Posted by: Sam Olsen | August 19, 2011

Tram and Timings

New navigational  experiences today. I set out for lunch with my counterpart at another Local Bank (the World’s Local Bank in fact), who is a charming American chap, Steve.  We joined the single file queue for the tram, which then proceeded to flummox everyone

Not the only tram in town

because it pulled up such that we are at the front of the queue instead of the back. We bundled on anyway. The tram moves quite slowly, but no worse than the traffic through Central at lunchtime, and we headed off in an easterly direction.  We squeezed delicately onto the seat and Steve kept his eye out for our stop. Upon disembarking we paid the fare of $2 each.  Less than 20p!!

Lunch was a western affair at a place called The Pawn, (no Sam, not that sort of Porn), The setting was lovely since it is located in an old shop house building, although this was much larger than the shop houses I’d seen in Singapore which are the sort of size for a small modern family to live in. For those unfamiliar, the shop is on the ground floor, then the storage, then the family live up top (I think – please correct me if I’ve got the wrong order!).   There really aren’t many old buildings like this left in the parts of HK I have visited so far, and it was a pleasant change.

At the end of the day I’d booked in to go and get my toenails painted, so left the office at 6pm. No-one else leaves at 6. They all mill around for quite a long time. Seems odd to me, since the office only fills up by about 9.30am, then lunch is one and a half hours, and rarely eaten at one’s desk. Steve explained that it’s a throwback from the old days when the locals were paid pennies by the Brits. They recognised this, but given they tended to live in tiny flats with no a/c, they would therefore would hang around in the nice cool office and take a really good lunch break. The social side of business is very important in Chinese culture too, so this explains a lot of what we might view as milling.  Wonder if, as a Westerner, that means it will be possible at all to break into these close-knit groups.

Anyway, nails duly painted, I wandered home and was very pleased to realise I had got all the way here without using a map at all. Three weeks today and already navigating solo!

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