China Visit May 2016: final update

May Trip 2016 China Update No 10 by Tricia Johnston

I’m now in Hong Kong having arrived yesterday (Friday) afternoon. Being here means two positives and one negative. The two positives are a) I survived the taxi journey to Shanghai Airport. We left the hotel at 4.40am so the roads were very quiet giving the driver the chance to pretend he was an F1 driver!!!!; b) I get to wear my sunglasses! I’ve carried them around with me the entire trip and never had a chance to use them as I was either in a car with tinted windows and then straight into a meeting or, on days when I was out and about, it was very overcast. Now, in Hong Kong, I’ve been able to use them from the get go.

The negative from being here – it is a place of two extremes temperature wise. It was only a walk of about 200-300 yards from the airport terminal building to the taxi rank but it was like walking in an oven so getting into the air conditioned taxi was great. 10 minutes later I was wishing it was slightly warmer in the taxi as the air con belted out freezing air, and that is an issue when moving around Hong Kong. The temperature outside can be 30+ degrees but inside buildings, buses, trains etc it will be verging on cold so you always need to carry a jacket/cardigan with you if you are going to be somewhere inside for any length of time.

Well, it is now Tuesday and I leave for home tomorrow so had better get this last Update finished. Having said I could now use my sunglasses that has turned out not to be the case. Since arriving the weather has been very mixed with quite a bit of cloud and rain. The Hong Kong authorities issues 3 warnings about rain – Amber, Red and Black. Amber Rain = it’s raining; Red Rain = the rain is heavy and schools are closed; Black Rain = rain is so heavy Hong Kong is closed!

The weekend proved to be both relaxing and ‘stressful’. The relaxing bit was not having to work to the alarm clock and being able to spend time with friends just doing things at our own pace.

The ‘stressful’ bits revolved around my friend Ian. First of all there was the game of Scrabble which he won using words like ‘nu’, ‘wos’ and ‘ur’ – all of which are in the official Scrabble Dictionary!!!

The 2nd ‘stressful’ point came when we were in a shopping mall looking at an item in a shop. The Assistant asked us where we were from and I said Scotland and Ian said he lived in Hong Kong. I then got a gentle reprimand from the Assistant for allowing my ‘precious son’ to live so far away from me………. A few hours later we were coming back through the same mall and Ian headed off to the toilet. On the way he passed the same shop and was met with ‘Where’s your Mother?’ on the way by! For those of you who haven’t met Ian, if I was his Mum I’d have been a young teenage Mother when I gave birth – may have to think about dying my hair!

On Sunday afternoon we visited a friend of Ian’s who is in Hospital after a fall. It was interesting to see inside a Hong Kong hospital and compare it to Hairmyres where I work. The ward JB is in is an ‘old style’ Florence Nightingale ward with the nurses station at the top end and about 6 beds going down either side. The beds are quite close to one another but even with that number of patients and visitors it was remarkably quiet.

Visiting is from 11.00am-2.00pm and 6.30-8.00pm. There is only one visitor’s seat per bed and no obvious additional seating around. At first that surprised me then I realised that, actually, there just isn’t room for 2 or 3 visitors to be sitting at any one bedside.

Running along the ceiling in the centre of the ward was a track for a hoist. If a patient requires to be lifted out of bed and taken for a bath/shower they are carried down the centre of the ward in this hoist to the bathroom area.

The taxi system in Hong Kong is very organised – red taxis for City Centre; green taxis for the New Territories; yellow taxis for Urban areas. If you are in the City Centre and want to get a taxi to the New Territories there is no point in hailing a red one as they just won’t go there. It is some distance out and they are unlikely to get a fare back to the City so, financially, it isn’t worth their while.

From the Hospital we were going to the Peak but there wasn’t a taxi to be seen so Ian ‘ubered’ one. Within 10 mins an entirely electronic Tesla car was approaching us. It was lovely! Very quiet, about 370 kilometres to one charge and lots of incentives from the Hong Kong authorities to drive one. On petrol/diesel cars import duty is 100%, for electronic cars there are big concessions on import duty, parking and fees for re-charging. These cars are really being pushed as the car of the future for Hong Kong.

Well, I’m going to close this now. It has been a pleasure being in touch with you. I’d like to thank the SCCG Management Committee for giving me the privilege of making this trip on their behalf. If you would like to know more about the SCCG or get involved in our work please just let me know. It really is fun!!

Best wishes,