To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Tian Tan Buddha 1 I think we can all agree that the previous post but 1 was mega boring. So boring that it's down there with "My Tent" a collection of short stories (Out of Print) by Muamar Gadfly ,foreplay by his associate Comrade Bobi Mugabe. What you really wanted to read were the amazing adventures and excursions of Jamie Middleburgh , Shadow Walker .. So be it ... .

Early Saturday morning... we take a bus downtown to Airport Express and breakfast at IFC Mall (tallest building In HK.. to date). No adventure starts (for Jamie) without some sort of fish breakfast and LuLu bun (pan sesal) followed by a pee and a pooh (I just need a strong coffee). Suitably fed we took the train out past Disneyland where the hoi poloi got off whilst we went on to Tung Chung. This is a small "new town" at the end of the line not far from the Airport with a pleasant shopping mall, a plaza and fountain (more of which later), a historic fort and most importantly a Cable Car Station.

Now Jamie who is 3 is an experienced Cable Car Rider having ridden the cable cars at Ocean Park on several occasions. He is also versed in the ways of funicular railways. These ascend steep hills such as Peak Tram which lifts people up from Central to the top of Victoria Peak..... but this was his first time to take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car up to the Po Lin Monastery high up in Lantau Hills.

The Ngong Ping Cable Car System (Click here for webcam)however is a totally different kettle of fish to the one at Ocean Park which rattles and hugs it's way around Brick Hill. Firstly the NP360 ride is smoother, traveling much further and higher. There are two types of cabins; the standard 12 seater and the premium Crystal Cabin which has a glass floor : - Not recommended for those who suffer from vertigo.

We negotiated our way past the touts selling coach tickets to Po Lin, to the ticket office where we bought a set of standard tickets and on through the zigzags to the the gondolas. In peak season when queues get excessively long or during high winds or in event of mechanical stoppages, the coaches take the overload and ferry passengers up to the monastery. When the cable car first opened it was dogged with operational problems and the standard advice was to take a pack lunch and some drinks on the journey in case you ended up dangling until they got you down. (Jamie took an emergency bun and a bottle of water just in case. The rest of us lived dangerously !!.

Ngong Ping 360 Cable Cars 2Click for Slideshow Ngong Ping Village at the end of the ride is like Main Street down in Disneyland . It is not a real village. It's just a street between the cable car and the entrance to the Monastery lined with souvenir shops and eateries for the tourists particularly those that eat meat and or those who need to offset the spirituality of visiting the Monastery and 34 metre high Tian Tan Buddha with some crass commercialism . We made our way to the end of the street stopping at the 7-eleven just before the Avenue of the 12 Heavenly Generals to stock up on water .We passed on the

At the end of the Avenue of Heavenly Generals we turned right and started to climb the stairs up to the Buddha , That is to say I climbed, Jamie sprinted up the 268 steps and the missus abandoned me chasing after him.I know my place in the hierarchy.. After doing a couple of laps of the Buddha we made our way down and back into the "village" We could have gone across to the monastery had a look at shrines and partaken of a healthy vegetarian meal in the refectory but no... we went in search of meat !!!

Of the many restaurants in Ngong Ping , we (that is to say I ) chose Ebeneezer's Kebabs and Pizzeria which is next to a Subway sandwich bar and the Shaolin Kung Fu Showcase Venue. It transpires that the Ngong Ping branch of Ebineezer's would if it were in Xian be a real contender for The Xian Eateries Hygiene Award . Fortunately Jamie's survival kit contains Lysol Impregnated Biohazard Wipes. Even though I vigorously wiped down table under the disapproving stare of the manager, Jamie wisely declined to eat the food ordered.

When we left the Shaolin Monks were doing their stuff next door. Jamie was very taken by the demonstration: I told him he would have to wait till he was four before he could start lessons and no he couldn't watch Kung Fu Movies until he was older. It was a short walk to the cable car station and the ride back down to Tung Chung were I continued to be a spoil sport. The fountain in the Piazza had been turned on and I objected to him playing in the fountain like the bigger kids - taking a wet Jamie on the train across town was not on . His responded in Cantonese (to wind me up !!) saying that he was "not happy" as he walked to the MTR. The following morning all was forgotten (or was it ??) He announced he wanted to go back to see the Buddha!!

The following 360 degree panorama of Ngong Ping Village which requires apple Quicktime plugin. Drag with the curser to change view

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