Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hong Kong: The Peak and the Buddha

Victoria Peak or the Peak is a mountain top just west of the city center.  You can take a bus or a strange tram to get to the summit of the mountain where you can find a great view of Hong Kong, shopping mall and a Burger King.
Looking over the back of the mountain, you can see out into the East Lamma Channel and the South China Sea.
All over the Peak (and China) are cute lion statues.  Here are a few looking out over Hong Kong.
I guess they are actually looking away from Hong Kong, more towards the South China Sea.
The tram down the side of the mountain is less on rails and more pulled by a rope.  The angle is about 12 degrees down, kind of a strange feeling.
The Tian Tan Buddha or the big Buddha made of bronze, also atop a mountain.  One way to get there is to take the ropeway.  Below you can see the cars of the ropeway out over a channel.
It's actually kind of scary, it seems extra far between pillions that holds up the rope way.
As the car travels around the mountain, you eventually get to a clearing and see the big Buddha.
This Buddha looks old, but construction started in the early 90's and completed in 1993.
Asia loves stairs.  Although the ropeways gets you 98% of the way there, you still have to walk 100's of stairs before getting close the the Buddha.
This statue was the tallest-outdoor-bronze-seated Buddha in the world, but this is no longer the case.
Around the base of the Buddha are bunch of other Buddha's.
The Buddha's symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion.
Returning to the base of the mountain, you get a better idea how many stairs it took to get to the top of the mountain.
The ropeway also goes over people fishing or catching something in the water.

Hong Kong: Tramways

Kind of mentioned in the previous post, but I made my first trip to Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China and once a colony of England. Now, for me, it's a fun and easy place to visit because I don't need a visa and it's not to far from Japan.
I'm going to put up a few post for Hong Kong but this one will focus on mass transit options, for example below is old-school Chinese boat. I'm not sure this is normal as a form of transit, but I like to think it is.  Also, I think that is gas powered, those sails don't seem to be doing anything other than looking nice.
In fact, there are boats everywhere, Hong Kong is divided by a series of rivers and harbors. Below is a boat used for dinner tours and a place to enjoy the nightly Hong Kong building light show.
Another interesting boat on the water used to travel to and from Macau from Hong Kong is the B929 jetfoil.
B made these things in the early 80's and they are difficult to find now. But many of them are running daily in Hong Kong, seem to be trouble free.
These jetfoils use to run between Seattle and Victoria too, but this ended many years ago. Today much slower boats run between the US and Canada.
In addition to a subway, the other main form of transit is 2 level trams.
First things first, you have to remind local people how to behave on the trams, there was other signs too keep your arms in the windows.  The other funny sign was where the emergency exit was, in the event of an emergency you had to use the front or rear door to exit.
These trans are really cool and convenient. There are so many in the system that you rarely have to wait long to jump on and ride, but they do get stuck in bad traffic.
I assume this is basically how London people get around the city.
All streetcars (but the few used to train the tram drivers) now have advertising on them.  I guess in the past cars were painted solid color green.
Here is mid-day streetcar traffic jam.  These trams sat here for 20 minutes waiting for traffic to clear.  There is no air conditioning in the trams, so all cars have windows open, which is nice when the cars are moving.  When they are parked in traffic you can see people in each car looking miserable.
Everyone kept walking in the streets too, I think because there is to many vendors and stores spilling on to  the sidewalks.
Cars are used for transit too, but looking at the situation I would not want to drive here.
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Learning English

Between the Central–Mid-levels escalators and Central rail station of Hong Kong is a quick lesson in English. Located in a hall way connecting two buildings, the area is set aside as a kids play space. Although all the letters were there, these were my favorites.... 'B' is for Bag.
'E' is for Enough.
'K' is for Keep.
'O' is for Only.
When I was learning this, I think 'B' was for Ball, 'E' for Elephant, 'K' was for something and 'O' was for owl. 'K' might have been kite.

The Central–Mid-levels escalators is the worlds longest non-continuous escalator, about a half mile long.
You can see it snaking through the neighborhood in the photo above. It is considered mass transit and only goes up the hill. Going down, you are on your own.