3:30 pm

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There's always something before a trip that captures my imagination above all else. In Istanbul it was the gate of the dolmabahçe palace. In India it was the Jain Temple in Ranakpur. In NYC it was the Woolworth building. For whatever reason my brain latches onto an image and I spend the whole countdown to the trip looking up photos and projecting fantasies onto this one spot. For this trip, the image of the giant bronze Tian Tan Buddha tucked into the rolling misty hills and water of Lantau Island was my anthem.

Even the crowds of tourists couldn't take away from the experience. Serene and lovely perched on a lotus leaf, awe inspiring and massive, the Buddha contemplates the lush green hills that drape the countryside.

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