Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange and a trip to the Buddha

The skyline was still quite visible through the fog. It seemed the high rises were never ending. When we arrived at the Stock Exchange we watched a short film on the history of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

... on our way to becoming stockbrokers ...

Group shot at the stock exchange

We were debriefed on the interworkings of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. In 1891 the Association of Stockbrokers in Hong Kong, the first formal stock exchange, was formed. In 1914 it was renamed the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The woman emphasized the importance of keeping a constant buzz on the floor, “We don’t want any downtime because people lose confidence and confidence is everything," which is an important thing for all of us to remember.

What an afternoon it was!! As we boarded the gondola up to the Buddha none of us had any idea what to expect. It was a three mile ride over mountainous terrain. When we reached the top we couldn't believe our eyes; the Buddha rose above the tree line and peered through the clouds.

View from the Gondola... on our way to the Buddha

The cloud cover was thick and the air was cold and damp; neither our dress shoes nor our lack of warm clothes stopped us from climbing up the hundreds of steps to the base of the Buddha. A large stone Buddha is an incredible sight in and of itself, but the rich history surrounding it makes it that more of an extraordinary sight. Staring up at its coiled hair, its long earlobes and its look of peace and serenity was mesmerizing. There were people all around us paying their respects to the great Buddha and their ancestors.


The view, although mostly shielded by the cloud cover, hinted at the never ending mountainous islands of Hong Kong and the open ocean. Four members of our group decided to take the three mile hike over treacherous terrain back to the base. “We are not here every day,” they said, “Why not experience the outdoors and take in the beauty around us.”  All in all it was a great day, and despite the cold, we all had a blast!!!

(written by Sara Kwolyk and Lindsay Wagner)

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