Tuesday, January 29

Hong Kong part 3

I had it all planned. The sun was going to be shining and we were going to catch the cablecar across Lantau Island to se the big Buddha and the Po Lin monastery.
The day started well. We caught all the right trains, arrived at the cablecar station and then looked up and saw nothing. The cablecars were disappearing into a blanket of cloud, but it couldn't be too bad could it?

'We could go back, it doesn't matter' I said sadly.
'No, come on, we're here now, lets go and see this Buddha of yours,' Carlo said, shivering slightly. The temperature had dropped to about 7°c and we didn't have coats with us.
'I want to see the big gold man on the mountain!' said Skye excitedly, jigging up and down. So we queued up for almost an hour and climbed into a cablecar, ready to be wowed by the view.

Only there was no view. The cablecar crossed a stretch of water and promtly vanished into thick cloud. It became colder as damp foggy air drifted into the car and swirled around us. We could see nothing at all outside the window, just white cloud. We were supposed to see a spectacar view of the island and Hong Kong stretching as far as Macau, but we didn't. It grew colder.

Twenty minutes passed by, sitting shivering in a draughty box suspended on a string until we arrived at the top and got off to see the Tian Tan Buddha, but he wasn't there. We couldn't see more than 2 metres in front of us, it was all a misty blur. Skye was literally vibrating with cold and Carlo was not happy, having left his rainjacket in the hotel. The queue to catch the cablecar back down was enormous, stretching past a '1 hour wait' marker. It was so cold it hurt to walk, think, decide or talk. We dived into a nearby restaurant and ordered some food while Carlo hatched a mad plan to jump the queue and get back down as fast as possible.

'We'll just do what the Italians do and walk to the front of the queue and slip in there. We can't stand out there for an hour, we'll freeze!'
'No! I hate it when Italians do that! I won't do it, no I'm sorry.'
'Don't worry just follow me. The worst that can happen is that they send us to the back of the queue, we've got to try. Follow me.'
I pulled up my hood to hide my shame and followed him past the queue. Up at the front there seemed to be a second entrance for tourist groups and a large group of people were entering, shepharded by their leader. We slipped into the middle of the group and nobody said a thing. Ten minutes later we were on a cablecar heading down the mountain and I had to spend the rest of the day thanking Carlo for saving us from the cold.

Temple Street market is best known as the night market. Once we had recovered from the cold we put on all the warm clothes we had and headed to the market. It stretches along the narrow street, interrupted every now and then by roads and buildings, but starts up again the other side. Along the outer edges of the stalls lots of tiny cafes serve hungry locals with fresh seafood, noodles and ramen. People sit squashed together at rickety tables with mismatched chairs and you can't tell where one cafe stops and another begins.

The market stalls sell all sorts of things from mini surveilance cameras to dildos and hello kitty watches. I bought myself a couple of little bags which cost 2 and 4 euro each, a watch for 90cents, stickers and hello kitty passport covers for Skye.
The only drawback of going to a night market is having to drag along a tired litle girl who would have rather stayed in the hotel room playing on the bed...and also having same little girl point at characteristic old Chinese man with long pointy beard and shout loudly, 'Mummy! That man has teeth like a goat!'


  1. I laughed out loud when I read about your line crashing. Carlo is a genius!

  2. Ah, the italian national sport (skipping queues) saved your life, uh?
    I hate that too... ma quann' c' vo', c' vo'!
    Good job, Carlo!

  3. Thanks so much for all the effort you're putting in to share your travels, i'm really enjoying the read (and it's quite warm on my sofa, too ;-) )


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