(This post is the first of a five-part series on what I saw, experienced, and learned during mine and Carrie's honeymoon to New Zealand by way of San Francisco and Hong Kong. Yes, this was a time of rest and vacation for the both of us, but it is in fact quite difficult for someone who deals in profoundness for a living to escape such depth of meaning simply because he is off relaxing in another country. I was moved in many ways during my short time away, and I hope at least a faint morsel or two of that impact shines through in my words to you here. Finally, all pictures in this series are taken by me unless noted otherwise. I'm not a great photographer, so be gentle. ~E.A.)
It so happens that when booking air tickets to New Zealand, you have two main options: book a flight to somewhere in Asia or Australia and then a connecting flight to Auckland, or you can book a rare nonstop to Auckland but pay a lot more money. Carrie and I decided to do the former, which meant a 12-hour layover in Hong Kong after our red-eye out of San Francisco.
Because I'm a history and architecture nerd (as opposed to being a historian or architect, both things I am emphatically not and would likely be horrible at), we took the train from the airport to Kowloon to visit two major sites: the Kowloon Walled City and the Wong Tai Sin Temple.
Getting there took, as I mentioned, the train, which was one of the best I've ever been on, and then a double-decker bus, which might have been one of the worst I've ever been on, as C and I spent the next several minutes sitting atop this monstrosity as it careened down Prince Edward Road in the hands of a madman driver who I am convinced thought the Hong Kong rush hour was simply a gigantic game of bumper cars.
It was all worth it, though, because the Walled City park is breathtaking. The Walled City itself has its roots in the Chinese middle ages, but more recently served as a British military fort, leaving behind artifacts like this cannon:
Behind this particular building is a garden with statues of varying sizes of each Chinese zodiac animal. I tried to capture images of each, but made sure to capture my own zodiac animal, the ox, up close:
Among the many pavilions in the Walled City was one in which the floored panels were composed as giant Chinese chessboards:
And on the walls surrounding gardens like these were fantastically beautiful flowers: