Part 3: Hong Kong

On our second full day of Hong Kong, we started out at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. I was impressed by its use of technology in a way that hasn’t quite occurred here in Chicago. There were lots of interactive screens that helped patrons better explore paper artifacts.

There was the Selden Map on loan from University of Oxford. It was a 17th century Chinese map of trading routes in China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Oman, and part of India.  There was a giant touch screen where you can focus on details of the map and learn about some of the places that the map highlighted.

There was another painted scroll on silk showing the great naval battle against pirates called “Pacifying the South China Sea, Qing Dynasty.” It’s extremely detailed in its depictions of naval battles, meetings with the emperor, and depictions of officials. There was a corresponding interactive display that allowed you to focus on specific moments in the scroll. It also explained what was happening in each scene. The description of the scroll, however, did make a comment that this was in France for several years but it appears to have been purchased back. Interesting how these pieces get returned to their original countries.

Pacifying the South China Sea, Qing Dynasty

Pacifying the South China Sea, Qing Dynasty

In addition to these awesome texts, there were models of various ships from the area at different points in time, paintings of opium clippers, and much more. One display used the sense of smell. There were giant clay urns of spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon, that you could actually smell. First museum that I’ve seen use smell as a sense. The first floor was very interesting to me. The second and third floor got a bit technical but if you like minutiae of shipping, then I highly recommend it.

Afterwards, we headed off to Hong Kong Park, a manmade park amidst the skyscrapers (Well, most things are amidst the skyscrapers). It was not quite as impressive as the Yuyuan Gardens. It had some fountains, waterfalls, and ponds with many relaxing turtles. What was neat was the aviary. Basically, there was a section of the park that had a giant net dome placed over it. You walked through it on elevated bridges. Inside it was filled with wonderfully bright and noisy birds. (I couldn’t help feel that this is what was in mind for the pterodactyls in Jurassic Park…) There were hanging displays of fruit where rainbow parrots and other birds would graze. Below us there were these giant crested grey pheasants; one was doing what I think was a mating dance. I highly recommend checking the aviary out. There was an enclosed aviary, which probably had birds of prey, but we didn’t get there.

Afterwards, we took the Star Ferry over to Kowloon. I know I’ve mentioned the Star Ferry but I’m in love with it. I wish that there was something like this in Chicago, maybe to connect Hyde Park to the Loop. That would be amazing. (Yes, I know there are some water taxis on the Chicago river but it’s not the same). We visited a large temple complex called the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple. The complex is for three religions: Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. So far, it was my favorite temple that we visited. In front of the main temple, there were giant anthropomorphized statues of all the zodiac animals. The temple pagodas were bright and colorful; they were really majestic. Yellow and red lanterns hung overhead. There was also a little garden/pond behind the temple complex that was neat. I enjoyed it more than the Hong Kong Park itself. There was a delightful waterfall, a pagoda bridge, and many turtles (there must have been a convention). Highly recommend this temple to anyone who goes to Hong Kong).

Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple

Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple

Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Garden

Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Garden

That’s all for now!

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On an unrelated note, check out my blog posts about Chibots for Northside Chicago Mini-Maker Faire.

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