Tourism. We needed to stay out of the apartment all day today due to a lack of water as the pipes were being cleaned, so I decided, since Bethany has been nagging about gondola rides to take the kids out and up to the giant buddha on Lantau Island. Last time I went to the buddha, it was just Titus and I, many years ago. And as we have evolved and grown into a family in that time, the area around the buddha has evolved into a tourist mecca. There is now a village to the side of the buddha and it’s monastery. And instead of a 45 minute ferry and 45 minute bus, you can now take a 25 minute ride on a cable car up over the hillside. The cable car already has a claim to fame.. one of the gondolas fell off during a trial run… fortunately no one was in it at the time…(and a worker ended up being charged with negligence and a new company took over control of it). Our ride was uneventful. It was a pleasant day, the ride was smooth and quite tranquil (when the kids were quite for more than 5 seconds).
The village of Ngong Ping they have created is cute, but I wouldn’t call it traditional. Bethany’s first words when we walked off the cable car and saw the village were ‘ oh wow.. we’re at Mulan’s house’. It felt like we were in another ‘land’ from Disneyland… and traditional was the last thought that came to mind…
Case in point:
Starbucks… the ancient chinese drink of a nation??? Not entirely traditional now is it? 😉
It does however make for an amusing photo, as I wasn’t the only one taking advantage of the humour I was getting while taking this shot.
My personal opinion is while the cable car and the village are an ‘amusing’ tourist attraction, they are expensive, and gimmicky. I don’t think I’ll be paying to ride the cable car again..
As for the giant buddha. He is worth the trip. He is a lot blacker now than I remember him. But it’s one of those awesome sights you really can’t do justice for until you see it with your own eyes. Kind of like the Statue of Liberty, Sydney Opera House or Big Ben.
Now I’m not religious at all, but I am still in awe of this amazing icon. I don’t think it matters what your religion is, this buddha is pretty inspiring, and a ‘must-see’. We didn’t venture into the monastery, however it is open to the public most of the time. Out front, people burn incense, and a variety of other stuff (I assume in respect of their ancestors?). The area used to be a tranquil place.. high up and not unlike the temples you sometimes see in great kung fu movies. Now, it’s starting to be surrounded by tourism, and I wonder what the monks think of it all..