Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hong Kong, Day 4

It's hard to believe that I only have 2 more days here in Hong Kong! It's definitly been a fun experience (and a little expensive.) But being that I'm only going back to Taiwan, if I ever decide to visit here again it will be relatively easy.

Today, I think I have traveled in more ways than I usually do. I've been in the sky, on the water and underground: Yes, a gondola, ferry and a subway. Why? Why not!

I decided that today I was going to take the Ngong Ping 360 gondola up to wherever it would take me (see how far in advance I think!). The MTR transit route was faily simple: Jump on at Tsim Sha Tsui, take that to Central then switch to the Tung Chung Line and ride it all the way to Tung Chung.

Well the MTR ride took about 45 minutes - after which I decided to get lunch (now this will be a re-occuring pattern throughout the day). I decided that I wanted to get some good, old-fashioned American food...better known as McDonalds. I proceeded to get a Big Mac meal.

After that, I took the Gondola for a ride - which was about 25 minutes long. Definitly a cool experience, as it passes by the airport, over water, above mountains, into clouds at one point, over graves, and to a place where there is a REALLY BIG Buddah.

So I get to this place, and it oddly enough reminds me of Busch-Gardens in Williamsburg, VA. I don't know why, but it really did.

So I start walking towards the Big Buddah, which is probably a half mile away, and I'm walking by all of these European themed restraunts and Chinese themed stores filled with all the trivial touristy stuff that you are only going to buy on the spur of the moment. I almost got sucked in with a few things, but managed to have enough will-power to resist...but I digress...

So I am walking toward the Big Buddah and I see these signs in both Chinese and English that say: "Go to Big Buddah --->" Now that's simple enough for me, so I go to the Big Buddah.

I get to the Big Buddah and as I look up at it, I realize I have to climb a hell of a lot of stairs to get to where it's at. I'm not talking 20 or 30, I'm talking 200 - 300 stairs. And I'm in decent shape, but even this was a challenge for me. As I was walking up the stairs, Buddahist monks as well as followers would walk up a stair or 2, then bow down on their face towards the statue. And then they would continue up another 1 or 2 steps and repeat. It was definitly an interesting experience.

Let me go back one step for a second. Before I started my climbing quest, there was this ticket office area that everyone has to walk through. Now you don't have to buy any tickets to go to the Big Buddah, but they sell meals and a "museum pass" - mainly to raise money and all. So I decided it would be nice to see the Big Buddah museum, but I figure if I'm going to be paying $HK 21, I need something more. So I got them to throw in a free drink and ice cream cone as well...

Anyway, back to where I was. It was very very windy at the top, but the view was quite spectacular. There were a lot of people just milling around, but when you get to the top, and see the enormous size of the Buddah statue (and other statues that are there too) it's quite humbling...if that's the right word to use. Here are a few pictures that I took that will give you an idea of some of the things that are there:

But yeah, the museum part of it wasn't really that good. But they did have a few really impressive art pieces...unfortunatly, you can't take pictures so I can't show you what I saw. But I done did see it, and it was a-sumthin'!

After that, I headed back to the gondola and started my long trek back home. All in all, it took about an hour and a half to get back to Central MTR station. I decided then that I was going to take a boat back home. So I wandered around for a little while trying to figure out where exactly the boat was. During this wandering process, I found some pretty cool places - including an art district, some old colonial sytled buildings, and a place to eat dinner.

I was again hankering for some of that good ole fashioned American cruisine, so I racked my brain on where I should go. It came naturally that I should go to...McDonalds. And so I went. For the second time. And got a Big Mac meal. For a second time.

After taking another 3 months off my life, I found the ferry. Now the ferry is SO expensive here: $HK 3...or like 40 cents. Geez! It was a nice, but short, ride: maybe 10 minutes. But for that price, I was thinking that tomorrow or Monday I would just go back and forth a few times...until they either kicked me out or I got seasick. I'm considering it...

So I get back to Kowloon where I am staying (which is north of Hong Kong Island), and happened to run across a big technology center. I went inside, looked in a few shops, bartered with one guy and ended up buying a memory card reader - hence why I have pictures up now!

I headed back to my place, as it was about 530 or 600 and I was getting tired. I uploaded some pics and yada yada yadded until about 730. Then I decided that I was again getting hungry. Where, oh where, could I eat? Again, I felt this strange urge to eat some American food. So I went to...all together now...McDonalds. For the third time. And for the third time I got a Big Mac meal. I think I just cut my life short by at least a year by my poor eating choices today.

So I walk around for awhile and I see in the horizon lasers flashing everywhere. So I walk to the Avenue of Stars and look across the water to the light show that was going on. They put lasers and big lights and stuff on the skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island, and it makes for a spectacular lightshow.

Afterwards I walked around for a bit. I saw a tout get the crap beat out of him. Apparently he was too aggressive with someone and they gave him a nice shiner on his left eye. I should have tried to sell him some ice.....

Anyhow, tomorrow I'm planning on hitting up the Science museum, a local park and take some pictures of a big mosque that's 2 blocks from where I'm staying.

Also, apologies to my fellow Frank Turner fan who I mistakenly said was from Malyasia when she was OBVIOUSLY from Singapore. Very sorry ;)

Well, until next time...

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