Friday, March 30, 2007

Hanging by a thread

The thread was more of a fat steel cable and there was more than one of them, but it still looked small in comparison to the height above ground. We were travelling on the Ngong Ping 360 cable car up to the Tian Tan Buddha statue looking over Lantau Island. The entire ride takes about 25 minutes.

When you see the cable car in front of you suddenly accelerate down the cable you think you are in for a rollercoaster ride. The truth is much milder. Even the winds closer to the summit didn't trouble the car greatly.

Suspended high above the ground we were treated to spectacular views of the ocean, airport and scrub below. There is a trail that follows much of the cable's route, but more people were seen running down than up. As we neared the summit tombs were seen built into the mountain, good feng shui according to an older Hong Kong resident in our cabin. However, the most awe inspiring view is of the cable system's route as it soars up the mountains. It's not for people scared of heights.

There was low cloud blowing in arround the Buddha statue, mostly obscuring it from view. Tian Tan is the largest outdoor Buddha statue in the world and requires the climbing of 260 steps in order to reach the base. Closer up, the passing mist lent a mystical air to the Buddha, his kindly face looking down upon us.

After another, slightly less spectacular due to the cloud, ride back down the mountain in the cable car we arrived at the CityGate Outlet Centre. B found a couple of things to purchase in the outlet shop, after which we caught the MTR back to our hotel area and wandered until late through the Temple Street and Ladies Markets, eating dinner in a hawker centre.

I should mention lunch (which was also breakfast due to our laziness). We had a second Yum Cha lunch. Again there were no carts and instead we had to order from a menu. Also again was that the flavours didn't seem as good as in most Sydney yum cha restaurants and we were distinctly disappointed.

Last full day in Hong Kong tomorrow. It's been wonderful to stay in a city that is so easy to traverse by public transport and foot. Not certain what we will do tomorrow, but I'm sure we'll have fun.