December 19, 2004

back on the saddle :-)

So this morning started out bad. I got woken up by this banging noise at 7:30 AM, which normally I'd be awaken by then but I was purposely trying to sleep in today, heh.

Anyway, I decided to take a random bus that stops on my block and take it all the way to the end of the route. Double decker buses, which are the only buses around here, are a great (and cheap) way to sightsee even if the ride sometimes scares me. Some of the roads are very curvy and the drivers are sometimes insane.

So I hop on the 81 bus going to Wo Che. I have no idea where that is so it works for me. I wish I could have taken some pics from the bus but the one I got on was air conditioned, so no open windows means no bus pics. Buses here are not always air conditioned and the fare is usually about $1-2 HKD cheaper for those buses. I prefer the AC buses as you don't have to breathe in the yucky exhaust and also these buses have TV, nicer seats, and electronic signs announcing stops in English too.

I check in my trusty pocket HK atlas to see where Wo Che is. It turns out it is in Sha Tin which is where I was last Sunday visiting my coworker. At first I was a little disappointed but then I thought it was for the best that I explore an area I'm already somewhat used to, I don't need that big of an adventure. And on my map it shows there is a rec center with a huge park near a river so that sounded like fun to check out.

It turns out this bus stops where my coworker lives, heh. So I just could have taken this bus last week instead of the commuter rail which is a lot more expensive, crowded and much less convenient, cool that I know this now. So I head by the river and notice a bike trail. I recall my coworker mentioning we can rent bikes one day so I figure there must be a bike rental place nearby. So as I walked along the trail, sure enough I find one, most excellent :-)

Lucky I brought my Cantonese phrase book so I was able to ask about renting a bike. They set me up with a mountain bike that had a bell and basket. It was hard to find a bike that fit me okay so I didn't have a lot of choice but anyway I was just happy to be back on a bike. The rental was 20 HKD for 1 hour, 25 HKD for 2 hours and 40 HKD until 19:00 which at that point would give me 6 hours. I knew I'd want to ride for at least 2 hours so I paid the guy 40 HKD (about 5 USD) and was on my way. I would estimate I biked about 50 km as I just didn't want to stop. After 3.5 hours, I covered majority of the trails and decided I should head back as the bike path got more crowded and I was getting tired and irritated.
Here, you bike on the left just as you drive and that was weird. People would still go in the wrong lane which pissed me off, people do that with staircases and walkways too and it would make me think, why the hell am I able I abide by this when I'm a newcomer and people who haved lived here cannot. Today it dawned on me that most of the people who go to the right are probably from the mainland, where you stay to the right. It still pisses me off but not as bad but at least it makes a bit more sense now, not thinking it is native HKers breaking this rule they grew up with.
It felt so good to be back on a bike and it really helped my mood. I took about 80 pics of this little trip which'll get posted after I finish putting up my previous pictures from my HK isle trip several weeks ago.

Posted by Christine at December 19, 2004 07:42 PM