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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