Thursday, September 25, 2014

Gambling, Seafood, and the Big Buddha

We got back from Macau with 4 days left to explore Hong Kong. The weather had cooled off a little, so we made the most of our time and got out and about. My Dad drove us to the "country town" of Sai Kung, which used to be a major fishing port. 

the very disorganized harbor.

These days, the town is more of a tourist destination and a lot of ex-pats live there. The strip along the harbor has a bunch of fish markets, where you can pick whatever seafood you want to eat, bring it to the restaurant of your choice, and they'll cook it for you.

clams, crabs, lobsters, and various other mollusks - an edible aquarium.

The town is really kind of cute, and it was nice to stroll around and experience something a little less crowded and slower paced.

the "old town" section of Sai Kung.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club is an institution in Hong Kong. The Chinese love to gamble, and they are super vocal about it. We spent a day at the track and it was exciting to watch the crowd get up and scream, cheer, and loudly encourage their favorite ponies! Since Mike and I know nothing about betting on horses, we placed our bets based on their names: The General, Viva Dolphin, Baltic Prince, and Ultimate Glory were some of our winners (and losers). 

I loved seeing them run on grass; seemed appropriate for horses!

My Dad snapped this pic of Mike, me and my brother Randy at the track.

Our last full day, we went to Lantau Island. You take a cable car to get there, and we went late in the day and had the whole car to ourselves. It's about a 25 minute ride and goes over some beautiful landscape.

Mike, relaxing in the cable car as it goes over the ocean.

A shot looking back towards Tung Chung, on the outskirts of Hong Kong.

The view of the famous Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery, as we approached Lantau.

The biggest attraction on the island is the Tian Tan Buddha, a huge bronze statue. You can see it from as far away as Macau on a clear day.

A view of the Buddha, in the late afternoon.

It was a good workout - it's 268 stairs up to the base of the Buddha statue. My thighs were burning by the time we hit the top.

Me with a view of the 268 stairs and the Buddha in the background.

Finally made it to the top!

Two of the six Goddess statues that surround the Buddha.

A view of the Po Lin Monastery from the Buddha.

There were feral water buffaloes that live on the island, and they're cared for by the village. Mike was totally into them and even got to pet one (not advised or condoned, in case you were wondering).

Mike and his new friend.

More semi-tame water buffaloes.

Mike and the herd.

As we headed back towards the cable cars for home, there were suddenly a ton of cows all around us! Mike is like a Pied Piper of animals, I swear.

The subway at rush hour!

We headed home to have dinner with my grandma and pack for Japan. I'll miss you Hong Kong, until next year!