The fortune teller
Trip Start Oct 08, 2007
110Trip End Dec 16, 2008
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Wong Tai Sin temple is right off the metro station, literally - one of the exits leads into it. I am a bit taken aback as I exit. I had for some reason imagined that the train will spit me out into a quaint little village with a marvelous old temple on a hill. Some times you'd think I'd never left the hood. Why would anyone build a metro station in a village? I am in the middle of a full blown city jungle and about to enter a very clean new temple that looks like every other Chinese pagoda I've seen. How exactly is it Daoist? It is filled with old people walking around holding with both hands bunches of smoking inscent sticks. The air is choky.
I find the main hall. Instead of praying, or maybe perhaps while praying, 20-25 women are kneeling on yellow leather pillows and shaking up and down metal cans filled with bamboo sticks. Not a single guy in sight. Guys play poker, women go to fortune tellers. It is all good. I take a can with sticks from the Welcome counter and feeling a bit self-conscious kneel on a pillow. No one cares as all are focused on their own fortunes. When couple of sticks finally slip up and fall out, I write down the numbers of the sticks (conveniently provided in English as well) and head for the exit hoping to find someone who would tell me what it all means.
By the exit an old Chinese guy takes the piece of paper from my hand and browses through a board covered with hundred pink slips pads with Chinese writings. Eventually, he hands me two little pink slips - here is your fortune. Can someone translate?, I ask. He doesn't really speak English, but the question is obvious. He waves me to follow him. We walk into a long corridor that resembles a shopping mall, except instead of shops, the two sides of the mall are lined with small fortune telling booths. Eventually, we arrive at a booth of a middle-aged Chinese woman. She looks like a lady that knows her staff. I wish I could say she is chain smoking, for she looks like the chain smoking type, but she isn't. I think it is the burning inscent that makes the air heavy.
I sit at a small stool opposite her desk and give her my two fortunes.
"Did you make a wish?", she asks.
"Yes, aha, I did", I answer.
"Okay, let's see. Oh, it is not going to become true. Very difficult."
"Oh! How about the second fortune?", I ask with disappointment.
"No, not this one either. Is it the same wish? Oh, too bad, it is not going to happen"
"Why" I ask as if she is responsible for my wish not becoming true.
"You see, she says, these are two poems. One is about a guy who wants to go back to where he grew up, so he can rest from his life. But when he goes back, he realizes that there is something missing. He is not happy. The second poem is about a girl that gets married into a foreign land, but she misses her family. She is not happy. Very sorry, but your wish is not going to happen."
Yho, what happened to "all the fortunes told at Wong Tai Sin are favorable", quote unquote the Lonely Planet. I'm disappointed.
"I can read your palm", she says. "For you - not very expensive. I give you a discount"
A-ha! Bingo! I bargain a bit, but not too much. Would you bargain too hard before you had your hair cut? See, I have similar considerations.
She takes my palm and says right away - "I'm no worried about your work. You make money easy and spend easy. Anything you do, you will be successful - you can be a professional girl - accountant, banker, analyst (Yes, she actually says the world "analyst". One must cater to ones clients, I suppose. After all, this is HK - full of finance professionals), or you can start business, or even be an artist." It seems like she's really hot on my business prospects. "Now, your family life - not so good. But good think you didn't marry young - you would be twice married (divorced and remarried, that is). For you, the later you marry, the better. You are too stubborn and have bad temper some times. Have to learn to keep your temper down. But don't you worry, you will marry and have 2 or 3 childs, and, oh, see here this line - it means your husband will be gorgeous."
"Oh, really" I say "will he be rich as well?"
"No, not really rich when you marry. No poor, but no rich either. But you'll bring him luck. He will become rich after he marries you."
"Well, who cares if he is rich as long as he is gorgeous." I say and then hit her with another question: "Younger or older?"
"Younger or older what?" she asks.
"My husband, will he be younger or older than me?"
"Older", she is very confident in her answer.
"Oh no, but I don't like old man" I whine, as if I'm negotiating my fortune. What I really mean is - I don't like mushy, chubby, chain-smoking, beer drinking lads that like sports on TV only and look like, hum, look like old man.
Comically, my remark flips her off. She's just told me that I'll have a great success in business, marry a gorgeous guy, have 3 kids and become rich, yet I'm complaining. She almost stomps her foot:
"But you need an older guy. You are nothy. You need someone to keep you put. Now, do you have any questions?"
"Yes" I say "which country will I live in". This is admittedly the question that bothers me the most lately.
"Ah, to tell you country, I have to read birth date. That will cost you more of course."
"Mmm, I gave you all my money already. I guess I'll have to wait and see"
"Okay then. One think to remember is that you should not live in you place of birth. It is good luck for you to live far from where you were born." Now, that is an interesting though. Finally, I have a valid excuse for wandering around the world. I leave the temple with empty pockets but in a great mood. Thanks God there is an ATM at the train station.
WORLD CHANGE STARTS WITH EDUCATED CHILDREN! Give a girl the life long gift of education! Support my appeal 100 GIRLS BACK TO SCHOOL! Donate at: www.justgiving.com/100GirlsBackToSchool
Hugs & Kisses, Vik