Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July 4 BBQ - Party on a House Boat in Aberdeen

We had one of our coolest experiences in Hong Kong recently - we spent July 4 on a houseboat!  It belongs to a friend of a friend.

He was generous enough to invite us over to his teak junk boat for a barbecue and drinks.  There was good food, good drinks, a great atmosphere… the only thing lacking were some fireworks!
His houseboat is moored in Aberdeen marina, right outside of the Aberdeen Marina Club.  This is a picture of the famous Jumbo restaurant (a floating restaurant that, as you can see, is huge).

I was pleasantly surprised at how spacious the houseboat was (1,400+ square feet), encompassing four levels:
  • on the lowest deck a master bedroom and bath, a small bedroom and a den with TV;
  • on the mid deck a study space and a bath;
  • on the upper deck a kitchen, island bar and living room, with a balcony/deck; and
  • on the topmost deck (outside), the top deck of the boat.
The teak wood was nicely lacquered and everything was clean, bright and spotless.

There was the occasional wave when another boat went by, but those seemed to leave pretty innocuous wakes and we could barely feel them.

I think there are a lot of wonderful things about living in a boat - the novelty of it probably trumping nearly everything else.  I was continually amazed at how one could get all of the same amenities and services on a houseboat -- internet, cable, electricity, plentiful fresh water... even boat to boat (as opposed to door to door, I guess) garbage pick up!

We heard rumor that there is a gambling junk as well as a brothel junk.  Many of these junks operate as bed and breakfasts, apartments and private kitchens.  The novelty of it!

The only downside that I could really see is the dependence on the sampans, or the water taxis that  ferry you from your boat to the dock.  They are super old, creaky, contain no amenities, and seem to be captained by a very unfriendly (i.e. quintessentially local) boatman.   Even though they do not charge much for a quick trip, that price has to add up over time.  They charge more during the late night and early morning. The city could make it significantly easier if they just built a few walkways so that people could access their boats directly on foot.  For now, however, one is completely dependent on the boats that will come to pick you up at your boat and vice versa. 

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