Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hong Kong Day 5: Big Buddha and Light Show

This was another day when Clarence and I were on our own because our friends were at work. We decided it was time to make the pilgrimage to the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island.

Our pilgrimage involved yet another cable car ride. This one seemed even longer than that of the day before. This one was more pleasant though, as the whole ride was much smoother.

Another cable car shot, with the big boy in the distance. The cable car system has a quality wikipedia page that's worth a quick look. There's even an "incidents" section.

The cable car system had one of those cameras that takes your picture which is then sold to you at the gift shop. I thought it was a bit of a stretch. It's not a very exciting picture.

Another shot of the Buddha.

There is a little tourism village on the other end of the cable car line, with lots of souvenir shops and little restaurants.

Just past the area with the more polished stores is where the normal people set up shop. Their offerings were cheaper and more colorful, but just as unnecessary.

No way was I going to drink one of these little mysteries. Orange Fanta has all of the healing properties that I require.

After a few more minutes of walking we were out of sight of tourist town and entering religious territory.

There was a massive amount of incense in the air around here. I didn't catch what the meaning of the giant cauldron thing was, but it has the flower symbol of Hong Kong on the side.

Some people made a quick stop nearby to light their incense sticks and then proceeded to wave them around in a prayerful manner. It made me want to shoot roman candles.

I guess this is a temple. There were several monks chanting inside.

The building had some interesting carvings on its outer walls.

Several flights of steps led up the where the Tian Tan Buddha sits atop a giant lotus.

I spotted a tree that I don't think I've seen before. It's like a woolly pine.

Big Boy has a museum underneath his altar. It was here that I learned that this statue was completed in 1993. I always just assume that these sorts of things are ancient, so I was a bit surprised. I think it would be best for them not to tell anyone that little fact. Best to let me think it's ancient and awe-inspiring.

The large statue was surrounded by these smaller statues that sat one level lower. Each has an offering for the big guy. But hey, if I'm a dude that weighs 250 metric tons, and I invite you to an awesome party, and you show up with five tiny plums, we are gonna have words.

Back in the city, we met Mike and Allison across the water from Hong Kong's famous skyline. It looks really nice.

Several of the buildings had changed their light setup for the Christmas season.

The tallest and I think coolest of the buildings is 2 International Finance Centre. You may recognize the unique spikey things on top from a scene in The Dark Knight.

Here's a bit of a fuzzy clip of the scene in question. Batman jumps off of 2 International Finance Centre and flies into the nearby 1 International Finance Centre.

Honestly I don't think its necessary to watch this whole video, but it gives an idea of the light show put on every night. Its very sparkley, if not very dramatic.

I'll make one more post about Hong Kong, and then it's on to Thailand!

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