Monday, November 29, 2010

Last Day In Hong Kong, Thursday 25 November

I'm writing this from memory early Monday morning, 29 November, having gotten back mid-day on Friday the 26th. It was a great trip, a great experience. For those interested, the sale was a considerable success, enough so that there are preliminary plans for us to participate in the Spring 2011 Hong Kong sales.

I am still hoping to get up on the blog my early impressions of China (based on my vast experience-two days in Shanghai). We shall see . . .

Our last day in Hong Kong. On the advice of Alice Leung, who, alongside Carson Chan, managed the sale, we went to see the Big Buddha on Lantau island and to visit the fishing village of Tai O.
The visit began, once we were out of Hong Kong and across Lantau, with a spectacular cable car ride up the mountain to the Big Buddha housed in the Po Lin monastery. Now this is not an ancient shrine, having been built in 1993, but it is impressive. The ride up is spectacular.

There is actually a trail up the mountain and we figured that an extremely fit person would take at least five hours to climb the mountain. I could not help but think of my hiking buddy mark levy, who would probably do it in four.
First view of the Buddha through the haze (that's spelled s-m-o-g).

The guardians
The Buddha. Seen in context, all the images of the Buddha, jade, reclining, etc., radiate a powerful sense of peace and spirituality that I was not prepared for.
It is amazing the difference the guide makes on a tour. On our first tour the guide was horrible, lacking any real knowledge of Hong Kong (it was a city tour), and unable to control his group. Roger (or Raja), was the opposite--knowledgeable, personable, skilled and smart. He was born in Manchester (England) and grew up in North London. I never did find out how he came to Hong Kong.
Rosa took in the sites, as well. She was too shy to pose with the Budha, but did meet the tmple guardians and her zodiac mascot.

The next stop was the fishing village of Tai O. In contrast to the fishing village at Aberdeen in Hong Kong, this was a much more extensive community with a functioning market designed as much to serve HK residents as tourists.

Many of the shops sell dried and fresh fish

From the tour's end, we were off to tea at The Peninsula Hotel on the Kowloon harbour front, a fixture in Hong Kong's colonial past and the building that the Japanese seized in December 1941 to rule Hong Kong from until 1945.

Rosa contemplates the goodies. Fortunately she does not eat much or I would have had to hurt her.
The wait staff is dressed straight out of the '30 in shantung silk
By the time we finished tea, night had fallen, and though weary, we could not but stay for a twilight harbour tour and the lights at 8:00
A sailor on board the famed Star Ferry between Hong Kong and Kowloon
A nice shot of Sharon by natural light

The lights get quite spectacular what with sound and motion
And at that point I realised that I have a video capability on the S5

As I noted above I hope, still, to publish some impressions of Asia. As a modern historian I was fascinated not just with the past, which I am able, honestly, only to barely comprehend, but with the future.

On our first morning in Hong Kong, the CNN Asia financial news, which was playing on a television in the breakfast room of the Regal, noted an observation by George Soros that the financial center of the world had shifted from the US to China. Twelve days in Asia made that observation startlingly obvious. In both Shanghai and Hong Kong we were struck by the energy of that nation, a vital sense on the part of its people that the future belongs to them. It's hard to disagree with and one can only hope that, finally, the west will accept China as the great power it truly is and is becoming.

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