Walkabout in Hong Kong


Hong Kong, the land of noodles and tasty duck, new technology and old traditions combined. Include me, one Brit doing voluntary work knowing only 3 Chinese words, 1 of them made-up. The result: Someone who will probably get something very wrong sooner or later.
I had decided to visit some old friends of mine on Chung Chau island, a good hour and a half away from the North where I stayed.
The train system is remarkable! They are spotless and always arrive on time (At least to my British point of view!!).
The day with my friends was great, we got whipped at basketball by some locals, played cards while sipping tea and ate at the great 'Repaurant' (Spelling error meant) at the harbour. I had such a good time that I left at the last ferry ride back from the island. 1st mistake.
The train ride was as efficient as ever and I arrived at the station on time. I walked out the wrong exit, "oops, i'll try the other.....Nope, that building wasn't there before....erm....Darn it!". I ran around the other exits to check, because they all looked similar and even checked where I'd been before. "Nope, that building is still there!". Then it hit me, it was only the station one stop further on that I knew the way myself. I'd only left this way before with other volunteers who knew the way. How did I forget!?
I then had a dilemma. The trains had stopped for the night, I didn't know the name of the place I was staying at and I didn't have the contact number. I racked my brains and prayed I'd not fall prey to a triad spotting a lost Brit as the next victim for his meat knife. Then it hit me, I could get a taxi to the next station and walk from there.
Taxi fares in Hong Kong are huge! Especially for a student type like myself. I paid the man, who made a noise more like that of bear growling. Fearing I was between the bear and it's cubs I backed away to the now locked up train station, ready to find my way back.
It didn't look familiar, so I went around finding all the other entrances to find the one I knew. I didn't find it. In fact, I realised that the station was one with a very familiar name and not the one I intended to go to. Next time, I thought to myself, I ought to speak loudly and slowly, and the more like Basil Faulty, the better.
I knew I was close to home, but where exactly I couldn't tell. The building looked familiar to the others around where I walked. I found a large lady wandering around and asked her if she knew if there was a large building with a supermarket as the ground floor. She looked at me as if she understood, but shrugged her shoulders and spoke some Chinese and wandered off.
At this point I was beginning to lose hope, and think of where would be suitable to crash out. Any woody area nearby. Any suitable hideaway. Two policemen came round the corner. They spoke English, and more than that, they understood my vague description of where I was going. It was just a few minutes walk away.
How they understood where I should go was beyond me, as I realised that mine was not the only tall building with a shop underneath. Conspiracy theories of the police tracking my every move flooded my head. Then I discovered that sleep was calling and I had the best nights sleep for a long time.
When I woke up I discovered the other volunteers had been making bets at what time I'd be back. I beat all of their times by a couple of hours.
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