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PBDA China Partnership 2019: Palm Beach to Hong Kong
Posted on: March 10, 2019
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7:16am – West Palm Beach
As acceleration presses us back into our seats and lift presses us down, expectation fills our senses. We are safely off and in just a few moments wave down to our PBDA family as they prepare to put the finishing touches on the trimester. But on an emotional level, the journey begins with the goodbyes, the group photos, and the Starbucks stop to give us a quick boost for the journey.
11:27 pm – Hong Kong
AA 125 touched down at 5:47 p.m. local time, and our Bulldogs, eyes somehow both drooping and wide, navigated customs and baggage claim like a team of salty world travelers, perhaps because of what they sensed awaited them after we got our bags up to our rooms. A meal at Peking Garden, overseen by Elton, our solicitous and friendly guide, featured soup dumplings, sweet and sour jumbo shrimp, and the highlight: what many consider the best Peking Duck in Hong Kong. The walk back to the hotel was hardly sufficient to work off the calories. Chances are, tomorrow’s trip to Cheung Chau Island will provide plenty of walking.
Take that, jet lag! We have things to do—most of them on Cheung Chau Island. We stepped from the ferry into a marketplace full of bustle and produce, much of the latter still swimming and wriggling in saltwater tubs. Somehow, the incense of the open-air Taoist Temple to the deity Pak Tai, just a few steps away, created a completely separated spiritual space, as if we had stepped from one room into another. The students learned about Pak Tai’s role as a warrior who restores order in times of dark uncertainty and about why incense sticks are burned in threes (as symbols of heaven, earth, and humanity).
Another water taxi and short scenic hike took us to breathtaking views from—and in—Cheung Po Tsai Cave. In the early 1800s, pirate chief Cheng I and his wife abducted and adopted Cheung Po Tsai (the lines between the two apparently blurry) and trained him in the family business. Craggy, cave-y geographies like the ones we saw today provided a rich soil for the growth of local legends about Cheung Po Tsai. Our own crew got to spy on modern shipping and contemplate where we might bury the loot, assuming we could even fit. Do we even need to say we had more good food here? We did. There’s nothing like Dim Sum, fried rice, and noodles for warming hearts on a gray day. Well, that and maybe a little souvenir shopping.
A traditional Cantonese dinner at Paramount and world-famous light show rounded out a day so diverse in experiences, it’s hard to believe it all occurred in one small, magnificent corner of our world.