Botanical Gardens and Zoo
On our last day in Hong Kong, the China Horizons group was headed to the museum, so we decided to go over and explore Hong Kong Island a bit more mainly focusing our adventures on a few specific destinations. First we found our way to the Hong Kong Botanical Gardens and Zoo.
This little city park is an oasis in the midst of the skyscraper jungle and is where you can actually see monkeys and other animals from the jungle. The gardens are beautiful with large trees and well-attended beds with all sorts of plants. Scattered around in the gardens are enclosures of several species of birds on one side of the garden and then many mammals on the other side.
One of my favorite places though was the greenhouse because of its beautiful collection of blooming orchids. I also enjoyed watching the gibbons play and chase and the other animals go about their lives. I know that if I worked in a nearby building I would probably eat lunch in this park one or more times a week.
The next of our destinations was a series of religious buildings, none traditional Chinese, scattered around the area from the last 200 years. We found the Anglican cathedral easily just down the hill from the gardens, but couldn’t go inside at first because of a funeral. It is a simple yet elegant building. The most unique feature I saw is one set of stained-glass windows about fishermen. In the middle was Jesus with his fisher disciples, on one side was a window with British fishermen and on the other Chinese fishermen with their sampans.
The next sanctuary we sought out was the synagogue on up on the hill. To get there we passed the mosque and Taoist temple, which we saw last time in Hong Kong, and the Dr. Sun YatSen Museum. When we finally found the synagogue, we crossed the street to go look at it and take a couple pics when we were stopped by a for-hire security guard.
He asked us if we wanted to see the synagogue and go in. I said yes, we would love to go in but don’t have an appointment. To this he asked us where we were from then told us pictures weren’t allowed. He didn’t mean inside but from the sidewalk through the fence. We asked why and he simply repeated not allowed and told us to go on our way.
I don’t get why we weren’t allowed to take pictures from the street especially when you could from any one of the high-rise buildings around. Oh well, maybe next time I’ll set an appointment ahead of time to visit the inside, not for pictures of the inside, but to see what must be a very special place.
The last church we visited was the Catholic cathedral. It is right in the midst of a bunch of tall buildings and only visible from the small gap to get in the parking lot. Built in the 1880s, it is simpler than many Catholic cathedrals I’ve been in but it is still beautiful. I don’t know what it is but I enjoy visiting various religious buildings and seeing how others pay homage, respect and devotion to God, no matter what faith. I think it strengthens my faith not just in god but also in my fellow sojourners on Earth.