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Another Day In Hong Kong

Random notes:

Bottles in China (water, juice, etc.) are way harder to open than in the US. I'm not sure why. But Bill has to open them all for me.

We've vowed to only eat snack foods you can't get in the US (there are Pringles, Snickers, and Coke everywhere). So far we've tried grapefruit soda, Nescafe canned coffee, Cutie Grape soda, cheese and bacon aromatic corn sticks, green tea lemonade, and a few others. All good. Wish they had them in the US.

Every time we open our map or our guide book or look a little confused, someone grabs us and offers to help. And then does.

Hong Kong is exactly like New York except with more Asian people and no crime. A very comfortable place for us to be. The trains are great, easy, and very cheap.

That big Buddha yesterday was 35 meters high.

We had breakfast in the same place we've eaten almost every meal so far--Delifrance. Very good French-style deli food, and very cheap-- soup, sandwich, and beverage for two people for about US $10. Sometimes some surprises--there was salmon in my omelet, Bill's sausage was really more of a hot dog--but still worth it.

Today we headed to the Wong Tai Sin temple. It's actually a complex of temples for various religions and philosophies. Very beautiful and very crowded and very smokey from all the incense. We bought bunches of it, figured out how to light it at the braziers, and attempted to bow and wave it around in the right ways. Probably looked like the idiot foreign tourists we are, but what the hell.

There's a "rock garden" in the complex, that's actually all molded concrete. But it's still beautiful. It has tons of shallow pools that are absolutely full of goldfish and turtles. And tons of pure fuschia dragonflies--fuschia, with no irridescence at all. But there are a few very very tiny turtles swimming around with big red banners glued or tied to them. It was pretty sad--they seemed so overburdened. There's a big dichotomy regarding animals here in Hong Kong. There's a saying that "If it moves, people in Hong Kong will eat it." It's true. And there's also the turtle thing, and the bird market (which we avoided) just full of smuggled species kept in horrible conditions. Then, on the other hand, there are Buddhist temples everywhere where all animal life is revered. We try to stick to that end of the spectrum.

At the Wong Tai Sin complex, we went to the fortuneteller's stalls. A few people tried to get us to pay HK $200 for an American reading-- about $25--which I know was too much. Then this guy in the back offered a stick reading for HK$20--about $3. Since we have palm readings and such back in the US, this was what we were most interested in anyway. You get a big can full of sticks, and shake it until a single stick pops out of the top.

After that we took the train out to the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas. (I can't stop singing "One Night in Bangkok".) What an amazing place! This time it was 400 steps, but going up the steps are hundreds and hundreds of life-size golden Buddhas of every description. Fat, thin, hairy, bald, holding different things, doing different things. At the top are several ENORMOUS Buddhas, one riding an elephant, one riding a blue dog. And in the temple are 10,000 Buddhas. The walls are about 30 feet high, and filled with niches with rows and rows of Buddhas, once again all different. Then there are more steps with colored statues, life-sized, of different deities, emperors, etc. It's like a Buddhist Disneyland. Here the dragonflies were striped in black and powder blue, again with no irridescence.

We ate an amazing vegetarian lunch at the temple canteen. Seriously, when in Asia, eat only at monasteries. There food is fantastic. And there are no weird animal parts in it.

Now we're wandering around doing last-minute shopping. We'll probably head back to the Delifrance for dinner again...sad, I know.

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