Bert was the first of his kind. Ears protruding through straw hat, mane cut short and hooves perpetually sandy. For Bert was Hong Kong’s original seaside donkey.
When Jerry Slater moved from Blackpool in northern England to far-off Hong Kong he had a vision. For more than 30 years children rode his donkeys on the seaside resort’s seven miles of beach.
Wouldn’t it be great,” he pondered, “if I could do the same in my new home.
Slater negotiated long and hard with the Chinese authorities about rescuing donkeys from their fate as spicy dinner on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai. Eventually, one donkey was released from the chop or the donkey chop as they are marketed in Chinese, and allowed to roam free on the beaches of Hong Kong.
“It was love at first sight,” says Slater thinking of the time he set eyes on Bert. “I was overcome with emotion and thought of the fun kids had back in Blackpool.
Sadly Bert died six months later after eating some overly-spicy garbage. But because he’d been such a success, the authorities gave Bert a further six donkeys.
So, if you ever find yourself in Hong Kong, head for the sea and ask for Slater’s donkeys. It’s fun for all the family. www.eeaweeaw.co.hk