Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Out and About - One mother's epic journey from South Lantau to Wan Chai

Some would say I’m lazy or timid for what I am about to admit, but the truth is I believe that life is too short to spend it stressed. So I avoid situations that could potentially send my blood pressure skyrocketing. That rules out a lot of things in Hong Kong including, until today, taking J into town on my own. I know a lot of mothers who take their kids everywhere with them, without help, and I give them full credit. But if I can I save things like doctor's appointments for when my husband's around or I take my helper. It makes life so much easier. J and I have previously been as far as IFC mall on our own (a ferry ride and short walk away), a relatively easy trip, but today we went to Wan Chai for an appointment with the osteopath.

The trip there involved a 30 minute ferry ride and 5 minutes in a taxi. I had J in the stroller on the ferry and transferred him to the Ergo carrier for the cab ride. I find that 90% of taxi drivers in HK are reasonably helpful but the guy I got today was an a’hole. He watched me wrestle with the stroller and didn’t open the boot until I banged on it. He didn’t even open the door for me. For my non-Hong Kong readers, all cabs here are fitted with electric doors so all the driver has to do is flick a switch and the door opens. Very handy for mums juggling babies and nappy bags. I know they're under no obligation to help but most of them at least offer. When we reached Wan Chai a very helpful valet opened the door, helped me out, banged on the boot and took the stroller out. I’m sure if he had known how to operate the quinny zapp he would’ve opened it out for me too. Needless to say there was no tip for the driver. When we were finished with the osteopath I decided to get back to Central on the MTR (train). I had 45 minutes to spare and I thought it would be good for me to work out how to do it with a stroller so I’d know for next time. It also meant I could keep my very sleepy boy in the stroller and skip the Ergo (which might be better for bub’s spine than a Baby Bjorn, but it’s not so good for mine). Here are the lessons I learned today:

  1. The elevators inside the MTR stations are the slowest lifts in the world. It’s worth cheating and using the escalator if you can.
  2. The wide entry and exit gates, suitable for strollers, are few and far between and tend to be near the elevators. So if you follow my advice in point 1 you’ll need to walk a fair way to get out of the station. You can’t take a stroller through a turnstile apparently…
  3. The majority of people in MTR stations and shopping centres will not get out of your way or open doors for you, but a stroller is a very good way of bringing your presence to their attention without hurting yourself.
  4. Even when using escalators and running like a madwoman through IFC it takes approx. 48 minutes to get from Wan Chai to ferry pier 6.
  5. The 12.30 ferry is very slow indeed.
  6. My husband will be taking J to his next appointment with the osteopath, and possibly the one after that.
I have to admit that despite all of this, it was worth the effort and I’m still very glad that we decided to give osteopathy a try. And apart from being a little cranky when he was tired, J was absolutely delightful the whole morning. He slept for an hour on the ferry, and only protested when we stopped moving. Unlike his mother, he seems to love the craziness and noise of the city, and isn’t stressed by it at all. As for me, I am in need of a cup of tea and a good lie down.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like J is an urban boy liking all that noise and craziness! Maybe you can all go next time and take him to that restaurant in the IFC - I think it's the Crystal Jade? L recommended it from going there with you and D. Oh yum. I'd like their wonton soup right now.