Thursday's Child: Memories of Hong Kong

Thursday, October 2, 2014
Big Buddha, Lantau Island
Every day I read the papers this week, I check first for updates on the political situation in Hong Kong. The protesters' pro-democracy demonstrations are showing no signs of abating, and the Chinese government and police are showing no signs of giving way to their demands. I've been reminded once again what a privilege it is to travel, and to feel a connection with the people and places in the news.

While the world waits to see what will happen next, I can't help but think of our own trip to Hong Kong, six years ago:

At 15 hours in length, the flight to Hong Kong was the longest we've ever taken. And we were experiencing jet lag and general exhaustion after we landed. But there was no discussion about going to bed early - we had to stay up until 8:00 to watch the famous Symphony of Lights show. A combination of coloured lights, search lights and laser beams from both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island created a beautiful light show over Victoria Harbour. Every night, a local radio station plays the accompanying music, and we listened on the radio as we watched the show from our hotel room. The Salisbury YMCA (actually a hotel, not a traditional Y) is located next to the ultra-chic Peninsula, and had the same wonderful views for a fraction of the price.

The following morning, we set off to explore. We took the Star Ferry across the harbour to Hong Kong Island to visit Victoria Peak. The views over the island, Kowloon and the harbour were stunning, which is why this is one of the most expensive places in the world to buy a house. The most expensive houses in the Peak have sold for as much as $80 - $100 million. Not being in the market, we simply enjoyed the view, and the hazy but temperate weather.

Next we travelled to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha, or Tian Tan Buddha. The statue and an adjacent monastery are a focal point of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists from all over the world. The 268 steps to reach the top were well worth the effort to admire the statue from up close and to enjoy a great view.

The six smaller statues that surround the Buddha offer gifts representing charity, morality, patience, enthusiasm, wisdom and meditation.

Hong Kong was our first stop on a trip to China, so part of the adventure was learning to use chopsticks. Whether they were used with two hands to eat noodles, or one hand to eat grilled cheese, there was no end to the amusement they provided. (Note the Orange Fanta in the second photo. For my youngest daughter, one of the joys of travelling was getting to drink orange pop, a treat we don't usually buy at home. Orange Fanta has helped us cope with jet lag issues on several continents.)

Kowloon's Gold Mile (Nathan Road) at night
As I remember an evening spent walking down the energetic but peaceful Nathan Road, my thoughts go out to the protesters, in hopes that that their request for electoral reform will be heard, and that no lives will be lost.


Amy said...

It looks and sounds like a wonderful trip!

Anonymous said...

Today your trip would be a little more difficult. You can still do all of the outlying islands without any issues but the Marathon mile, Central all the way to Causeway bay are difficult by public transport but okay on foot. Things are escalating today so home with the boys and will probably do some cooking. Take care, BAM

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Wow, what a wonderful trip that looks like and it's especially interesting to read with everything that's going on over there now. Love the kiddos with the chopsticks - too cute!

Ann said...

Sounds like a lovely trip.
I love going to Hong Kong
for shopping and their food is amazing♥

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...

That looked like a great trip! Hong Kong has eluded me for years. I'm glad to do this virtual tour with you for now.

Barbara said...

A very timely post, Beth. Loved your photos. I hope a deal can be reached, but frankly doubt it. It will be interesting to follow this story, won't it?

Anonymous said...

Wow! You really take some amazing trips.

Valerie Gamine said...

It's beautiful that you and your family have traveled to so many places! Traveling truly puts things into perspective and keep our minds (and hearts) open.

I still cannot, for the life of me, use chopsticks properly; my technique is sloppy and awkward. :D Orange Fanta!! Yes!!!

Monica said...

I loved this post, Beth. I was born in HK and it saddens me to see what's going on right now. I am hoping for the best and for safety to the protestors.
I haven't been back to HK in so many years and my husband and I would love to take our son one day. I'm so glad to see you took your kids on your amazing adventure. Something about traveling with your child that takes the whole experience to another level.

Lisa Ho said...

I haven't been to HK but I heard the place was good for shopoholic ;P

Marcela said...

I've never been in Hong Kong! I'd die to go there! Thank you for your post! You take such amazing trips!

Kathy said...

Beth, Such a lovely post! I love seeing the world through your eyes! Gorgeous photos!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Dear Beth, absolutely fabulous blog post - I am always so happy coming here for a wonderful, virtual trip to all those places that I will never be able to visit but would love to be able to!
Thank you for another delightful post with tons of great pictures and information!
Have a nice Sunday,

Beth said...

Thanks for your sweet comments, Andrea! Hope you have a great Sunday too.

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

I went to Hong Kong when I was I think one or two years old! Your post took us all on an awesome virtual tour, thank you :D
Want to go back!

Choc Chip Uru

Anonymous said...

This is definitely a timley post!

Hong Kong seems so alive, bustling, and just amazing! I love the pictures of your girls! And a 15 hour flight?! You are amazing! I can't even handle two hours!

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