Trevor and Carol's Asian Adventure travel blog


22 April 15

Felix got us to the airport in plenty of time and assisted with the ticketing, we bade him farewell and slipped behind the screen of security. Shades of Dads Army, when the German prisoner is demanding Pikes name and Mainwarring yells out "Don't tell him Pike", Carol had her name taken and written in a Chinese officers Book for having a very small pair of scissors in her firstaid kit. They did not see my scissors in my firstaid kit but wanted to see my scar. We boarded about 5 mins late and all went swimmingly till Captain Speaking advised us that there was a delay. We sat in the plane for around an hour before we got onto the runway, lots of other aircraft in the queue in front of us.

Arrived in HK around 3:00pm got an Octopus card and some cash and set out to find the train, we are of course standing in front of the expletive deleted platform looking for the sign, seniors moments…

So the Airport Express is not as fast as the Shanghai Maglev but it sure gets a move on, does the 45km trip to Kowloon in just under 24mins, I’m just used to our trains at home rattling along using any excuse to slow to walking pace… A few asked me how a Maglev train works well now that I can use Google here is how it’s done; The magnetized coil running along the track, called a guide way, repels the large magnets on the train's undercarriage, allowing the train to levitate between 0.39 and 3.93 inches (1 to 10 centimetres) above the guide way. Once the train is levitated, power is supplied to the coils within the guide way walls to create a unique system of magnetic fields that pull and push the train along the guide way. The electric current supplied to the coils in the guide way walls is constantly alternating to change the polarity of the magnetized coils. This change in polarity causes the magnetic field in front of the train to pull the vehicle forward, while the magnetic field behind the train adds more forward thrust.

Maglev trains float on a cushion of air, eliminating friction. This lack of friction and the trains' aerodynamic designs allow these trains to reach unprecedented ground transportation speeds of more than 310 mph (500 kph), or twice as fast as Amtrak's fastest commuter train. In comparison, a Boeing-777 commercial airplane used for long-range flights can reach a top speed of about 562 mph (905 kph). Developers say that maglev trains will eventually link cities that are up to 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometres) apart. At 310 mph, you could travel from Paris to Rome in just over two hours.

Germany and Japan are both developing maglev train technology, and both are currently testing prototypes of their trains. Although based on similar concepts, the German and Japanese trains have distinct differences. In Germany, engineers have developed an electromagnetic suspension (EMS) system, called Transrapid. In this system, the bottom of the train wraps around a steel guide way. Electromagnets attached to the train's undercarriage are directed up toward the guide way, which levitates the train about 1/3 of an inch (1 centimetre) above the guide way and keeps the train levitated even when it's not moving. Other guidance magnets embedded in the train's body keep it stable during travel. So now you know…..

From Kowloon station by Taxi to the Eaton which is supposed to be an upmarket place and I guess it is but the rooms are very small, the first “deluxe room” was so small we had no room to put our bags. Dragon Lady sprang into action and went and gave the receptionist a spray of her fire and we soon were found another room about the same size but with a shower and loo in the corner and a wardrobe big enough for our small bags, the suitcases are still a problem but we can work around them, it just means we have to take them out of the shower when we want to use it…. No seriously they can be placed on the floor but I have to remember that mine is there or I’ll trip over it, go through the glass window and fall into the centre of Nathan Rd….

For some strange reason Carol did not want Asian for dinner so we repaired to the hotel “western buffet” for dinner. Actually it catered to all tastes, shellfish, prawns, crayfish, English bangers, a chocolate fountain, all manner of desert but I went for a simple bowl of seasonal fruit, followed by a bowl of ice-cream with a chock dipped marshmallow followed by bread and butter pudding with custard and Hyacinths ice-cream which she discovered was coffee not chocolate. Orange juice (real with bits of stuff in it) is gratis but beer is on the expensive side, some of the less salubrious places have beer for HK$5 a 600ml bottle…

The Eaton is up the top end of Nathan Rd and is within a 10 min walk of most of the markets, Ladies St, Sneaker St Etc.

We went for a short walk after dinner and retired to our room.

Not sure what is on the agenda for tomorrow.

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