October 13, 2008

The Star Ferry

In Hong Kong, you are never far from the water and there are ferries in abundance to take you where you need to go.

We didn't need to go anywhere, but thought it would be amusing to take the Star Ferry to Kowloon side. Although you can cross from the Central district to Tsim Sha Tsui by MTR, the Hong Kong subway system, many commuters (70,000 per day) like the ferry because it is fast and efficient. And it is a bargain: 28 U.S. cents.

As we pulled away from the dock, which was manned by ancient mariners in World War II-style sailor suits, I thought of the last ferry I took -- from Newport Beach to Balboa Island. That one costs $1.

It takes less than 10 minutes to cross the harbor, and it reminded me that it wasn't all that long ago that there wasn't a tunnel or a subway and this was the only way to cross. The harbor has narrowed so much due to land reclamation and construction that it's hard to imagine that it was a major port. The whole reason it existed. England's crown jewel of the east and part of its storied maritime empire. And still, the ferry is the only way to get to the other outlying areas.

It was a charming way to while away a few minutes.

According to Wikipedia, the ferry's four routes carry 70,000 passengers each day

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