Hong Kong: Day 2, Part 1

The streets of Hong Kong are swarming with people no matter what time of day it is. At night, it gets a bit quiet but there are still people wandering around on the street. Every now and then, you’ll see the odd stray animal. But these animals didn’t look like they were stray animals because some of them had clothing. Yes, they wore a sweater of some sort.

The thing that I’ve noticed about Hong Kong is that there are a lot of things going on at the same time. The cities are always under constant construction. You can’t walk a couple of blocks without running into some people working on something. But the thing is, even with constructions going on, there aren’t any traffic jams. In Hamilton, if a street is being paved, there’s a major slow down in traffic. In Hong Kong, you barely notice any slow down at all. Even with one lane of traffic, the cars are moving along fair quickly. I don’t understand why things can’t be like that in Canada.

Building

But the thing is, you don’t have to worry too much about traffic jams because there aren’t too many cars around. At least, it doesn’t seem like it since everything is moving so smoothly. On a busy day, there might be six to ten cars waiting at the light but before it could turn green, the drivers are already off. They have a system where the light would go green then yellow and then red. Then it goes from red to yellow to green so when it’s yellow, the drivers are allowed to proceed with caution. I do that when I’m driving here but I count down from the time the other light goes red. With the light going from red to yellow, it speeds things up a little bit and gives the driver a signal to take their foot off the brakes. The thing that slows down traffic is the amount of time it takes for cars to start moving after the light has turned green.

Parking meter

I’m not sure if parking is hard to come by but I don’t see too many drivers sitting around waiting for a parking space to open up. Some of them just sit there and wait with their flashes on. Even when they do that, no one drives by them to honk their horns. But they will honk their horns if someone takes too long to move. There have been times when the driver at the front had to wait for someone to complete their parking and some drivers at the back would start honking. These drivers would keep their hands on the horn until they started moving. In Canada, you’ll get the occasional one or two honks but in Hong Kong, these honks can last for over a minute. It’s annoying at first but after a while you just ignore it.

Octopus card

When you use the parking meters, you have the option of using coins or a prepaid card. Hong Kong’s transit system is way more advanced than Canada. Their system used a proximity card to pay for things. And it’s just not for transportation. Some of the convenient stores use them as well. The card is known an “Octopus” card. It’s very convenient to have and it’s accepted at a lot of different places. When the card runs low on funds, you simply insert it into an “Add Value” machine and deposit the credit. The card fits right into your wallet and when you want to use it, you don’t even have to take it out. So you don’t have to carry coins around. You don’t have to ask for a transfer slip when you want to transfer from what bus to another.

The MTR system in Hong Kong is a lot better than the HSR system in Hamilton. I hate waiting for the bus when it’s -13 degrees Celsius outside. And it always seems that the wait time is in correlations with the cold temperature. The colder it is, the longer you wait. With the MTR, you’re inside most of the time so you don’t have to worry if it’s cold or wet out. Even when you’re outside waiting for the bus, it’s not a long wait.

Pink van