Enroute to Hong Kong

During the first couple hours of this 16 hour flight I watched The French Connection. This is probably the fourth or fifth time I have watched this movie, though not perhaps more recently than five years ago. The movie really stands up.

One small revelation is that my recent lust for a fedora (thanks to that all around maven of the hip, David Drake) has been replaced by the need to get a hat like Popeye’s (not the spinach eater).

Karen informed me that this is actually Hackman’s hat, not the invention of the wardrobe dept.

Dinner, pot roast, I always get potted food on airlines, much less likely to be anything more than potted, was incongruously accompanied by a fortune cookie. The message is propitious,especially in light of my conversation in Berkeley Heights in the morning before departing for the airport.


Hong Kong – escalators

Escalators in Kowloon Tong Station Hong Kong

Escalators in Kowloon Tong Station Hong Kong

This is one of series of postings flowing from our trip to Hong Kong and Vietnam between December 15, 2008 and January 7, 2009.

During my visit over the last three weeks in Hong Kong I was on more escalators than in my entire existence. This reflects the well known verticality of both the natural and built environment there. It also shows the city’s interest in maintaining foot traffic as a viable mode of mobility. Even in the more remote parts of the city, pedestrian travel is aided by sidewalks, elevated walkways, and everywhere a web of pedestrian friendly access connected everywhere by escalators.

Compared with the chronic outages of service on the MBTA escalators, I never came across a single escalator that was out of service.

A final little reminder of the more typical lack of reliability of public escalators I experience in the US came on our return at Newark. After clearing customs we rounded a corner to see an escalator to carry us upstairs to catch our connecting flight to Boston. Sure enough, this escalator, a “Schindler” was emitting a loud clanking sound. We had seen plenty of Schindlers as well as Otis escalators in Hong Kong. None greeted us with such dramatic evidence of imminent failure.