Day 60 of 111. En route to Nha Trang, Vietnam
We have passed the halfway mark on this trip. This is the second of two Sea Days and I’ve completed another watercolor project, a Chinese Junk, I believe. Ron is gearing up for another overland trip to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia. He is very excited, but we haven’t quite recovered from our four day trip around China. We are moving closer to the equator and the weather has changed from cold and snow to hot and humid. We get to break out the Hawaiian shirts again!
Day 58 of 111. Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island, Hong Kong, China
Lantau Island has been developing. It has the new Hong Kong International Airport that is built completely on reclaimed land, that is, where there was once water, a man made island is the base of the airport. Hong Kong Disneyland is also located on Lantau Island, but we did not see it. This Buddhist monastery was established by three Chinese monks who came to Hong Kong looking for the perfect place for meditation. The Fen Shui of this site was perfect because of the mountains on three sides and the water below. This monastery and temple is actually newly built and beautiful to see. There is a Buddha on the hill that is the largest sitting bronze Buddha in Asia. There are 268 steps to climb to get to the Buddha. We had to rest from time to time on the way up, but we made it. Oddly enough, cows are allowed to roam freely on Lantau Island. They were once used for farming, but no longer, so they are wild and considered “retired”. There is, of course, a shopping area near the monastery. We didn’t find anything to buy, but there were several nice photo opportunities, such as the large lucky cat!
For over 150 years, Hong Kong belonged to the British. In 1997, it was given back to China. China has said that Hong Kong will not be changed by China for 50 years. People in Hong Kong have many more freedoms than people in Mainland China (Facebook is available, for example). The Hong Kong citizens are speculating what will happen at the end of the fifty years. The official flower of Hong Kong is the Bauhinia, a five pedaled bright pink flower (also pale pink and white varieties are found) and shows up as decorations and also on the Hong Kong flag.
Day 58 of 111. Tai O Fishing Village, Lantau Island, Hong Kong, China
Lantau Island is the largest island of Hong Kong. It used to consist of a lot of farms and fishing villages, but many move to the cities and fish and produce are imported in a larger percentage than before. This is a village that stays with the old ways. The houses are up on stilts. This village is also called the Asian Venice. There is a lot of fish caught that are dried. I took a picture of dried shark fins used for shark fin soup. Our guide says that dried fish can last up to 10 years! Even this small village has a temple (the Kwan Tai Temple). Ron went inside and there was no Buddha, so it was probably a Taoist Temple. We watched one of the fishing boats that came in… the prawns were very large. Besides the dried fish, there were buckets with live fish where air was blown into the tubs like an aquarium. You could choose the fish and take it to the restaurant next door and have it prepared for you. Really fresh fish!
Day 57 of 111. The Li River, China
We were up early to pack our bags, have breakfast, and board the bus for our trip down a portion of the beautiful Li River. This region of China is somewhat rural and known for its natural beauty. The rock formations are limestone and have tall, craggy mounds covered with green. On the banks, we saw bamboo and evergreen trees. We also saw cows and water buffaloes used to work the land. The boat had several sitting rooms. Our tour took up one of the rooms. We had tables and benches where we could sip tea, but most of us spent our time on the back or top deck looking at the scenery. The weather was very pleasant ranging from cool to comfortably warm.
On the front of all of the Chinese paper money is an image of Chairman Mao. On the backside, however, are various images from around China. The back of the 20 Yuen note has a view from the Li River. It is called the “20 Yuen View”. Our guide had her wedding photos taken with that view in the background. We shared the boat with many Chinese tourists and we were all vying for spots to take pictures of the scenery and selfies with our friends. Fun.
The layers of hills was my favorite part of the scenery, but the views along the shore were also spectacular from time to time.
We got off the boat just after the 20 Yuen view and boarded a ferry to a small coastal town for a little shopping time and then a bus ride to the airport. We got back on the ship in Hong Kong.
In our Guilin hotel (the Shangri La Hotel) there is a mini-zoo with pigs, swans, peacocks, rabbits, roosters and ostriches. They had a lot of cute items for kids… I especially liked the bananas made into Minions. At night, the surrounding hills were lighted. One was lit with colored lights and another couple had white lights. They were pretty.
On one of our flights, I looked closely at the characters. From all three messages, I saw one character repeated. I guess that character must mean “seat”. A similar character might mean cushion.
Again, in the restrooms, there are two kinds of toilets. The way they were labeled vary from place to place. I thought it was pretty interesting.