"So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
all those people, all those lives, where are they now?
With loves and hates and passions just like mine
they were born and then they lived and then they died
it's so unfair, I want to cry..."
Cemetery Gates - The Smiths
Saturday, March 8 (happy birthday to the father!) is the first full day I have to explore my new surroundings. Henri had given me this fabulous "Hiker's Guide to Hong Kong" and the first hike that caught my eye was the Happy Valley Cemeteries Hike. I've always been fascinated with cemeteries. They are serene, peaceful, and sad at the same time. Whenever I am in a new city, I always try to visit one or more cemeteries. Looking at the headstones and wondering about the lives people led is just so fascinating to me. This particular walking tour covered cemeteries of many faiths. My first stop was the Jewish Cemetery. I was the only one in this cemetery; however, by the looks of the stones on the graves (a Jewish tradition), it seems that people do visit to pay their respects. I took a picture of this headstone because this guy was born in Brooklyn, NY - my birthplace too!
Below is a picture of the gardens surrounding graves in the Parsee Indian Cemetery, my next stop. In every cemetery I visited today, there were groundskeepers and gardeners out tending the site. This was by far the most breathtaking with flowers, bushes and bonsai plants.
A little farther down is the Hong Kong Cemetery (known before the handover by the British as the Colonial Cemetery). I was greeted at the entrance by the lovely warning sign below.
This cemetery is very wild - graves are close together and the site itself is sprawling, with many paths and steps. One of the main roads runs adjacent to the cemetery so it does not try to hide itself from being in the middle of the city.
After exploring the dead at rest in the Hong Kong Cemetery, it was time to move on to St. Michael's Roman Catholic Cemetery. Space is tight here and everything appears to be crammed it - it is truly a sight to behold. I noticed that a lot of the Chinese add pictures of the deceased on the headstones.
Also in this cemetery, I discovered a Gardner plot - the whole family is buried there. Made me wonder if this is something the mother has considered so that we are with her in eternity as we are in life (ha ha!).
My last stop was to the Muslim Cemetery. This is another cemetery that is packed in - it isn't necessarily sprawling; however, graves are situated wherever space can be found on a very large hill overlooking the city.