"I don't want to go to China," a friend of mine declared to me. "But you're already in China!" I retorted -- since our conversation was taking place in Hong Kong. "Oh, you know what I mean," she said -- and in fact, I do. Because even while the Big Lychee was handed (back) over to China by its British colonial masters on 1st July, 1997, it still doesn't feel completely like or part of China by virtue of officially being a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
Among the indicators that Hong Kong and Mainland China continue to be distinct entities is the continued existence of a designated border between the two territories and, over on the Hong Kong side, an official Frontier Closed Area running along much of it. And while much of this Frontier Closed Area refers to sections of land, there's a part of it -- Sha Tau Kok Hoi (AKA Starling Inlet) -- that covers a body of water.
Consequently, one has the interesting experience when walking on the edge of Sha Tau Kok Hoi of being legally entitled to do that but not dip one's toes into the nearby water. Adding to the interesting experience is the fact that the Hong Kong side of this borderland is far quieter and less developed than that of the Mainland. Put another way, the closed nature of this frontier area has turned this part of Asia's World City into sleepy -- some might even say generally dead -- space as far as most of the territory's human residents are concerned.
For hikers, birdwatchers and shutterbugs though, this part of Hong Kong can be quite the idyllic delight to visit. Just remember if you head over to not step into the water since, if you're caught doing so by the authorities, the maximum punishment is HK$5,000 and two years in prison! And should you forget, there are signs (like the one at the top of this Photo Hunt entry) reminding you of precisely that!! ;O