Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong City from the Peak

Bruce Lee Sculpture Ave of Stars

The Avenue of Star
Hong Kong is a mixture of oriental exoticism, western influences, stark contrasts between rich and poor, and dilapidated as well as sparkling new modern buildings. Many people are open and outspoken against the repression of the Chinese regime: “One country/two systems! They say that nothing has changed since 1997 and their government is separate from the north.
Construction is going on everywhere with bamboo scaffolding  and ‘spider’ scaffolders climbing all over as seen in Jackie Chan movies. The Avenue of the Stars is a walkway alongside Victoria Harbour, modelled on Hollywood with statues and embedded handprints of famous actors and directors along the concrete sidewalk.
I took the cable car to the top of Mount Victoria for a fantastic view over the harbour and Hong Kong city.  Many Hong Kong people are obsessed with getting rich,  and link it to superstitious practices, supported by the Taoist religion that promises happiness and good fortune in this life. I visited a Taoist Temple and saw people lighting candles to the Gods of Good Fortune and sending paper messages via a burning kiln at the front of the temple. Inside the Temple were scenes of worship and strange deities without parallel in the west.
Mother and Daughter Sending Letters to the Gods
Stoking the ‘Letter Box’ to the Gods
Lighting Candles
Drama and Incense

Bodhi Square Buddhist Village
Cable Car

The Buddhist religion, on the other hand, imported from India 2,500 years ago, promises fortune in the next life and promotes the idea of reincarnation.  I visited the Po Lin Monastery and the Buddhist Temple high up in the mountains of Lantau Island, where the atmosphere was tranquil and serene. To get to the area I took a cable car across vast spaces and valleys between mountain peaks; the trip took twenty-five minutes and was an exhilarating ride, especially when the wind was up on the way back.  As we got closer to the mountain peak, we caught our first glimpse of the Biggest Buddha in the world, 34 metres high and sitting at the top of the peak of the second highest mountain in Hong Kong.  After visiting the monastery and the statue, I had a vegetarian lunch in the Buddhist Restaurant next to the temple.

And not all is traditional and without surprise in Hong Kong.  Mark and I were invited to a private restaurant in Hong Kong Soho district, which is abuzz with trendy night life and fashionable eating places and bars, much like in London. Here we had a perfect meal cooked in a kitchen much like in someone’s home and were entertained with music and song by  a guitarist, and the proprieter, Ambrose, a charismatic performer and his friends.  Louise and I even got up and sang together.

Half Lobster
Mark, Me and Louise
Dragon Fruit
Exotic Fruit

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