Smartphones have made our lives considerably easier. Of that, there is no doubt. But human intelligence is still required to operate them. On day two of my trip to Hong Kong, I sorely (literally) lacked any.
Waking up again at four a.m. (my internal clock is precise), I watched the theatre of dawn over Victoria Harbour as the soft amethyst hue of daybreak transitioned to a million shades of gold. With nary a cloud in the sky, it made sense to make my way up one of the main attractions in the city: The Peak. Situated atop Mount Austin, The Peak has two main attractions - a funicular railway that transports passengers to the top and, once there, a breathtaking view of the iconic skyline below. Using my hotel-provided Smartphone, I punched in "The Peak" to GoogleMaps and began my journey.
My hotel was located on the Kowloon side of the city. To get to the Central district of Hong Kong Island, where The Peak was situated, I needed to cross Victoria Harbour aboard another of the city's icons: the Star Ferry. At the equivalent of roughly 50 cents Canadian, it's one of the cheapest—and most enjoyable—things to do. I live in central Canada where wheat fields are oceanic in stature and size, so it's always an escape for me to be near (or preferably on) actual large bodies of water. Observing several generations of Chinese water transport, from traditional junket to water taxi to mega cruise ship, was also an interesting panorama of the transition of time.
Once on the other side, I found myself in a jumble of businessmen and expats with places to go, people to see. The atmosphere was well hectic. It starts to get vertical fast, hence why the world's longest escalator exists here, but my phone was taking me in the opposite direction. My hike would be unaided by moving walkways. I've climbed mountains before, I don't know why this easy, in comparison, hike was making me wheeze the way it was but after an hour or so, I was spent. Perhaps it had to do with the concrete jungle underfoot rather than a natural, welcoming forest bed. I checked my phone to see how much further I'd have to go ... and then it hit me. The realization that I had typed in "Victoria Peak" rather than "Victoria Peak Tram". I was half-way up the bloody mountain before realizing I had missed my actual destination! Cursing to myself, I made my way back down and eventually found the line to purchase a ticket.
The bad thing about traveling solo is you don't have anyone to warn you of your idiocy.
The good thing about traveling solo is you don't have anyone to witness your idiocy.
I stood in it for well over an hour. Time in which I probably could have reached the summit.
But it was worth it.