Hong Kong With The Parents

Before this trip, I prayed a lot so that I would be in my best behaviour and be kind to my parents. This is because I know that they can be very annoying and I have very little patience and my temper just flares up easily with them. I blame it on the fact that with other people, I have to bottle up what I really feel and be all cool. So when I'm with my core family, my emotion just goes all over the place. Also when I'm tired, I get cranky easily. When one prays for something like good behaviour, one would think that one would watch her own behaviour. Unfortunately I didn't really do that. There were moments where I was just exasperated with my parents and it was from the get go. We were all taking ferries to Hong Kong. I was from Macau and they were from Shenzhen. They should just be arriving like 10 minutes top before me but my dad had the bright idea to wait somewhere else instead of just outside the arrival area. So I had trouble locating them. Luckily I eventually did. I was already weighing my option to just leave them and hopefully they could figure their own way to the hotel when my mother texted me where they were. By the way by them, it's my parents and a cousin.

After we dropped our things in the rooms, we quickly went to uncle and aunt's place which was the whole purpose of us being there. My uncle wasn't as healthy as I saw him last year so that was rather sad. My aunt was kinda the same. We also met my other cousins and their little daughter who unfortunately since I don't speak Chinese, I couldn't communicate with them. We had dinner at my aunt's house and stayed awhile there.

The next day, I had made booking to go to Tsz Shan Monastery. It is free, but you need to book a time slot before visiting. I booked like 3 weeks in advance. You really need to book in advance, like if you want to go tomorrow it's pretty impossible because for all the time I checked the site, it's always fully booked. That being said, I don't think it's very difficult to get a slot, just remember to book at the site as early as you can, 1 month is recommended. There are more places which are harder to get into, Harry Potter Studio, Alcatraz. Booking a slot yourself to see The Last Supper in Milan is pretty impossible (take a tour peeps). Anyways, this is not a touristy place, its purpose is really for religious practice. There's a dress code you must follow and they sent me another reminder email closer to the date about the whole rules. It is really far from where our hotel was but luckily we arrived just before our time slot, 10 AM and we're allowed to go in. I like the place a lot. It's really nice. The view of the surroundings from the monastery is beautiful. It felt really peaceful in this monastery.

There's a hall with golden Buddhas and they're really majestic. You're not supposed to take pictures inside this hall, so I took pictures from outside the door, am I still guilty?

There's also a hall where you can do calligraphy and it really looks interesting, but we didn't do it because it will take like 1 hour. I actually really wanted to do it but we did have other places to go that day. So we just walked around the compound and I really like the whole spacious and clean feel to it.

The Guan Yin statue at the back is really tall and I wonder how they made that. There's actually a water offering that you can do, but we didn't know how to do that, so we didn't do it :( By the way, I'm not sure why there's a black spot at this picture of mine. My camera must be quite dirty :(

I know that there's a smaller van bus coming into the monastery at 11:30 AM. We were early so stupid me decided to wait somewhere else instead of the waiting area because it was hot. We went down at 11:15 and found out that there's not enough space for all 4 of us. It struck me that there's one difficulty of travelling with many people. If I had been alone, I would have made it into the bus. So we made the walk down the main road, but we always could not get into the small van buses that passed by because there's not enough seats for all of us. We ended up taking a taxi again just as we did that morning to the nearest MTR station, Tai Po Market. It seemed to me it's never difficult to get a taxi in Hong Kong, they seem to always be available. So anyways, we then made another long way to Po Lin Monastery to see the big Buddha. When we reached there, we were pretty tired but we made it up the stairs to see the Big Buddha up close. We're quite high up and it's misty in the area.

I've been there before in my first visit to Hong Kong with Dewi, but we didn't explore all the areas. This time I wanted to explore more. I know that there's a Wisdom Path and I wanted to do that. What I didn't know was that it would be quite far. My family was behind me and though I had tried to walk slower than my usual self, for some reason I was always faster. I couldn't really explain what we're walking to see, but I just walked even though I knew maybe it would be too tiring for them. After some time, I just walked on without even bothering to look back if they're still following. I thought if they're tired, they could just stop and wait where they are. Turned out they didn't stop and really walked all the way to where the woods with carvings of what I could only explain to my mom like bible verses for Buddhism are are located.

I was actually pretty proud that they made it. After that we went to the Monastery. Mom was actually not keen because she thought we're running out of time, but I'm glad we did. The monastery is pretty cool. It even had a hall of ten thousand Buddhas where it's all golden inside. In fact all of the Buddhas we've seen on this trip seemed to be golden. Again like in Tsz Shan, the monastery here follows the same layout in their compound. I guess it's because there are rules and it's universal all over the world. For example, usually there are 2 guards on the left and right of the first entrance and I remember seeing this also in Japan. Below is a picture of 2 of the heavenly kings. There are 4 of them, 2 at each side.

