Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Hong Kong Day 6
Today felt like the longest day in Hong Kong so far, but it was an excellent day.
First thing in the morning, my parents and I went and met with Grace's parents for a Hong Kong style breakfast. My brother was still asleep, so we let him be. The breakfast was pretty good, but was a lot heavier and different than what I'm normally used to. My meal consisted of chopped pork and mushrooms covered in sauce, wrapped in sticky rice, and then all wrapped up in what I'm pretty sure was a lily pad. I had eaten it before when I was in Hong Kong, but I don't remember being too fond of it. This time, though, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
After breakfast, we went back to the hotel for a quick rest, got my brother, and then met Grace's parents once again for a trek up to Sha Tin's 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. Aside from the wedding, the monastery has been the highlight of my trip so far. It was about a 20 minute walk up a mountain to the temple, and the path was lined with statues of Buddhists, each one different. Once at the temple, there were more and more statues and carefully manicured bonsai trees every where. The trees looked to be decades, some of them possibly even hundreds, of years old. Inside the temple itself there were shelves lined with Buddha statues, each one with a little light. I couldn't count them all, but I would guess that there were 10,000 of them. Since photos were not allowed in the temple, I wasn't able to capture an image. To give one a general idea, the ceiling was about 35 or 40 high, and starting from about 5 feet up, there was a wall-long shelf every foot lined end to end with Buddha statues. It was incredible.
The path of the temple wound up and up, and as we walked we saw more and more statues. In different areas of the temple grounds, there were different shrines. One of which was being restored, which was interesting to see. Near the summit, there was a little pond filled with Koi fish and turtles. At the top, there was a giant white Buddha statue with a small water fall behind it. It was quite mesmerizing. There was an alternate path down from the temple which we took, and it too was lined with more and more statues. Now, I didn't count all of them, of course, but I'm not entirely convinced that there are 10,000 of them as the temple name suggests. Perhaps one day I'll go back and count them all!
Feeling kind of hungry after our hike, my parents, brother, and I stopped by our hotel rooms for a quick bite to eat. Then it was on a bus downtown to Mong Kok. When I was in Hong Kong 10 years ago, I remember Mong Kok being really awesome. This time, though, I wasn't too impressed by it. On Nathan Road, it seems like there are the same 5 shops on every block. Not only that, but it's mostly new shops that can be found anywhere in any city. Maybe my memory of Mong Kok is fuzzy, but I remember it being filled with lots of unique little shops. Some of the side streets were like this, but it wasn't what I recalled. My brother and I separated from my parents, and after doing way too much walking, we finally decided to catch a bus back to the hotel.
It seemed like were back for only minutes before we had to go meet up with Grace and Ben for dinner at Ben's mother's home. It was absolutely delicious, and Ben's family was great. We ate until our stomachs were bursting and conversed for hours. After dinner, we said our goodbyes and made our way back to the hotel. All I wanted to do at this point was go to bed, but we had made plans to meet with Grace's parents for dessert. Though I was really tired, I'm glad that I went for the dessert. We went to this place called Honeymoon Dessert, which is always packed and always has a queue, and the desserts were delicious. Because of the long wait, my brother got to draw for a free dessert. At first he drew this durian parfait, but was allowed to draw again when we told them that we didn't like durian. I'm not even sure what kind of fruit it is, but it has a bitter, rank taste, but sweet after-taste. Anyway, we ended up getting some rice balls to dip in honey and crushed peanuts. They were great. For individual desserts, I ordered the mango pancakes, which was mango and whipped cream wrapped in a very thin crepe-like pastry.
Finally, it was off to bed. Tomorrow is an extremely early morning and is sure to be another busy day.