Hong Kong is rife with escalators. I take at least 4 a day. There’s one to get up to the footbridge-you go through a wet market, and if you go up the next one you’ll be in a set of restaurants. There’s one to go down from the footbridge, there’s one to get to the pay gate in the MTR, and one to go down the 5 stories to the actual trains-I usually walk this one because if I don’t it takes far too long. Then the next station has another set, 3 this time, then up some stairs and you’re in the outside world! I go down two escalators to get to the grocery store.

Today I went to Hong Kong park for a break, and to get there from the MTR you must take Exit C2, go up an escalator, up some stairs, turn around at the street and go up another escalator. Then, you go across a footbridge, into a mall, up an escalator (then you’re outside, and up 2 more escalators with plexiglass roofs and open air. Then you cross a road and you’re in the park! You start 5 floors underground, take moving stairs 10 floors up and cross a road in a bridge, and then you emerge at ground level halfway up a mountain.

The Mid-Levels escalator is the famous one. This starts from the IFC building (featured in Batman: the Dark Night, and the tallest building on the island) and is a series of moving sidewalks, escalators and ramps that takes you to an even higher point, deep into expensive residential housing on the side of the mountain. Restaurants, bars, boutique shops and kitschy stands surround the first half of the escalator, and then it’s private schools and apartments right up to the start of the hiking trails. It is only one way though: it goes downhill until 11AM and then changes to uphill the rest of the day. Made for commuters who live in the Mid-Levels and work in the financial district. Also made for tourists who want to see a long outdoor series of escalators.

They’re also not handicap accessible, nor are they friendly to hoards of people sitting on steps and having a picnic. They do, however, make me happier about going up and down 10 flights of stairs.  If we didn’t have the escalators, Hong Kongers would either be significantly more toned, or spend more money on taxis. Probably the latter.

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