How to hike, Hong Kong-style

The combination of SARS and sunny weather for the Easter holiday weekend meant an unusually large number of people out hiking in the countryside. If you've been invited to go hiking, here are a few guidelines on how to do it properly, Hongkong-style:

Just as "camping" can mean spending the weekend in a rented flat, "hiking" may mean the 15-minute walk from the bus stop to the nearest BBQ site. You'll probably want to check with your fellow-hikers just exactly what they have in mind.

Forget about temperatures over 30 degrees C, everyone knows that a pair of heavy jeans and a long-sleeve shirt are the clothes to be wearing. Never mind that the jeans will be giving you heat exhaustion, they'll be hiding your delicate skin away from the prying eyes of the opposite sex and at the same time keeping the sun-tan at bay. Remember that a sun-tan is not in keeping with the sophisticated urban lifestyle you lead.

If you'll be walking with "senior" hikers, make yourself popular by bringing along a portable radio. Leave the good one at home, instead bringing a radio that distorts everything it plays. Tune it to a station playing Chinese opera, and you'll be accepted as one of the locals. As a safety feature, you'll want to use the cheapest batteries you can find, so that they must be replaced every hour. Drop the old batteries by the side of the trail, and you can use them to find your way home if you get lost.

Paper Tissues ! Remember, sweat is evil. Regularly dab your sweaty gweilo brow to avoid grossing out your fellow hikers. Pass around the packet to show your concern. Dropping used tissues helps fill in the gaps between batteries, again forming a valuable part of hiking safely in Hong Kong.

Concealed weapon
This is mainly to reassure the folks you've left back in the city. As you tell people you're getting ready to go hiking, be prepared for raised eyebrows and warnings of desparate robbers and wild animals roaming the hills.

Happy Hiking!