My boss took pity on me and granted me a few days leave. You have to understand that I had been covering classes all through the summer—well for most of the year really. And I had been getting a lot of overtime, but by the end of the summer I wanted some days off. My boss graciously agreed. At that point I didn’t really want to go anywhere far, so I decided to take a few days to relax in Hong Kong.

I arrived in Hong Kong via Shenzhen and took the MTR down to Hong Kong Island slowly. I first stopped at a temple, Fung Ying Seen Koon in the northern part of the New Territories. It was a beautiful temple and had a very Hong Kong feel to it. Temples in Hong Kong tend to be brighter and in colors of red, orange, and yellow when compared to other buildings in Guangdong.

From there I went to Che Kung Temple for a quick stop. It’s surrounded by a red wall and in the middle is a hall with a giant statue inside. It was a nice temple, but it was just a quick stop on my way to the Sam Tung Uk Museum. The Hong Kong government has restored this traditional house as a free museum and historic reminder of Hong Kong’s heritage. It’s beautifully maintained and was interesting to see different aspects of Hong Kong’s rich cultural heritage.

Afterwards I went to Hong Kong Island and checked in my hotel. After freshening up a bit I walked down to the waterfront near the convention and exhibition center and enjoyed the sunset. I then grabbed a quick bite for dinner and headed back to the hotel for the night.

The next day I went to Lantau Island. I first went to Tung Chung to take the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car to see the Tian Tan Buddha and visit Po Lin Monastery. The last time I was here was in 2007, and it was nice to see the subtle changes here. The vegetation around the Buddha is more robust and the monastery was beautifully maintained.

This time I did venture out a bit and went for a walk on one of the nature trails. I stumbled across the Wisdom Path, which is a representation of the Heart Sutra. It was quite impressive. And from there you could see all the way down the mountain to the water. After deciding to head back to the main area, I ran across a strange mosaic bird on the path. When I got back to the main area I had lunch and then sought out the bus that would take me to Tai O fishing village.

Tai O is a traditional Hong Kong village. Many of the buildings are built on top of stilts that go into the water to make it easier for fisherman to go out for the day. It was fun walking through the narrow alleys that meander through the houses, to cross bridges, and to see daily life. It was a neat excursion and was thoroughly enjoyable.

By the late afternoon I decided to venture back to Hong Kong Island and see the sunset at Kennedy Town. It was equally beautiful as the one the prior day. As it was getting late I went back to the hotel for the night.

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My last day I went to Sai Kun and to the Museum of Coastal Defense. I normally wouldn’t visit a military themed museum, but on the TV the first night I discovered that a lot of the museums in Hong Kong were now free to the public. As I had never visited this museum, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to do so.

I first took the MTR to North Point where one of Hong Kong’s visual art areas, called Oi!, was located. It’s claimed to be a unique place to take photos in Hong Kong. It was an interesting place and indeed I did capture a couple of nice shots.

When I was done there I went straight to the museum. It was more interesting than I thought it was going to be. It’s built on the remains of an actual fort—Lei Yue Mun—and a lot of the structures that made up the fort are still standing. There’s also a nicely done exhibition area that has many sections related to the history of defense in Hong Kong. It was quite a nice surprise.

From the museum I walked along the promenade to explore the neighborhood a bit. It was much quieter than some other areas of Hong Kong. When I got to the MTR station I decided I should do some shopping in Sha Tin for things I couldn’t find back in Guangzhou before I went home. After having completed my shopping and walked around the area I went back to the border and took the train from Shenzhen to Guangzhou.

The few days I had in Hong Kong was a nice diversion from work. Unfortunately, the next day I had to go back to work and continue covering classes.

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