Monday, August 25, 2014


Hong Kong is well known for easy and cheap transportation. Certainly, there are many options. And in our short time here so far, I'd agree they are both cheap (relatively) and easy.


This is the mode we started out using the most at first because these cute little red cars (plastered with advertising) are EVERYWHERE. And don't require a schedule.

There are rules about where they can stop (not near double lines). So sometimes you need to find a taxi stand and line up.

They begin with a minimum of roughly $3 USD. The farthest I've taken one cost me $25 USD. That got me from southside to middle kowloon. That's far less than a cab from the airport to our DC house. And even the most expensive ride cost half what we recently paid from Ferndale to Bellingham.

You never know what kind of driver you will get or whether they speak any English. It's helpful to know a couple Cantonese phrases like "stop" or "it's here." And "thank you". We've also picked up "left", "right" and the beauty of Chinese-translated GPS on the smartphone. Some cabbies have their things organized in a special way... Like a mobile office. Some have little figurines, stickers, or a totally bare space.

A few times, I've found myself clutching the seat and holding my breath as the taxi skirts around a tight bend along the mountain edge, or around another fast moving vehicle. The driving is decidedly NOT smooth.

So. What else? MTR. (Like the Metro).

Cheaper. It's not on the southside where we live, but in every other part of hk. And we can catch a nearly free shuttle from our apartment to several mtr stations.

These "cars" are connected all the way through with swivel sections. There are very few seats lining the sides. most people stand.

It can get very crowded!

That's when these folks stand between each set of doors barking out directions to mind the doors, queue up, step back, etc. (The goofy looking sign is a foil to the loud though controlled shouting these traffic directors do).

Gorgeous and clean, hyper-organized and high tech, these tunnels give dc metro a run for its money.

And the escalators! Hold on tight! These move fast! And are narrow. And steep. And they can suddenly halt with a jerk.

Cheap. Cheap. And frequent. Hardly a need for the bus schedule. These are great.

The top of the double decker can leave your knuckles white and your palms sweaty, but it's a fun, wild ride! Just use your octopus card! (for bus, metro, tram, or even groceries!) Brilliant.

Tram. Cheapest by far. Like, cents! These run along the north part of town and are fun. They are called the "ding ding's" because of their sound. There is one that goes steeply up the mountain to the Peak (terrific view... When it's not overcast. Ahem. )

One of our favorites. With Sky-high sidewalks, interesting smells and sights this is a great option. (tho don't forget deodorant!)

This woman is out every day sweeping our walk to school and keeping it clean:

Good thing, too! because with tiny puppy potties like this... You have to watch your step! (little heed to the sign around here...)

And last,
This post would be remiss if I didn't tell you about the freakishly cool cars zipping by. Every. Single. Car. Is. Cool. The plethora of Mercedes, Jaguar, BMW, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Maserati are ridiculous!

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, August 15, 2014

Around the Flat

Lucky for us, we are used to small spaces. Prefer them, actually.

Our flat (that's what apartments are called around here) is about 1000 square feet. That's quite large by HK standards. A friend recently told me hers is 420! It's still smaller than our DC townhouse. However, there are PERKS.

The view, for one. It's breathtaking and I don't think we will ever come to take it for granted. That particular blue green. The lush hills. Hawks gliding past at window height. Strange sounds of nature mixed with distant voices from boats. But mostly.... Just very, very quiet. It's quite peaceful.

We sent very little on the ship (which hasn't arrived yet), and have only purchased the basics so far. But we've made a point to swim in the pool nearly every day. And to just chill at the house so we all can settle in.

Here is a smattering of hanging out in our flat.

That last was our first dinner in our new home. Before we owned a fridge or washer dryer, or anything, really. A special "camp in" night!

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sampan Ride

Today we somewhat spontaneously hitched a ride just for fun.

We'd read about how there are sampan boats often making themselves available for tours or as water taxis in Aberdeen. So we went to check it out.

Sure enough, as we leaned over the promenade to take in the view, a sampan boat driver waved us to join her. Twist my arm!

For $60 HKD each (less than $8) we enjoyed a beautiful and delightful ride. The driver (sweet, toothless, and using grunts and gestures to communicate ) coaxed the girls with cookies and candy, even letting them "drive "... succeeding in Bunny allowing her to pat that golden head. We met a couple who live on a boat (they were getting groceries). They rent it. I didn't even that as a possibility! So Clever! We saw the famous floating restaurant, fishermen, yachts, and more.

Then we got lost in the labyrinth of Aberdeen, trying to follow the elusive signs to toys r us. We did eventually find it. Signage and shopping will have to be a different post. What a big topic!

Here's Aberdeen: (a small bit, anyhow)

Found the toy store! Whew! These next photos are folks in the street. I think they are burning paper money and such for the Hungry Ghost Festival. Want a good story? Google that.

posted from Bloggeroid