Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jeff Spotting: Hong Kong

We anchored in Victoria Harbor at the beginning of March (I was unable to take a good Harbor picture due to fog, so I stole the one above from the Wikipedia Hong Kong entry) . Hong Kong is very exciting, and although I had a full two and a half days to explore, still feel as if I need to go back to get more. A couple of us went off to watch horse racing at the Happy Vally Horse Track. As my first time ever at a track, learning the betting system took awhile, and although I won a couple of times, I ended up losing what I had planned to spend.

After an evening at the track, we spent the second day wandering through shops and markets before ending up at the temple street market. This open air market comes out when darkness falls, and just about everything that can be made or sold is available. They love to haggle, and I'm sure they love foreigners who have no idea the actual cost of objects. The one item I really worked on was a foot tall wooden Buddha statue that started at HK$2250 (about $300 US) which I got down, after about 15 minutes of bartering, to HK$800 (about $100 US); this was still more than I wanted to pay for it (I was holding out for HK$500), so I walked away, and ended up buying a significantly less exciting Buddha for significantly less cash.

The last day we were in port, I went to see a
much larger Buddha: the Tian Tan Buddha is the world's largest, and can be seen from miles and miles away. It is reachable by a several mile long walking trail, by automobile, and by Skycab. We took the Skycab there and back; the fog going in was intense to the point that we could barely see the cable extending into the nothingness. I was concerned that we would get there and still not be able to see the Buddha. It is large enough, however, that seeing it can hardly be an issue.

I left Hong Kong reluctantly. If I ever have the chance to take Jessica, I'll fly there in on a moments notice!


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