The public transit system in Hong Kong is incredibly efficient. You can probably get where ever you need to go with a maximum 15 minute walking distance by taking some combination of bus and MTR routes. But the complexity of the system can also be one of its cons. The upside is no matter where you get lost, find your way to the nearest MTR station and you are pretty much good to go, provided you know how to get from one station to your destination. In a way, you can’t get lost in Hong Kong. Well, that’s what one of my coworkers said, but I don’t think he can speak for someone who’s only been here for a week. He did leave me to wander around Kowloon for 15 minutes before finding a giant MTR sign…
I can get to work and back fine. It’s a breeze. However, after work I sometimes like to be adventurous sometimes and explore Hong Kong – do a little shopping, find a new place to eat, etc.
On Monday I decided to take a detour to a mall that our program coordinator took us to on our walking tour to buy a power converter. I got there easily and even found a place where I could eat a filling dinner for less than US$7. So far so good! Well, it was getting late and I didn’t feel like taking the MTR just one stop and having to trek up the hill that our hotel is situated on, so I decided to take the bus. Little did I know that buses here are one way. I got on the bus and rode it along its route, passengers boarding and leaving, until I was the only one left. And the bus just stopped. There was a slight moment of panic when I realized the bus driver didn’t speak English.
So I got off the bus, and walked a block to another stop where I saw people waiting. I found someone who knew a little English that could point out where I was on my map. Somehow I had ended up in the Causeway Bay area… However she had to leave before I could get any more help from her when her bus arrived. Seeing as I was in the middle of nowhere, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to just get on the next bus and get off in a more populated area. When I got off I found my way into a mall with a McDonalds in it thinking that maybe there would be Westerners who could speak English because apparently, I was in a very Chinese part of Hong Kong. I asked several people for directions but they couldn’t help at all! Thankfully, I overheard a young Chinese family speaking English and they were able to tell me how to get to the nearest MTR station. And with that I found my way to Central station and could walk home from there.
So in my attempt to minimize my walking distance, I ended up walking maybe 4 times as much all while racking up fares. Next time I’ll check the bus maps more clearly.
Okay story #2 time! This one has a happier ending. I decided that last Friday after work I had to go see the giant rubber duck that was on display in Harbour City before it left this Sunday. If I had just left from work, it would have been pretty simple, as the building I work in is located right on top of the MTR station. However, one of my coworkers (bless his soul, he is a really adorable human being but did not really think this through) invited me to come with him to a company basketball tournament (more on that later). We took a taxi there. I had no idea where I was, although, I knew I was still on Kowloon and not on Hong Kong Island. I was not obligated to stay as long as he did but when he told me I could leave he didn’t really offer to help me find my way home.
So I just started walking. I pulled out my map, trying to find some big landmarks. Usually it’s easy to spot MTR signs and lo and behold a giant building with an MTR sign! I walked towards it, found my way inside, took a train, got off at one stop to transfer to a different line, took another train, walked down a road, and I found the duck! Picture bonus!
Moral of the story: If you are ever lost in Hong Kong, find an MTR station. They are plentiful.
I’m catching up on my posts and queuing them up. Next up get ready for a quickie on some delicious Hong Kong style cuisine and a super special post on the duck. I hope you enjoyed the little preview above!