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Hong Kong

INTRODUCTION

This is one of the Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China. The Central People's Government is responsible for the territory's defense and foreign affairs, while Hong Kong maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, immigration policy, and delegates to international organizations and events. This big, efficient city is always buzzing. If you don't like the big city, there is always a temple or park for quiet contemplation.

HISTORY

Hong Kong was a territory of the United Kingdom from 1842 until it was handed over to the People's Republic of China in 1997. It was occupied by the Japanese during WW2. Afterwards, many people fled to Hong Kong to escape communist prosecution.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Time Zone: UTC+8

Currency: Hong Kong Dollar

Languages: Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and English

Power: 220 V, 50 Hz

Climate: Hot and humid tropical weather so expect some rain as well.

ATTRACTIONS

The Peak
Victoria Harbour
Sha Tin Che Kung Temple?
Hong Kong Heritage Museum?
Deep Water Bay?

RESTAURANTS

Due to its locale, a lot of Hong Kong's dining is comprised of delicious fresh seafood.

NIGHTLIFE

LODGING

PERSONAL STORIES

Random thoughts of the day:

There are a lot of dragonflies in Hong Kong. Tons. Even looking out our 14th-floor window, they're everywhere. You know how in the US, if you pronounce Tao as "Tao," you get corrected and told it's pronounced "Dao?" Well, in the past 2 days I've heard 3 different Chinese/Hong Kong people pronounce it "Tao." And "Taoism." And "Taoist." Not a "D" sound in the bunch. So I'm damn well going to say "Tao" if I want to, and Mom you can stop correcting me. :0)

OK, managed to stay asleep until 6am. This time-change thing is working out pretty well...thanks to the white wine and Valium on the plane. Had breakfast in the room--thanks Mom for the oatmeal!

We headed over to the Hotel Kowloon at 8 to get our day-long tour to Lantau Island. Once again, Sue had it all under control--our reservations were ready to go. We were driven to the Star Ferry, and took the ferry to Lantau Island. Lantau Island is so cool--it's far less developed than Kowloon.

Hong Kong Island is just like we imagined it...when you see it from the water, it's just acres of giant skyscrapers rising directly from the sea. We took the ferry to Silvermine Bay, Lantau. On Lantau, you really realize you're in Asia. Everyplace else I've been in the world (barring Alaska), I could say "This place reminds me of..." But China is China. You know those Asian watercolors of the very steep, rounded mountains? And the bristly trees? That's it, one after another, everywhere you look. Just amazing. Our first stop was Cheung Sha beach, on the South China Sea. Rocky, with amazing shells and lava formations. Very warm water. Then we went to the Tai O fishing village. I really hope the pictures come out. Tiny houses on stilts, all piled up and smooshed into each other. Vendors everywhere with live seafood jumping around in buckets. Tiny, short-haired cats by the hundreds. Then we headed for the Po Lin monastery, which has the largest seated bronze Buddha in the world. Since it's on top of a mountain, it's impressive to say the least. Usually, you have to climb 268 steps to get to it, but our tour got special permission to drive up by bus. Inside, we actually saw two bone fragments of Buddha. When Buddha was cremated, in the ashes they found over 1000 bone fragments and divided them up among Buddhist temples all over the world.

We then went down to the temple--so beautiful and ornate. Unfortunately, no photos allowed inside. We had an amazing vegetarian lunch there, too. About 30 different dishes, all served family-style. They had shrimp, crab, fish, and chicken, all vegetarian! Usually, I hate fake meat, but this was so delicious. And Buddhist bread with condensed milk to dip it in...so good.

After that, we did some shopping at the monastery. It's going to be so hard to not hand over presents the minute we get back, but we really do need to save them for birthdays/Christmas. And then, feeling guilty about not experiencing the "suffering" that is supposed to be a part of the Buddhist life, we sucked it up and climbed the 268 steps back up to the giant Buddha. Billy, unfortunately, didn't suffer quite as much as I did. I watched all the old ladies and little kids skip by me while I tried to keep my legs going. I'm a sad example of physical unfitness.

Then back to the ferry, and back to Hong Kong Island. We couldn't understand our bus driver, so we accidentally got off the bus about 2 miles from our hotel. Fortunately, Hong Kong is extremely safe and pretty easy to navigate. Also fortunately, we found this cafe on the way so I could get some messages out!

Now it's time to get some dinner and get to bed. 8pm to 6am seems like a good sleep schedule to us...

Another Day in Hong Kong


 
 
 
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