The highlight of the weekend, in my opinion, was the trip on Sunday to the Big Bad Buddha (BBB), as the boys like to call him. BBB is located at the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island. To get there, we took a cable car accessible off the MTR. It was just like taking the tram at Stowe, except it was way warmer and we didn’t have to wrangle our skis while in ski boots.
After an exhilarating ride over the mountains, with views of the South China Sea, we arrived at a Ngong Ping, the tourist trap village at the exit of the cable cars.* We walked up to the monastery for a quick lunch (and decided that while Buddhist monasteries have the advantage of being all vegetarian, they also have the disadvantage of serving pretty plain food. Probably related to the drive to eliminate all wants. Thus, hitting up any more Buddhist monastery restaurants is not high on our list) and then headed out to see BBB. Pictures can’t really capture how amazing this Buddha statue is. Constructed relatively recently (1993), it’s massive (35m) and dominates the beautiful surroundings. At the same time, one can’t help but feel a sense of peace in contemplating it.
After some quick pictures in front of statues representing the boys’ Chinese zodiac signs (Quin was quite disappointed that the statue for his sign was holding a conch shell as a weapon), we hit the tourist trap village.
We procured cheap wooden swords for the boys; upon removing the sheaths after purchase, we learned that they were so sharp that they could have been used as actual swords to inflict bodily harm. Whoops. As for me, I found exactly what I was looking for: a small white replica of BBB which now sits in our bedroom. While he doesn’t produce the same feelings of serenity that the actual statue did, I’m hoping that in looking at him, I feel less like yelling “Serenity Now” a la Frank Costanza every time the boys are driving me nuts. One can hope right?
* Throughout the cable car ride up, the boys insisted on talking incessantly about what would happen if the cable car crashed. If we crashed over the sea, would there be sharks? Who would the sharks eat first? Would it be better to crash in the sea and be eaten by sharks or in the mountain and smashed to bits? And so on. Try as we might, we couldn’t get them to stop. I felt bad for the other occupants of the car (some of whom spoke English); I sincerely hope that none of them had a phobia around riding in the cable car as the 20 minute journey with our kids must have made it far worse.