February 19, 2007

Hong Kong...
I caught the ferry from Macau to Hong Kong, which was a pretty fast and smooth ride despite the choppy waters. When I left Macau they gave me an oval stamp in my passport, and I got a green square one when I entered Hong Kong at Kowloon (JiuLong). It was really nice and warm in Hong Kong, something like 25C. I was actually able to wear a short sleeved shirt which was great.
Since I only had half a day I decided to check out the world's largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha (yes, that's a lot of restrictions) on Lantau Island. I was surprised how long it took to get to the island, but even more so by how much it cost. Many travellers in China had told me how expensive Hong Kong is compared to China but I wasn't expecting it to be so much. Of course everything is relative because when compared to prices back home Hong Kong is still much less expensive.
When I finally got to the bronze Buddha I must admit I was a bit disappointed. It was large, but I've seen bigger, older, and more ornate Buddhas. It was nice, but I think I'd have appreciated it more if it was one of the first ones that I'd seen. The one positive thing is that the temple/Buddha was free, unlike all the temples/Buddhas in China that you have to pay to see. In some sense it's like the temples in China are more 'religious museums' while the ones in Macau and Hong Kong were more for religion itself.
Back in Kowloon I found myself some excellent curry for dinner -one type of food among many I've been missing. Because Hong Kong was a British colony there are a lot of people from other former colonies there, including Indians who make real Indian curry!
In the evening I made my way to the harbour for the world's "Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" according to Guiness World Records. The show was quite huge, with buildings on both sides of the harbour flashing around lights in sync to synthetic music.
Next installment: how the Hong Kongese are different from the Chinese, a Hakka village, and Hong Kong island itself.


Jim said...

Sounds like a fantastic trip. I'm jealous as usual. Were you able to pick up any tailor made clothes? What proportion of people in HK speak Cantonese/Mandarin? Do people in Macau speak Portugese? Cantonese or Mandarin?

Stephen said...

I didn't get the tailored suit -I'll get it done in Beijing.
In HK most people speak Cantonese and some Mandarin or some English.
In Macau people speak Cantonese (and almost no English/Mandarin/Portuguese).

Doron said...

its a shame you've "wasted" half your day visiting the budha. I'm living in Hong Kong for quit a while but didnt saw the budha yet because there so many other interesting things to do, see, party over here. you made a good choice visiting the kowloon site to see the light show tough.