What comes up must go down

Escalators are a big part of life in Hong Kong. There are the regular kind, bringing droves of people up and down to the subway every day. And then there is the record-breaking kind — the world’s longest escalator which runs from the offices of central, through the bars of Soho to the residential mid-levels further up the hill. Riding it from end to end takes a full 25 minutes — but you have to be careful it’s running in the direction you want to go. From 6am — 10am the escalator moves downhill, taking workers to the city. And then it switches to run uphill from 10.15am-12am.

The government takes safety very seriously here. Whenever you catch an elevator in the subway, you’ll hear the announcements over the tannoy telling you to “be a safe escalator user”. There’s even an awards ceremony for Hong Kong’s “safest escalator user”, with adverts and posters for the event all over the subway.

The advice falls somewhat short on the mid-levels escalators however. There are big signs plastered the entire length of the escalator, telling you to “stand still and hold on”. This would be great advice, if only the hand rail didn’t move at a faster speed than the rest of the escalator. So if you do indeed hold on, your hand gradually moves farther and farther away from you, sliding towards the stranger in front. One to watch out for, or else you might end up getting more cozy than you’d like with your fellow escalator users.

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