Friday, September 12, 2008

First Time Mong Mag-MRT, ‘Neng?


Ever since I booked our flight last February, I've been plotting out our itinerary with more details than necessary. Thank goodness for deligious Pexers who are so familiar with Hong Kong, they have answered all possible questions that you can think of without having to ask it. The specific bus numbers, MTR stations, the look & current design of the Octopus card, where to turn left & right when you're at a certain road, etc, etc. As such, our itinerary was so detailed it could never ever come close to any of the itineraries I've done for the Holy Week Travellers.

I made a detailed itinerary because it was my first time to travel alone in a foreign country. Well, technically, I'm not alone. Pero wala naman kasing mako-contribute ang anak ko for finding directions or even making decisions. Although my son and I already went to Puerto Galera on our own for a 3-day get-away, it was booked through a service-oriented resort. The moment I got to the Manila office of Coco Beach Resort, ni hindi ko na nahawakan ang bagahe namin.

Anywayze, back to our Hong Kong trip. As much as I thought I have prepared myself for this trip, nothing had prepared me for the complications of riding the MTR, Hong Kong's version of our MRT (but a lot, lot better!). Dahil first day namin sa Hong Kong, I made a lot of booboos riding the MTR. Hehehe!

Booboo # 1: "Nothing to declare here." Sucess! I didn't get lost looking for the immigration & baggage claim areas. We’re actually here at the arrival hall! But wait! I need to find the "Airport Express Counter” or the “Customer Service Counter" so I can buy an Octopus card. I saw a kiosk just outside the door after the customs area. Mukha namang bilihan ng card yung kiosk. Kaya lang, may ibang design yung cards, baka generic lang. So I went to the Airport Information Desk and asked the female manning the counter. Sus! Yung kiosk nga na may iba't ibang card ang bilihan ng Octopus card! Anube!

Booboo # 2: "Load 300 please." That's how much I told the female from the kiosk to load in my Octopus card. "300? You can easy load anywhere," says the pakialamerang female in her broken English with Chinese accent. "Yes, 300," with conviction ko syang sinagot. "Even children?" "Yes!" Ba't ba? Eh, mayaman ako! Hehehe! Pero hindi pumayag si pakialamerang girl. HKD 250 lang ang niload nya sa akin, HKD 170 naman kay Mokong. Mahaderang 'to! Hmp! Nilayasan ko nga sya pero with a smile naman and I said my thank you. Nung nakalayo na kami, I took out my kodikong itinerary. Nyek! Oo nga, tig-100 HKD lang nga dapat ang binili namin ni Mokong. Ba't ko ba naisip na 300? Ano 'to, load ng celfone? Duh!!! Anyway, pwede namang mareimburse yun eh.

Booboo # 3: "Mommy, sa'n ba tayo pupunta?" Hayyyy... Hindi ko rin talaga alam. According to the City Econo Guesthouse website, just take bus no. 21 or 22A and get off at Jordan Road. Eh, san ang sakayan ng bus? Nyaiks, anong gagawin ko? “Taxi na lang kaya, Mommy?” asked Mokong. Pero wala akong Chinese translation nung guesthouse namin, baka di pa kami magkaintindihan ng driver, uminit pa ulo ko. Hayyy... Sa sobrang detailed ng itinerary ko, kulang pa din pala! Mga 5 minutes kaming nakatayo sa gitna ng arrival hall trying to figure out what to do. Hayyy... I miss my adik friends.

Booboo # 4: "Mommy, trains to the city o". Oo nga naman, sa 5 minutes naming itinayo doon, nasa harap lang kami ng sakayan ng train. "Ok, anak, check natin MTR map." In fairness, pwede naman talagang mag-MTR going to our guesthouse. Maraming lang kasing MTR interchange kaya hindi ko kinareer yun while I did my research in Manila. Pero dahil hindi ko na alam kung saan kami sasakay ng bus, sige, "trains to the city" na kami. I got myself a map of the MTR system and studied it.

Booboo # 5: Based on the MTR map, 4 times kaming magpapalit ng train. From the airport, baba kami sa Tsing Yi. From there, we change train using the Tung Chung Line to go to Lai King. From Lai King, we change train uli using the Tsuen Wan Line to get to Jordan. Finally, eto na yung last stop. Pero wait, baka naman may iba pang faster route 'coz I can see a nearer interchange. Kaya lang, I also read somewhere in PEX na hindi kayang lakarin yung distance na ‘yun from one station to the next. Hmmm... Tanong ko nga sa Customer Service. I waited until she's not attending to any customer when I approached her. Baka may makaintindi kasi sa amin na shushunga-shunga kami. Hehehe! I asked her how to get to Jordan, pero I also told her how I planned to do it (para mukha namang may alam ako sa Hong Kong). Parang nagtaka sya sa gusto kong gawin sa buhay pero dahil limited lang siguro ang English nya at baka magtagal at lumalim pa ang misunderstanding namin, nag-yes na lang sya. Pero syempre, later during the day (when we went to Central to get to the Peak Tram), nung medyo sanay na akong mag-MTR, nun ko lang na-realize na pwede naman palang lakarin yung mahabang distance na sabi sa PEX eh hindi pwedeng lakarin. Eh, di sana, twice lang kami nag-change trains. Hayyyy…

