Ice on Hong Kong mountaintops is not an urban legend. This weekend temperatures in Hong Kong plunged to freezing and real ice was spotted in abundance at Hong Kong’s higher elevations.
Wishing to see such an unusual sight for themselves, ‘frost tourists’ were out in full force on Sunday causing traffic jams on mountain roads and creating a lot of extra work for emergency services.
Rather than brave the elements to see the ice myself, I decided to pull out a telescope and watch the action on Hong Kong’s tallest peak, Tai Mo Shan, from the comfort of my balcony.
I least I think I did.
I also might have fallen asleep under a pile of blankets on my sofa while a bad movie about mountain climbing was on TV. It might have been called The Eiger Sanction (1975) staring Clint Eastwood and George Kennedy.
Anyway, this is a picture of me on my balcony Sunday afternoon with my telescope (Yes, I bear an uncanny resemblance to George Kennedy):
I invited a few friends over to ‘watch the mountain’ and I swear I remember the following conversation:
Friend: “Is your balcony always so crowded?”
Me: “Only when there’s frost in Hong Kong. Then the Tai Mo Shan birds start flocking in.”
Friend: “Tai Mo Shan birds?”
Me: “Yeah, jet setters, assorted Eurotrash, come here to watch the Hong Kong frost tourists. If they’re lucky, they get to see a man die on the mountain.”
Friend: “That’s grim.”
Me: “So’s Tai Mo Shan at zero degrees. Have a look through the telescope.”
Friend: “Christ, those are black ice conditions in Hong Kong! They’re falling like flies! They’ll never make it off the mountain!”
Me: “Yep. Go get me another Olympia beer, will you? We’re gonna be here awhile.”
(Credits: The top photo is a screen shot from The Eiger Sanction. The bottom photo, in its original, un-cropped form, was by Will Cho and was taken on Tai Mo Shan on 24 January. The dialogue has been liberally adapted from The Eiger Sanction.)