Day 56 Feb 29 (Hong Kong day 2 - Happy Leap Day!!)

Breakfast on Lido

8:30 Met Anita and Claire on the gangway for our self guided excursion. Anita had checked into how we could get to Lantau where there is a cable car that takes you up to a large Buddha. We had quite a nice adventure. The directions Anita had provided two ways to get there so we decided to go over one way and return the other. Despite some early uncertainty involving underground routes we got to the cable car via a couple of metro trains and enjoyed the trip. The cable car took us to the village which has sprung up around the Buddha. This village has an Imax theater and a walk through museum as well as a number of restaurants and souvenir shops. We had lunch and then went to see the Buddha. There are two hundred and seventy two steps to the top level where the Buddha sits. Anita had to wait at the bottom. Her knees aren't up to such a climb. Claire and I made it fine. We took lots of pictures and returned to the bottom where Anita waited in just over a half hour. We even stopped to buy an ice cream under the Buddha.

The return involved a city bus down a very windy somewhat narrow road. The excitement never ends on this trip! No harm no foul right? We then took a ferry from Lantau to Hong Kong Island. There we decided to go up to the top of Victoria Peak again because Anita had bought some T-shirts yesterday which were too small and wanted to get bigger ones. A cab to the Finicula and up we went. Claire had not done this yesterday so it was all new to her. Anita and I were old hands. Actually Anita had been to Hong Kong before and had lived here I believe. After the shirt business we returned down via the Finicula and taxied back to the pier where we took the Star Ferry to Kowloon. A quick stop in a drugstore and back to our home away from home, the Amsterdam.

We had dinner and went to the show. This was a collection of short acts from Hong Kong. There was a pianist and a stringed instrument player (don't ask me what the instrument was, it was not a standard orchestral one - definitely a Chinese invention). Then a dragon show where they had a dragon which was at least twice the width of the stage. Many men in black with poles attached to the dragon danced it around in ways which defied the imagination. The lights were low except for black light which made the dragon flouresce. Really a neat effect. After the dragon there was a guy who wore traditional robes and danced around with a variety of objects and changed masks seemingly by magic. He must have gone through about 20 masks and we could not see him change them. Very impressive.

We were scheduled to debark at 11 PM and were told there would be a special show put on including a 75 foot dragon and lions on the roof of the adjacent terminal building. Claire and I went to Anita and Jack's cabin which happened to be in a good spot to view the show. It was pretty nice. I don't think too many people are sent off by a dragon and lions. It was nice. We all waved to the dancers and drummers as the ship pulled out blowing it's horn (whistle, whatever you call it on a ship). It made for a nice farewell to a town we all agreed was a very special place.

After we had left the dock I went to 6 forward where I had learned to stargaze quite a few weeks ago. From there I took some video of the harbor as we sailed away.

When I returned to my room I found yet another gift! This one is a very nice duffel bag with a collapsable handle and wheels. The card said it was to hold all the gifts we had received so far. I'm hoping for a car on my bed one of these nights! LOL!

We gain an hour tonight. That will make us exactly 12 hours ahead of EST. I guess that means we are half-way around the world in at least one way.

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