Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hong Kong Part Two

After a night under the stars, Chris and I were ready for our tour of Hong Kong.  Fortunately, Gray Line Tours had a Deluxe Hong Kong tour that included many of the city’s highlights. 

Meet our tour guide Marcopolo.  He did a great job showing us around Hong Kong.

For our first stop, we headed to the Man Mo Temple.  The Man Mo Temple is a Taoist Temple that was built in 1847.   

If there was one word to describe the Man Mo Temple, it would be smoky.  The spring like structures hanging from the ceiling are incense.   
Temples are very popular at the beginning of the school year.  Many students visit the gods and pray for productive years. 
Many people also brought food to be blessed at the temple.  It reminded me of my in-laws' blessing of the food tradition. 

Many Taoists light incense so their prayers will float up for the gods.  

Chris lights some incense at the temple.  Every time I enter a temple, I say a prayer of thanks for learning about new religions.   Visiting these temples makes me feel very Catholic. 

Visitors hang wishes from lanterns in the hallway.
Next on the agenda was a ride on the Victoria Peak tram for a breathtaking view of Victoria Harbor. 
I was so thankful that our tour company had purchased our tram tickets in advance.  Visitors frequently wait hours to take the tram to the top of the mountain.  We only had to wait 20 minutes. 

The tram creeped along at a 45 degree angle.  The scenery was gorgeous.
Chris and I take time to pose at Victoria Peak.  The view was breathtaking!

At the top of Victoria Peak, we caught our tour bus and took a curvy ride down the mountain to Aberdeen, a small fishing village.  Upon arrival, we decided to take a ride on a sampan, a traditional Cantonese fishing boat.

Chris and I were accompanied by 8 fellow tourists on this sampan.

Some of the yachts were absolutely beautiful!

Others made me realize the large chasm between the have and have nots.

About 10 minutes into our sampan ride, we saw teams piling into dragon boats. 

I was SO excited to watch a dragon boat race from the water!

Unfortunately, team six felt the agony of defeat.  The banging of the drums and the splashing of oars make for a fascinating racing experience.  I was thrilled to witness this bucket list item. 

After our Sampan ride and dragon boat race, we pulled up to a colossal floating restaurant for a dim sum lunch.  Of all the Asian food I have tasted, Cantonese is most like the Chinese food I enjoy in the States.

After our dragon boat excitement, we dined on dim sum in the Jumbo Boat.

Don't let the dragon scare you, the food was great!

The food was eclipsed by the restaurant decor.  This lobby mural was amazing!

Chris strikes a regal pose in the dining room throne!

It is my belief that all tours require a trip to a tourist trap.  This tour was no exception.  So when our bellies were full of rice, noodles, and egg rolls we headed to the Dynasty Jewellery showroom for some jewelry deals. 

Welcome to Dynasty Jewelry Manufacturers.  One of the most famous jewelry stores in Hong Kong. 
Here is the token worker who shows that all of the jewelry is authentic. 
We get educated on the different one of a kind pieces that Dynasty has to offer.
They almost snagged me with the Year of the Snake flippy charm.  When they told me the price ($100 USD for a silver pendant) I passed.  The company has a strict no bargaining policy.
Before we were carted back to our hotel, we headed to the Stanley Market. 

The Stanley Market reminded me of many Shanghainese markets. 

Overall, it was a fun day.  Gray Line tours exceeded my expectations, and I will use them again.  That evening we ate our traditional Hard Rock Café dinner, and headed back to home sweet Courtyard early.  The next day we were heading to Macau!