04 June 2008 – Wednesday
We had a very long but very nice sight-seeing day today. We got started a little late but once we got out the door we did great. The only real problem was that it rained from time to time and was overcast all day but we worked through that and did not let it bother us.
First we took the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island. Then we took another ferry over to Lantau Island. The first trip takes about 10 minutes and the second took about 50 minutes. But in both cases we had a good time looking at the boats and skylines as we passed by or they passed by. This is one time when the weather did cut down on our enjoyment a little. We could not get a clear view of many things but we maybe we will the next time we come this way.
On Lantau Island we took a wild ride on a bus to see a huge Buddha. It sits on top of a rather high hill. I went to the top and walked around and Mary plugged away at getting as high as she could. She made it about 3/4ths of the way before she decided she was through. I was proud of her because she could have just sat at the bottom until I was done.
We then toured the shops that obviously cater to tourists. Mary found a great place to eat lunch – delicious noodles with vegetables and shrimp tempura – freshly cooked and very reasonable. Once we were filled, we took a cable car ride over the mountains to the other side of island. It was a fun thing to do but like the ferry ride it would have been better without the overcast. At one point we were buried in the clouds. We kidded about what would happen if we got stuck there. I am not sure how they might get us down. I took lots of pictures but most of them are rather poor.
We just missed the bus to the fishing town of Tai O, but so did a nice couple from England so we agreed to share a taxi ride instead. They had been in Hong Kong since Friday and going home the day after we do. We talked a little but soon ran out of things to say. The trip only took about 15 minutes and cost about $1.35 US each.
The part of the town along the river is built on stilts because the tide obviously rises and falls at least 6 feet and maybe more. Unfortunately we hit it at low tide and it looked rather sad. We walked through the shopping area that was only about 10% for tourists and 90% for the locals. The main thing for sale was of course varieties of dried and fresh caught things from the sea. I found a man making what I assumed was waffles but turned out to be something like donut holes only better tasting. He cooked them in a special pan over a small store run on charcoal. They were delicious and we ate them right down.
We then wandered down the back street of the village that eventually became the only street. There was nothing commercial about it. I enjoyed the sights immensely. They made many of their homes out of metal sheeting painted silver. Further up the hill were some very humble and old shacks that people seemed to be living in. But the road we were on was fairly freshly poured concrete. There were no cars or motorcycles in the town – they either use boats, bikes or walk to get around. But the town is small enough that this works well. There was so many great things to see that it is impossible for me to describe even 5%. Every few feet there was something new to look at. One thing that is very different from Indonesia is how neat things are. Another is that the animals – cats and dogs – are fat and well taken care of. I have lots of pictures to post and share. I would love to go back someday with someone who speaks Chinese and talk to the people and take lots more pictures. The only thing that I can complain about was how hot it was. I sweated the whole time until my handkerchief was so wet that I had to wring it out a number of times.
On our way out of the village we stopped and bought another sack of the delicious of treats from the vendor. I tried to get the name but he did not speak any English. Mary asked a man who was passing by if he spoke English and he said yes – but it turned out he did not know Cantonese because he was from the Philippines. But his friend did speak both and we found out they were called Egg Balls. Which made sense since that is what they looked like.
While we were waiting for the bus to take us to the ferry dock, a young woman came up to Mary and introduced her as a member and gave us her e-mail address. You never know where you will run into a member, but as soon as they see our name tags, they know we are missionaries.
The trip back to the ferry dock had one unusual feature. There were signs warning about cows being on the road. Since we went through only jungle or housing areas, I could not figure how there could be any cows. But sure enough we found bunches of them wandering on the edge of the road. Since the buses tend to really buzz along the road, it is amazing that there were not dead cows everywhere, but even with one calf having itÃ¢Â€Â™s dinner almost straddling the center line, we made it past them all safely.
We took a fast ferry back to Hong Kong. This is a catamaran hull with hydro drive engines. It was very quiet and took half the time. When we got back to the docks in Hong Kong we could not decide what to do. We finally went looking for some place to eat and lucked into an inexpensive soup and sandwich shop that also had great pastries. By the time we were finished eating we were both ready to head back to the apartment.
As we were walking back, the nightly light show that many of the buildings on both sides of the bay take part in started. It was nothing like Disneyland and we did not see any lasers being shot back and forth but we did see some interesting lighting effects on some of the tall buildings.
We took the Star Ferry back to Kowloon and then a taxi to the hotel. We were both glad to get back, take off our shoes and relax. We watched Amazing Race Asia and soon after that Mary was asleep. I stayed up long enough to write most of this and then joined her. It was a good day of sight seeing and we even got to talk to a few people about the Church and what we have been doing over the last 18 months.