16.08.2012 - 16.08.2012 94 °F
We saw a lot of Hong Kong today, and are really glad we planned our adventures in this order (for reasons we'll discuss at the end of the post!). We started today with coffee, a workout, and breakfast goodies that we had picked up from the grocery store last night (as a side note, this luxuriously relaxed timing has had me wondering how I was ever done with a workout and out the hotel door at 8am for work ... guess I'll have to figure that out again in a few weeks!). We headed on the Metro (which was very efficient, clean, and self-explanatory) to the Nan Lian Garden, which was a small but beautiful garden with several smaller "exhibits" (mini temples, waterfalls, realistic models of famous Chinese temples, etc.).
We walked around here for a while before heading into the main attraction of the Garden ... the Chi Lin Nunnery. The Nunnery was built in 1934 (and rebuilt in the 1990s in the traditional Chinese style ... with NO nails!). The inside of the Nunnery had many beautiful Buddhas, and opportunities to learn about the workings/ teachings of each one), but unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside. I have borrowed this one from VirtualTourist as an example, but suffice it to say we really enjoyed looking around!
After the Garden and Nunnery, we wandered into Hollywood Plaza, one of many huge malls in Hong Kong. (Side note: we found a store called "Marathon Sports" which literally had one pair of women's running shorts in the whole store ... tried them on ... they fit more or less ... bought them! yesss!). We had a great lunch - Kev had vermicelli with chicken and, after passing up the vegetarian restaurant in the Nunnery, I really wanted something vegetarian ... I ended up with a package meal of noodles in broth, steamed vegetables, and steamed vegetable buns (all delicious, but clearly way too much food - and refined carbs - for me!!)
After looking around for a while, we took the Metro back to the City, and walked to the foot of the "Peak Tram," a funicular built in 1888 to take people up to Victoria Peak. The views from the top were incredible! We were able to get a 360o view at the Sky Terrace 428 (totally worth the extra $3!).
We also grabbed a drink at the Peak to extend our viewing time just a bit! It was incredibly windy up there, and while we were there, they raised the Typhoon Warning flag from a 1 to a 3. We could see the dark clouds rolling in and started getting a bit worried about our big plans to see Lantau Island and the Giant Buddha tomorrow! After very long lines to come down from the Peak and a bit of a walk, we made it to our hotel just as the skies opened up! Even though we were really excited about either meeting up with a friend or trying Mak's Noodles due to 3 recommendations from friends, we decided to research the Typhoon Flag System a bit more, avoid the rain, and hang out inside, so we picked up food from a store connected to our hotel ... sushi, salad, Brussels sprouts, and tomatoes!
As expected, the Typhoon Flag #8 has been hoisted (meaning "fit bars into positions ... insert reinforced shutters and gates ... do not stand by windows ... move all furniture away from windows ... decide which rooms you will use to shelter" - all a bit disconcerting on the 47th floor of a hotel filled with windows ). Unfortunately, the tour company has not cancelled our tour for tomorrow, despite several of the attractions being shut down (they do this so they don't have to refund us). Despite this, we are fairly sure we will play it safe and not go on the tour tomorrow. Thanks to my awesome sister for warning us to stay away from surrounding islands (like Lantau) from halfway around the world! Don't worry, even though we're bummed to skip on tomorrow, we are 100% safe - we may have some delays for our flight tomorrow evening, but all in all, we are so glad we got to see 2 full days of Hong Kong and know we're better safe than sorry.
We'll try to update tomorrow, despite being on an overnight flight to Melbourne during my usual posting time!
-Megan and Kevin