A Nostalgic Stop in HK Before Heading Home

After Beijing I arrived in Hong Kong to pick up my HK ID card, which will allow me much easier access when I travel to China in the future. I also like to pause before going home to revisit the entire trip in my mind and cover whatever loose ends I may have left along the way. As it turned out, I was stuck in HK awhile, as I was not able to get on my scheduled flight to Taipei and the oolong teas of Taiwan.

I used to live within walking distance of the famed Temple Street, where vendors sell everything from underwear to phony Rolexes. Some of the best meals Grace and I ever had were here, where street vendors and small eateries abound. Temple Street was named for Tin Hou (Queen of the Heavens) temple. During the 1800s, this area was near the shoreline and Tin Hou was known to protect fishermen and sailors. Eventually a temple was built and Tin Hou has resided here for over a century. While Temple Street has grown and changed, her temple has not. I also visited a medicinal herbal tea shop. They don't sell real tea, only bitter herbal formulas. I always say that if you can drink these bitter beverages with gusto, you deserve to get better!

I also visited the famous Wong Tai Sin (Great Immortal Wong) temple. In Chinese mythology Wong Tai Sin is not one of the most noted immortals, however, in Hong Kong, he reigns supreme! Young and old alike flock to his temple to pay respect and pray for fortune and to have their prayers answered. The evening before the first day of the lunar year, hundreds of pilgrims gather. As soon as the door opens, the rush is on! Everyone fights to put the first joss sticks of the year in the temple urn for good luck.

During this trip I marveled at how fast the world has changed and the breakneck speed at which China has changed. Young DJs on Beijing's radio stations switch back and forth between flawless English and Mandarin. Chinese and English pop songs play on the radio and everyone takes it for the norm, which it now is. Now I'm in Hong Kong, known for its modern ways, yet I find Temple Street virtually unchanged. Amazing...

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