Thursday, December 16, 2010

View from a Ding Ding

Ding Ding at Wanchai

The Ding Ding is the oldest double decker trolley system in the world. It is a trolley system that runs from one end of HK island (Kennedy Town) to other (Up past Taikoo). It was built in 1904 as HK's first form of public transit and it has been running ever since! For 2HK (Amazing price!) you can go from one end to the other in what would normally cost you 6HK on the bus or 5-6HK on the MTR. The Ding Ding was also featured in a recent episode of the Amazing Race in a challenge where they had to search for signage.

In honor of that episode I have taken a long ding ding ride and taken shots of HK on my journey.

Ding Dings are also giant billboards. There are ones that are painted up for banks, clothing lines, HK tourism, airlines. They are moving which is eyecatching. My favorite is the one that looks like a giant purse with handles and zippers, but sadly I road in the orange one for Hang Sang Bank on this day... Modern Ding Dings are made of fiber glass. There are 3 original wooden ding dings in commision still but there upkeep is apparently very expensive so the city is slowly switching to all fiberglass/steel ones. Makes sense! But the old wood ones are SOOO cute!

Hello Driver!

HK people enter through the backdoor

 You enter the ding ding through the back door. Isn't that saucy of them? Then at the end of your journey depending on where you are going you pay the two dollars or put it on your octopus card. The octopus card is an amazing time saving device and really works well on the mtr and bus systems. But with the ding ding I find it easier to find two dollars and put it in the til. Also, it's a handy way to remove those pesky twenty cent coins from your purse!
In Northpoint.

The Bank of China Building, the lines on the side are known as the dragon's spines.

You get great views from the top of the trolley. And it's a cheap way to see the HK island. HK island is the more modern side of the city so if you're wanting to take in the architecture and the crazy signs that make up the HK skyline then I recommend a ding ding tour. For older things in HK you have to go to Kowloon side or the New Territories, the Ding Ding does not go there but there are double decker buses and your feet to help you look at the few heritage places left in HK. Property values have doubled in recent years so they are tearing down everything from ancient villages to temples to build new commercial sites. I am upset about from a conservation stand point. My mother raised me to love old things and cherish them. But this does not seem to be the HK way which is obsessed with money and value. If this 400 year old temple is sittting in a prime realestate place it gets torn down for an apartment complex in a minute.

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