So we're in the latest apartment: A lovely, three-room place in Mid-Levels. We are in one of the more desirable neighborhoods in Hong Kong. We are also in one of the most inconvenient neighborhoods in Hong Kong, as far as I can tell.
On Sunday I went to run a simple errand, and as easy as it was to do in Tin Hau it was as difficult in Mid-Levels.
Our neighborhood is largely residential. Sort of the 7th arrondissement of Hong Kong. There are few shops along the street, and they are limited, largely, to hair dressers, pet shops and real estate agencies.
So what's a girl gotta do to get a computer cable? Glad you asked. First, I walk about a kilometer to get to the Mid-Levels escalator, which is about 800 meters long with a vertical climb of 135 meters. The total travel time is twenty minutes, but some people walk while the system moves to shorten their trip. This is a bit misleading, though, because the escalator only goes up during the day. So actually, you have to make a vertical descent, via stairs and steep pavement.
Along the sides there are dozens of restaurants and bars; it's very cool.
At the bottom is the Central business district, and while this isn't necessarily the closest commercial district, as the crow flies, it's the only way to get somewhere that has a way back up that isn't hundreds of stairs.
Anyway, I went to the Fortress appliance and electronics store next to the Central MTR station looking for a WLAN cable. It took me about 30 minutes to get there. Easy, i thought.
Not so easy.
The guy at Fortress, which sells TVs and phones and computers and printers, says they don't have one. I ask where I might find one. He suggests the computer shop up one flight of stairs in the same shopping mall. I find the computer shop and it's one of the few shops closed on a Sunday. I start to contemplate my options. As I'm walking back to the street I see a sign for another computer shop in another mall. I go up to the second level to find that shop and it, too, is closed.
Now I have to figure this out. I don't know the area well and I'm not sure what sort of shop I need to find. I think perhaps the Fortress was just too small. Maybe the shop guy meant they didn't have them at his shop. So I get on the MTR and go to Times Square, in Causeway Bay. If you read Paul's blog a while back, he describes the madness that is Times Square, and we both vowed never to go back on a weekend. But I needed the cable to work Sunday night.
So I make my way through the gigantic MTR station and finally get to the Times Square mall and go up seven flights of elevators to get to the Fortress and another identical shop, Broadway. The guy at Broadway says nope, no cable. I ask him where I might find one. He suggests the computer mall in Wan Chai. Ack. I desperately don't want to do that. It's another metro ride (the easy part) but it will take me 15 minutes, at least, to get to the train and then I still have to find the Wan Chai computer mall.
So I go over to the Fortress, and ask the guy there if he has a cable. I know he doesn't, but I ask anyway. He tells me if I go down the street to the department store Sogo there is another computer mall nearby. The instructions are very vague.
Mind you it took me what, 10 minutes, the other day to hit the florist, the laundry and the key shop. I'm now into my second hour and I still can't even find a shop that sells what I want.
I go back down seven flights of escalators and realize I have no idea where Sogo is. I end up asking three more people before I find it. Meanwhile, I see a PCCW shop on the street. And since that is the company that provides the internet service and modem that I'm using, I think maybe they have a WLAN cable. Ha. That guy sends me to the same computer mall, and I'm still not clear where it is.
Wading through the hordes of people (see my flickr site) I find the shopping mall. It's called Windsor House. The computer mall is on the 10th floor, and they don't have escalators, so I find the elevators that are designated 5-16. And now this story is about as long and tedious as my search for the cable. Which I found, finally, two hours and four malls after I started looking.
The prospect of a three-stop metro ride and 20-minute escalator ride (did I mention that the previous night we walked up the stairs because we got there after the escalators were turned off?) and a 1K walk to get back was too daunting. I hopped in a cab.
So the point is, I won't be running many errands the next month. And we probably won't live in this neighborhood, as nice as it is, if we stay in Hong Kong.
But until then I'm going to enjoy the space and the killer views and errands be damned.