woke up to another cold chinese morning on our third day in the modern city of hong kong. (and you thought i was done with my hong kong travelogue, huh? i thought i was too.) after enjoying a warm shower whose comforting benefits were forfeited by the airconditioning system in our tiny room, my sister and i took a train into one of the three main regions of hong kong — new territories — in an area called sha tin, famous for its ten thousand buddhas monastery.
but, of course, before getting there, we just had to get lost first.
because then we found ourselves in po fook hill — a chinese cemetery, except that instead of graves, they have these columbariums (as intelligent as i may sound, i swear this is the first time i came across this word.) where ashes are placed inside the slots. imagine a hill divided into layers and in every layer, they have room after room of, ehem, columbariums there.
very practical, considering the huge amount of space saved. plus, the whole place is clean and quiet too! i noticed there were several caretakers who maintained the cleanliness of the cemetery. they were very hardworking — sweeping and mopping the concrete floors, replacing and arranging the flowers, whatever their job required them to do.
but what amazed me more were the escalators going up po fook hill. escalators! no kidding. pardon my ignorance but i have always associated escalators with indoor uses such as those in malls. so to see outdoor escalators all the way to the top of a hill where people hardly visit, that blew me away. i mean, we’re talking about working escalators here. you can just imagine the amount of electricity those escalators consume in a single day. but that’s probably just me thinking outside the damned box. normal people shut up and enjoy the view.
the view from the top was beautiful, by the way. this is what the city of sha tin looks like, a nice horizon easily afforded by the souls residing at po fook hill.
i met a stray cat at the foot of the hill, by the way. i’m not big on cats but it was cute the way it kept rubbing its furry body on my ankes after circling around me a couple of times. i didn’t know felines do that as a way of leaving their scent; marking their territory. that cat owns me now, i guess, but my heart will always be cassy’s. =)
we finally found the way to the ten thousand buddhas monastery after discovering that we missed its sign by inches. the sign by the main road was a very small one. even ants are likely to miss it. so rather than blaming my sister for not listening to me when i told her i had the feeling po fook hill wasn’t where the ten buddhas were, i just chalked it up as another misadventure spearheaded by her. but seeing po fook hill by accident was nothing compared to seeing an island 1 hour from central still by accident later that day. that last one wasn’t funny anymore. i will let that story rise from its grave soon. for now, let’s chill with these guys:
they say there are more than 10,000 buddhas in the said monastery, which isn’t an actual monastery because you wouldn’t see monks in dull orange robes conversing with one of the 10,000 buddhas there. instead, these are some of the stationary, jaundiced folks who silently greet you at the entrance.
apparently, there are 431 steps to reach the temple. we were probably at the 20th step when we both decided we were too lazy to do the whole shebang. so to make up for our indolence, we appeased the buddhas nearby with the honor of having their photo taken with us.
that seemed to do the trick. well, they looked bored but i didn’t hear them complaining. =)