We got up early this morning (but not as early as we woke up yesterday!) and took the subway to Central, where we walked to the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. The walk was really exhausting, because it was uphill (fairly steep) and it was hot and humid, even though it was only 8 in the morning. There were a whole lot of monkeys and apes, and Ben especially liked the gibbons. We also liked the oragutans (I took a picture of a big one!). We avoided the aviary (so we don't get bird flu or something) and washed our hands about fifty times.
After that, we took the subway to Lantau island (the island the airport is on). Aside from the airport, which is on land reclaimed from the harbor, most of the island is "country" parks (I assume the same as national parks). It's very mountainous and very green! We took a bus from the subway station up to Po Lin Monastery, which is where they have a huge buddha statue at the top of a mountain. On the way up the mountains in the bus, we saw the buddha from far away and it was really impressive! (I managed to get a picture on the way down.)
Before going up to the buddha, we went to get some lunch at a little place called Tea Garden Restaurant. It was outdoors, so very hot, but the food was good. Ben got bitten about 20 times in the space of the 10 minutes we were eating by who knows what kind of bugs! (I'm not exaggerating, he really got bitten all over.) The bites were pretty big at first, and we sprayed his arms with bug repellent so he wouldn't get any more, but after a little while the bites had faded to tiny red marks. The restaurant also had very good local tea.
We climbed up far too many stairs to get to the statue, and at the top they had a small exhibit hall where they had a relic of a buddha (I guess it's something like when the buddha was cremated, there were all these crystal-like objects left over, and they had two of them). Unfortunately, they didn't allow photography inside the exhibit, so I didn't get a picture of it.
We wandered around the area a little bit (they had a couple vegetarian restaurants and some altars and gardens and such), then headed back to the bus. We took the bus to the ferry terminal, and then the ferry back to Hong Kong island.
Once we got back to Central, we decided to try the walking tour listed in my guide book instead of just going straight to the hotel (it was only like 3:00). We ended up at the Museum of Teaware in Hong Kong Park. The museum was actually really nice, even though we only got there a bit over an hour before closing, so we were a little rushed. They had teapots and cups dating back hundreds of years, and really interesting videos on how the teapots are made. The gift shop had more teapots and also was selling interesting teas, and I ended up buying "Natural Sweet Osmathus (flower)" tea. It smells a little bit like chamomile, but sweeter. I haven't tasted it yet, I'm bringing it home.
We came back to Causeway Bay and had dinner at a Russian restaurant. Ben says the borcht didn't taste like beets enough. I just thought it was tasty. :) We wandered around a little after dinner, and ended up at a dessert restaurant, where I got green tea banana pancake with red beans, and Ben got durian pudding. He wanted to try durian because supposedly it smells really bad and tastes really good. Unfortunately, the smell was a little too much and he couldn't eat the whole thing!
Then we came back to the hostel, and here we are. Looking at the comments, we were just realizing that there are two "Mom"s reading this, so when you leave comments, could you maybe specify whose Mom is posting? Thank you!
Tomorrow, we're off to Japan! I'm not sure when I'll be able to post again, but I'm betting the hostel there has internet too.