Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Visit to (Hong Kong) Kowloon, Sham Shui Po, Chi Lin Nunnery with Daughter Paige Post 3 of 10

More today from the journals of Daughter Paige, who is currently living in New Territories (near Hong Kong) and attending school in Kowloon. All photography by Paige.

Kowloon, Sham Shui Po, Chi Lin Nunnery from Paige's Journal

I have found my favorite spot in Sham Shui Po today.  I normally don’t feel inspired, or even anything about Kowloon.  It’s the island where my school is located. I’ve discovered an amazing dumpling place down the street, plus a good bubble tea/juice stand.

 The school building is in a poor, crowded, working class neighborhood.  That means a lot of people, lots of bad smells, but tons of amazing family restaurants right off the street, and lots of street food venders.  You can find just about any food.  

On my way to the MTR (transport), or walking to the street market, you’ll pass vendors selling whole fried cuttlefish, fried fish balls, full glazed pigs/chickens/duck, anything, even squid on a stick.  It’s completely common to go to restaurants and see on the menu: pork knuckles, pork ears, tongue, tripe, chicken feet, and pork cartilage.  It’s quite amazing.

 I’m a cowardly eater, which really disappoints me sometimes.  I honestly wish I could get a bowl of tripe and rice or shark fin soup (although unethical).  I at one point in time was holding a chicken’s foot with my chopsticks, examining it, trying to get the courage to bite off the skin from the bone, but I couldn’t do it.  I blame it on the prior dim sum I had that afternoon.  It was the undercooked beef meatball that made any food seem unappetizing.  I did however eat my first cartilage (it was unintentional for it was in a dumpling) but nonetheless, I’m proud of the achievement.

It’s not the food that has me excited, even though I found an amazing beef and egg breakfast sandwich this morning.  It’s a temple that’s around the corner from the restaurant.  I’ve been in 4 or 5 other Buddhist temples in the last week.  What I love about this temple is its ambiance. 

The first temple/nunnery I visited is at Diamond Hill in Kowloon.  Its proper name is the Chi Lin Nunnery.  It is a very interesting place.  It is the first Buddhist temple I had been to.  It is beautiful.  It looks very expensive and extremely well maintained.  There is a huge garden on the way in.  The buildings were built using ancient building techniques, too.  No nails were used.  They constructed the buildings using intricate and amazing leverage techniques.  There are also gorgeous lotus ponds.  After walking through the garden and courtyard we got to the actual temple area.  It’s made up of a courtyard with many buildings.  Inside each building there is an opening with statues of different Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas, offerings and incense. 

Unfortunately, I don’t understand much about Buddhism.  There are ten (to controversially 12) different kinds of Chinese Buddhism.  Probably the most fascinating element of this nunnery is its placement in the city.  There are quite a few points where you can see the traditional architecture with the contemporary Hong Kong skyline behind it.  The contrast of these two worlds is pretty magnificent.

Chi Lin Nunnery is very well taken care of. In my opinion, that almost makes it boring.  I tend to be drawn away from the groomed and attracted to the gritty.  Gritty to me means average, everyday, and mundane to the majority of people.  I find these places to represent reality better than a wealthy, polished facility.


A lotus pond



Thank you to Paige for sharing some of her photos and journal excerpts with us. 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. 


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Susan said...

I read your blog every day as one of my little pleasures. I am enjoying Paige's sections too.

The Prude said...

This is fascinating! The contrast between the temple and the skyscrapers an unexpected delight.
The incense photo is gorgeous (well, they all are)
But now you have me really wanting to see some of those gritty temples etc. from your perspective.
Thanks Paige!!!!!

Lori Lipsky said...

Susan--Thanks for the sweet note. How nice to hear it is a pleasure for you.

Prude--I'll make sure Paige sees your note. Her favorite is the incense photo (did I share that already?) so she'll be glad to hear you like it.

Suef said...

I enjoyed reading this and enjoyed looking at the photos! Thanks Paige!