Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Where's my goddamn escalator?

At some point in the last 23 months, someone told me there was a big Buddha statue up on a mountain in Hong Kong that you can visit, and someone else independently told me Hong Kong was home to the world's longest escalator. I assume that's what happened anyway, but for some reason or other (wishful thinking or idiocy - probably a sprinkling of both) I'd been convinced for some time that these entities were one and the same.

Needless to say, as someone who had a genuine passion for escalators in his youth, I was pretty excited when I had the opportunity to visit this tantalising attraction myself, and crestfallen to discover I was absurdly wrong.

It was only when I got about half-way along the satisfyingly long, multi-tiered cable car ropeway to the mountain village of Ngong Ping (where the Buddha lives) that I realised how impossible an escalator would be in this situation, and how ridiculous I must have sounded when I arrived at Tung Chung station, disappointed to see no signs directing me to the escalator and getting my friend to translate 'escalator' into Cantonese to baffled silence. Oh well, the cable car ride was pretty good. Actually, it was ace.

Ngong Ping 360

'Maybe that's the start of the escalator?' Dave genuinely wondered

In my defence, I was picturing a shorter distance up a single slope, rather than the 5.7-kilometre (3.5-mile) aerial voyage that would take the best part of a day by moving stairs

'Maybe that's your escalator,' you could sarcastically quip.
Yeah, yeah - at least the prospect of that fabled escalator waiting somewhere in Hong Kong gives me something else to look forward to

These hikers have my respect. If I was alone on this Hong Kong trip, rather than uncharacteristically having company, I would have considered joining them
(if only to avoid paying)

Though I have to admit, soaring silently over their sweaty heads by capsule was pretty exhilarating. The journey took a satisfying 25 minutes each way, as each mountain we passed over revealed another stretch

I was wondering when he'd show up

Why do they need that second clause? Who's been trying to sneak cows onto the cable car?

Ngong Ping Village

The frustrating-to-pronounce Ngong Ping and Po Lin Monastery. Yes, that is Po as in the red Teletubby, who genuinely spoke in Cantonese sometimes, despite having the same speech impediments as the others when it came to simple English phrases like 'eh-oh.' What do you mean I was surely too old to have been watching that show by the time it came out?

I liked how this was called the Fun Walk.
Hong Kong people really know how to have fun

I liked the bumper size joss sticks too

I understand the tradition of leaving food offerings for these deities, but happy facer biscuits seem somehow inappropriate. Unless this god insists on them.
None of your malted milk crap!

I was still holding out hope that there might be an escalator up to Tian Tan Buddha himself,
but alas

I am somewhere in this picture

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