We took a taxi and were amused to see from the driver’s licence that his name was Wong Wai. It turned out it was an accurate moniker as he took us to our destination by the most circuitous route possible.
Rita had a dodgy hip and often had to use a walking stick. She found it difficult to control her stick as well as her handbag, so Brian would regularly be given the task of carrying his wife’s handbag when out and about. Now Brian guarded his masculinity with great vigour, his public persona was definitely more “macho man” – manbags and other effeminite accoutrements were not for Brian. So the sight of our esteemed team leader mincing along carrying a lady’s handbag was always a source of great amusement!
Nevertheless we followed Brian’s lead faithfully because Brian was practically a local, a man about town who knew how to navigate the mean streets of Hong Kong. Early one evening we were heading for a destination in the city and Brian thought it would be fun to use the MTR, Hong Kong’s underground train system. Brian knew the way and sped down the stairs to the trains, we rushed to follow with Rita bringing up the rear. Everywhere was jammed with workers heading for home. We struggled across the concourse and went down two sets of stairs, crossed another concourse and up three flights, along a subway until we reached the platform. Whoops, wrong one! Back along subway, battling against the crowds, up three flights, down another two flights with Rita still limping along behind. At last we reached the correct platform.
There was an attendant, wearing a face mask to prevent her catching germs, ushering us onto a grid pattern on the platform exactly adjacent to where the doors of the soon to arrive train would come to a stop. Seconds later the train arrived and everyone quickly jumped on, totally ignoring those passengers trying to exit the train. Two passengers on the crowded train immediately got up and offered Rita and me their seats, which we gratefully accepted. By the time we had reached our destination we were exhausted and agreed that the trip back to the hotel would be taken by taxi.