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08(01), 07(03), 06(03), 05(02), 04(02), 03(02)
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11(01), 10(02), 09(15), 08(01), 07(02), 06(04), 04(12), 01(06)
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07(01), 05(01)
08(01)
10(01)

Tue, 29 Sep 2009
hongkong, day 07 (0 comments)
went to McDonald's to have my breakfast on day day 07. inside the restaurant sat an very old woman who soon started to talk to me (in perfect british english, though she was asian). we were talking a while, then she started palm-reading of my hand (of course not for free, but less than a "professional" one would charge). actually what she told me was all kind of stuff she could have guessed by just observing me and talking to me for a few minutes (which she actually did). but a little pushing for the ego is never a bad idea. so i enjoyed listening to all the stuff like i'm intelligent, wise (she might be assuming this by our previous conversation we had), i'm artistically gifted (though i wonder how she found out this one. maybe because of my huge camera bag?), and i will marry at an old age (well i am travelling alone and i'm not 20 anymore), i have a well going career in my job (yes, at least i can afford a stay in hong kong for a longer time), and i'm rather observing and introverted than extroverted (well, yop, she was talking most of the time), i'm friendly and open minded (yop, again, that's why i want to visit "exotic" countries and have dread locks). and so on... but all in all this was a very nice chat with the old lady, who unfortunately refused my plea to take a picture of her. when i left McDonald's it had surprisingly stopped raining. so i changed my plans, and instead of walking through malls or museums, i went to see the "po fuk shan" cemetery and the "man fat sze" temple (aka "the temple of ten thousand buddhas"). to get there i took the MTR and got of at "sha tin". right above the station is a huge mall[013-018]. outside the mall there's a small "snoopy's world"[001-012] park for kids. due to the rain it was actually empty and most of the fair-things were closed anyway. cute to see all the peanuts in 3D and this size.
then i headed on to the "po fuk shan" cemetery[019-063]. the cemetery is huge and has several levels[056,060] that spread all over the hill. at the main hall there was some ceremony[045] going on, but i have no idea what it was for. then i found the usual stuff like golden statues[046,051-052,058-059,061-062] in temples or outside. all those buildings (that could be closed like garages or shops) contained loads of marble plates[055], and there were thousand of them. each of them for one or more relatives.
going back downhill all the cemetery to the main entrance again to get to the next sight, namely "the temple of the ten thousand buddhas", or "man fat sze"[067-175]. although a steep climb up to the monastery it was totally worth it. what you get is really several thousand buddhas. be it life-sized ones on the trail up/down to/from the monastery[067-092,134-142,173], or miniatures [121-131] inside the main temple. this was my first real WTF? experience in hong kong. the temple is really awesome. three walls all filled up with tiny buddha-statues. then there's a smaller glass case[130] again with several hundred buddhas inside. and then there are those three cones[129] with small buddhas inside too. so adding up all those buddhas that might really make it to ten thousand. totally impressive and fascinating. please note that all the life sized buddhas were unique. also most of the ones placed in the walls and in the cone were unique. i wish someone would have made such a temple with cats. wooooo, ten thousand cats - i would die in aweness instantly.
the trail is not finished yet at the main temple. instead again a steep walk up to another temple (or whatever it is/was) again with life sized and coloured statues to each side of the path [135-142].
at the end i found some abandoned buildings[145-153] again (yuhu!) and it seems i found the place where they repair the broken statues. at least some of the ones standing up there were (partially) damaged or disassembled. i'm still not sure if this was really meant for the public or if i took a wrong turn somewhere. the place was a mess, but i totally liked it. but, you might have guessed it, this was still not the end of the path. again up the hill i ended at a statue garden[161] and a huge white statue[162-163] with a lovely dragon[164] in front of a waterfall. totally impressive and nice. but this time, this was really the highest point one could go.
since i left the main temple i was totally alone (and on the way up to the courtyard i saw only about five people all in all). i explored the abandoned houses again on my way down, when i noticed it was only 15 minutes left until the temple closes. i saw gates along the way up. so i hurried to not end up locked in this place. but... ahm... too late. all gates were already closed. the only being here besides me was a barking dog. but it ran some other way (actually i was quite glad about that). so i was locked in, totally alone, and it got darker every minute. great. since i've seen a way i have not walked yet when i was wandering the courtyard i decided to exit there so that at least i would not miss something important just because i was locked in. it turned out to be a good choice because the barbwire at exactly this exit was pretty lose, so i could partially remove it, and then hop over the fence to land safely about two metres lower. puh, lucky me. down the way were another few hundred buddhas[173]. once more totally nice. oh, and i saw another cat [176].
i wanted to go home since i really was tired now from all the climbing. but the day was not over yet. i got on a MTR train and thought "oh, this train cabin looks so different. so few people and... hm... what does this sign say? first class'? aha, interesting.". so i thought i'm wrong here, and wanted to get off again when suddenly three MTR-employees were going to each passenger asking them to put their octopus-card on some card reader. so did i. then the guy told me i did not pay for first class. ahm... yop, i never intended to go on first class. well, we got off the next station and he explained to me that i have to enable my octopus card for a first class ride before i get on the train. fines may be up to 500HKD (~50EUR) if you don't do so. damn. then he asked for an ID. but i had none, since my wallet got wet the day before so i left it at home so it could get dry. also this was illegal. fines here could rise even higher he told me. well... guess i looked so totally exhausted and tired that this really nice and kind MTR guy said i get a warning and do not have to pay. guess my apologies and surprised looks were convincing him that i really did not know better. so he showed me where to charge my card so i could go on first class. pretty expensive actually, but i was very willing to pay only the extra charge instead of the fines. as a sign of good will on my side (though no one noticed that since the MTR guys already left the station for some other trains) i travelled the rest of my way home in second class trains (though it was charged for first one for this trip). quite exciting day... if only the fortune teller lady would have told me that in the morning...

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