Motion picture is a visual medium that requires a fair amount of adaptivity. Especially in the documentary form. You must do your best with what you have. Well this was the case when we traveled to China. The MV Explorer was supposed to be pulling into Shanghai around 8am but instead of seeing the sights of skyscrapers over the city, our awakened eyes were met with a muddy river with banks lined by industrial ports and ships. We were anchored in the middle of the Yangtze river. Our arrival to China was delayed 8 hours. The Chinese water pilot who was supposed to guide us up the Yangtze river into Shanghai must have been partying real hard for the Chinese new year because he completely missed the boat, literally. So our trip to the Zhujiajiao Water Village was canceled. On top of this, the junk boat ocean garbage recovery trip that was scheduled out of Hong Kong for me to cover was canceled due to low enrollment. I guess no one on this ship cares about the oceans we travel around the world in. It may sound like a lame trip, recovering trash from the ocean, but I’ve been to many oceans around the world and I think it is safe to say that there is always plenty of trash no matter which one you visit. So I was honestly excited about this trip, just to see what is being done to mitigate this problem. Pretty bummed it was canceled. So there I was, in China with nothing to cover. I had to come up with something.
My wonderful wife Sara and I teamed up with a great couple we’ve become friends with: Drew and Maria Kahn. Drew is a former actor and teaches drama at Buffalo State in Buffalo, New York (GO BILLS!). We all went to Lantau Island together to experience the Tian Tan “Big Buddha” and the Po Lin Monastery. We had a peaceful day taking in the beauty of this sacred place. The monastery was filled with vibrant colors and golden buddhas while one giant buddha sat on top of the hill overlooking the island. As Drew explains in this video, you don’t have to be buddhist to appreciate and find peace in a place like this. Sara found peace in the amazing buddhist vegetarian meal we ate for lunch while I found peace in the inspiring visuals this divine place had to offer.