Monday, September 23, 2013

The wonders of Hong Kong

There is so much that happened during our temple trip to Hong Kong. We traveled with a group of 8 Mongolian saints and Puje, our trip interpreter. Another couple came by train from Mongolia so altogether there were 13 of us.

Hong Kong is a great city to visit because of its interlocking and super efficient subway and bus system. Once you learn how it operates, you can go anywhere and see everything there is to see. It can be crowded at time (packed to the brim like a Mongolian bus) but most of the time it is quite pleasant.
There are parts of Hong Kong that are this serene
There is so much that happened during our temple trip to Hong Kong. The story of our visit to the temple and group activities will be in another blog. This blog will show some personal sight-seeing we did while we were in Hong Kong. 
Hong Kong's beautiful bridges

Mid-Autumn Festival. On Thursday night, Puje - our friend and translator, and ourselves went shopping and then to the Mid-Autumn Festival at Victoria Park. The Mid-Autumn Festival and holiday is celebrated during the first full moon of September. This year it fell on Sept. 19 during our scheduled week at the temple.

Lanterns to be released later
This was held at Victoria Park and consisted of lights, lanterns, stage performances, a dragon dance, and fireworks.
Wall of lanterns

It was mostly people, make that People with a capital P milling around looking at the sights. We decided to forego the fireworks and the dragon dance to avoid the crush of humanity  taking the metro afterward. 

Now you know why we left early

Saturday with the Harringtons. We also were invited by the Harringtons, Family History Missionaries in Hong Kong offering support to the Asia Area senior couples in Family History, to do some touring on Saturday afternoon and evening.

We went to see Big Buddha and the Walk of Wisdom followed by the symphony of lights and laser show on the Hong Kong waterfront and skyline. We also sandwiched in a great Chinese dinner.

Darlene along wisdom's path
Trees split in half with carved sayings and wisdom inscribed 

Buddhist monk offering wisdom

The Hong Kong skyscrapers on both sides of Victoria Harbor between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula are lit up and are synchronized with four pieces of music lasting for 22 minutes total each evening.

It is skyscraper performance art. Hong Kong and Manhattan are rated the top two skylines in the world.
Hong Kong Skyline at night
A group tour. Bro. Chan, a local member in Hong Kong, and his family have voluntarily hosted Mongolian temple patron groups for Hong Kong tours for the past 10 years. Groups come four times a year. This is a remarkable act of love and service to Mongolians, most of whom will be making their first and last trip outside of Mongolia. 
Bro. Chan on the left with our tour group
Since Friday was a national holiday when the temple was closed (Mid-Autumn Festival) the Chans took us on a tour of The Peak, a dramatic overlook of Hong Kong, a walk along the Avenue of the Stars by the shoreline of Kowloon looking across at the skyline of Hong Kong Island,
Bruce Lee

a ferry boat ride across Victoria Harbor, a Chinese restaurant, and the famous light and laser show of the Hong Kong Skyline set to music. 
Sailor landing a ferry
A famous Chinese cartoon character along the Avenue of the Stars
The evening ended with a Chinese dinner and the light and laser show at night. We personally missed the dinner and light show on Friday because of something else that needed our attention.

Some of the scenes of Hong Kong going and coming from these events also captured our attention.
View from the Peak on a hazy day

40 story apartment buildings along the harbor

A symbol of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an ultra-modern city with lots of wealth, a huge contrast with Mongolia which is still developing. 
Clock tower - another symbol of Hong Kong
We enjoyed our exposure to Hong Kong but we were ready to go back to the familiar surroundings of Ulaanbaatar with its bad traffic and fewer people.

The last day we were in Hong Kong, a Typhoon 8 storm warning was issued snarling air traffic in and out of the airport. Though the storm mostly missed us, we were delayed seven hours and finally departed at 10:30 pm on a 4 hour flight to Ulaanbaatar. It was good to be back.

Ulaanbaatar from the air

1 comment:

  1. That looks like an amazing city. I enjoyed reading mom's letter too. What a trip! Sounds like it all worked out in the end the way it was meant to. Back to the somewhat calmer life in Mongolia. Beautiful skyline. Huge buildings. You always fit in alot of sights wherever you end up. I'm sure the members enjoyed it as well. Great timing with the festival!