More commonly known as ‘Big Buddha’, the Tian Tan Buddha statue was erected in 1993 and overlooks the Po Lin Monastery at Ngong Ping on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island. At 34 metres high, weighing 250 tons and comprised of 202 separate pieces of bronze, this was, until recently, the world’s largest seated bronze Buddha. All other ‘big buddha’ statues in the world face south; however this one faces north – a nod towards Beijing in the run up to Hong Kong’s 1997 handover from British to Chinese administration, perhaps?
I’ve been visiting this place on and off for the last 12 years and the feel of the place has changed enormously. Previously only accessible by local bus or bicycle, it now boasts access via a super-modern, 5.7km, 25min long cable car ‘experience’. Where before refreshments options consisted solely of either the monastery’s vegetarian restaurant, or it’s locally grown tea sold in a ramshackle tea shop, now air conditioned restaurant’s serving all manner of culinary options, souvenir shops, theatre experiences and even (bizarrely when you think about it) Starbuck’s coffee are all available on-site.
So, very touristy? – yes; but even so, the Statue and the monastery are still worth a visit.
Bernard ‘Amber Lager’ beer from a family owned brewery in The Czech republic, being drunk by Brits in Tokyo. Is the World really such a small place?
The beer was great, the view was fantastic, the Brits were happy!
The last in my series of ‘Framed’ photos from today was taken just after sunset. The view is of Darling Harbour in Sydney, looking across the water towards the Sydney Tower and the rest of the city centre skyline. “And what is it providing the frame then?”, I hear you ask. The answer is; “the window frame of my hotel room” – how lucky was I?
About 1 1/2 hours into a run around this city and the sky is now the subject being ‘framed’ in my series of photos from the day. I think it is obvious what the building is that is doing the framing, but if you can’t guess then ask.
Having landed after photo 1 in today’s series of images and caught up on a bit of sleep, I went out on an exploratory run of the city. I find running or cycling around cities a great way to get a feel for the place and today was no exception. The run/cycle doesn’t have to be continuous – in fact it’s better if it isn’t – stopping to take in these sort of views is just about obligatory and it helps to catch your breath and enable you to be out and about for much longer. This photo is taken from the Botanical Gardens and is a of view looking in almost exactly the opposite direction from photo 1 of earlier today. The theme of ‘framing’ is maintained by the overhanging branches of one of the many spectacular trees growing here.
On final approach to Sydney’s Runway 16R, we were nicely stable and configured for landing – as befits a wide-bodied, intercontinental airliner at the end of an 8 3/4 hour flight – when we got an urgent cockpit indication of very close proximity traffic. Looking to our left, not only do we get this iconic view of Sydney Harbour, the Bridge, Opera House and Downtown, but we also see this little regional Turbo Prop aircraft come belting past us with about 50 knots of overtake. He’s obviously lined up to land on Runway 16L so is absolutely no threat to us, but there’s no gear down and no flap out – I had to cast my mind back a good few years to work out what’s going on?
He’s racing us!
I can just imagine the chat going on in their cockpit, “see that aircraft lined up for the other runway – bet we can overtake it before it lands” – “yeh, let’s give it a go” – “yeee, haaah, that’s shown ’em” (in an Aussie accent). I must admit I had a good grin at the situation!
It is normally me that is ‘Up’ there, but this time I was the one taking the photo of the paragliders who were the 3 female members of my immediate family. Oh my, were they all excited after this tandem jump that departed from Le Brevent, flew in front of the face of Mt Blanc and then landed at this field in the town of Chamonix?