I am at the airport in Hong Kong, where they have free internet kiosks. Free internet but no discernable clocks. It puzzles me why airports, which run on schedules, don't have more clocks posted.
Yesterday, my daughter convinced me we should leave for Hong Kong later than planned...as she would have nothing to do there and she wanted to wait for Guang Huang Zen to come back from the Chairman's, where he had gone to hang out with Tommy, the Chairman's son. Then Kitty, a lovely friend of Ping-Ping's with an "English name" -- many chinese children have English names like Kitty and Tommy. Ping-Ping's, however, was Apple. -- who worked at the China Hotel, told us about a bus. She and I went by bus to the hotel and bought tickets. This had several advantages.
1) The hotel was not too far from the apartment, making it easy for Auntie's husband (Uncle?) to drive us.
2) It was cheaper.
3) Instead of dragging our bags all over the train station, we could load them directly onto the bus.
This also had an unknown drawback. To cross from China to Hong Kong, we had to change buses not once, but twice. Dragging our bags through customs was a pain.
The worst part was when we first got there...the bags had to go up and down stairs. A man mystically appeared and offered to take them for money. We accepted and as we went, I noticed that he was lame. His leg was deformed and he limped. And yet, he elected to make money by dragging bags around. I paid him what he asked even when it was slightly more than he had first said...best six dollars (50 HKD) I ever spent!
We got through the first customs spot and were approached by the bus company. After talking a bit, we were told 900 HKD for a car right to our destination. This was a shock! That was over $100! But we soon discovered that our bus ticket covered the next two stops for free, so we said no and went on.
The worst part of our entire travel experience so far could have been avoided if we had known ahead of time what to expect here.
From there...easy. We took the bus to the second stop, as told...and it was 5 minutes, litterly to the YWCA, where they were not only expecting us, but there was note waiting for me from fellow church people. We were given a suite because they were full. Ping-Ping spent the whole night on the couch in front of the TV--though she eventually fell asleep. I didn't bother her. I felt she needed quiet time. She had spent much of the bus trip telling meabout how everyone cried when she left. ;-)
This morning, we took a taxi from the door of the YWCA to the airport. I did this because dragging our bags was annoying and I had enough HKD left.
But what a magical, wonderful decision this turned out to be!
Last night, coming into Hong Kong, I was disappointed after the bright lights of China. It was so drab. Then, we entered Hong Kong proper and some of the buildings were lit up with Happy New Year Dragons! It was delightful.
This morning was better.
I have seen quite a few Hong Kong action flicks and not one has as captured the magic that is Hong Kong. The place is astonishing. As strange in its own way as Oxford. -- no photo of Oxford, England puts across the wonder that is the mix of old and new in that town.
Hong Kong is like that...the most magical mix of futurisic verdigo inducing buildings (and this from someone who grew up in NY) and ancient mist covered mountains. The bay is filled with mystical islands...why is that never in those bay scenes in a Jackie Chan movie?
If Howard Roark built a city it would look like this.