The Duck

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

After 3 weeks relaxing on exotic islands in Bali & Phillippines, I’m back on track! I flew into Hong Kong, one of the world’s most dynamic cities where human influence on the landscape is highly visible.  Countless skycrapers and high-rise apartments dominate the skyline & huge constructions projects seem to be everywhere.  However, these immediate impressions are insignificant compared with the dramatic work of nature, especially when we turn back the clock through the vast amount of time since Hong Kong first began. With a population of more than 7 million souls, the amount of space in the metropole is very limited leaving most of the citizens in tiny but costly apartments.  The city is build around a river and divided in several area’s such as Hong Kong Island, New Territories, Kowloon – across the river -, etc.

Cherie & The Duck in Hong Kong harbor

Cherie & The Duck in Hong Kong harbor

At my arrival, after taking the most advanced train ever, I was kindly hosted by Cherie, a local girl who worked as a fashion merchandiser.  Once settled in her cosy apartment on Hong Kong Island, we visited some temples around the city & took the cable car to ‘The Peak, a building on the top of the hill filled with shops, restaurants but with magnificient views on the city.  Unfortunately the weather was rather foggy.  Later on, we took a ferry in the harbour to Kowloon where we strolled the ‘Avenue of Stars’, ‘1881 Heritage’, …  ‘The Duck’ happened to be in the harbour as well meaning awful crowds surrounding it to take the must-have snapshots!  And so did we…  The man behind the seriously over-sized bath toy is Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman  The sunshine-yellow duck drew up beside Ocean Terminal to the sound of a brass band and thousands of camera shutters.  It’s a very well traveled duck. Since it started on its global adventures, Rubber Duck has taken up temporary residence in cities all over the world, including Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Amsterdam.

Cedric, Celia, Andrew, me, Cali & Wai Lin having dinner @ Hong Kong Island

Cedric, Celia, Andrew, me, Cali & Wai Lin having dinner @ Hong Kong Island

In the late afternoon we met Andrew, a local english teacher.  Andrew happened to live right around the corner of Cherie’s place and so we ended up meeting quite a few times for dinner, drinks, … meeting many of his friends.  Many other people noticed on couchsurfing that I was in Hong Kong too and invited me to meet for coffee or dinner.  Cali, a nice young girl who was keen to travel the world and eager to meet new people, joined us for dinner the very next day.

I started with couchsurfing back in the summer of 2010.  My very first guest was Gloria, a girl from Hong Kong who was on a trip around the world herself at the time.  She showed me around, helped wherever she could, took me to the nightmarket for some local street food, to some museums, buildings and showed me the lively streets by night.

View from cable car @ Lantau island

View from cable car @ Lantau island

Hong Kong is the perfect getaway to China so it was obvious that my next destination would be China! Back in Sydney I went for a Chinese visum but when they told me it would cost me 220€ I kindly rejected the offer. Glad I did because here in Hong Kong it cost me only 35€ !  The only problem was that I had to wait a few more days and so I decided to visit the Big Buddha, the Monastery & Ngong Ping on the island of Lantau. To do so I took the subway to the cable car station.  I really enjoyed the 5.7km cable car journey (95HK) with its visually spectacular views of Tung Chung Bay, Ngong Ping plateau, Big Buddha, …

Tian Tan aka The Big Buddha

Tian Tan aka The Big Buddha

Once at the top in the Ngong Ping themed Chinese-styled village, many friends had adviced me to take the vegetarian meal in the Po Lin monastery and that’s how I met Gwen, a librarian from Canada who was here for a conference and enjoyed some days off before heading back home.  I ended my visit with the ‘plat-de-resistance’… ‘Tian Tan’ aka ‘The Big Buddha’.  Once merely a remote monastery hidden by lush, mountain scenery, the Po Lin Monastery made it to the world map when the extraordinary Tian Tan Buddha statue was erected in 1993. Sitting 34 metres high and facing north to look over the Chinese people, this majestic bronze Buddha draws pilgrims from all over Asia.

From the village of Ngong Ping, I took a direct bus (No. 2) to the village of Mui Wo (17.2HK – 40 min) where I took the ferry back to Hong Kong Island (28.4HK – 40 min)

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Comments
One Response to “The Duck”
  1. smallgirl says:

    This is amazing! Did you visit Malaysia ? 🙂

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