During our trip to Asia, we had a Sunday to ourselves to explore Hong Kong a little bit. There was a long list of activities we could have done, including a visit to the current Bruce Lee exhibit at a museum, or shopping at all of the fancy stores on Canton Street. For me, the most appealing adventure was finding a way to the Po Lin Monastery to see the Big Buddha Statue. So I was able to convince two of my co-workers to come with me, and we set off!
The first step of our adventure took us on the Star Ferry from the Kowloon area over to the Hong Kong Island.
When we arrived on Hong Kong, we found ourselves in a small local farmer's market. We walked around for a bit, and eventually bought a small bag of cherry tomatoes to snack on during our adventure. (This is one of my favorite things about finding myself at Pearl Izumi. The people are just so amazingly "my kind of people." Some other people might have thought me weird to buy a bag of tomatoes and eat them like chips as I walked around, but the other girls were right on board!)
Next, we took a second ferry from the Central Station out to Lantau Island, where the monastery was located. I tried to capture the way that everyone seems to be in such a rush over in Asia... I'm not sure if I caught it below, but as soon as the ferry was even within sight, the crowds start bunching up and people start pushing through to the front. Even on this Sunday, it was as if everyone was running behind schedule and just HAD to be the first on on the boat.
Finally, the last leg of our trip was a bus ride, which took us climbing up steep, windy, narrow roads at ridiculous speeds. I was kind of amazed at the fearlessness of the driver, barreling up the mountain with hardly any visibility around the turns. But we made it safely, and probably in record time.
Now, I'm afraid that the pictures of the Big Buddha Statue will never do it justice. This first picture is the one that I snapped as I got off the bus, standing way out in the parking lot of the monastery area. Even from this far away, it is HUGE! It towers over everything in sight, and really creates a striking presence. I was genuinely in awe during the entire visit.
There are 268 stairs from the ground level up to the museum of the Big Buddha, which we happily climbed in the hot sun. Up close, the statue is breath-taking. I couldn't stop taking photos as we circled around the stairs of the monument.
Back on ground level, we then visited the buildings of the monastery, which were just as amazing. Above is the hall of 10,000 Buddhas. In each of the walls are engravings after engravings of Buddha. Add those to the statues sitting all around the room, and you come up with 10,000!
As we were leaving, we took time to participate in the tradition of lighting incense, offering up a prayer for each of our family and friends. I wished that we all would find peace, love and prosperity in our lives, and planted a stick for each of you.
Coming home was a reverse trip back, re-tracing our steps from the way we came. The sun had been hot all day, and the humidity was unfamiliar to us Denverites! We each bought a small souvenir, and I found a beautiful crystal lotus flower, which had been blessed by the monks of the monastery. It is now hanging in my office window, reminding me to continue working toward that peace, love and prosperity that I wished for all of us.