It’s the weekend! Finally, after five long working days, I get two days off. What’s not so great is that my planned long lie-in hasn’t happened as my body is now programmed to wake up at 6am every day (I realise that for a lot of you this is normal, but I’m a freelancer so working a regular five day week doesn’t happen that often!).
This week I experienced using the MTR for my daily commute, and was a bit worried that I’d end up wandering aimlessly around the streets of Hong Kong after changing at the wrong station or getting on the wrong line. But after being shown the route on the first morning it was surprisingly easy to find my way – the metro system here makes a lot more sense than the London Underground! There are maps on the trains that light up, showing you where you need to change for each line/direction, and also which side of the train you need to exit from. Then it’s a short walk to the other side of the platform; none of this walking for miles business to get to the next line! The trains are spotless – no eating or drinking is allowed – and the MTR stations are like shopping malls with eateries and designer shops.
It’s the journey to and from the metro stations that is actually the stressful bit. People here walk VERY slowly, and as someone who likes to walk with purpose, this can be very frustrating, particularly at the end of a long day when I have a bad case of hangry going on! Trying to overtake is a challenge as there doesn’t seem to be any logical pathway, so dodging in and out of the crowd is a bit of a mission! This is especially true when it’s raining, and you add a sea of umbrellas into the equation. Most of this week has been wet, but rather than using my umbrella to protect me from the rain, it became my ‘parting the crowd’ implement as I battled my way through (usually going against the main stream of people) whilst also trying to avoid my eyeball ending up on the end of someone else’s umbrella spike.
Yesterday morning I saw my first glimpse of blue sky since the day after we arrived. The constant low lying cloud can become quite depressing, and often at breakfast you can’t see HK island because it’s shrouded in cloud/smog. When I arrived at Tseung Kwan O yesterday (the area I was working in), the tops of the apartment buildings were lost in the cloud, which can’t be much fun if you live up there!
Tseung Kwan O didn’t seem to be a very cosmopolitan area, and so I got used to being stared at as I wandered around during my lunch break, being the only Western person in the shopping centre. The centre seemed to be a place where the older generation came to do their shopping or just sit and watch the world go by – there were also quite a few people doing their stretches when I arrived first thing in the morning!
So I am now a fully fledged Hong Kong commuter; next week will bring a different route, but I will worry about that on Tuesday morning! First it’s time to enjoy a well deserved rest and some more sightseeing. 😊