Sunday, November 28, 2010

五龍 - Lantau: Ngong Ping, Po Lin, Tai O, Mui Wo

-- 5 --

Mong Kok, Kowloon

230. The....thingy I won for getting onto the Löwenbräu leaderboard.

So I woke up to a Celtic loss. Garbage. This will take a lot of meditating at Po Lin to get over. At least Rangers lost worse.

231. An officious crest thanks you for not screwing around with the trains. When TV sketch comics can replace the official PRC seal with this one and goof on the government, speech will truly be free.

Tung Chung, Lantau

232. Village life on the periphery. In HK, this counts as 'not built up'. The area around these hugh high-rise estates is still rural, which makes for an interesting tradeoff: giant concrete housing projects remain giant concrete housing projects, but they fight sprawl and keep more of the land around them in its original state. Different path, and maybe preferable to loving nature by carving subdivisions out of it.

233. Mountains over the local rec center. Shot from the queue for the cablecar.

234. Garden and vacant lot.

235. Pro-Falun Gong banners. There were also a lot of these around the government offices in Central yesterday, but there were too many people moving too fast to shoot them there.

236. Cablecar track heading up.

237. Bamboo scaffolding on the rec center.

238. Jumbo westbound out of HKG.

239. The tourist crush. It wasn't so bad, actually; only about an hour for the standard-price car.

240. Jumbo landing on an east approach.

241. Antialiasing hasn't made it out to Ngong Ping yet.

I took pretty much nothing on the way out; the light was bad and the car was packed.

242. Ancestral tomb on one of the mountains.

Tien Tan Buddha at Po Lin

243. The Buddha over the kitsch village at Ngong Ping.

244. First gate and the mountain behind.

245. Gate and sculpture avenue.

246. Buddha over the trees.

247. Divine General statue and the second gate.

248. Path up to the Buddha.

249. Lantern and a tourist not getting out of the shot.

250. Up to the Buddha from the same point.

251. Statues present offerings. Finally at the top after 250 steps.

252. Sun behind the Buddha. The light is rotten for photography, but nice for spiritual purposes.

253. Down to the monastery.

254. Buddha with side light.

255. The Cheaters' Road -- buses don't have to take the steps.

256. Down into the village.

257. Offerings and the valley.

258. Mountainside greenery.

259. Offerings from the lower level.

260. Monastery under construction.

261. Tower on the way down.

262. Cauldron at the base of the stairs.

263. Before you flip out, check which way it's facing.

264. Monastery second gate, full front view.

At this point, I got lunch; the vegetarian restaurant here is fully as good as advertised. They disallowed photographs inside the restaurant, and I got the standard rather than deluxe meal set (yes, I'm still cheap when on vacation in a foreign country, this doesn't have an off switch), but it was remarkable how closely the tofu chunks cut and treated to resemble chicken actually did so.

265. Buddha statue inside the lower level of the monastery temple.

266. Another, same hall.

267. Many-armed statue in the center of the room.

268. Central statue, same hall.

269. Outbuildings and trees outside.

270. Temple upper level, side view. Check the monk on his celly at the lower left.

271. Standing shrine.

272. Bell about to be rung. No ceremony actually in process yet, so the photo's ok.

273. Temple, front view.

274. Inside; the Past, Present, and Future.

275. Mountain over a corner of the roof.

276. Up towards the Buddha from the plaza.

277. Again, better aligned.

Now to head down, shoot from the car, bus to Tai O, shoot there, and then on to Mui Wo to laze my way back by water.

278. Mountain over the gate, heading back.

279. Old house in Ngong Ping.

280. Sure to be a hit with all your Jewish and Romany friends.

On an anachronistic note, I saw a woman wearing this shirt while going through the ruins of St. Paul's in Macau the next day. Someone else was on the same tour schedule, but with a decidedly different taste in shirts.

