After a long journey via the cradle of mankind to the end of the world, I returned back to what became my home for five years: Lamma Island in the South China Sea. Coming this time from Antarctica into the subtropical paradise with sunny mild weather makes you want to stay. But now, I only came to pack and leave again. In the garden I turned back once more to the old house at the seaside. From here I have seen ships passing and rainbows showing their bright colours many times. For five years I have seen flowers blossom, butterflies returning and heared birds singing. Lamma Island is close to Hong Kong, but for me never was a part of it. Too distinct, too colorful is the culture and too different from the buzz of the city and its boring business conformity. The island though still has a free spirit, even not a deep one, which withstood all efforts of covering it under concrete and sporadic police raids. On my last walk through the village, I realized that I have never stayed in a place for five years before, and that I am leaving behind a real home this time. I am wondering how it will look like in years from now when I return as a visitor. The "veterans" here want to keep it the way it is, or even turn it back into what it was in the "good old times". And there is a lot of good to protect. But of course things will change in the periphery of a city of more than 7 million, specially when land auctions to property developers are one of the main government revenues. There is no way to keep Lamma as it is, but at least to develop it as it should be: green, free and friendly. Today, on my ferry ride from Yung Shue Wan to Hong Kong Central our house, our small beach and our tree disappeared a last time behind the hills. Then after the plane took off with the skyline of the city also my life as a Professor stayed behind. But my memories I am taking with me, as they become a part of what is ahead.
Then when I checked into the service apartment late at night, I was greeted with: "You are booked to check in tomorrow". So I looked at my watch: "Okay, wait 30 minutes, then it is tomorrow". We all laughed and finally: "No problem ... Welcome to Beijing".