Monks as monkeys and forgotten rainbows

Trip Start Feb 18, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Red-eye on Cebu Pacific

Flag of China  ,
Monday, February 22, 2010

We head over to Kowloon park for a lazy morning before we start our day.  We see the elderly doing Tai-Chi.  I donate my winter coat from NY.  We sit by the aviary and I check my e-mail and realize that, ''Oh sh*t!! Our flight to the Philippines is not tomorrow, it's tonight at 1am!'' I guess I got confused because it is a red-eye flight.  Who knows what was going on in my jet-lagged brain but at least I realized it now and not tomorrow night after we already missed the flight.  We now have to readjust our minds and bodies to be ready to leave tonight.  We were supposed to go the the health clinic tomorrow to get the second dose of our Japanese Encephalitis vaccine, so I have to call them and reschedule for today which thankfully was easy to do. We go get our vaccine (although its not the second dose we thought we would be getting, but rather just a one-shot much cheaper deal).

Because the flight isn't until much later, we keep our plans to visit the Ten thousand Buddhas monastery in ShaTin.  This is in the new territories which is a bit further out there and a lot more rural.  After we got off the train we had no idea which direction to head in, but miraculously after a few minutes of wandering, we find ourselves on the right path.  It must have been the Buddhas helping us.

As we walk up the many steps toward the monastery we are accompanied by life-size, gold-painted statues of monks (or buddhas) on each side.  Each one is unique with an expression and pose all his (or her) own.  At the ''top'' (there were still many more stairs to go) was the main temple with the walls completely covered all the way up to the ceiling with small Buddha statues.  It was quite a sight and I'm not sure if even the pictures can describe the feeling inside.  Up more stairs with more statues, we run into some wild monkeys.

Yes! Wild macaques are swinging around on bamboo in the surrounding forest, jumping from statue to statue, stealing the fruit offerings that people have left.  Could these be reincarnated monks looking after their monastery?

Up top there are more, smaller structures that hold the ashes of random deceased people who have paid a nice$price to rest here.  Each little Buddha is painted on a door that opens on to a panel with the persons name, picture, and some descriptive writing that I don't understand.

And up at the very top at the base of a small waterfall, is a gigantic white sculpture of Guan Yin, the goddess of Mercy.

After taking the bus and train back towards our hood (a getting a little lost), we sit in Kowloon Park one last time before packing up our bags.  While packing I discover that I seem to have forgotten my rainbows (my favorite flip flops)! I can't find them anywhere in my backpack, D'oh! Oh well  :(

We get to the airport around midnight (and pretty tired at this point), which is totally empty considering its one of the largest and busiest airports in the world. Board our flight on Cebu Pacific and take off to the Philippines....

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