Friday, March 15, 2013

A little more Hong Kong

Sorry for the sporadic blogging, school has started again and I've gone from doing nothing to being zonked from teaching. Hong Kong seems like it was forever ago unfortunately, and looking through these pictures makes me miss it.

On my last full day in Honkers (it's a real nickname for HK, I swear), Sandy and I took the subway to Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan Buddha. Lantau is almost on the end of one of the subway lines, and close to Hong Kong Disneyland so the train was full of tourists for both places. Although the area outside of the station wasn't crowded, and it was a weekday, the line to get to the Buddha was ridiculously long, we waited for over an hour (fortunately there was wi-fi, thanks Hong Kong!).  

Allllll of the tourists.
There's multiple ways to get to the Buddha but I think the gondola we took is the most popular. It offers some sweet views over Hong Kong's hilly terrain, and is ideal if you've got a thing for airports. Hong Kong can be pretty smoggy but the day we went was clear and fine and cloudless. Plus we shared the gondola with someone who was taking pictures with an iPad, something I find endlessly hilarious.

Buddha in the distance.
We disembarked from the gondola after a brief but beautiful journey, and made our way to the Buddha. As I said above, it was a spectacular day and all I could see of the statue was an outline while we climbed. 

When we got to the top, Sandy and I posed for some customary Steph facing and then had a look around.

Statues making offerings to the Buddha. Every flat surface on these statues (especially the lotus blossoms they're kneeling on) was covered in coins.

The view from behind the Buddha - a bit hazy, but still gorgeous.

Blue skies and brass.
After basking in the sunshine for a while we headed back down. The area at the base of the Buddha is super touristy, there's a ton of restaurants and souvenir shops lining one street. This is where I indulged in some weird candy purchases, postcards and some snacks. Specifically these babies:

On the left is a totally crap Mango flavoured 'Drumstick,' or 'Trumpet' as they are more sensibly called in New Zealand. It was a hot day and I was excited about nomming on something cold and refreshing, I ended up binning this one (rare, for me. Something has to be truly gross before I stop eating it.) I looked around for a replacement and was elated to find the objects on the right - frozen, sugar coated Hawthorn Berries. I ate a ton of these when we were in Beijing, and I've looked for them fruitlessly (har har) since. I even thought I'd found some in Taiwan and was crestfallen when what I'd bought was pickled sour plums. The frozen version of the berries isn't as good, but it was close enough for me. 

We hopped the gondola and then the subway back to Hong Kong central, and attempted to get the Peak Tram for a sweet sunset view of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The line was, again, atrocious so we hopped in a cab and saved ourselves a few dollars and a lot of time.

Crowded taxi and tram queues.
We reached the summit as the sun was setting, bought ourselves a glass of wine and watched the light show. The view was astounding, and my camera is (still) really crap at night pictures so this is what I'll offer. Just go to Hong Kong, it's rad.

After a coffee and some time to write postcards, we went out for an incredible Mexican meal and my time in Hong Kong was pretty much done, save some frantic shopping for goodies the morning before my flight. I had such an awesome time, I'm really looking forward to when I can return. 

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