After this we continued on to the leg of the trip that I really didn't enjoy and really didn't want to do. We were going to The Peak. I really didn't want to do this, but my mom thought that Madame Tussauds would be interesting for my cousin, so off we went. The reason why I didn't want to go because I still remember of the long queue me and Dewi had to endure the last time. This time around was the same. We managed to cut a bit of the queue waiting for the tram because we bought 2 packages that included Madame Tussauds, but still the queue was very long. We had to wait for like the 3rd tram to come before we could get in. I think the whole operation was very bad actually. They just stuffed people into the boarding area without counting how many people could fill the tram. Then when the doors were opened, people were pushing and jostling to get into the tram :( When we were in the tram, I heard a lady speaking loudly, I think she's unhappy with the other tourists who pushed her mother or someone who's quite old that I think she got hurt. What should be a nice experience for them turned really bad :(

My mom and cousin went to Madame Tussauds and me and dad went to the Sky Terrace. I didn't notice the existence of a lift so we walked round and round, up and up using the escalators. I did find the lift later on when we're done. There's no queue going in, but up there there were so many people that I started to regret going there. It was dark up there and with the so many people, I'm just amazed no one fell or got their things accidentally dropped. The view was nice but the struggle to get through people was not worth it for me.

When we're done, it was a really really long queue to get on the tram back. I was really tired and annoyed but somehow I survived the 1 hour plus queue. Seriously I think The Peak and its tram is overrated. I wonder if there's a timing where it is not crowded and things can be more civilized, but overall I think the effort to visit it doesn't equal the satisfaction. My mom often tells me that I'm somewhat selfish, well she just likes to criticize me on everything, she'll be on everyone else's team before she be on mine. Anyways, I'll be putting this as an example of me doing something that I didn't want to do, but do it anyway for others. If it's left to me I would have just gone to see the mid-autumn lanterns outside the Hong Kong Space Museum. The grand one is actually at Victoria Park, but strangely this is only held for a few days starting the evening we left, so I wouldn't have been able to go. Very strange, things like this in Singapore will be held for 1 month at least for the tourists.

It was a long day that day and I was just glad when we made it back. The next day was our last day in Hong Kong. We had some time in the morning before heading out to the airport. I wanted to go Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery. I've only heard of this vaguely when someone told me about this when I was in Hong Kong last year and the more I read about the good things people wrote about it, the more I wanted to go. Nan Lian Garden is pretty new and the design is pretty Japanese. It has this golden pagoda like structure which would remind you of Kinkaku-Ji in Kyoto.

There were not many people there as I have read people writing about this place, which is quite a shame because it's a really nice place and it's free. I guess its location which is not really in the center of the city may make people feel lazy to go to it. We found our way to Chi Lin Nunnery easy enough. Very lucky because I started to wonder if I missed a sign or something which I am prone to do. Recently I read that it's built in 1934 so it's quite old compared to Nan Lian Garden who's 10 years old this year. However Chi Lin Nunnery is so well maintained that it doesn't look old at all. Again the layout of the compound is the same as the monasteries we visited the day before. The Buddha statues here are also golden. Its courtyards are really nice, they looked bright white under the hot sun and they're dotted with the greeneries of a lot of bonsai-styled plants.

After this we went to see my aunt and uncle again to say goodbye and had yum cha. First my aunt brought us to a Chinese shop and market nearby because my cousin wanted to buy some things. It was quite interesting seeing the market where actual Hong Kongers go. It was also interesting going to the yum cha place. I don't know if the one we went to is popular but there were many people. This is like what I have seen on TV. A place where I'm not sure I can handle going on my own because the menu doesn't come in English and I think many of the staffs don't speak English either. My aunt ordered way too many things. Some are common like what I have seen in Singapore. Others were quite unique. I like the whole experience. After that we went to the airport.

It was really nice meeting my aunt and uncle again. Last year when I met them, I didn't think I'd meet them again this soon, though soon is almost 1 year. Who knows maybe the next meeting will be soon too. My aunt is disappointed that I don't speak Chinese :D Yeah, it would make it much easier to communicate with my cousins and my uncle's wife who is super nice. My aunt asked me if I like Singapore or Hong Kong better. I said Singapore. Are you surprised Singapore? Especially with the many bad things I say about you? My aunt said people there said they like Hong Kong more. Well here's the thing. As mentioned I've experienced the unfriendliness of the people in the service industry in this trip. I also would seriously not be able to handle the small size of their flats. However I didn't say all these to my aunt. I just said, I don't speak Chinese and many people don't seem to speak English (at least not as widespread as in Singapore) and this will be very problematic for me. The more I think about it, the fact that Singapore is close to Indonesia and some of its cultures are similar to Indonesians is a plus point. I know where the good Indonesian restaurants are when I really need to eat some comfort food, though I guess these are also available in Hong Kong and I just need to do some searching. Another thing about Singapore is that for instance if I miss speaking Indonesian, I can just speak Indonesian to some Malays which I often do or watch some Indonesian programmes that they sometime show in the Malay TV channel here. I guess in Hong Kong, I could just approach any Indonesian maid and start talking to them. However my point is Singapore has more aspects which are similar to Indonesia than Hong Kong and that makes it easier to adapt here.

Talking about Indonesian maids which I think are some of the most resourceful and bravest Indonesians out there, they often amazes me. They go to a country so different and that being their first trip oversea and then they make it work. They're not highly educated and all they have is guts and I know many people, perhaps me included, who are not this brave. Anyways, I have seen some Indonesians maids in Hong Kong who seem to be able to speak Cantonese and I just admire that so much. So that's the Hong Kong story. If there's any regret and things I am embarrassed about is that there were moments where I was not nice to my parents and cousin. Shame on me, really :( For pictures please go here.

:) eKa @ 4:46:00 PM •

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