Posts Tagged 'Aberdeen'

The Future of the MTR

The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) run as Hong Kong’s arteries, concentrated mainly in Kowloon and the island line on the north of the island, but extending to most places in Hong Kong. You can reach the border with China for $39 (about 3 quid) on it and it’s one of the most regular, cheapest and efficient transport methods in the world. Here’s a map of the current MTR at the beginning of 2013:

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They are currently expanding the MTR in a few places across the region and have released the map of what the MTR of a few years from now will look like, shown below. Click on it to expand it.

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It first intrigued me when we’ve been down to Aberdeen to check it out down there and saw the massive construction that’s going on there. Similarly, with our orientation hostel being further west than Sheung Wan, we asked why a place as populous as Kennedy Town didn’t have a MTR station. Don’t want to do a boring labelling of the map, but here are the big main features:

– The Blue Line is being extended at the West to Kennedy Town with stops at the HKU and Sai Ying Pun after Sheung Wan (the current terminus).

– There looks to be a new Lime Green line to Ocean Park, the region’s biggest theme park and tourist honey-pot. This continues to Lei Tung and South Horizons (big new fancy estates, presumably worth a lot of money if they’re connecting them to the line).

– The Blue Line will now terminate at Quarry Bay in the East, with the current Blue Line stations from Tai Koo to Chai Wan becoming a new Light Brown Line that will travel parallel to the Blue Line to Victoria Park and the Exhibition Centre and Tamar (named after the famous ship stationed in HK in colonial times). This would connect to the Hong Kong station built in 2010 underneath the huge ICC and ends up heading towards Lantau Island and the Airport.

– Recent news at the end of 2012 showed that China is investing massively in its high-speed networks. It looks like a new grey line from China crosses the border and terminates at Austin (good, cos there’s nothing there atm) as a ‘West Kowloon Terminus’. Don’t know what to make of this – probably good and easy to get to the mainland; but in a city already with its big prejudices with mainlanders and a lack of trust in the Beijing Government, is this a way China is trying to integrate itself with HK? Who knows…

– The Purple Line will go from a random Western LTR to a complete cross-Kowloon network from Tsuen Wan East to connect with the current Brown Line that can only be accessed from Tai Wai. This looks good. Don’t know who’d use it, but yeh, go for it.

-Extending the Green Line from Yau Ma Tei (current terminus) to Ho Man Tin and Whampoa (former dockyard, now property estate with a huge ship in the middle of it. Only in Asia…)

 

Anyway, I also came across this map – could be a sort of fan-fiction, guys with too much time sort of thing but looks like HUGE expansions. Could be the MTR of 2060 or something:

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That’s all well and good, but when will it end!???

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The plans look groovy for the next few years, connecting a lot of places. But some of the ideas I think people need to think very carefully on. Connecting little island south of HK Island seems like the ultimate mission, but what would become of the small Sampans, water taxis and Star Ferry if integration of the island and all of HK to China is what some people in the top jobs think is best for HK? I’m probably being a bit too sceptical of their intentions, but with only 35 years and counting until the end of the ‘One Region, Two Systems’ concept in place here, a full on Sinoisation is definitely on the table, whether it’s just not that in name here in 2013. Whatever happens, I’m sure it’ll be good for Hong Kongers generally but let’s see. Hopefully one day it won’t just end up like this…

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24 degrees in Aberdeen?

Had a slow week at work this week as we’d already had our big monthly event for the kids – the Christmas Party – and the deadline day for the students’ forms (ones that say they’ve participated in English activities with us) had passed too. We’ve been watching films with a brew for days now, which is a great way to spend the last couple of weeks in work before the holidays. The kids (who are 19-21 years old) also really love making Christmas cards and paper snowflakes. I stopped doing this like mid-Primary School, so it’s very very weird to see them getting their kicks out of stuff like this. Just to show how much I’ve enjoyed this week at school, here’s a picture:
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Been a busy week after school preparing for the pantomime which will be next Tuesday, 18th December. So not highly exciting waiting around during rehearsals especially since I’m only in scenes 1 and 6, but we make the best of it dicking around backstage and having a laugh. Wednesday night was good going to Jack, Jordan and Ian’s place for Homemade Mulled Wine and snacks, when we did the Secret Santa for Palawan, as there’s about 16 (-ish) of us going. On Friday night, we went out for Steph S’s birthday – Pub Golf style. Went down as one of the best nights we’ve had here yet – went to a lot of new places, met new people and had the normal Chatteris banter with everyone.  Thanks to Steph for organising it and getting some good drink deals!

598517_10151335858987040_952226682_nSaturday was football training and hangover day, as per. And at night we headed to Molly’s flat for a surprise half-birthday Irish party (we supplied the Baileys), and it was Davis’ actual birthday too. Great night there and although we weren’t on it with the beers to our usual standard it was still a great house party. Sunday was a more lively day. Nat and I went to Aberdeen in the morning to check it out. Not the seaside town I expected, with the main road right next to the harbour, and lots of local boat owners shouting their offers for a boat ride (one even sailing from the other side of the harbour…). Interestingly we saw the MTR Extension line under construction, which will be great when it’s completed. But it balls-ed up access to the famous Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant so we had to get a taxi there. It was 24 degrees there, and I was in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops…bit different to the Scottish Aberdeen on 16th December.

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Nice place, Aberdeen, but it lacked the charm of Stanley that made me want to stay in Hong Kong for years. So after seeing the sights there, we got the bus to Stanley and its beauty didn’t disappoint again. Awesome views and great vibe there. Even saw some Carol Singers in the 24 degree heat.

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We met up with Adrian there and got some beers to watch the sunset on some rocks, looking out in the harbour. We had bought a fresh young coconut to drink while we walked down there, but to be honest it had one of the rankest tastes ever. Felt I’d drank some medicine and had that strong nasal feeling like you get when you inhale paint or something. So we tipped the coconut milk out and filled it with beer instead. Course we did.
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Me, Nat and Aids

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San Miguel in a Coconut.

We ended the week with a brew and the Stollen Mum had sent me over, watching Pax (Jeremy Paxman’s Empire). Joe would be proud. Another great week.