The Big Buddah
Running on three hours of sleep from being jet lagged, my cousin and I forced ourselves out of bed. We’ve been planning on running the Great Wall of China marathon in Beijing. With the race six days away, we started to get ready for a morning run before we let the city of Hong Kong consume us. As I got ready, I found it appropriate to make a cup of coffee to enjoy while looking outside our window.
Once I finished my cup, my cousin and I headed down to the ninth floor. When we walked towards the gym, the first thing we noticed was the pool followed by the incredible view. We entered the gym and chose treadmills that faced the window. Outside the window we saw a remarkable view of Hong Kong Island: the tall buildings surrounded by green valleys in the horizon and the Victoria Harbor below it. This made running five miles pleasant. It only forced me to focus on what was ahead of me, to space out and get lost in my thoughts. Before I knew it, my run was over and we were off to our rooms to get ready for our first actual adventure in Hong Kong.
While we were getting ready we decided that we were going to see the Big Buddah first and then make it all the way to Hong Kong Island to see the skyline from the Peak. As we headed down to the lobby my cousin suggested that we should eat something before we left, so we headed back to the local food street to satisfy our hunger. We walked down the alley, turned the corner, and immediately sat down at the first restaurant we saw.
Quickly looking over the menu I decided to get bbq pork belly with rice and broccoli rabe. I also ordered one salted duck egg and milk tea. Once my food came, I instantly took the egg and put it into my mouth. After that one bite my childhood came rushing in. When I was a little girl, I used to eat salted duck eggs all the time and in that moment it dawned on me how much of an influence the Chinese played in the Philippine’s cuisine. Everything I ate seemed familiar, the flavors, the ingredients, and some of the dishes reminded me of what my mother fed me growing up.
After we finished our lunches we headed to the hotel to grab an umbrella. Heading towards the MTR station (Hong Kong’s subway system) the sky slightly started to drizzle. We got onto the subway and headed to the Big Buddah. On our way to Lantau, we caught glimpses of beautiful views of the city from different angles. The many hills of the valley were being hugged by the clouds and the sky remained grey. It was as if the sun and the rain wanted to come out and play, but they never came.
Finally arriving to our destination we found ourselves looking for a bus to take us to our final destination. The cable car up to the Buddah was under maintenance so we had to find another source of transportation. We finally found the correct bus only to find out they only accepted cash and they couldn’t give you change.
My cousin and I looked at each other, then looked at the guy. He pointed us into the direction of where we had to go to get change: to the place we came from. We walked back to where we started. In this heat and this humidity, our way back seemed like an eternity. My cousin wasn’t a fan of this situation, but I found this comical, another story to add onto the book of epic fails. Finally with the correct amount of change, we headed back to the bus and hopped on board.
This ride up took about 30 minutes, but it was well worth it. The views we had on the way up were breath taking. We drove in between the beautiful lush green valley and along the Ma Wan Channel and the South China Sea. In every direction we looked at, it was always scenic. After driving by many little islands , we started entering the center of the valley and started to climb up. As I looked straight ahead I had to remind myself that the driver’s side was on the left. It was all unfamiliar to me, so it threw me off at times. I panicked a little because the driver didn’t stop for anything and made quick sharp turns. It almost felt like a ride I would have rode in an amusement park.
After passing several cows and smaller villages on the way up, we finally found ourselves in Lantau at the entrance of the Big Buddah, which you could see in the distance. As we followed the path towards the buddah, I noticed there were twelve statues that led up to it: one for each hour of the day. Ahead of us were many yellow and red flags blowing in the wind and on the right were many steps that we had to climb to make it to the top.
My cousin and I walked to the top slowly. At this point it started to rain more, which I enjoyed because I learned how to dance in it, to explore, to embrace it. Once we made it to the top, the view was outstanding. All you see is hills covered in green with little houses, the sea, and an array of people walking all over the park. I let the wind play with my hair and kept climbing further. I stopped, took a deep breath and I closed my eyes, then I opened them. At that moment I remembered a quote I heard on my flight to Hong Kong, “put your life in the way of beauty.” I did just that, I’ve been doing that. With every moment of my life, I put my life in the way of beauty and my life is beautiful because of it.