This portion of the trip, I've chosen to stay on the Kowloon side. It means I've to 'cross the sea' rather often. Daily, in fact, since many things on the schedule are happening on Hong Kong island. Depending on the hour, some cabs wouldn't take passengers 'across the sea'. It's usually not a problem getting cabs from the hotel to the other side. It's the return trip that can be thorny, especially if I'm running close to peak hour. So trains work superbly well- they're reliable and fast. As long as I'm wearing comfortable walking shoes, it's quite a breeze to get to anywhere. It's just been really warm all week; despite the lower humidity, the blazing sun induces buckets of perspiration.
Train rides are awesome to discover a city, its quirks, and its people. My rides aren't long, but they're frequent. I've come to observe that the locals and long-stayers are generally polite. It's this chunk of tourists who're loud, rude and annoying. And by 'tourists', I mean tourists from everywhere, any country and every other city.
On one a train ride, a family of three (parents and a little girl) was just standing next to us, and naturally, I eavesdropped on their conversation. In my defense, while they weren't loud, they weren't that soft! Local family. Very usual outing this afternoon, it seemed. They kindly declined a seat given up for the young daughter because she declared didn't want it. The mother was heading off elsewhere, alighting before her husband and young daughter. Carrying a huge Hello Kitty drawstring knapsack, the father was to take the girl to playschool. The mother promised to pick her up after.
Four stops later, and the next stop was the mother's. She strolled out of the cabin. The little one, all of four or five years old, waved goodbye. As the train doors closed, in that superbly mature tone, the little girl shouted after the mother in Cantonese, "媽咪啊，你小心嘀啊！" (It translates into "Mommy, you be careful now!")
I grinned. The entire cabin of commuters had this smile on their faces. We could all hear. Heartwarming. Such a cute happy phrase coming out of a little girl. And suddenly, the city feels a wee bit like home.