Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Hong Kong - Part 1
We don't quite know where to start nor how to share the experience we have had over the past 12 days or so. Saying that it was wonderful seems very inadequate. But we'll share what we can here with the hope we will have the opportunity to do a more adequate job when we return to Utah - in a couple of years.
The purpose of our trip was, of course, the temple and more specifically to assist the Mongolian members in their first (and for many probably their last) visit to the temple. It seems incredible to us now that we not only have the opportunity in Utah to attend temple sessions whenever we want, but to also recognize that we can choose from any of nearly a dozen or so that are within relatively easy reach. And then to further realize that there are even more temples - lots more temples - that are closer and easier for us to reach than the one single temple these members have available, is very humbling. Never again will we take for granted the wonderful opportunity we have to attend the temple in Utah.
The Mongolian members could not get enough of the temple. They virtually lived there for the entire week. Three sessions per day and more was the norm. We sealed families together, had a new bride and groom sealed together, performed hundreds of ordinances for their family members as a result of family history research they had been able to do before the trip. Much of the Lords' work was accomplished last week. All too quickly it was over and we had to make our way back to Mongolia -- home for us, for now. We'll tell you more about the temple in part 2.
We left Hong Kong two days after the rest of the group did. We have arrived in Ulaanbaatar two and a half days before they will. Mongolians do not need Visas for China and therefore travel by train -- much cheaper than by plane, for them. Foreigners would be required to obtain Visa's and when that cost is considered it is the same for us to fly or to go by train. And lets just say that the trains in Mongolian are something of an adventure all to themselves!
A word about Hong Kong. It is a city of over 7 million people and is a sight to see. And yet, traffic is much less of a problem than it is in Salt Lake. Private vehicle ownership is much discouraged through taxation which doubles the price of any car. To compensate, the mass transit system is something of a marvel. Trains, subways, taxis (tons of taxis!), double decker buses, trams, small buses, big buses, trolleys -- get the picture?! You can get anywhere in this city quickly using mass transit. And the cost is about $1 to $3 US dollars for a typical fare.
It is quite mountainous, here, thus limiting the land that can be developed. Hong Kong is an island AND a big chunk of mainland. In order to handle all of the demands for space, they simply 'go up' -- tons of skyscrapers everywhere!
We have been amazed at everything we have seen for 11 days. We'll do the best we can to continue to share some of it with you.