Friday, October 19, 2012

Off to Big Buddha

One thing I wanted to show my visitors for sure was Big Buddha. Because we had some hazy days, our trip up the mountain was saved to nearly the end of their stay. It was worth the wait. Claire and Pam really loved it.

The trip starts with a 25 minute cable car ride up into the mountains. 

We took the "crystal cabin" which means that our cabin floor was clear so that you can see below as well as around you. Lantau Island where Big Buddha is located is covered with hiking trails. There is even one that rises under the cable car. It is quite a steep climb over three mountains and I am amazed at the number of people who are hiking it every time I go.

The first sight of Big Buddha rising on top of the mountain is always impressive.

On our walk toward the steps up to the temple, we found an interesting road sign.

At the base of the stairs there is a beautiful pavilion where the monks sometimes come to gather.

And then there is the climb.

Claire decided to watch this portion of the day's activities. It was a good choice. Once you are at the top you realize...'s a long way down.

You also realize that the views are worth the effort. Claire fell in love with one of the nearby mountains. She kept calling it her favorite. So we took some photos for her as well.

Another beautiful area is the Po Lin Monastery. It is set in a garden with cattle sometimes munching on the bushes (but not this day). 

There is a small area of shops and restaurants next to the grounds called Ngong Ping. They have some lovely shops and we all did a bit of early Christmas shopping.

Finally it was time to head back to Tung Chung and the MTR ride home. But first we had a great time riding the cable car one more time.

In Chinese tradition it is very auspicious to to be buried with your back to the land and your face to the sea. It is good fung shue. If one member of a family is buried in this manner, the good fung shue is passed on the the descendants. At the very top of one of the mountains we found someone with the most auspicious burial site we have seen.

And for the remainder of the ride as we progressed downward so did the sun.

It was a very good day.

Ocean Park Again

As you may have guessed, one of my favorite places is Ocean Park. This trip we concentrated on the exhibits (just couldn't get Pam or Grandma on a roller coaster). This time of year the park is all decked out for Halloween and in the evenings there is a party with extra spooky attractions. Some of them can be quite frightening - even for the pandas.

We took a little rest in a rickshaw on our way to the cable car to the summit.

The newest addition to Ocean Park is a Polar exhibit featuring both North and South Pole animals. On our way there we met a young man showing off his new skeleton sunglasses. A snapshot was in order.

First stop was Tuxedo's. This penguin themed restaurant featured a floor show of live penguins and great food as well.

Next up were the penguins and the arctic fox.

The North Pole introduced us to sea lions and a very cute walrus.

Following our polar adventure we headed to the rain forrest. First to greet us was the sloth. He actually was moving quite quickly (for a sloth). I think it was the food waiting for him farther along the rope.

The marmoset was adorable.

Then it was into the jungle. The piranha were beautiful yet scary.

There were some other interesting denizens as well.

And then there was Shayne's favorite, the poison dart frog - in blue!

The toucan bid us farewell.

And it was off to the dolphin show.

We then wandered in a new part of the park. 

The Sea Jelly Exhibit is always a favorite.

As are the pandas.

A little otter was out playing with his trainer.

The variety in the goldfish exhibit is always interesting.

The Grand Aquarium always delivers aquatic delights.

Even the fish were celebrating Halloween.

But the scariest one of all was the shark we encountered at the end of our tour.

And as the sun began to set three very tired ladies poured ourselves into a taxi heading for some rest for our weary feet.