to eat or to buy stuffs, but one should take a step back and evaluate if they are happy. What is the point of your life if you earned lots but you are not happy and unable to see the happiness in the eyes of your loved one?”
He briefly lowered his gaze, before lifting it up and looked at her.
“So, I am like the tram… amidst the hustle and bustle in the city, I take my own sweet time to enjoy the view. I may be slow, I may not earn a lot (*double meaning: tram ride is cheap/salary isn’t high), but my life will be meaningful at the end of the journey,” she said, looking at him.
“I am happy with how I live my life. ‘Be nice to yourself’. ‘Treat your parents well’. ‘Be good to people around you’. ‘Live with no regrets’. That’s what I believe in and that is how I live my life,” she smiled.
“Well, that is just how I view life… and not everyone will see life the same way as I did,”
“I know,” he said.
Suddenly, there is a change in her gaze. “Ah, I am sorry, I have gotten too philosophical all of a sudden,” she looked at him.
“No worries,” he smiled.
“Umm… so, this is your virgin tram ride,” she said.
He smiled, “Yeah,”
“Now that you have sat on this… and if you feel tram is too slow for your liking, we can go to your hotel to see the view from your room,” Xiao You said, turning her head to look out to the view to see where they are, “I think we can get down at…”
“We have just got onto the tram not too long ago. I want to sit a while more,” Xi Men interrupts. “I wanted to enjoy the view…”
“Oh… okay, sure,” Xiao You said, looking at him, and later she smiled.
She slowly turned her head to look out to the view.
He also looked at the view, looking at it in a different light.
Xiao You suddenly raised her hands up and covers her mouth. “ACHOO!”
Xi Men turned his head to look at Xiao You. “Cold?” he asked, instinctively extends his hand over and wrapped it around her shoulder, gently pulled her to him and began rubbing her arm.
She turned her head and looked at him; his face is so damn close to her now.
“If it is cold, then let’s get off (the tram),” Xi Men said, still rubbing her arm, hoping the act is good enough to keep her warm.
“No, it is okay with me. I wanna sit in the tram for a while too,” she said.
“But I don’t have any jacket to offer to you since all I am wearing is just one shirt,” he said.
“It is okay. I am still okay,” she smiled, “Thanks for… the thought,” she said. “I mean, the ‘jacket’ thought,”
He chuckled. “No problems about that,” he said. “Well, since you said you wanna stay in the tram; alright then. Let me know if you can’t take the wind anymore,” he smiled.
She nodded with a smile, and his hand had never left her shoulder throughout the journey.