Lovely to spend the weekend with Jordan!
Flamingos are my spirit animal. Perhaps that's because they spend so much of their day with their heads under their wings, avoiding the rest of the world! So, it was exciting for me to visit the flamingos in Kowloon Park with Jordan on Saturday, before heading to Science Park to visit his office. I loved seeing where he works. Science Park is lovely -- it's near the water, and there is a bike path that runs through it. We had some hard to find food for lunch there - burgers! After a bit of downtime, we headed back to Victoria Harbor (between Hong Kong proper and Hong Kong Island) to board a traditional style "junk boat" and take an evening cruise through the harbor, including an up close and personal viewing of the light show -- all the buildings lining the harbor have huge lights (some white, some in colors), and they all coordinate to music with one another. It looks like it must have been a major undertaking to design and engineer, but it sure does bring the tourists! After the cruise, we visited the Temple Street Night Market, which was lovely, mostly just because it was nighttime and a novelty. I loved watching a table of men having a great time toasting each other repeatedly and doing shots.
Unfortunately, on our journey home, we emerged from the subway system to discover that the stop we use was in the middle of a protest resurgence, with protestors gathered on one side of the street, doing a call and response chant about freeing Hong Kong, and the police on the other side of the street, decked out in their riot gear and weilding a variety of weapons, including night sticks, pepper spray, assault style guns, and tear gas guns. We didn't hang around to see the skirmishes that did eventually take place there. The protestors are being provocative, constructing barriers in the streets and lighting things on fire, while the police are being reacitive, spraying tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds, and becoming physically violent when that doesn't work. It was, all at once, fascinating to witness the return of the protests as well as sad and scary. A lot of people have been seriously injured (including last night) and much of the city has been vandalized. There were protest marches planned for today (Sunday) as well, and they were approved by the government, but unfortunately, they turned violent too.
We spent Sunday far away from the action. We took two trains, a bus and a cable car to visit the giant buddha statue on top of a hill, the adjacent temple, and then Tai Po, a fishing village that was beyond incredible - perhaps my favorite thing so far. I don't love heights, but the cable car afforded beautiful views of the hills, the beautiful blue water, and some beaches. The buddha statue and temple were in an area where cows roam among the people and, though we are not supposed to touch or feed them, of course people cannot help themselves, and we watched them do both. It was obvious that one cow in particular is used to being fed by the crowds, and it kept going up to groups of people and sniffing in their bags, looking for food. I named her Lucy. There were also lots of dogs and cats around, and I just love encountering them.
The fishing village was a maze of tiny shanty town type homes made of and repaired with wood, metal, clay, and whatever else is available. They were connected by boardwalks, and all of it is situated above the water, the homes on stilts. The walk among and between the tiny fishing houses was a tour through live, dead, and dried fish of all kinds -- eels, groupers, cuttlefish, shrimp, starfish, SHARK, and so much more. There were also villagers selling jewelry and small souvenirs. The throngs of tourists and local shoppers were interested in all of it. There is nowhere we go that we are not winding around people who are stopped in their tracks, staring at their phones, or just very slow. While doing that, we are also avoiding head on collisions with people going in the opposite direction, and there is no order to the flow of pedestrians. I see signs asking people to walk on the left, but the crowds adhere to that rule about as well as they do to rules about cows. I'm getting better at playing chicken and being less polite.
The journey to and from Tai Po and the buddha statue took a long time, so that more or less wrapped up our day. I'm exhausted from a week of nonstop on-the-go activity, and I fly tomorrow to Vietnam. I'm looking forward to sitting in the airport for two hours! I'll miss Jordan, but will be back here for 4 days after I return from my tour in Vietnam. (Yes, I hear how that sounds!).
I've had little to no time to play with my thousands of photos. It may need to wait, as hard as that word is for me!
ps ignore the locales listed for each blog entry. It just notes where I was when I wrote the entry (vs where I was writing about), and I cannot seem to change it.