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still not Disneyland: Yesterday we shelled out money for an organized tour. I didn't want to, since I know the Kong like anything, but they offered an efficient package to see Lantau. So we started the morning with pick up at our hotel, a very nice perk that saved us a subway trip, and met up in Wan Chai with our group. Other groups got off the bus at this point. Some of them had stickers for a tour of Ocean Park. The funny thing is, they organized a tour for a theme park that is only 10 minutes from the hotel! They really didn't need to do that. I should consult. Maybe I should quit my day job and organize tours here.

Our tour consisted of us, an older couple from Australia, another older couple from Paris, and a family with a tween son from UK. The UK family was en route to Australia with a layover here and a layover in Bali on the way home. Talk about a vacation! I told Susie we were pretending to be rich for a day, thanks to our travel money and already being close to here. These were serious people with serious money.

Then we hopped a ferry to Lantau. Maggie was pleased with this ferry ride, since it was 30 minutes instead of the usual 15 across the harbor. No one got sick, so we were off to a good start. It was very windy and actually cold at the pier. But the sun came out as we travelled.

At Mui Wo I looked for the chapel but didn't see it. I saw on the LDS chapelfinder that it wasn't there, but had moved to Tung Chung, which is actually very far away. I wonder if the members in Mui Wo, Lok O, and Peng Chau go to the monstrosity church in Wan Chai or go to Tung Chung. I also assume the missionaries don't live there anymore. That apartment was the nicest I ever had! I wanted to visit it but it's 10 minutes from the pier so out of the question. The old baptism spot was still there at least. It's hard to move the ocean. One of the members works in an office at the pier but I didn't remember which one otherwise I would have popped in quickly. Oh well. The McD's was also still on the corner there, as were the thousands of bikes at the pier. I'm kind of sad. I baptized four people there and, though one moved to the New T's and one moved to Australia and married my old companion, they expanded the church building. And now it looked as though the whole building was gone, given way to a gas station. Cue Amy Grant here.

We boarded the bus for Cheung Sha beach. I LOVE the ride from Mui Wo to Tai O, though I remembered it being bumpier. Maybe it seemed less bumpy because there were no Indian speed bumps or pot holes on the road. We only got to be at the beach for 20 minutes, which disappointed Maggie, but it was high tide so I actually was fine with that. We did take a quick dip in the South China Sea.

On to Tai O. I can't remember if I took mom and Jodi here. I'm sure I wanted to. It's my favorite place in the whole city. A little fishing village with houses built on stilts over the water. We actually rode a boat on the river! I never did that before. Since there is no food allowed on the buses here, the kids used this opportunity to scarf down a bag of goldfish. Now here's a city that is little changed. I loved tracting here, and we even had a baptism from there, but he now lives in Sha Tin. No other members live there that I know of. It's a tourist trap without acting like one. I still remember meeting a tour group there as a missionary that included a member from Hawaii. She gave us each $100HK, which was grocery money for a week! I looked for the missionaries but saw none.

Next it was up to the Big Buddha. Boy that place has changed more than any other! They now have a secret car passage that let us escape the 256 stairs up to Buddha, which, with the kids, was both disappointing and appreciated at the same time. We dined on a veg Buddhist lunch there of veg fried rice, corn and mushroom soup, condensed milk sticky buns, tofu stir fry, etc. It was all really good. During lunch I got to talk to the couple from Australia. They knew how to use chopsticks and eat Chinese food proper, due to the large Chinese population in the land down under. He told me I'm brave for bringing the kids. I explained my situation and my bravery levels increased. He's been everywhere but still has no desire to see India. I'm sure my stirring description of the country did no decent inspiring either. I did tell him that an auto rickshaw ride is a once in a lifetime experience.

He also told me in Bali everyone gets sick like India with Bali Belly. It turns out his wife didn't have Bali belly but was pregnant and had morning sickness. I think Bangalore belly has hit us all.

After this we hit the mall. Big Buddha has sold out to Starbucks. The mall itself is structured authentic and looks nice, but a 7-11 and really high end merchandise do not seem fung shei to me. I wonder how the monks view this. I guess it generates revenue. I thought it cheapend the trip; it was more Epcot less China. Next was the 25-minute cable car ride. Boy were we up high; higher than the airplanes! Considering how breezy it was, I am surprised we didn't sway all over the place. It must be a fancy cable car. The wind does come up through the vents though, and it was chilly. Maggie kept commenting on how long the ride was, over and over. Dalton of course used the opportunity to make four new girlfriends.

Then we bussed home, while Dalton finally got his first nap of the week! For dinner that night, we hit CPK, and it was divine. We also went grocery shopping and found pretzel goldfish and sour gummy worms, not too unreasonably priced. The kids scarfed them down after their shower. We all crashed around 8 pm, except for Dalton, who I think was still awake when I went to bed.

Other happenings include seeing various non-doctors wearing surgical masks about town. I don't think it's a fashion statement. My guess is, post-SARS, sick people wear them out of consideration of others? It's a nice gesture. We also had a teenager approach us to practice English. His opening line was how easy Korean is to learn. I don't know why I care, but I remember being sought out as a missionary to practice english so I indulged the young lad. But just in case anyone does care, Korean is easy to learn!

Today we visit the big Mouse!


© 2003-2015 John Chadwick.