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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

HONG KONG...the Giant Buddha and Po Lin Monastery


Anyone who has been to Hong Kong would have heard of the Giant Buddha, more appropriately known as the Temple of Heaven (Tian Tan) Buddha Statue. Buddhist devotees from throughout Asia, and of course tourists, visit Lantau Island just to view this majestic bronze statue of Buddha, the largest outdoor Buddha statue in the world! This statue sits on top of Muyu Mountain near the Po Lin (Precious Lotus) Monastery which is on Ngong Ping Plateau. The lovely mountain scenery itself is worth the visit.

The Giant Buddha
It is incredible that this spectacular statue, which weighs 250 tons and is 34 metres tall, was not built where it is located. It was cast in China, and took 10 years to complete. It was open to the public in December 1993. 

The figure depicts Lord Buddha in a seated, meditation posture.The right hand is raised in a significant pose. Buddhists understand it be a gesture which  delivers blessings to all. The serene facial expression, and the way the head is tilted, looking down, lends a certain dignity to this splendid statue.

At the base of the statue is a pedestal that actually houses three exhibition halls.  Within these halls, you can find documentations of Buddhist scriptures and relics that depict the history and culture of Buddhism. The Yoga Bell which has historic significance, bearing engravings of  Buddha images and Buddhist scriptures, is kept within this three-tiered pedestal, and it tolls 108 times a day. Just a note of interest to visitors. Be prepared to climb that 200-odd steps to reach the base of the statue. I wouldn't advise high stilleto heels for your footwear, ladies, if you intend to go right up there. (See the photograph of the young man pointing to the stairway.)

Po Lin Monastery
This was originally a small temple back in 1924, in a location which was considered remote. Today, it is the top tourist destination and the most popular Buddhist monastery in the country. The atmosphere here is that of a peaceful landscaped retreat. The stone gateway is a subdued grey, which I actually prefer compared to the usual red we see so much of in Chinese-oriented archways. The park has two rows of life-sized statues of what looks like ancient warriors. Very interesting. Oh, and if you want refreshments, there are small cafes, and would you believe it, even Starbucks, here!Talk about incongruity...




My post happens to be perfect for the theme of Jingle's Week 41 of Poetry Potluck, that is, "Saints, Monks and Meditation"! I offer this poem, wrenched from my thoughts and wrung dry:


Under the craggy  shadow
of the Giant Buddha
In the  hushed temple 
of the saffron cloak
In the deadened hope
of grasping serenity in my limp hands
For the happenstance 
that my confusion could be quelled
In the audacious  pursuit 
of inner equilibrium
I sit in stiff, stark silence
I drone my wordless, writhing mantra
to defeat the demons of destruction
I seek stillness 
delving deep 
to quieten my turbulent soul 
I meditate... for  a divine disclosure
of the reason for my reasonless  existence.

My World Tuesday

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tropical Sky




A particularly bright blue sky above Mygardenhaven. The billows of clouds added to the perfection of the skyscape. Who wouldn't feel like singing on a day like this? The birds were chirping, the fish were splashing...all's well with the world when there's a sky like this above.












A beautiful day, don't you think, for a seagull to come and perch on my garden window sill?






Even the coconut palms are swaying gleefully to the rhythm of the wind.




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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Port Vell, Barcelona

Excuse me Sir, could you point me the way to Port Vell?





Port Vell Franc de Barcelona is the most important port in Spain. Located at the southern most end of the Ramblas in Barcelona, the port is the main docking area for cruise ships. Most cruise companies operate from this port in Barcelona, and each year, over three million passengers embark on their various cruises from this main port of call in Europe.




We embarked on our Mediterranean cruise from Port Vell, and I had my first view of the Mediterranean Sea from here. I knew there and then that this was going to be a beautiful cruise.





Oh, I see it.



A lovely, calm sea.



A fabulous start to a cruise...err, not on that schooner, though.


Linked to




Monday, June 13, 2011

The Fisherman's Wharf in Macau







Check out this cool slideshow feature that takes just minutes to create on Tripadvisor. I love this...you'll be seeing more of this type of presentations on my travel-i-tales, I can tell you.




Sometimes, photo-sharing in the form of a video is more exciting, and makes the places come to life, so to speak. This is my first video using TripWow...tell me what you think of it. 






The Fisherman's Wharf is a theme park in Macau, located on Avenida da Amizade e Avenida Dr Sun Yat Sen, just across the Sands Casino.It was opened to the public in 2006. The theme park has an interesting mix of architecture; you can find a group of Chinese Tang Dynasty towers facing a Tibetan palace, behind which there is a man-made volcano. There are also a Roman-themed shopping centre and an outdoor Colosseum which is actually meant to be a concert-venue, among other attractions.It must have been off-peak season when we visited it, as there was no activity going on, and only a few shops were open. The park, however, is worth visiting even with the absence of rides, and even if only for the pleasure of admiring the architecture. Admission is free.







Fisherman's Wharf, Macau Slideshow: Rosie’s trip from Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia to Macau, China was created by TripAdvisor. See another Macau slideshow. Take your travel photos and make a slideshow for free.




Linking to My World Tuesday.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Aberdeen Harbour











Iconic Aberdeen Harbour is recognized  world wide as it is featured in many movies such as a Bruce Lee movie and a James Bond movie. Aberdeen was a fishing village in the past, and the Hong Kong boat people lived here in the 1960s and 70s.  Today it is a different scene altogether. Our tour guide pointed out to us the expensive yachts  belonging to Hong Kong tycoons and celebrities, anchored here. There are still some local fishermen using the bay, and there are two huge floating restaurants where people go to sample fresh seafood. 










This is the sampan that came to pick us from the jetty, to take us on a tour of the bay area. 


boat shuttle

Our sampan was overshadowed by the huge black ships that made a striking contrast to the pale grey skyscrapers in the distance.





There were so many types of sea vessels there. Aberdeen is indeed a safe harbour as this bay has a typhoon shelter called  Bei Fung Tong where the boats anchor when a storm is imminent.







Just look at the shiny, swanky yachts...an interesting  juxtaposition viewed from our shabby shuttle.



Our sampan approaches the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.





Lobster, anyone?


Floating restaurant


This bridge links Aberdeen with Ap Lei Chau over Aberdeen Harbour.




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Friday, June 10, 2011

Night and Day






These two photographs are taken from the same window looking out on Barcelona...one taken when the streetlights create shadows in the middle of the night, and the other taken when daylight fills the scene with clarity. My attempt at haiku below seeks to address the question...is it better to give in to the honesty of night, when fears and worries surface, or let the day's bright lights hide all of one's problems? Contradictions, contradictions...life is filled with contradictions.






Night's apprehensions 
Dark and brooding , curdled mind
Day veils tortured thoughts







Barcelona dawn



Barcelona dusk

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Hazy Summer days of Hong Kong - Repulse Bay


For the whole week I was in Hong Kong, the sky was barely visible. There was a thin veil of haze that made me think of the song, Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer. Think of this Nat King Cole song as referring to Hong Kong in a lazy, hazy summer...no soda and pretzels and beer but we did feel like singing a song of cheer!


video

































Sky watching  was a totally different experience...no sign of clouds, nor sun nor moon!
But it did add a misty, mysterious atmosphere which turned out to be quite beautiful, contrasted with the bright, colourful statues in the Chinese Garden by the bay.

Linked to:
 Skywatch Friday 
Thursday Theme Song