Booboo # 6: "San sinusuksok 'yung card? Wait, Francis, wala yung magsa-swipe ng card natin?" So, balik uli ako dun sa girl na pinagtanungan ko ng papuntang Jordan. "Miss, I use this for there?" Sabay turo, of course, sa tracks. "Yes" ang very eager n'yang sagot. Pero sa’n ko nga isa-swipe ang card? Syempre, hindi ko na tinanong ‘yun sa kanya. Feeling ko, obvious na obvious nang shushunga-shunga nga ako dahil this is the second time I went to her for a question. Oh, well, pag may sumita na lang sa amin kung pano kami naka-sakay ng train without swiping our Octopus cards, deadma. Finally, the train arrived. Taray, ganda ng seats! Pero sa'n nga ini-swipe ang card? Di pa rin ako mapakali, diba, kahit na seating pretty na ako sa loob ng train! I tried to relax. Promise, pag may nanita, I'll just cross the bridge when we get there. And then, I saw the sign! Free airport shuttle naman pala itu!!! So, kahit magdamag akong maghanap ng card swiping machines, good luck kung may makita talaga ako!

Booboo # 7: Kung nawala siguro yung kodiko kong brochure na may map ng MTR system, maninirahan na lang siguro ako dun! Kahit 1 station lang ang ita-travel naming mag-ina, puro kaya ako double check at triple check kung tama ang ginagawa namin. Maliban sa brochure, maya't maya din ang pagche-check ko sa lighted MTR map system na naka-display sa loob ng MTR. Hayyyy… First time ko bang mag-train?

Booboo # 8: “Next stop: Lai King.” It’s just one station away from the Tsing Yi Station where we can change trains that will go to Jordan. An influx of commuter went straight to the lift. Sunod naman kami ng anak ko. In fairness, I saw a sign at the elevator door that says “Level 1 Tsuen Wan Line.” That’s the train we need to get into to reach Jordan. But when we reached Level 1, parang lahat ng arrows ng trains, pabalik sa taas! Ha? Bumaba kami para umakyat uli? We scouted the area first thinking that we might have missed a different sign. Pero wala talaga. So, I went to the Customer Service Area and asked where the trains to Jordan are. As usual, broken English uli, “that wide entrance, there, far entrance, go up.” “Ah, ok, thanks!” Hmmm… Sa’n kaya ‘yung wide entrance na ‘yun? Eto kayang swiping machine na wider ang entrance than the rest of the card swiping machines? Pero ang layo ng turo nung girl, so I went to the other end. When I got to the end, escalator uli going upstairs! Eh, parang dyan nga kami galing. So, I went back to the card swiping machine with the wider entrance to check it out, hagdan going upstairs din! Hayyy… San ba talaga kami? Balik uli kami dun sa dulo. And during all these back and forth scouting, I was dragging all my stuff around, syempre, kasama din si Mokong. Finally, may naawa na siguro sa akin na kanina pa kami nakikitang paikot-ikot, “Ate, sa’n ba kayo?” YAHHHOOO!!! Pinoy ka, Ate? Eh, kung di ba naman ako isang libu’t isang gaga, tinagalog na nga ako, tatanungin ko pa kung Pinoy s’ya! In fairness, tinulungan naman n’ya ako. Dun nga kami sa card swiping machine with a wider entrance. Hayyyy… Did I say I so miss my adik friends?

Booboo # 8: Finally, we were able to get to Jordan, find our guesthouse, and rested for about an hour. Our first itinerary for the day was to go to the Avenue of the Stars. As usual, we had to go there via MTR. Since I had so many booboos in the morning, I decided to study the MTR map carefully and read all the signs at the stations. In fairness, nakarating naman kami ng Tsim Sha Tsui Station nang walang aberya. We didn’t bother to go to the other points of interest near the Tsim Sha Tsui area. I was more concerned kasi to take night photos at The Peak so by 3pm, we were back in the Tsim Sha Tsui Station to make our way to the Central Station. “O, Francis, alam mo na kung pa’no ‘to, ha. Ikaw na hahawak ng card mo.” When we got to the card swiping machines and tapped our Octopus cards, walang nangyari sa mga harang. Hindi bumukas! Ha? Did I do something wrong again? Kahit ‘yung kay Francis, ayaw din magbukas. Wait, Francis, baka iba ‘yung entrance ng mga Octopus card holders. Ikot na naman kami. Parang isa lang naman ang entrance. Try ulit. Promise, ayaw mag-bukas. So, I went to the Customer Service Area. Ay, ang daming tao… Hiya akong magtanong. Try ko na lang ulit card, pero promise, hindi talaga nag-open! Hindi ko na kaya! I will swallow my pride and ask the guy at the Customer Service Area booth (buti na lang, wala nang pila!). The guy checked the balance of our cards. Syempre, ang dami pang load so imposibleng naubusan kaming mga-ina. Then the guy said, “Tap then push.” hah hA Ha? “Tap,” sabay palo sa desk nya, and “push,” sabay action ng push with both hands. Ahhhh… Ipupush pala ‘yun para mag-open. Hayyy…. Ang tanga mo, Barok!

