Before we start, an apology – this is going to be a slightly ranty blog post!
Hong Kong is not, at all, stroller friendly. I, like most people I guess, hadn’t given this much thought until I actually needed to use a stroller! Hong Kong Island is the worst culprit, mainly because large parts of it aren’t flat and so the roads go up hills and the paths have steps in them. Even the estate I live on is beautifully landscaped… with steps everywhere! There seems to be one route through the estate that is step free and it took me ages to find it – it’s a pretty long-winded route.
But even if you manage to avoid the steps, many pavements are quite narrow, some are far too busy, and in many places you come across this:
(N.B. This is not my photo but taken by another twin mum on the streets of Hong Kong!)
Another culprit of non-stroller friendliness is the high rise building. We had to move from our first Hong Kong flat when the babies were born because we lived in quite an old building and there was no lift! I think we would have considered staying if we had a single baby because I could have just used a baby carrier but it’s pretty much impossible to get two babies down five flights of stairs on my own…
And don’t get me started on the public areas! The newer ones are better planned, but in some of the older shopping malls and MTR stations I’ve taken quite a long time to find the lift. When I do eventually find the tiny sign pointing to it, I generally have to go down some back alley or service corridor and through several heavy doors before I eventually locate it!
So, I do find getting out and about with the babies a bit of a struggle sometimes. But once I’ve located the lifts and the step-free routes then it’s fine. I usually choose to take one twin in a baby carrier and the other in a single pushchair as this is pretty compact and manoeuvrable. We also have a double stroller but I tend to only use that if I’m not going in any shops or anything like that!
My initial reason for buying a single stroller and using a carrier for the other baby was so that I can get out on my own on buses (we don’t have a car), because there are signs on all the buses saying that you have to fold a stroller down. I have to admit that if the bus isn’t very busy I normally just leave the stroller up and hope for the best (only once has the driver asked me to fold the stroller!), but if it is busy then I have to take the baby out of the stroller and carry him/her onto the bus and then sit with that baby on my lap all the time with the other one in the carrier. They often don’t like this very much! But I have to admit, the good citizens of Hong Kong often help out and I have never yet had to carry the stroller onto the bus myself, someone else always takes it on for me. And sometimes a random lady will offer to hold one baby, which I always accept! (luckily they’re quite good with strangers)
Finally, the nicest part of being out and about in Hong Kong with the twins is the reaction that they get wherever we go. People smile at us as we walk past. Sometimes they laugh with delight. If we are stopped somewhere, they often ask if they are twins, boys or girls, and how old they are (luckily I generally have enough Cantonese to answer the usual questions!). Boy-girl twins are very lucky in Chinese culture so this makes the locals even more excited than they were before. I still haven’t got bored of answering the same questions over and over again because it’s just so lovely that so many people delight in my children. I think they’re pretty cute and it’s nice to hear other people agree!
Thanks for reading!