After living in Hong Kong for 1 and a half years, I have already forgotten what I used to find different, strange and interesting about this city when first arriving. I recently had the opportunity to experience all of these things that I have become accustomed to through the eyes of first timers when my family came to visit this past April.
Having only 6 days to show them around Hong Kong and experience things that they wouldn’t have readily available in The States, I had to narrow down activities and plan strategically to make the most out of their visit. Although we covered a wide range of activities and felt like we traveled the entire city, we only saw a small percentage of this huge city.
Bringing the family to Stanley on the first day was nice and it was where my first forgotten experience came to be a realization when we took a mini bus ride to Causeway Bay. I had forgotten the fear of truly believing your life would end on that vehicle, especially on the roads around Stanley. White knuckled, everyone was holding on for dear life with a few screams from time to time. As I looked at the fear all over their faces, it reminded me of the fact that I never used public transport on a regular basis before moving to Hong Kong.
Being from the US, I’ve been fortunate enough to always have a vehicle at my disposal. The only public transport I had utilized was an airplane and the occasional train, but never on a daily basis. During my family’s visit, we managed to see; Stanley, Causeway Bay to Central, TST, Ngong Ping, Tai O, Discovery Bay, Tsuen Wan, Mong Kok, and of course, Peng Chau. Seeing all of these places was a must for someone’s first (and most likely only) visit to Hong Kong. To get to all of these places we took; buses, ferries, the MTR (subway), a cable car, a speed boat, mini buses, a taxi, a tram and of course, A LOT of walking!
Throughout the 6 days my family was here, they eventually became accustomed to public transportation. They always had their Octopus Cards ready, stood on the right side of escalators and held on tight, no matter what kind of transport. It wasn’t until the 4th day that my Sister asked a question that sent me off on a rant that I’ve been on since moving here and will probably never stop until I move away from here……..
PICK A SIDE HONG KONG! I don’t care which side, just pick one and I promise to conform! In the US, we drive on the right side of the road, so we are taught as small children to walk on the right and pass on the left. I find it impossible to walk anywhere in Hong Kong because no one has a side here. Everyone is all over the place which disrupts or prohibits any kind of flow to the masses.
I will not talk about the incessant mobile phone use, where people end up walking into stable structures because they won’t look up from their device, that is another rant, but if everyone in Hong Kong just agreed to walk on the right, or even the left side, this place would be much more navigable and fluid.
When a city is so advanced in their public transportation logistics and options, how can walking be the most difficult thing to do in this city? I love you but, PICK A SIDE HONG KONG!
(Article from Clip Magazine #38: http://issuu.com/clip.magazine/docs/clip38v2/24)