On our first full day in Hong Kong, we first went to Mon Ma Temple. It’s a Taoist temple in the midst of soaring skyscrapers. It is notable for its profusion of spiral incense burners overhead. There are beautiful golden statues of various gods. It’s a lovely little spot of serenity in the crowded city.
We decided it was time to go to Victoria’s Peak, one of the eight mountains surrounding the city. Hong Kong is surrounded by nine dragons, eight refer to the mountains and the ninth is the emperor, who is a dragon. We took a tram up, which was the steepest climb I’ve ever been on in a tram. But well worth it. I felt a little nickel and dimed since you had to pay to go up and pay to go down. To get to the prime observational deck, you also had to pay. But it wasn’t that expensive. Also, I’ve been to places that have been just as piecemeal with their charges and they also charged for the right to take photos. Besides, we weren’t going to be turned away just because of the fees. The observational deck did come with handy headsets that told a little history of the various buildings we could see. Hundreds of skyscrapers and Victoria Harbor lay before us. It was an incredible sight. There were large birds of prey soaring by us.
I learned that the HSBC building had two lion statues in front that have an interesting combination of cultures. In British culture, lions stand for royalty. In Chinese mythology, lions are guardians. One lion is Stephan and the other is Stitt, named for managers at the bank. They have only been moved twice from their location. Once by the Japanese during WWII when they were shipped to Japan for scrap (saved at the last minute), and when the HSBC building was built in the 1990s. Later, we visited the HSBC building, you can actually see the bullet holes from WWII in the lions.
That afternoon, we went to two more Taoist temples near the hotel. One was the Pak Tai Temple. It had amazingly colorful altars, flower lanterns, and beautiful statues of gods. We also went to the Hung Shing Temple that was built inside a boulder. It’s very tiny but full of statues.
That’s all for now!