Friday, September 07, 2007

lantau peak

I have some new photos to post, but the anal-retentive chronologically-minded person within me says I cannot post the new pictures until I get the old ones sorted. So here goes...

Two weeks ago I took a hike up to Lantau Peak. It was the first time I'd been up there, and it was quite a climb (think never-ending stairs...). And like many other peaks in HK, Lantau Peak has its share of false peaks. If you're not sure what I mean by false peak, let me say that there is nothing worse than pulling yourself up to what you think is the top of a mountain, only to see the actual summit up ahead, with a whole new set of stairs separating you from it. Thankfully, my hiking buddies warned me about these evil false peaks, and I was able to slowly plod to the top of the mountain (incidentally, HK's second tallest!).

Here's a small shrine that we saw nestled in a large boulder along the path. There was a Latin inscription. "Ave Maria... Lantao."
A temporary shelter at the top.
It was a very rudimentary structure, but I'm sure it would be invaluable if you somehow got stranded up there in a storm.
A view of Ngong Ping below.

Here's a view looking down the mountain. It was very steep. I was in some pain for the next week or so after walking down. Sitting down was difficult, and walking down stairs -- nearly impossible!
Another view of the path, with the sea below.

Some wild violets growing in the crevice of a rock.
The path finally brought us to Ngong Ping, where the big bronze Buddha sits. I think it'd been over 10 years since I'd been to see the Buddha. I should check, but I believe it holds some sort of record. Let's see... I'm guessing it's the largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha. In spite of its record-breaking status, I've always thought of it as quite a strange tourist attraction. The fact that I'm not Buddhist probably has something to do with it, but I think the main reason why it seems odd to me is that I can remember it being built. I can understand wanting to see an ancient statue of Buddha, but one that was built in the 90's? No thanks.
Ngong Ping has been built up recently with the introduction of the new cable car, Ngong Ping 360, which is out of commission at the moment because, yes, one of the [empty] cars fell off! Apparently the new (yet old-looking) Ngong Ping Village is quite the tourist trap, and has taken a lot of business away from the little stalls surrounding the Buddha. For that reason, we could find no restaurants or dai pai dongs anywhere, and were forced to satisfy our hunger with cup noodles.
Here's a close up of my cup noodles. I took this picture mainly for future reference -- to remind myself never to eat cup noodles again. But also, check out the fake little crab cake thing... does that face look familiar? Oh yeah, t's the cute little blond cup noodle boy!
More posts to come soon!

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