Saturday, September 13, 2014

Make It Big

I recently posted a blog on my Facebook that was entirely about Phyllis Neffler's outfits in the 1980's classic film "Troop Beverly Hills". I said it once and I'll say it again- if you haven't seen Troop Beverly Hills, your life is missing something precious. The opening sequence features a song by The Beach Boys called "Make it Big". The song is so spectacularly 80's and it's been stuck in my head since I last watched the film. So like 2 weeks ago. I thought it was a good enough title. Plus, I can't really think of anything better because this post is going to be a bit all over the place. So I'll just use the word "big" as much as possible. Also, it'll be pretty long... so I guess we can just refer to this as "a pretty big post". See what I did there?

After the biggest event of my life, which was blogged about two weeks ago, my new Fiancé and I have done some pretty big stuff. It was Sam's second Monday here and we had slept in far too late. We decided to try out a short hike on Lantau Island near Ngong Ping, which is where the "Big Buddha" is. I've been in Hong Kong for eleven months and never once had the desire to go up to the Buddha because it seemed like an awful lot of walking to see something I didn't care much about. This day was no different. We planned to hike in the area, but not to go to the Buddha. 

My Fiancé is so hot. 

We took the MTR to Tung Chung so we could hop on a bus to Ngong Ping. We ate lunch in Tung Chung and then walked out to the bus stop, only to find out that we had just missed our bus and there wouldn't be another for 45 minutes. Also, did I mention it was freaking hot? Because it was freaking hot. So instead of standing in the heat for 45 minutes, my caring, supportive Fiancé somehow talked me into getting on the cable cars that take us up to the same area. I hate sitting high up in the air for extended periods of time. I hate ferris wheels. I hate bridges. I hate cable cars. This was actually the second time Sam has talked me into getting on such a contraption. The first time was at the San Diego Zoo a year ago. 

The view was fierce and I actually wasn't too uncomfortable with the ride. 
It was much more bearable than that stupid ferris wheel on the Seattle Water Front. 

And there's the Buddha. Also known as "Tian Tan Buddha". It's meant to symbolize the harmony between man and nature. Pictures don't really do it justice. 

We arrived at the top after about 25 minutes on the cable cars. We rode up with two Marines who were stationed in Japan and who didn't seem totally comfortable with telling us they were Marines. We mostly discussed the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington State.

We walked through a tourist area where they sell a bunch of over-priced crap that you can buy in Mongkok for much cheaper. 

We then walked up a crap-ton of stairs. 

We were so excited because we figured we were going to see a really amazing national treasure (not like the Nicolas Cage movie) that was built hundreds of years ago by Chinese men who carried equipment up this giant mountain to build a shrine to their god. 

Nope. It was built in 1993 by a bunch of machines. It's made of bronze and steel and it's featured on a lot of postage stamps. 

After climbing back down, we walked around the shops while we waited for our bus. 

Note: If you damage any of the merchandise with your giant, monstrous, deformed hand, you must repay in full price... and those are my boots. 

There's also a giant Buddhist Temple, but they were doing construction on it. Also, forgive my American ignorance, but I feel like once you've seen one Buddhist Temple, you've seen them all. 

We hopped on our bus and headed to Tai O (a small fishing village on Lantau- featured in one of my previous blog posts. Also known as "The Venice of Hong Kong").

We took a boat tour through the village and then saw a ton of dolphins. I'm not kidding. Normally you go and see maybe one. Sometimes they don't make an appearance at all. We saw four or five and they were going nuts. Did I mention the dolphins here are pink? I wish we had some excellent photos, but we don't. It was far too magical to capture on film. You'll just have to take our word for it. 

We believed the day to be incredibly successful and we enjoyed every minute of it. We returned home from Tai O on a treacherous bus ride where we "saw" some wild cattle. 

On Wednesday, we had a Disney Day! Hooray! 

We rode everything in the park in a matter of an hour or two. Everyone in Hong Kong is back in school, thank Heaven. We even had time for Autopia! And our car made strange sounds every time we pressed on the gas pedal. 

We left around sunset because I can only handle being at work when I don't need to be for so long. 
"Exhausted Sam and Katie" can be seen in photo below. 

On our way home, we witnessed a first on the light rail. 

This guy is plucking his "facial hair" with two one dollar coins. And he thought he was being so sneaky. Gross.

Two nights ago, Sam and I threw a bit of a soiree to celebrate our recent engagement. We kept it very small and intimate, mostly because I don't do well with large groups of people, especially when dining at a restaurant. I ate a steak sandwich, which is totally appropriate when wearing a fancy white dress and bright red lipstick. I'm one classy broad. 

Here's most of the gang. A few left early and people could have maybe been in the bathroom at the time this photo was taken. 

The filter makes us look a little ghostly, but the original was way too dark. 

A large group of us took the bus home together. I've never had a dull moment with the cast of The Festival of The Lion King, and this bus ride was no different. 
We sang. Full volume. Full bus. No apologies. 

The next day, as if we hadn't had enough excitement for one week, we decided to go on a hike. A real hike, this time. We didn't even hike the other day we planned to hike. 

Don't mind my chest zit. I sweat 24 hours a day here. Not good for chacne or bacne. 

Dragon's Back is a hike on Hong Kong Island that basically goes along the top of a majorly huge hill (you can't really call it a mountain. We have mountains in Washington. This was a large hill. A hill with a lot of shrubbery).

We took the MTR to Chai Wan, which from Tin Shui Wai (where we live), is like an hour and a half on the train. We then had some ramen for lunch before walking up a huge concrete hill to get to the beginning of our trek. 

The beginning of our trek was the Cape Collinson Cemetery. 

We climbed a fair amount of stairs through the cemetery, which is built into the hill, and got this shot. The rows of what look like tiny little port-potties are actually rows of grave markers. And there were thousands of them.

A bazillion stairs later we reached the beginning of the Tai Tam Trail which would eventually take us to Dragon's Back. There's another more direct way to do Dragon's Back if you start at Shek O Beach, but apparently, that way takes six hours. We just didn't have that kind of time. 

At this point, we had been traveling for over two hours from the MTR, so we figured another 2 1/2 kilometers wouldn't be so bad. 

The next leg didn't take 75 minutes, like the sign suggests. We took our time through the bushy path because we were concerned about walking our faces through things like this... 

This spider really is as big as you think it is. And this wasn't even the biggest one we saw. 

They're called Silk Orb Weavers, and apparently the species that live here are the biggest spiders in the world. Yeah, you read correctly. They're harmless to humans but we read that they do eat birds and snakes. 

They weave webs that are bigger than human beings and THEY WERE EVERYWHERE. 
This one was about 3 feet wide and 4 feet long. 

After around 2 hours of hiking through the mammoth spider domain, we arrived at the top!

The trail along the top of the mountain was about a half a mile long of this view. 
It was pretty breath-taking and the wind wasn't too bad either. We welcomed it after sweating our faces off down below. 

More stairs. 

At this point it was about six and we were ready to be done. The walk to the end of the trail from top was only like 25 minutes. We know now if we ever want to go back up there, we can just start at the end and then go back the same way again. It would have saved about four hours and we could have avoided the spiders. 

And now, I give you Wong and Poon.

Hong Kong soccer sponsors. 

After finishing this blog, I realized I should have somehow put the word stairs in the title. This blog was mostly about stairs. 

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