On the ground...Now what?

posted Aug 17, 2010, 12:18 AM by Charles Boling   [ updated Aug 17, 2010, 4:32 AM ]

Friday 2010-08-13

It took us probably an hour to figure out what we wanted to do. We then went through customs and boarded a train. One of the kids asked Michele before we left if we would be riding a train on the trip. She told him probably not. Boy was she wrong!

The train was quite plush and quite empty – we were very surprised. In the airport we had each purchased what they call an “octopus card” that allows you to travel on all the trains and subways in the city. The train ride was really neat and we took many pictures.

It was amazing how much open, undeveloped space there was. There was A LOT of untouched area. As we were flying into the airport we descended low over the islands that make up much of Hong Kong we noted that there weren't much in the way of beaches. It's like mountains that just pop up out of the water. We always joke about Kalama being hilly – it's nothing compared to Hong Kong. The natural areas are probably natural because they are so mountainous. To make room for an international airport, they had to fill in a lot of land, and the runway starts just after the land does. A boy in the seat behind me as we were landing said to his mom (he was probably about 8) “Mom, we are really close to the water. Is that a bad thing?” and then a few seconds later, with a little more alarm “Are we going to be doing a water landing??” She assured him we would indeed be landing on the ground and NOT the water.

The first part of the train ride was great for picture taking. But as it got closer to city, more and more was under ground. We got off at the station we were told to and with some difficulty, found our first connection to another train. That train was our first experience with what REAL subways in Hong Kong are like. No plush seats and emptiness here ! Standing room only! We transferred again to another train – this time it was really easy figuring out where we were supposed to go. But as we traveled further, the standing room only became more like “is there even breathing room here???”. And remember, we were hauling all our luggage too! We transferred yet again to another train before we reached our destination.