November 6, 2008

Penny-wise and Pound Foolish

We checked into the Ibis North Point hotel this afternoon. We're using it as a bridge between one apartment and another.

And we discovered that for a mere $88, we could be transported back to Europe in the blink of an eye.

The Ibis is a French-owned hotel; part of the Accor chain. It's known as a budget hotel, to be sure. Probably comparable to Motel 6, but Euro-style. We have perhaps 180 square feet of space -- two thirds the size of my childhood bedroom -- with a bed and a desk built into the window. I have a fabulous view of Victoria Harbour.

But all those perks of Hong Kong I was talking about yesterday? Not so much here. There is French-style check in (slow and uninformative) and an almost French-sized elevator. It took me as long to get internet service, today, as it did for me to run three errands yesterday.

C'est la vie.

I'm told the IHT puts its tryout editors here. Ack. I can't imagine spending two nights here, much less a week. We were fortunate enough to stay in the Harbour View when we first arrived, and it's head and shoulders above this hotel. (And, not to put too fine a point on it, only $40 more at this time.)

But we're here just for 24 hours. Not enough time to worry about space, and I'm working days, too, so Paul and I only have to co-exist to sleep.

Another in a series of adventures, right?

Next stop: Mid-Levels West

And the Living is Easy

There is no disputing that life here (my life, anyway) is pretty easy. I have no chores and my errands are easy to accomplish.

I was a little concerned that moving back to a city would mean that daily life is a little more complicated. That certainly was the case in Paris. But not here. My goodness ... you can get anything you want everywhere. The shops don't close early and they seem to be open seven days a week.

This morning I needed to run some errands before work. I managed to go to drop off the laundry, get keys made and buy an orchid at the florist, all in under 20 minutes. Beat that!

The laundry is across the street from our current apartment (and yes, we are moving again this weekend) so that was a piece of cake. In at 12:45 p.m., out at 5 p.m.. 36 hong kong dollars. The I crossed back to the apartment and cut across the alleyway, past the always-crowded hot pot restaurant and over to the hardware store. (see photo).

The hardware store is probably the size of my sister-in-law's sewing room, nee walk-in closet. It offers faucets and light bulbs on the outside, and switches and keys and all sorts of other things. It cost me 20 hong kong and 5 minutes to get 4 keys made. Granted, getting keys made in SoCal isn't difficult, time-consuming, or expensive. But it isn't always easy to find a place that will make them for you.

And in Paris, it's worse. They don't really do keys there ... Keys are proprietary and expensive. You must prove you are the owner or legal resident of an apartment before you can get copies made, and then they take 10 days and cost upward of $50.

Then, I went looking for a plant. I went to two florists, actually, before I decided on a lovely pale green orchid as a gift for the guy whose apartment we're borrowing.

Total time, about 15 minutes.

It's amazing to have everything at my fingertips, so to speak. Supermarket, laundry, restaurants galore, stationery shop, framers, florists, butchers, green grocers, bakeries ... everything in one square block.

I could get used to this.