281. Hills from the cablecar.

282. Across into one of the valleys.

283. Buddha from the car.

284. Another tomb in these largely empty mountains.

285. Landslide scar on the hills.

286. The walking trail, following the cablecar route over the mountains.

287. Another look off into the valleys. That's smog, not fog; the air quality from mid-afternoon on was simply wretched.

288. A look down towards the airport, shrouded in haze.

289. Water pours down a mountain gully.

290. A little closer to the airport.

291. Delta and old pier close to Tung Chung.

There was supposed to be a cool picture here of an old hulk getting loaded as a barge, but the batteries died taking it, and by the time I got them changed, the cablecar was past it. The batts were steaming hot as I took them out -- this cablecar stuff apparently worked them real hard.

292. Down into Shek Pik Prison from the bus to Tai O. The prison is at the base of a huge earthen dam, which would make awesome plot elements for an action/thriller movie. Some dignitary gets taken hostage in a prison riot, and one side or the other threatens to blow the dam in the standoff process.

There are a lot of prisons and CIs on Lantau. Up until a couple years ago, when the Lantau Link was finished, connecting the island to Kowloon by road and rail, the only way on or off the island was by boat, so it makes sense.

Tai O

293. Far shore, right after getting off the bus.

294. Fishing boats anchored off the pier.

295. Houseboats and lighters.

296. Up into the mountains over the bus stop.

297. Looking down Wing On Street. Tai O, more even than the stilt houses, was cool for its look into village life rather than the urban bustle of Central and Kowloon.

298. Open-air dried-seafood market. You see these all over the place; this was just the first one that it wasn't disturbing anyone to shoot.

299. Not wooden piers, stilt houses. The village only came ashore relatively recently; it used to look all like this.

300. More old stilt houses.

301. Impressive house gate.

302. Cool architecture and the mountains.

303. House shrine with offerings. These are also everywhere, even in urban HK where you have to be careful as you go down the sidewalk not to kick over a plate of oranges by accident, but it is wicked gwailo to treat someone's private religious practice as a curiosity. This was shot surreptitiously when I was pretty sure no one was watching; it needs to be documented, but it doesn't deserve the perception of being gawked at.

304. DIY minitrucks made out of random parts. Awesome.

306. More stilt houses on that shore.

307. Up the mountain, showing landslide scars.

308. Another DIY truck -- if I read it correctly, the powerplant here started life as a maritime outboard.

309. Mountain and foliage.

310. Mountain rising over the village.

311. Well-used public Chinese-chess table.

312. Palms at dusk.

313. Awesome old houses.

On the bus to Mui Wo, my camera was pinned, so I couldn't shoot the random wandering cows on the roadside, the Caution Cows roadsigns, or the amazing vistas. Do it yourself, it's worth it.

Mui Wo

314. Looking into town from the ferry.

I could only get a fast ferry back, which is a shame, but I made my connection, and got, now, back to Central in good time. Star Ferry north, then hike to TST if not all the way up Nathan.

Central from the sea at night is amazing; however, the ferry's moving too fast for any of the pictures I take to come out. Maybe the next boat.

315. Into Kowloon, in the process of getting on the Star Ferry.

316. Up at the Chibi IFC and its neighbors as the ferry rolls.

317. Kowloon side by the typhoon shelter.

318. The bridge, as we get underway.

319. A fishing trawler crosses the frame in front of some cruise ships.

320. Coming up on the pier in Kowloon.

It's been a long day, so i hopped on the MTR from TST to YMT, miraculously didn't get lost coming out aboveground, and am now waiting for some pointed-at Szechuan food, doing my part to support local non-sex-trade businesses and adding more points to the good side of the equation. I need to make up ground on this because 7-11's sausage rolls are cheap and awesome, and have become the default breakfast solution. Chinese/German fusion attempting to mimic either Scottish ("sausage roll") or American ("hot dog bun") memetic content, missing totally, and becoming its own new thing.

Food score:
7-11 - 5
Pointed at - 9

Dinner was the result of bashing a chicken carcass up with a cleaver and throwing it in the fryolator, then stir-frying the result with a bucket of chiles. Not exactly what I was going for, but this is part of pointing at food. And it wasn't bad, either; you get used to the spice load, and you quickly figure out how to use your teeth as a mechanical poultry separator while not filling your mouth with bone splinters. Sure, it takes some skill, but it's a skill worth acquiring.

No comments: