Dialog in the Dark

One of the most interesting attractions we visited was Dialog in the Dark. Dialog in the Dark” is an awareness raising exhibition where blind guides lead visitors in small groups through different settings in absolute darkness. Through this visitors learn how to interact without sight by using their other senses, as well as experience what it is like to be blind.

The exhibition offers the exhibition as well as business workshops, and has created jobs for the blind, disabled, and disadvantaged worldwide. The exhibition aims to change mindsets on disability and diversity, and increase tolerance for “otherness”. Since its first opening in 1988 over six million visitors from more than 25 countries have experienced Dialogue in the Dark, which has provided over 6,000 blind people jobs.

After the exhibition, we stopped and enjoyed some local authentic Cantonese cooking.

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Che Kung Temple at Sha Tin

We were able to see many religious temples this years tour.  This one in Sha Tin was very interesting.  This temple located in the Tai Wai area of Sha Tin honors Che Kung, a  military commander of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279) whose advantageous  power for suppressing uprisings and plagues made him a household name. In  popular folklore, it’s said that Che Kung escorted the Song dynasty’s last  emperor on his escape to Sai Kung in what is now called the New Territories. His  achievements led to him eventually becoming revered as a god.

The original temple was built here around 300 years ago in a desperate move  to stop an epidemic that was spreading across the Sha Tin area. According to  legend, the epidemic began to subside on the day construction was completed. The  structure you see today was erected in 1993 to accommodate the increasing number  of worshippers during Che Kung’s festival, which happens on the second day of  the Chinese New Year.

See http://www.discoverhongkong.com for more information on this temple.

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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: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/ for more information on the Jade market area.

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