After three weeks, a few things happened without notice. When I walk the street, I rarely notice the odor of the street. I don’t mean a foul odor. I mean an amalgamation of street restaurants, incense burnt on the sidewalks, traffic exhaust and traces of other smells that my senses aren’t refined enough to identify. The smell is starting to feel normal.
The big city life is also growing on us. I honestly don’t miss having a car. Public transportation is so convenient. Sometimes it takes a while – when we went to Lamma Island for a birthday party it took a full hour between the bus and ferry. Mostly, it takes 30 minutes or less to get where we want to be. The thing that I’ve come to appreciate is that funny noise the car makes isn’t my problem, how much it will cost to fix is not my concern. It also adds independence for the kids. We were walking through a mall and Devon was bellyaching about wanting to go home and how much longer we were going to be. After beginning my speech about how we will be done when we are done, it dawned on us that we don’t all have to pile in the car and go home together. Devon just went and caught the bus home. It’s just sorta easy. JP even gets excited about using his “iPod card” – what he calls his Octopus card that works on all public transportation.
Navigation is getting better. We are learning that Hong Kong Island isn’t so big a landmass. With the harbours and bays, you can keep your bearings without much effort. However, the subway tunnels and building skywalks (I should say footbridges) still feel like a labyrinth. I imagine we will get our navigation down cold, only to have to learn all over again when we move to the south part of the island. It will kinda be a new center of gravity.
We are also getting into the rhythm of buying a day or two worth of groceries at a time. We even venture into the wet markets – the street market for meats and produce. We aren’t quite up to buying the freshly butchered meat yet, but the produce is good. It’s even enjoyable to engage the locals in our purchases. It sort of feels better to buy produce from the 60-year-old man working his booth rather than the anonymous grocery store.
I think the really odd feeling after three weeks is that, looking back, it feels like six months since we were stateside.