I recently started a new job where the office is in Taipo, in the New Territories.
The human resources girl had to remind me many times that it was in Taipo, as she said some people are offered a job and then later realize they have a long commute to work and back home everyday.
Luckily the company offers transport through a contracted bus company. Every morning they make their rounds through the city to bring us to Taipo.
In my case, I take the one that starts from Kennedy Town at 9am and then hopefully around 9:08am it arrives at Shun Tak Centre or Macau ferry terminal in Sheung Wan.
The first day I waited for the bus and the area where we are standing is also where many tour buses drop off passengers going to Macau. The people file out of the buses and get their luggage too, blocking my view for the bus. Then suddenly I see a red and white bus go by and I think, "Oh no! Don't go past me! I'll have to wait an hour!" So I start running after him. A few metres later he decides to stop and let this crazy person on.
He was probably surprised to see a person waiting here, as there may not have been many people waiting at this stop previously. But now he knows that I'll be there.
After Sheung Wan he drives onward to the Central ferry piers, picking up those who have already commuted from the outlying islands like Discovery Bay, Lamma, Cheung Chau and Mui Wo. Then he goes past the IFC Mall to turn left to the main post office and picks up one or two people there.
The traffic by now starts to build up and he trudges along Queensway to get to Wan Chai, near a pharmacy on Hennessy Road for the last group of passengers before turning left on Fleming Road and loops around to get to the central Cross Harbour Tunnel. After inching into the tunnel we start hitting our stride as the driver hits the highway and passes by Ho Man Tin, then whizzes by Kowloon Tong, and then we go through the Second Lion Rock Tunnel and into Sha Tin.
By now there are fewer apartment buildings and more lush greenery. We pass by the Hong Kong Jockey Club racetrack, and luxury villas, and a science complex before we head towards Taipo. When the driver stops at an intersection, we know we're now in Taipo and almost at the office, well those of us napping.
He also marks down what time he arrives at each pick up point, probably for administration purposes. Most of the time we arrive about an hour after I get on the bus.
Of course going home, especially on a Friday is another story, taking at least an hour for sure.
What's interesting for me is that I've now taken a few different bus routes after work. The one that goes to Tsing Yi was interesting. I hardly ever see this area of the city and was impressed by the infrastructure in terms of roads. For the most part everything seems well connected to these areas that only 15-20 years ago were hardly reachable in an efficient way. Last night I took the bus that goes to Tsim Sha Tsui. In between it stops at Kowloon Tong, Mongkok and Jordan. Again I rarely venture to these places and if I do it's very briefly and I don't wander around. So it was strangely familiar when the bus passed by Jordan and it brought me back to when I first arrived in Hong Kong shopping in the small boutiques in the area there.
It makes me realize how much time has passed and how things are different and stay the same.