Hong Kong, Day 2

Part of the day was spent doing touristy things and headed to Lantau Island.  We started the day with a drive up to the Giant Buddha.  The drive is quite beautiful.  This beach, Tai Long Wan, is just not that far from the city.

On the other side are the mountains.

Random location for a high-security jail where supposedly lifelong sentences are carried out.

Then we got to the top.  You need a special permit to drive up there otherwise you can take a tram.  This photo is the issue with the whole thing….it was all built for tourism.

The Giant Buddha sits at the very top of the ridge overlooking the beautiful mountains facing Hong Kong with its back to China.  A statement perhaps?

Inside, underneath the Buddha, you can pay money to be acknowledged eternally after you leave this earth.  Around the area, there are a few random temples where you can buy incense, in 3’s, and pray.  That is part of the Po Lin Monastery that is settled up there.  We did see one of the Buddhist come out and talk to a security guard while talking on his iPhone.

At one point cattle roamed freely through this part of the country.  They still roam but they are tagged and watched over.Our next stop was Tai O fishing village.  This village is located in a spot that became an entry point for smuggling and illegal immigration.  It is now called the “Venice” of Hong Kong.

Mostly left are elderly people who have lived here for decades.

There are countless stores that sell mostly dried squid and shrimp paste.

The majority of the housing is built on stilts.  Some of the children who grown up and left have returned to help rebuild.  I thought this house of aluminum was wild.  What was the most incredible part of Lantau Island is seeing the greenery outside of the concrete jungle of Hong Kong.

After leaving Lantau we went over to Kowloon.  Kowloon is overcome with tall buildings. Many are Government housing and some that are high-end apartment buildings.  There is something Las Vegas feeling about it.  We went to see the Bird Garden.  You can buy the cages.

The food to feed the birds.  There were other foods such as worms and seed too.

And the birds.  There are so many different birds in cages. It is like nothing I have ever seen before.  Right before this is the flower market but in many cities there are flower markets, birds, not so much.

We were dropped off at the Peninsula Hotel that sits right on the waterfront of Kowloon.  The place was packed.  We walked over to the Silvercord Mall where there is a Din Tai Fung, a Taiwan dumpling chain.  We have actually gone to this place in the San Gabriel Mountains of LA.  They are one efficient operation.

Lunch was incredible.  Pork dumplings

Shrimp pork shumai and more.

We took the ferry back across to Hong Kong Island.  30 years ago this ferry took 30 minutes, now it takes ten.  The country has land-filled the island to grow it over the years.  My guess is in another 30 years there won’t be any water between Kowloon and the island.   When we got off the ferry we got back to the hotel walking through the malls and ramps that hang over the city.  It is really smart.  I think of how the Highline has transformed traffic patterns on the West Side and in Hong Kong, this is the same concept.  It is hot and humid here so that is even more of a reason to walk through these areas.

After some rest in the afternoon, we headed out to Mott 38 for dinner.  It is all about the Peking duck here although they have an interesting business model.  You order a whole duck but you really don’t get the whole duck.  They carve off some of the duck depending on how many you are, regardless of saying the duck is for 6, you only get what they decide. Then they take the duck away with the hope that you order more of it in another form so perhaps duck with fried rice.  We asked for the carcas so have some bones.  Instead, they returned a bunch of bones, mostly the back, with no meat on it.  We called out the manager on this and the answer was lame but it was more to the point of feeling ripped off.  We all just assume the rest of the duck meat goes to different dishes so they make money on it twice.  Not a bad business model but not so great for the duck eater in all of us.