March 10 - 14: Hong Kong

On the morning of the 10th of March, we woke up at the crack of dawn and headed off for our coming three week long journey. We awoke, showered, and headed down to the elevators. To our dismay, we realized that the elevators were not back on yet. Thus, luggage in hand, we headed down the 16 flights of stairs. We later found out that the building management shuts off the elevators from midnight until 6 am. Without much of a hitch we arrived at the newly remodelled and very nice Beijing airport. We cannot stress how nice it is to fly on Asian owned and operated airlines. The food is always great and the staff is always friendly. Our three-hour flight on Dragon Air was a pleasure. We arrived at the Hong Kong airport on schedule and in good spirits. After purchasing a McDonald's sundae for Nancy, we were on our way to Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, by bus to see a big buddha and hike Lantau Peak. The drive around the hillsides was quite harrowing, but somehow, the bus managed to stay on the roads the entire time and we arrived in Ngong Ping safe and sound. Upon arrival, we headed straight for the hostel in Ngong Ping.

This was our super chic dormitory/hostel at Ngong Ping. We were the only people staying at the hostel, and so we had the two large dormatory rooms (boys' and girls' rooms) to ourselves. We both slept in the boys' room. The beds consisted of 2 inches of foam on top of a wooden plank. Bryan's back hurt for days after one night here.

The entrance gate to the Po Li Monastery in Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong.
A beautiful view of the monastery and the buddha from a distance.
Here's Nancy in front of the world's largest outdoor bronze buddha.
Here's the big buddha up close.
Statues next to the temple.
After climbing all the steps to the top, this is the view with which you are rewarded.

And here's a panoramic look at the island from the temple.

Elsewhere on the island ...

Sniff, sniff, 'I don't smell anything good here!'
Me, neither ...
One of the buildings at the monastery.
The happy pair at the Po Li Monastery.

The ox who wandered around the monastery at his will.

Bryan suggested that Nancy get a little closer. Nancy wasn't too terribly fond of the idea.

Some of the many stray dogs at the monastery.

This is what Nancy is like after sleeping 12 hours on a really hard dorm bed.

Doing a few morning calisthenics in the deserted dormitory.

We took an early morning hike around the area, but we skipped hiking the peak as the whole area was covered in a dense fog. Here are some tea plants near our hostel.

Here's a panoramic look at the tea garden.

Bryan fullfilling our required chores prior to leaving the hostel. Nancy supervised the process.
A very smart, cute, energetic 11 month old boy who entertained us on our hydrofoil voyage from Lantau Island to Hong Kong Island.

We met up with Nancy's parents and her younger sister Jen in Hong Kong. They were visiting the area because Nancy's uncle was getting married in Taiwan in a few days. We all stayed at the Kowloon Ramada Hotel. When we arrived at the hotel by taxi from the ferry station, the taxi driver gave us a long, hard look and then added a few extra Hong Kong dollars to the meter. We're pretty sure that he ripped us off because we didn't look too native to the area. Wasn't that so nice of him? Hong Kong was an amazingly clean, modern metropolitan city. There were people of all nationalities walking the streets of Hong Kong. It was quite a change having just come from Beijing where 99.5% of the population on the streets is Chinese. The most widely spoken language is Cantonese, but many people speak English very well and they also speak Mandarin. It makes for a confusing, yet convenient place in which to travel. Being able to speak all three languages, albeit some better than others, Nancy had a difficult time deciding which language to use.

A typical street in Kowloon, Hong Kong.
The happy family on the ferry between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
Views of Hong Kong Island.
Repulse Bay in Hong Kong. What beautiful sand and water!

We were all digging for sea shells.

Nancy and her mother. Jen is still looking for sea shells.

Nancy's father with his cool sunglasses.

Nancy's mother just barely escaped being washed away by a huge wave.

Some temple like building at Repulse Bay.
Who's this handsome man in front of the beautiful bay?
Nancy's father rubs the buddha's belly and knee for good luck.

Hey Jen, what's that over there? ...

It's a park - think we might be a little old for this? Nah ...

Nancy boards the sampan that will take us all for a ride around the floating city in Aberdeen, in the southern part of Hong Kong Island.

The jet-lagged bunch from CA.

Us, happy as clams. We've had months to adjust.

Nancy's dad in front of the famous jumbo floating restaurant. Too bad we were stuffed and didn't eat there.
Images of the floating city ...

'Look at that nice boat over there. We could live there!'


Residents of the floating city use the sampans as public transportation.


Luckily, none of us had the urge to use the bathroom.
The Thai curry burger, one of the many different menu options at McDonald's around the globe. Yes, it's green.
At the Victoria Garden Flower Show. Aren't the orchids lovely!
The view of the city of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak. It was quite impressive.
Nancy's father's friend's fortune-telling booth at a temple in Hong Kong.

Nancy's father's long-time friend. She's known him practically his whole life! She's was a very nice and generous lady. She liked to take us out to eat! She took us to a very delicious Shanghai cuisine restaurant one night. Then, the next day, we went to a delicious buffet lunch at the Hong Kong Hotel. Then that same day we had this vegetarian dinner with her. We could all feel our pants getting a little tighter after each meal.


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On to: Taipei, Taiwan

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