Brace yourselves, folks! Time for some Hong Kong – related posts now that I am getting incredibly nostalgic of my time here. When I first landed here, I was totally taken aback by the city. First off, an incredibly hot humid air hit me the moment I went out of the airport and I thought it will never be possible for me to leave here. Seriously, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was ” Can I go back… N O W ?”. But I eventually grown to love this city and its people. Hong Kong has never stopped to amaze me and surprise me at every single step and corner, so here are the first 15 surprising things about Hong Kong that came to my mind when I started writing this post.
1. People sleep everywhere. Name it, class, library, buses, and you’ll see them napping. I am really surprise how they don’t miss their bus stops. Hong Kong is a generally a city of long commutes so travelling back and forth can be quite a good chance for taking a nap. This also further reinforces that Hong Kong is a safe city as people can easily disconnect without worrying something would happen. What I’ve also noticed is that students here generally have a very weird sleeping pattern – so that’s none of my business to judge as I am a “I need at least 8 hours of sleep per night” in order to function properly.
2. Dorm life. Oh man, sleeping in a dorm was a hell out of an experience as my hall mates really like having middle of the night activities that consist of shouting and screaming. I do understand that the whole point of living in a hall is that you end up having a very active social life, and all these activities are part of the dorm culture. But sometimes I feel that people are doing all these things ( think about those High Table Dinners that I never attended) in order get a place to live in the next year.
3. The most unusual breakfast ever. This happened in my first days in Hong Kong as I was really hungry and I tried the canteen close to my hall. I saw on the menu board fried egg with ham. Hmm, delicious I thought! But to my surprise, the fried eggs came on top of a bowl of noodle soup. Never again! Even the airline companies gave us noodles or rice for morning flights…
4. Couples, couples everywhere! The amount of couples I see on a daily basis it’s insane, really! I guess this comes as a result that Asian cultures are collectivistic in nature so they need to share affection and define themselves through others, I must say all these couples are incredibly adorable and cute, but I will be happy to go back to a world where I will not have to see couples everywhere I go.
5. Everything fast-paced. I should be used to this by now, as I come from a country where people like to do everything fast and now. But I guess after some years in Holland, where everything is done at a time and there’s no hurry for anything, I kind of realised that I need to slow myself down a bit. That’s why I was so surprised by the fact that Hong Kong is so bustling and buzzling. There is so much dynamism and energy – this city moves at trillion kilometres per hour. But after all, I loved this way of living because this is one of the main things that makes the city so fascinating.
6.Bamboo scaffolding. For a city made out of concrete and glass, using bamboo scaffolding is kind of interesting.Sometimes you just walk around and see these incredibly tall buildings being built or renovated through the use of bamboo. I must admit: look better than the metal one! And it’s also quite versatile and eco-friendly!
7. Occupy Central. I wouldn’t know how I should feel about it, but I lived in Hong Kong in one of its most tumultuous times ever. But Occupy Central surprised me in a positive way, as I have never seen such a peaceful protest with nothing being teared down or vandalised. The movement also lasted for a very long time and it was very insightful to follow the whole process (also because of my Journalism class).
8. Weather. In Hong Kong you basically boil for 9 months and for the rest 3 month you feel like you are in a freezer. I did not expect temperatures to drop to 13 degrees – yes, 13 degrees can feel like -5 when you are not used to it anymore! There was also a typhoon while I was here – so I must say when mother nature lets rip, it does it with a lot of style.
9.Air-conditioning. Hong Kongers do love air-conditioning. Sometimes even now when it’s cold you can get your daily dose of air-con in some buses. What I really loved were the air-conditioned walkways – especially the area around the Central Business District. Such a great thing during hot humid busy days – only if you know your way, none wants you to get lost! But sometimes air-con is a bit too much for me…
10.Living spaces. In Hong Kong the housing situation is a bit different from what I am used to. People live in tiny spaces and most of the times they don’t even cook as there is not enough space to do so. I am used to living in 25 sqm room only by myself – but here you don’t get such a luxury.
11.Luxury brands everywhere you go. I love shopping a lot – but Hong Kong can turn out a bit of a disappointment if you want to go shopping (for a reasonable price). It is indeed the paradise for shopping if you’ve got the money as Miu Miu, Prada, LV, Armani, Burberry can be found at almost every street corner in shopping areas such as Central, Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui.
12. Freedom. There is a lot of freedom in this city. You can even walk around with a beer in your hand and it is basically legal. This also save a lot of money when going out as the convenience stores ( oh, don’t we love 7-11?) sell drink for way cheaper than the bars in Lan Kwai Fong.
13. Ladies nights. Where in this world would I ever go out and get free drinks because of ladies night? Wan Chai Wednesdays and Thursdays at LKF are definitely the best. And if you think you get only juice instead of vodka in your drink you are wrong – the amount of alcohol in the mixed drinks is insane.
14. Hygiene obsession. The handrails at MTRs are sanitized I don’t know how many times a day. Hand sanitizer is available in lots of places. In buses there is a message telling you not to forget your used tissues – hmm, interesting one. Also the buttons in the elevator are sanitized for the same amount of times.People were surgical mask to protect themselves for the bacteria. I once got sick and I went to the doctor and because had a slightly bit of fever I was immediately handed in a mask – God forbid, I’d spread my viruses to others! But yes, Hong Kong people care about their health.
15. It’s not all about the concrete jungle. I said it before: Hong Kong is such a bustling place to be. But the best part of it (and I didn’t expect that) is that you can get a perfect getaway in all the country park Hong Kong has or any of the surrounding islands. I did a couple of hikes and you literally forget you are in Hong Kong. You get the best of two world while here, seriously.