At the Chi Lin Nunnery
Today we headed outside the craziness of the city, first to the Chi Lin Nunnery in New Kowloon. The gardens were so beautiful there--colorful greenery and plants, buildings and awnings done in traditional Chinese architecture; in one word "zen." It was fun to wander around and feel at peace. The Nunnery itself was gorgeous. Although built in 1998, it followed the architecture of old it was fun to walk around and look at the different shires inside of it (I think it had 4 shires total). Buddhists were kneeling before them and it was interesting to watch them bow before the shires, especially a little boy who wasn't older than 2. I also loved the ponds with lilies, it was so beautiful and peaceful! We then headed over to the Sik Sik Yen Wong Tai Sin Temple.
Chi Lin Nunnery
It is walking distance from the Nunnery, although the area surrounding it is rather poor. It was very interesting to see this area after only see the over commercialized and glitsy splendor of downtown Hong Kong. Skyscrapers of apartments lined the sky, clothing drying outside of windows, old buildings with air conditioners in every window; it was truly a concrete jungle. I can't imagine the simplicity and compactness in which the Hong Kongers live. The Temple itself was gorgeous. It was good to finally experience some culture! Once again there were people everywhere-lighting incense, praying before shires, taking photos. The shrine itself was humongous and filled with gold, flowers, statues, candles, fruit, and more. After that we wanted to check out the Walled City Park but got horribly lost and decided to head up to The Peak instead.
The Peak is the highest point in Hong Kong and offers the best view of the city. We took the tram up, which proved to be quite an enjoyable ride-the seats were all taken so we stood, and hung on for dear life as the tram went practically vertical up the steep hill. Once again, true Hong Kong style, we emerged from the tram into a shopping center (almost every single metro station has a mall in it). The view was amazing though! It was already dark when we got up there and it was spectacular! The city sparkled with reds, greens, blues, purples, and whites that shimmered across Victoria Harbor. It was beautiful, peaceful, and made me appreciate the vastness of Hong Kong! Instead of paying the additional fee to go to the viewing deck, we bought a drink at Pacific Coffee and enjoyed the view from their balcony.
Instead of waiting in the long line to take the tram down, we instead walked down. It was about a 30 minute walk down, and although a little steep at times, it was fun! We reached civilization again at the Mid-Level Escalators and then headed back to meet JT's friends for dinner. Dinner was at "Spicy Crabs" in the Temple Street Night Market. An outdoor venue that basically takes up the middle of a pedestrian street intersection, it offered a unique flavor and character. The food was very good too. We had sweet 'n sour pork, noodles, fried rice, shrimp (which we unshelled ourselves--quite the experience!), a garlic vegetable dish, and beer. It was all very delicious! We then grabbed some dessert at McDonald's (which is a classier dining experience over here than in the states), before ending the evening watching the Dresdan soccer game (JT's friend, Toby's hometown).