Monday, 12 March 2007

The Path To Enlightenment

Gidday from Auckland! We arrived yesterday morning and are staying with Mr Knitbert's cousin in her lovely house in a suburb of Auckland. We have not done anything interesting here yet, as we are resting, so this post is about what we did in our second action-packed day in Hong Kong. We set off early to see the Po Lin monastery (spelled correctly this time) and the big Buddha, which you can see above. This was constructed in 1993, both as a tourist attraction and also as a sacred place for worshippers. Mr Knitbert read all about how it was constructed, and that the thickness of the bronze on the face is only one centimetre and so on, but I am afraid I did not pay attention, as it is not made of yarn. You can read about it on Wikipedia if you would like to know more.
To get there we had to take the MTR from Causeway Bay to Lantau Island, and there we walked to the Skyrail Terminal, which is a fantastic cable car ride across the mountains to Ngong Ping, the village where the monastery and Buddha are located. In the MTR station we passed this curious attraction:

It is the wedding of Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel, who are the brand name and characters associated with some product for young girls. The display is life size and right in the middle of the concourse. Isn't Hello Kitty's dress fabulous! I couldn't decide if it was sweet or really scary - what do you think?

The Skyrail is labelled "The Path to Enlightenment", hence the title of this post. It takes about 35 minutes, and as it was still quite overcast the cable car sometimes disppeared inside a low cloud. Mr Knitbert took hundreds of photos of cable cars to show how great the ride was, of which I have selected two.

The cable car arrives at the village of Ngong Ping, which is full of shopping and cultural opportunities. We walked through without buying anything or having a massage or seeing the Monkey's Tale dancers, to the foot of the steps up to the Buddha. There are quite a lot of them, and the sun had started to come out, so we were getting a bit hot by the time we reached the top!

The Buddha is even more impressive close to: This photo is of one of the mountains, and you can see the clouds rolling over the top of the summit and cascading off it.

After walking around the exhibition halls inside the statue, we made our way down the steps towards the Po Lin monastery, which was about five minutes walk away. We had sensibly purchased snack tickets at the Buddha, which entitled us to a light vegetarian snack at the monastery (noodles with vegetables and some little pastries), and after all that step climbing we were ravenous! Here is a temple in the monastery grounds, seen from the courtyard:

Inside the temple was also beautiful, with lovely dragons, hanging lampshades in brightly coloured silk and lots of flowers in pots, but I did not think it would be very respectful to take photographs in a place of worship, so I did not.

After our snack, we returned via cable car and MTR to Hong Kong centre and the second fitting of our new clothes. Mine fitted perfectly and so I was able to take them away, while one of Mr Knitbert's jackets had to have a small adjustment and was to be delivered to the hotel the next morning. They are all fabulous, and I cannot believe how quickly they were made. I also persuaded Mr Knitbert to order two more shirts and another pair of trousers, to be sent to him in the U.K., and I think I might call them when we get home and order another jacket and skirt to be sent to me, as they are so lovely. What am I like !!!

If you are visiting Hong Kong and would like to use the same tailor, they are called Raiment Custom Clothing, and are located at 101 Hutchison House, quite close to the Central MTR station. Ask for Jacky Chan (no really!).

We were completely exhausted by this time, so we went back to our hotel for a rest and to work out how we were going to remain inside the luggage weight limit for the next leg of our journey. I swear next time I travel long haul I am going to take just a pair of jeans and two T shirts, and leave the rest of the space for purchases.

The next day we took it easy, I had a nice manicure and then we went shopping. If you don't like to shop or play golf, I am not sure what you do in your spare time in Hong Kong. The shopping malls are just amazing; miles and miles of marble flooring and hundreds of huge designer stores.

Then we had to get back to the hotel to be picked up for our transfer to the airport, and Mr Knitbert got disoriented, with only half an hour to go, and started looking up at high rise buildings and muttering to himself. In the end I had to force him, practically at knife point, into a shop to ask directions, and it turned out we were only about five minutes away from our hotel after all. Just as well!

The ongoing flight to Auckland was packed this time, whereas the same flight from London on Wednesday had been less than half full, and Mr Knitbert told me we had done a derated flex takeoff, as the aircraft was not very heavy. The flight was smooth and uneventful, and the good news is that I did quite a lot more crochet squares!

The bad news is that I only got about three hours sleep and Mr Knitbert didn't sleep at all, so he looked a bit crazed by the time we got through immigration and customs. We had an excellent night's sleep last night, though, and I awoke at a very civilised 7.30 am, so I hope we have adjusted to our new time zone.

Well, I am nearly at the end of this extremely long post. I have finished my Hedera socks at last:

And finally, here is the garden of the lovely place we are staying. The weather here has just turned rather changeable, with frequent showers, but it is still lovely and warm, and I was able to swim in the outdoor pool this morning.

I would also like to thank everyone who has left comments, it is nice to feel I am still in touch with all of you even though I am so far away. See you soon!


Aknita said...

Well "wow" - just wonderful, and again thank you so much for sharing it all with us - you seem to have done so much in a short space of time.

And fab Hederas!!! ;)

Seahorse said...

OMG, I love the Hello Kitty wedding! How fabulously kitsch!

You're seeing and doing so many amazing things but this is my favourite line from your post:

"I am afraid I did not pay attention, as it is not made of yarn"


Auntie Noo said...

it's amazing to be reading about your journey! - Yay for blogs!!!! Thank you for spending the time to share, we're all enjoying it!!!

Kai said...

loving your travel photos and blog entries!!

i've made a note of th tailor and when i (eventually) get to hong kong, i'll make sure i ask for jacky chan!! :D

Hedera look lovely Carola...

Enjoy Auckland and I'm looking frward to your next installment!

Helmut said...

What amazing sights and experiences, you are both having. As for Miss Kitty and the comment
"I couldn't decide if it was sweet or really scary".... trust me, that's very scary

Queen Frogger said...

It is so fabulous! Thank you for the posts on the sights you are seeing, that cable car trip looked a bit scarey. Your hederas are lovely.

Fiona said...

It's really lovely reading about your adventure. The cable car ride looks fantastic and it sounds like you're having an amzing time. Great squares and socks BTW.

Lindsey said...

Your trip sounds amazing, and I love being able to read about it on your blog while you're actually still travelling! :-) You have some great photos, too--I love the one of the clouds rolling off of the mountain.

You're getting some good knitting & crocheting done, too! :-) The Hederas look great!

Jo028 said...

Glad you're having a fab time, your pics are brilliant. I really couldn't ride that cable car, I'm scared the pod would fall off! Super-duper Hedera's too. Enjoy the next stop!

clarabelle said...

Looks like you're having a wonderful time, Knitberts! Lovely pix as well, especially the 'cloud over the mountaintop' one....

And I do like your crochet squares - lovely retro colours (they have given me an idea...!).

Take care and enjoy!