The Rat Race

I guess there’s not much separating a travel blog from the old-fashioned pastime of viewing someone’s holiday photos. Both are just pictures accompanied by inane drivel. But at least the drivel is easier to ignore on a blog, and you can just click on the pretty pictures. So, in a bid to divert my blog from the standard sunsets and strange food: here’s my morning commute in picture form. Things that no tourist will ever see….

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7.05. The sight that greets me as I leave my front door of a morning: Reclamation Street Fruit Market getting ready to go. Boxes of dragon fruit and durian. A tad too much middle-aged flesh/dodgy tattoos for so early in the morning, but I’m immune to it by now. Just out of shot – a smattering of drunks asleep in shop doorways.

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7.10. Yau Ma Tei MTR station. The Hong Kong underground is pretty busy but, this being the start of the line, I grab a seat and a moment to headphone up and zone out.

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7.20. Until 4 stops down the line and we hit Kowloon Tong, or the fourth circle of hell. Bodies everywhere – writhing and pushing like some sort of half-asleep orgy. And that’s just in the morning… Come here at around quarter past six in the pm for a nightly re-enactment of the Normandy Landings.

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7.35. Two more stops and we reach Sha Tin. Stop by 7-11 for one of their gourmet sandwiches (lunch), pass the grannies doing tai-chi (sometimes they’re waving swords and look pretty scary), and…

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… reach the bus stop for leg 3 of 3. Wait anything between 1 and 20 minutes because the 28K is the kind of bus that is just too cool to follow a timetable. Wonder why three buses arrive simultaneously. Find yourself welcomed on board by a friendly smile and a heart-felt ‘good morning’ from the driver.

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Not really, bus drivers in Hong Kong are as miserable as the best of them. 8.00 am. 15-20 minutes of bouncing and swerving later – here we are. Japanese International School, Tai Po.

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Something Fishy…

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A big part of a trip to one of Hong Kong’s many islands is the smell of dried fish. Well, fish (big and small), prawns, shrimp, squid, starfish, seaweed… all laying out crisping in the sun. These photos are from a variety of places – Cheung Chau, Tai O, Tap Mun – as, without realising it, I seem to have spent large parts of my time in Hong Kong taking pictures of dried seafood. It’s an acquired taste, extremely salty and, inevitably, fishy. OK in small doses, and I’m not in anyway classing it with the dreaded mooncake (see below).

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ImageSpeaking of mooncakes, in this last picture you can see hanging on the right some little orange balls. These are the sun-dried egg yolks that you find in the middle of a mooncake. Dried seafood: fine. Dried egg yolks: a clear case of taking things too far.

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