I find myself in Hong Kong after a full day of movement. I have driven, waited, flown, circled in the twilit asian sky. Now I am on the ground on Lantau Island, it is night and I must find my way to the flat of my friends Aidan and Lily. The only catch is that they are six thousand miles away back in the UK. I have a series of post-its with instructions. Bus numbers, crudely drawn street maps. I eat at an airport MacDonalds, unsure of when I’ll have the opertunity again, and exit the concourse. It is warm but I am comfortable in grey Italian tweed and travel soiled anyway so what does a bit more sweat matter?
The A47X is my first target and after twenty minutes at the bus stop I’m on board. I have one tool at my disposal, invaluable as I’ll discover, Aidan’s Octopus card, loaded with twenty Hong Kong Dollars, so no fiddling with change. I offer the card, fingers crossed, a bleep from the familiar yellow pad, part of a globally recognisable techno-syntax which tends to horrify us in every day life and reasure us when we travel. A bit like MacDonalds.
The bus journey was a thrilling ride over enormous bridges and through brightly lit tunnels, I sat up top and at the front, of course. Forests of high rise gave way to mountains breifly and then into Tai Po, a market town which would be considered a moderately sized city in most parts of the world.
My next target is the 20B to Tung Tsz Shan. Stairs down from the anonymous bus terminal lead to an underpass and after some exploration I locate the local bus station and the stop I need. Little more than a minibus, seating sixteen, yet comfortable and equiped with a ubiquitous yellow pad. I sit, tense, screenshot from streetview on my phone’s screen waiting for the view from the bus to match. It eventually does and I disembark and find the flat using my extensive post-it instructions.
The flat is spacious but empty of all but a bed and a sofa, but there is tea. I drink a cup, phone my mum, sleep.