Well, I've been quiet for a few days, but I'm still in town and covering some ground for the WWF Hong Kong Big Bird Race 2010.
Hong Kong's first BBR was in 1984 (two teams). In 1985 there were five teams, but by 1986 - my first year of participation - there were 12 teams involved. Since then Hong Kong's Big Bird Race has probably raised more money for conservation than any other in the world.
In April 1986 I drove the Police Team. We were loaned a van by our sponsors, the courier company DHL. A van was always good for extended tripod legs, overnight bags of clothing, and "eskies" with liquid refreshment.
On a Saturday morning before 07:00 I made my mark by getting us from the Botanical Gardens on Hong Kong Island to Tai Po Kau in the New Territories in less than twenty minutes. I remember seeing all those green lights ahead of me on Princess Margaret Road and putting "pedal to the metal" (something you'd probably skip in a Honda these days).
As we raced towards the Lion Rock Tunnel there were howls of fearful protest from the back. A couple of those guys still claim they can trace their grey hair and various nervous afflictions to the stresses inflicted on their delicate psyches in those few moments.
What softies. Still "Tempus Fugit", and all that.
These days I'm in the "Wandering Tattlers" Team (not driving) and we're sponsored by HK Electric this year. The other team members, who only have to put up with my sparkling wit for a prolonged period are Roger Muscroft, Tim Woodward and Andrew Young. Roger, who owns the biggest car, has the double joy of driving as well.
It's usually a good idea to check out a range of previously productive sites, and try to cobble a route together for the day.
The race runs from 06:30 to 18:30 on Sunday Feb. 7th. We need to be at Mai Po Nature Reserve in late afternoon for the high tide and for the race finish, which is at the Car Park of the Sir Peter Scott field studies centre.
Long Valley will be on a shortlist of "must visit" sites, and we'll be hoping to see some of THESE on the BBR day.