30 August, 2010

The Transport Specialist a.k.a Pecan

“Where is Lai Chi Kok ?” was what I found myself asking Pecan, today morning. And that was when the thought registered that whenever I’m in any sort of doubt about the location of a place on the MTR map, I have a ready solution – Pecan !!

He’s like one of those softwares that they have in the ticket dispensing machines in the MTR. He knows exactly which station is on which line and given the fact that the MTR in HK has been progressively expanding their existing lines and adding new ones pretty much like one adds lines in Maths books, this is no simple feat.

When I first came over to HK (waay back in 1994), the MTR had just four lines. But if one were to look at the MTR map today, it resembles a squiggly sheet which one would probably find in one of the kindergartens. A whole range of colours, an assortment of tints and shades running into each other at interchange stations and then diverging again, enroute to their intended destinations.

(Image Courtesy : lmcfood.dk via Google)

To cut a long story short, the MTR map is pretty complicated now. Which is why when the name of any station sounds like a distant memory and when nothing relating to that station immediately surfaces or comes to mind, we have a pretty simple key to the problem. Pecan !!!

He knows the entire MTR system like the back of his left hand. If anyone were to toss a travel related question at him when he is fast asleep, I’m pretty much sure he’d map the route out right then and there – while he’s fast asleep.

And wait ... there’s more.

This penchant of his does not stop at the MTR system alone. The bus system has been and is still under scrutiny too. Every time we are at a bus stop, Pecan has research work to do. Each and every bus stop in HK has a route map that shows the entire route of that particular bus number. It also details each and every bus stop. And someone has been and still is pretty busy mapping that whole thing inside his head.

Today morning, I had to go someplace and I just wondered aloud whether there was a bus route which passed by that place. Pecan, without batting an eyelid, said No. “There is a bus that goes somewhere around that area Mummy, but it does not go to this particular place.” was the response. To double check Pecan’s theory, I did log on to the bus company’s website to check out the route. Sure enough, he was right.

We once decided to go over to the HK Wetland Park. That was about the time this interest in HK’s transport system was developing in Pecan. We told him to map out our route to the Wetland Park. Not that we’d expected him to – but he did. Right down to the smallest and minutest of details.

Even when it comes to the roads in HK, he just has to give a road one look and it sort of gets filed away in memory for future reference. I do this too. File things away for future reference. But in my case, when it’s time to retrieve the file, my mind does not know where to look. Not to mention the fact that I’m horrible with directions.

So yeah, it is good to have this little compass which seems to have a GPS chip implanted in its memory.

Of late, this whole transport issue has been taken to a whole new level. He now pores over airline maps too. As if that is not enough, he is often found with his nose stuck to the huge world map, trying to figure out which country is in what direction vis-a-vis another country. Sometimes those questions do get thrown at me and they bounce right back, for I have absolutely no clue as to whether some state in some country is to the East, West or North East or South West.

I don’t quite know how long this penchant of his is going to last, but it sure is getting to be an interesting ride ! And as long as his affinity for the transport systems in HK continues to grow and flourish, we have a ready reference guide available, right here at home, to transport us to places hitherto unknown.

And Oh ! That ready reference guide is seldom found in one place. It is always found running around !!

Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.
~Abbé Dimnet, Art of Thinking, 1928

4 voice(s) said so:

Sumana said...

Interesting. That is so helpful and kudos to his amazing memory.

Just Like That said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just Like That said...

LOL at the running-around-locator.
Amazing knack these kids have.
I'm always astounded by the way Sonny boy takes to technology. S's new phones and laptops make me scared to touch and have something go wrong, but not so the son!!

Aathira said...

Thats just amazing :)

I remember when I was in Paris.. I loved to pout over the metro map and figure out the best way to get to a place :)