The large pretzel jar was labeled “Disney World or Bust” and was almost filled to the top with coins. My family had been saving for our family trip for two years and we knew this Christmas would be the grand announcement…….or so we thought.
On Christmas day my dad handed my sister and I a large flat present to open. It was a picture but not one we recognized. It was a photo of large city surrounded by water taken from top of a large mountain. A poem was written on the picture that gave us the clue. We were going to Hong Kong!
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to have the opportunity to travel overseas to the country with the largest population of people in the world. My dad had traveled for many years for his company and now he was excited to share some of those experiences he had with us.
We had eight months to plan for our trip and it seemed like forever. The anticipation was so great that I could not sleep the night before we left. Little did I know just how long eighteen hours on a Boeing 747 jet could really be. I had plenty of time to catch up on my sleep.
For the next ten days I filled my memory with so many new and wonderful experiences. We had the best room at the Salisbury Hotel on the top floor overlooking Victoria Harbor. What a beautiful sight at night with a light show every single day. I was so amazed at the number of people that walk the streets of Hong Kong all day and night. There was so much traffic and many beautiful cars. The streets were filled with high end designer shops with all the famous brand names of Gucci, Prada, Coach, Versace, and more! I thought I was in heaven.
I learned about mass transit and how efficient the subway system quickly moves people in and around Hong Kong. I learned about land reclamation and how they built up the coastline of Hong Kong Island to build skyscrapers, office buildings and hotels. But the most interesting aspect of my trip was taking the Ngong Ping 360 cable car from Hong Kong to Lantau Island were the Big Buddha resides. Being there and walking up those 240 steps (which I counted) and seeing the size of the Buddha made me understand the long and great history of the Buddhist religion and what it meant to the Chinese people.
I have so many great memories of visiting Hong Kong and China. Experiencing the culture, the food, and the customs was such a life experience that I will take with me forever. I hope someday I have another opportunity to share those experiences with my children.
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