Booboo # 9: Finally, the Peak Tram. I bought the packaged ticket so we can take the tram to get to the Peak and allow us entry to the Sky Terrace. Maayos naman naming nairaos ang buong Peak Tram at Sky Terrace experience. Nung pauwi na kami and took the Peak Tram again to get back down to the city, naloka ako sa isang girl na forever nakatayo sa likod ng driver. Hindi ba sya nahihirapan na nakatayo forever eh naka-slant pababa ang position ng tram? ‘Yun naman pala, papara kasi sya sa isa sa mga stops ng tram. Ay, pwede pala ‘yun? Oo, naman... Kasi, public transportation din naman ang tram. Hayyyy... At parang with “hallelujah” light ang mga pangyayari nung na-realize ko na public transportation nga ang tram. Eh, di syempre, pwedeng gamitin ang Octopus card! At ‘yun nga ang ginamit ni girl na nakatayo sa likod ng driver.

Hayyy… Unang araw pa lang ‘to pero parang ang haba-haba na nang itinagal ko sa Hong Kong. Ano pa kaya ang ibang pwede pang mangyari sa mga susunod na araw?

P.S.:
Huling hirit sa MTR… Added on September 13.

Booboo # 10: Second day. Disneyland. Pauwi na kami from a long and tiring day in Disneyland. By this time, hustler na ako dapat sa MTR. That’s what I thought. As soon as we got off the Disney train, dali-dali lahat ng tao to get to the other train at the Sunny Bay Station. Kami rin ng anak ko. We were so tired and we wanted to be the first in the train so we can get seats. In fairness, konti lang ang nakipila sa amin. The rest of the crowd are on the other side. Confidently in queue at the Tung Chung Line, my son and I waited patiently for the trains to come. “Mommy, trains to the city ulit o,” pointed out my son at the other side. “Hindi, dito tayo, anak. Ayan, o, Tung Chung.” When the trains came, we were able to seat comfortably inside. Ang konti nalang kasi ng tao. When I checked the status of our direction in the lighted MTR map system inside the train, that’s when it dawned on me that we were in the wrong train! We were going to the Tung Chung Station! That’s the end of the line of the Tung Chung Line! Tama nga si Mokong. Dun kami dapat sa “trains to the city!” Tung Chung Line pa rin’yun pero opposite direction! Di bale, don’t panic. We can always interchange at the Tung Chung Station.

Booboo # 11: Tung Chung Station. Since nasa wrong side kami, we quickly transferred to the other side so we can take the train to get back to the city. Ay, ba’t ganon? Walang pila? As much as I wanted to ask any Customer Service personnel or kahit janitor na nga lang, parang wala nang tao. Parang buong station, sarado na. Nyaiks! Ang layo pa naman ng Tung Chung sa city. Kung magta-taxi kami pabalik ng Jordan, magkano kaya aabutin? I finally saw the electronic signage that flashes “Trains to the city will depart first at platform 1”. Hmmm… Ano kaya yun? Promise, wala talagang ibang nakapila sa kinakatayuan namin. Pero sa kabila, dun sa train na binabaan namin, may mga sumasakay! Hmmm… “Trains to the city will depart first at platform 1.” Ahhhh…. So, yung train na sinakyan namin is at platform 1 pala and it will be the one to go to the city! Hayyyyyy… Buhay!

4 comments:

Jenn said...

Pramis tawa ako ng tawa sa kwento mo. Not because may pagka "shonga-shonga" pero dahil nakakarelate ako dun sa mga ibang boo-boos. Hahaha.

b.a.r.o.k said...

thanks, jenn! ngayon lang sya nakakatawa, pero syempre, nung mga panahon na 'yun, nakakainis dahil pagod na kami. hehehe! thanks for visiting my blog :)

laiza said...

hi mommy barowk .... kakatapos ko lang basahin yung MTR chuva .....
hahahaha! miss mo kami? infairness sanay na sanay na si mokong .... buti na lang di ka sinabihan .... "ano ka ba mommy?!" .... hahaha!

basahin ko pa yung iba ..... thanks for sharing ..... =)

b.a.r.o.k said...

hindi nga nya sinabing "ano ka ba mommy?" pero 'yung tono nya dun at tono nya sa "mommy, trains to the city o", pareho lang. hehehehe!