The Rainy Days of Lantau and the New Territories

I love rain. Unfortunately it rarely rains in the UAE. When it does it makes people so joyous and Cheerful, but mostly hopeful. If it is late after a long summer Muslims gather to pray for it often led by the president of the country or one of his ruling brothers. You can imagine how rain is precious in the desert; we sincerely value it and regard it as god’s mercy sent to reward obedience and gratefulness. Moreover there is nothing like the smell of the first rain. The way it feels when it touches ones face is inestimable.

Haven said that, it is entirely a different story when you are travelling and need the sky to stay clear all the time. In my previous Hong Kong post I mentioned how it rained continuously during the last 2 days of our trip. We thought few drops of rain shouldn’t be a problem, so we put on our plastic waterproofs, borrowed an umbrella from the hotel’s concierge and started for Lantau Island.  We were eager to ride the Ngong Ping glass bottomed cable cars up to the mountain where we can see the biggest outdoor Buddha statue in the world. I was told you get incredible views of the airport and surrounding fishing villages from the crystal cabins. Instead of making it feel good the weather only got worse; the following photos will give you an idea what we were able to see while stuck inside the glass cable car for 20 minutes.

lantau Island Honk Kong lantau island honk kong lantau island hong kong

As it moved up we were floating inside dark and heavy clouds. It was dreamlike, yet at this point it was apparent that all that was awaiting us up there is more rain and poor visibility. I still can’t believe that we got all the way up and never saw the Buddha’s face! The parts that we managed to see were more or less enchanting. So near yet so far

lantau island hong kong

lantau island hong kong

We had better luck at the Po Lin Monastery for even though it kept raining, but its stunning interiors made the visit worthwhile.

lantau island hong kong

lantau island hong kong

 

lantau Island Hong Kong

At Tai O fishing village we saw the stilt houses. Our guide said those are expected to last for about 40 more years before they are covered with water. As it lasts this village demonstrates the simplicity of the life of a fisherman and everything that goes with it. Here you could get a chance to spot hatted Hakka Women although they might not always be ethnic Hakka.  

tai O fishing village lantau hong kong

hong kong

 

hong kong

All that rain was not helping Angel get rid of his cold. A good meal and a cup of Jasmine tea were due at the end of every day to help him regain his strength. Street food stalls were easy to find at the area of our accommodation (Causeway Bay). It was never so difficult to get an authentic meal or an evening snack around the corner, although it took us a couple of days to find the good stuff. At Temple Street our foodie experience was exquisite. After a busy shopping evening our dinner was charged with flavors, affordable and atmospheric.

For a complete Hong Kong experience we decided to investigate the new territories through a tour that took us to the less explored countryside. It was another very rainy and hazy day when we visited the Chuk Lam Sim Yuen Monestery, the walled villages of Shui Tau and Shui Mei Tsuen and the Kadoorie Farm. We spent most of the day trying not to get soaked, but it was inevitable.

hong kong

Hong Kong
4000 years old Banyan Tree at Shui Mei Tsuen
To the passing tourist (ie. Me) this intense cultural experience can come across as over informative. There was way too much Confucianism talk going on on that bus that I zoned out for half of the way back to the hotel. Our guide felt that it was important for us tohave all that information so she spoke non-stop (literally). On the other hand, now that she did I do have a better understanding of many social and behavioral patterns of the Chinese in Hong Kong.  
 
Ultimately it is all about what you are prepared to put up with for a unique experience. A little rain aint never killed nobody. If this was The Amazing Race we would have been heading home totally exhausted but a little richer. That’s exactly how we felt in the plane the next day.
 
 

 

Until the next journey…

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s