Another late start – a bit due to recovery from last night, and the other just to get adjusted. Slept well again – I love Matt’s comforter on the spare bed its nice and cozy and a little more suitable to one person than the giganto one I have at home. Vance and I set off for the Tian Tan Buddha statue at the Po Lin monastery on Lantau Island. We managed to make it to the station and find the bus without too much confusion. Ok there was a bit, but nothing to severe. Being polite, Vance and I selected the two-seat side instead of hogging a three-seat side. Boy did we make a mistake. The bus was a bit cramped and there was not much legroom so when we started up the mountain and the #23 bus became the “Crazy Bus” – weaving in and around corners and crossing one lane bridges and slamming to a stop when other busses or cars approach, we kept hitting our knees. The whole experience on the Crazy Bus was another time on the trip when Vance and I just look at each other and start cracking up. It is a bit of disbelief mixed with Oh My God am I gonna die??
The drive was very scenic in the less scary parts. We passed along the coast; saw some beautiful beaches and the occasional random cow. They are building an aerial tram from the Tung Chung rail station up to the monastery, which will greatly reduce the fun factor getting there (unless of course you have an aversion to aerial trams). It should open in 2006. The Buddha is hard to miss, even though it took us a minute or two of looking around before we saw the giant sculpture on the mountain. It is a sight to behold. I wish the weather were clearer, but still managed to get some good shots. The hike up the stairs was a bit hard on the knees, but I didn’t pass out so all is good. I was amazed at some foreigners who didn’t read the big sign saying “Don’t Throw Coins” and was throwing coins at some of the statues.
We paid to get the full museum experience (but not the dinner) inside the Buddha. At first, I didn’t know what they would put, but actually there were a few mosaics depicting his life as well as a crystal remnant of a Buddha who cremated himself. There was this big glass tray and in it was a spec of crystal. Hard to see due to the large crowd, but impressive nonetheless. From Buddha, we headed down to the Monastery for our free beverage and snack for getting tickets to the museum. It was vegetarian noodles with a sesame thingy that didn’t agree with my palate. Then again, I really am not a fan of Asian cuisine (yes its OK, I am not starving). At the time, I was a bit hungry so I did attempt to try the noodles and such, but nothing really struck my fancy. Vance enjoyed his and then it was time to head back to Crazy Bus. It wasn’t as thrilling the second time, but still a few sphincter-tightening moments. Back at Tung Cheng, there was a mall we hung out to call another Disney CM to arrange my Buzz overview later in the week.
On the MTR line, we decided to make a detour at Penny Bay and take the Disneyland Resort Line to the esplanade outside the park. It was a thrilling moment seeing a new Disneyland for the first time. I took some photos, but the rill thrill will be running down Main Street for the first time. We saw a few of our friends out front dealing with a mini protest, but we made a b-line out of there before it got bigger. You could tell from the Cast Members that they were all excited and couldn’t wait for the big day.
For dinner, we headed to Tsuen Wan to see if we could find the infamous Hello Kitty Cafe. Unfortunately, it was long gone and replaced by this weird fast food restaurant that sold whole ducks skinned. Ewww. Vance picked up some items for our boss at Disneyland at the Sanrio store and then it was back to our favorite Maritime mall at Tsing Ji. By the time we arrived, it was already dinner rush hour so we didn’t get to eat at the Steakhouse. We opted for KFC and it was quite tasty. I felt like a pig since I ordered a lot, but I was H-U-N-G-R-Y. We shopped at some of the stores including Trendyland, which sells just Disney stuff, and they had a cool Buzz clock and other items that I might need to pick up. Vance got a shirt, belt, and pants at this kitsch western store. The electronics store was nothing to behold – I think that some of the shops in the Ladies Market would be more interesting and a better value.
We headed back to the condo and actually made it! Thank goodness we had the business card so I could tell the driver when to stop. We crashed at the pad for the night after I went out and got some water – way too thirsty! Tomorrow it is off to Ocean Park and more socializing and then Tuesday is the big day we get into the park! Yay!