Written by Kamal Mirwani
Pictures by terismile
Amid the bustling and jostling of the mindless crowd, a couple walked, fighting the tide of people dressed in suits who seemed to be walking with determined, single-minded focus. This was typical of Hong Kong on a workday, especially in the financial district. The male was already starting to break a sweat as the hot sun beat down relentlessly on all those who were not wise enough to walk under the shade of one of Hong Kong’s many monolith skyscrapers. The streets were often the silent battleground of pedestrians all vying for space close to the entrances of buildings where shade and gusts of cool air-conditioned air were offered free of charge.
Finally, the male looked up to see what he had been searching for. At first it didn’t look like much, but this was his ticket out of the heat, the crowd and the noise. He excitedly pointed at the slow-moving tram to his partner, a beautiful, blonde girl who was clearly not from these parts. Her look of delight relaxed him as she seemed to be as excited about riding Hong Kong’s network of near-forgotten trams as he was. The pair ran through the middle of the street, ignoring the fact that the light was red, as they managed to make it to the tram stop and board the double-decker tram.
They took seats at the very front of the tram on the top deck so that they could have a bird’s eye view of the busy city action below while having great views of the buildings around them. The tram also provided blissful relief from the heat, a fact that pleased the male very much, indeed. As the tram moved away from the near-claustrophobic atmosphere of Central District, Hong Kong’s premiere business hub, the throngs of people thinned, the air seemed to clear and there was a fresh breeze that blew into the tram. The male looked over to his counterpart who was busy snapping up pictures with the enthusiasm and wonder of a child in a candy store. It warmed him to see her so happy.
Often the tram had to stop for the odd pedestrian who miscalculated how fast they could run and ended up right in the way of the tram when they shouldn’t have. This was typical of Hong Kong where jay-walking is as common as good food is in Italy. Soon, the massive buildings gave way to views of a park by the ocean, a memorial to Sun Yatsen, who many local Chinese believe is the founder of modern China. Further along, the tram came to a halt, the lights turning off suddenly to indicate that the couple needed to alight as the tram had reached its final destination.
The male took his female companion to an abandoned stretch of concrete directly adjacent to the ocean. From there, they had unrestricted views across Victoria Harbor, however with a less-iconic view. Instead of the usual Hong Kong Skyline, they saw hydrofoils taking wealthy gamblers toward Macau and vast bridges connecting different parts of Hong Kong’s mainland. A mild smog had also rolled in from China, which detracted from the view somewhat. Still, it was an enjoyable experience. The breeze by the ocean caused the female’s hair to flutter behind her like a golden banner, and the male couldn’t help but think that it looked like a beautiful ray of sunshine, sparkling and gold.
They walked around for some time longer, passing by stores that sold dried seafood which let off a horrid smell. However, instead of dampening their spirits, the smell made the couple joke and laugh as the pair were clearly happiest when together. The walk culminated with the discovery of another tram line, this one leading back the way they had come. They boarded, and thus began the sleepiest tram ride either of them would have. The male nodded off on many an occasion, his head looking like a bobbing lure on a peaceful lake as he fought valiantly against sleep and eventually lost the battle. The female snapped up a few more photos and soon began to feel fatigued as well. It was by pure luck that the male woke up when he did and led the way off the tram so that the pair could get on the bus that would lead back home. It had been a great day of exploring the sights and sounds of one of Hong Kong’s lesser known districts while paying tribute to one of the unsung heroes of Hong Kong’s public transport system. All hail the tram!
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