Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lantau island

Lantau Island is where the airport is (the new one--the old airport was near HKBU and planes had to take off on short runways and land among highrise buildings). It's also the location of a massive Buddha--the largest metal seated Buddha (apparently there are stone standing ones carved, Mt. Rushmore-like, in other places).

You get to the massive Buddha at Ngohn Ping via a gondola on a cable, like in Disneyland (there's a Disneyland on Lantau Island, too, but I didn't visit it):

Actually, like Disneyland, they put you in a line, which prepares you for another line, and so on, until you finally get on the skylift.

And it puts you in a pseudo-ancient Chinese village (with modern restaurants and shops):

You are next greeted by a big pot

and finally the long flight of stairs to the Buddha:

Inside, there are memorial plaques for the deceased. Buddhism here (as in Japan) is a lot about the deceased:

There's a monastery nearby. Most of the pictures I have of that didn't come out well, but here's us having fun, posing with some Buddhist ancients:

I should mention that this whole complex is pretty new, as is the big Buddha: they're maybe 10 or 20 years old or so. The monastery itself might be older, but the current buildings are fairly recent.

Hong Kong has a lot of open space. It's a surprise, given how crowded it is. But the government has been very careful about this. The government actually historically owned almost all of the land, and it leases and sells little bits for income. This encourages the government to be very cautious about selling land--it's its future livelihood.


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