Just woke up from a three oćlock nap that turned into a twelve-hour sleep... I was doing pretty good on the timechanges, but a necessary nap on the second day was interrupted by an Italian tour group yelling in the hallways, prompting me to some late-afternoon caffeine, which just threw me off enough to matter. I didnt´go out yesterday evening, but think my body is back on track.
On Friday I went to Lantau Island to see the largest outdoor Buddha in the world. I had wanted to go on my previous two trips, but the multiple connections had scratched it. Guess it had worked out for the best. ;-)
I walked from Jordan to the Kowloon Ferry Pier during rush hour, took the ferry across to Central, found the ferry to Mui Wo and had a 20-minute ¨fast boat¨ride, caught a bus for the 45-minute climb up the mountain, passing banana trees, long beaches, and many water buffalo. Unlike most of my jaunts, this one had a lot of tourists... mostly tourists, in fact.
At the Po Lin Monastery there are now many concessions and sub-developments for the tourist trade. Glad I went on a Thursday during the off-season. Climbed 252 stairs up, then forty-odd once you get to the statue. I wasnt´sure where I was going, or why... It was just a big statue. For some Buddhist visitors though, it was a big deal. They seemed a little more committed than the Hello Kitty fans.
I bought a ¨special ticket¨ even though I couldn´t tell what made it special. Turns out it gives you access to the topmost floors in the statue and does something special at mealtime. Optional; you can climb the stairs without one.
A nice enough place, and Ivé got to admire the vision and persistence of a group which builds a giant statue at the top of a mountain, but I wondered whether the diet there could use some more complex proteins.
Getting back was a little more impressive than I had anticipated. I passed on the old fishing village at Tai O, so instead of taking the bus back I took the Ngong Ping Cable Car. In San Francisco the cables run under the car; here itś more like the cable cars at a ski lift -- hanging in a car from a cable pulled through pylons at the tops of mountain peaks. Itś´about a twenty-minute ride of steep climbs, rapid descents, hundreds of feet over valleys and sea inlets. Towards the end youŕé looking down on planes taking off at the airport. Im´fine with looking down from tall buildings, but this freaked me out a little. I refrained from kissing the earth when I stepped off.
Thereś an MRT connection, which I took to the Prince Edward station, and walked back through northern Mongkok. Ended up in the hardware/construction district, lots of activity, people moving large sheets of plywood along crowded sidewalks, loading toilets onto trucks, grinding and shearing thick metal pipe with red hot metal singing your cuffs. Fun.
Made it back to the hotel, although I couldnt´find the place with fishballs and stinky tofu that I wanted for a snack. After a quick shower I laid down on the bed and that was all she wrote.
Today itś´Cheung Sha Wan and Sham Shui Po, the old ship-building area where prisoners were held during World War II. Tomorrow itś´the western tip of Hong Kong Island and hanging out with the domestics in Wan Chai. Monday through Wednesday itś´the New Territories.
Sorry to have not gotten out yesterday evening, but glad I got the sleep and got my bodyclock back on track.