Lantau Island and The Great Buddha

One of the most popular religious sites to visit is the giant Buddha on Lantau Island.  We take a glass bottomed cable car up to the monastery and spend the day climbing the steps to see the giant Buddha.  Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha, is a large bronze statue of a Buddha Amoghasiddhi, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong, China. It is the largest outdoor bronze statute of Buddha in the world!  The statue is located near Po Lin Monastery and symbolizes the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion. It is a major center of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and is also a popular tourist attraction

This day we were also able to see a real martial arts demonstration by shaolin monks as well as spend some quiet time leaning about tea during a private educational session.

I was even able to step in and have the honor of serving tea to some of the students!

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Tang Dynasty Garden

Students visited the Tan Lin Garden in the Diamond Hill section of Kowloon.  The gardens were built in the Tang Dynasty style of timber and garden construction.  It is built next to the Chi Kin Nunnery and is an icon of style and beauty which offers a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The ancient landscape is adorned with springs, hillocks, trees, flowers plants, pavilions, paths, bridges and an all vegetarian restaurant.  Students took plenty of pictures and enjoyed a much needed rest.

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Jade Market and the Art of the Haggle

Professor Saravara took students to the Jade market and Temple Street area.  Here one can look through thousands of jade items and haggle for the “right” price.  The Chinese character for jade is a combination of the words for beauty and  purity.  Jade has been long associated with long life and good health in Chinese  culture, making it a prized material for good-luck charms.

In Hong Kong, the jade business is most active at the Jade Market in Kowloon.  While there’s been a lot of redevelopment in the area in recent years, some  vestiges of its past have been saved, such as the colonial-era police station!  The most common items to be poked through are  jade accessories, including rings, bangles, pendants and earrings, but expect to  come across some more unusual finds as well.

See: for more information on the Jade market area.

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Business and Security Managers at HSBC Bank

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Here are some pictures from our tour of HSBC Bank’s main branch in Hong Kong known as “the robot”.  I have several contacts at HSBC who each year are willing to take students on a tour of the facility and explain the intricacies of financial institution security.  This year we were able to stop in and see a personnel training session in progress, and interact with  managers about issues such as personnel security and safety, protester management practices, CPTED, client privacy, and general employee management principles.

Later, we discuss our findings and compare them with the principles and practices employed in the US.

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Arrival at City University of Hong Kong

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We arrived at the University late on Tuesday after a layover in Heathrow International Airport in London.  The new route worked out well and offered the least amount of flight time which helped all involved to minimize jet lag.

Here is the entrance to the University which is locaced in Kowloon.  Students are excited to check in and start our cultural excursions.

International Supermarket Tour

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Here is a picture of some of this year’s group getting a tour of one of the largest local international/Asian supermarkets in Quincy called Kam Man.  The market place offers a full service kitchen with fresh duck and chicken served and cut to order.  In addition, there is a TCM pharmacy, fresh seafood in tanks, thousands of different spices and products as well as a bakery.  I like to spend time walking through the supermarket with students sharing all I know about Chinese culture, products,cooking, and herbal medicines.

Funny Advice

It’s always important to inject a dose of humor into international travel.  I recently came across this funny picture from a service called “ifunny”  which demonstrated a situation where someone left their Facebook account open on their phone as it was going security at an airport.  A humorous but poignant reminder to secure your electronics!