Well, popping back to the hotel for the map was a good idea, actually, because our onward journey by MTR was a little complicated.
Not that there wasn’t a great choice of where to sit when we got on the train, though! We were going some distance so were pleased to sit down. The next two trains we caught weren’t quite so empty, however.
We were heading for the Nan Lian Garden, a haven of peace in a busy urban sprawl according to our guidebook.
Well, the entrance underneath a noisy dual carriageway was a little daunting, but as soon as we went through the garden gate, we entered a different world.
Several families and a few couples were here too, but the gentle, relaxed atmosphere was in stark contrast to everywhere else here in Hong Kong.
On a warm and sunny afternoon, the colour of the bougainvilleas was glorious and don’t they look good trimmed into those “cloud” shapes?
Now and again, we’d turn a corner and come across the most beautiful vista, made more individual by the contrast of those tower blocks behind it.
The textures created by the planting were incredible and it was easy to see how this garden had become so cherished.
Time for a drink, then, and a short stop in the snack bar where this slightly exaggerated claim was to be found on a bottle of aloe and coconut water. After a quick mooch around the gift shop (one small purchase), we moved on to the next stop – right next door.
The Chi Lin Nunnery is a series of Buddhist temples arranged around two quadrangles. The first had four beautiful pools with fountains and lotus flowers amongst those potted trees.
The colours of the flowers glowed in the afternoon sunshine and were so abundant, it was hard to stop taking photographs and move on.
There was a fair bit of inspiration around and about too, bearing in mind one travellers blanket which remains to be started once I get home. But we were getting tired and we had another couple of places to see on the way back to Central so rather than linger longer, we hopped on the MTR again and one stop along, got off at Wong Tai Sin to visit the temple there.
As colourful as any similar temple in the world, this one was busy, it being Saturday afternoon and families were gathering to pay their respects and make one or two requests of the Gods, because it is said that here, they are not only heard but many wishes are granted.
For additional luck, people were crowding around to pat the dragon’s nose on their way in.
Yes, of course I did!
Though it was really too busy to take many photographs, in some quieter areas there were a few photogenic corners.
In this quiet side chapel, no-one was around so I didn’t feel too bad about taking a photo of the joss sticks burning.
The lanterns always make for a great picture, with the tags swaying in the breeze.
Of course, the real star is the temple itself, with the brightly coloured woodwork. This palette of colours is so very characteristic and I love it!
Time to move on, then, but one essential visit for me is to the stalls outside, selling the temple goods. I’m not sure I want to buy anything in particular, I’m fairly sure I still have a heap of joss paper at home from a previous visit but that red, those golden twinkles and the chinese knots and tassels really demand to be seen at close quarters, I think.
One young woman caught my eye and I spotted some folded papers in her basket, folded wishes for specific requests to the Gods. They cost just pennies, so I picked out one for my journal before spotting another one which made me laugh so much, I had to buy it as well. Now, this young woman had done this before and produced a pen and two red envelopes. No English spoken, but she made it clear that unless I wrote down which was which now, by the time I came to use them, I’d have forgotten which one to use when. So, I noted on the flap of the envelope that this particular folded request was for success at work, for good business and profits.
I could hardly write the second one for laughing – yes, I copied it word for word from her very serious translation! Thankfully, I don’t need that one right now, but who knows, it might come in handy one day
Now, we haven’t done yet, we’ve still got another stop on the MTR to make, but I’ll leave the details of that until tomorrow morning. Here in Hong Kong, it’s almost bedtime and we’ve just returned from another great dinner. The thing is, I don’t wear my green ice watch that often and I felt sure it wasn’t five past four in the restaurant – more like five past eight. So, then, where in the world was it five past four?!
Ellis, both Marys and Diana, we were thinking of you whilst you were tucked up in your beds early this morning. Yes, the last time I wore my green ice watch was in your company!
So, time for bed and in the morning, I’ll tell you about the last stop on our Saturday exploration of Hong Kong, I promise.