Hong Kong

 

Hong Kong was the first city on the itinerary. After a 17 hour plane trip from San Francisco, Shao-Lin students had two days to explore the city and take some tours. It was hot, humid, and full of people, buses, and taxis. Hong Kong has a population of 6.8 million people (or 6.8 billion people if you talk to the tour guide).

A visit to Victoria Peak (Hong Kong's "Beverly Hills") was highly recommended.

 

High up on the hill one can overlook beautiful mansions and Hong Kong's skyscrapers! Another recommended tour was the sampan River Tour in the Aberdeen Harbour. It was a fun 15 minute ride where students boarded a boat (sampan) and got to see a fishing community who live on boats strung together in the harbour. Shao-Lin students also got to do a little shopping at Stanley Market near the beach.

Overall, Hong Kong is a very modern city, with modern facilities not too different than home. Filled with the Oriental flair, language, and people, it still delivered that "culture shock" to first time travelers to China. It's a city of mass transportation. Millions of taxis run the streets as virtually no one drives their own car. Cost for a gallon of gasoline exceeds $5. Stores will remind you of the China Towns in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles - even the prices! Things tend to run a bit high in Hong Kong, compared to other parts of China, and shopkeepers are less willing to bargain with you. Many a beautiful martial art statues came with stubborn price tags attached to them. Coupled with the fact that students would have to lug around their idols for another 14 days caused many to leave those statues on the shelves... to the regret of a few.

There were some great vegetarian restaurants in the area worth mentioning. Most notably, Kung Tak Lam Shanghai Vegetarian Cuisine.

Some Shao-Lin students spent their early mornings in bed while others congregated at the local park to practice T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Hsing-I Ch'uan, Pa Kua Chang, or other Chi Kung and martial arts. A local Sunday performance by nearby martial arts schools was unimpressive and uninteresting, but made the Chinese Shao-Lin Center students appreciate what they are learning at their home schools!

*Special thanks to Brad Woodcock for contributing to some of these pictures.



On the way
back to the hotel in Hong Kong, Rachel decided she wanted to go to the Lin Po Buddhist Monastery. So we headed there with Robert & Julie and two Las Vegas students. We got directions from the guide and took the train and then a bus. The bus was wild because most of the road was only wide enough for one so we were constantly stopping and letting cars/buses by or being let by.

Lin Po Buddha

 

It was a beautiful drive; very curvy and hilly with tons of trees and plants and nice views of the ocean and beaches. The monastery had a really huge Buddha on top of the hill up a lot of stairs, supposedly the largest outdoor Buddha in the world. There were many really beautiful statues and carvings. We stayed there for an hour or so looking around the monastery and the statue. A really nice old monk who didn't speak English spent a minute or two explaining something about the lotus flowers to Rachel in Cantonese. We have no idea what he was saying, but he was very nice and smiled the entire time.

BRAD WOODCOCK
Chinese Shao-Lin Center Denver
Brad poses with wushu monks at the Fukien Temple