First impressions of Hong Kong

by mirunaandra

It’s been 5 days since I’ve arrive in Hong Kong – and I must say it’s probably one of the most amazing places I will ever get to see! I was extremely tired after my long trip to get here, so the moment I got out of the airport to catch a taxi ( with non-English speaking taxi-drivers), I was hit by a hot, humid air that made me think ‘Seriously? How will I survive?’. I was anyway too tired to think or have proper reactions, so after the 40km ride which was extremely cheap – compared to other place I’ve been before, I was looking forward for a good shower and a pillow. So, there is not much to say about my first day here – in the night I took a walk and I was so overwhelmed by all the sky-scrapers with their shining lights that all I could say was ‘wow’.

The place where I live is extremely shitty – when I got in for the first time in this  incredibly tiny room that’s supposed to accommodate 2 people, I must admit I felt depressed and incredibly lonely. Everything is so old and sharing the the toilet and the shower with around 30-40 other people doesn’t appeal to me either. But I guess it’s a once in a lifetime experience so that I could finally say I’ve lived in a dorm. The desolation feeling got better after I managed to make my half of the room nicer…But after that, I was having another problem: who the other person will be? I was all pins and needles and I was joking around with my classmate from Rotterdam that’s also here for the exchange that maybe we will end up living together. And guess what? We did!

What I can say now is that HK appears to me as a city of contrasts. Fancy bars with expensive cocktails next to tiny streets filled with news-stand that at night appear to be inhabited by …rats and..if you’re lucky you’ll also meet some bugs. Eye-catching shiny buildings next to poor buildings. High-class next to middle-class. Colorful streets with huge banners. Street food that I haven’t dared to try yet. What I found extremely annoying is that people are quite indifferent to where you are going to – if they want to walk through where you are, they won’t have any hesitation to bump into you – even though you are carrying huge IKEA bags that seem heavier that your own body! Speaking of which, getting to Ikea was such a hassle – apparently HK transport is separated into MTR (their subway), buses and mini-buses. Nothing wrong so far, but that minibuses have a trick: you have to make a sign for the driver to stop in that station and when you are on the bus you have to yell at him that you want to get off – hmm, very polite I would say. Not to mention the fact that they drive on the ‘wrong side of the road’. That’s making everything even more confusing…but I’ve realised I’ve started to get quite good orientation skills so I can survive in here.

I’ve started meeting new people on Monday, and there are literally people from all over the world. It’s really hilarious that I am pretty much the only one until now that comes from a country and studies at a university in another country. So, it’s all been a series of ‘I’m originally from Romania, but I actually study in Holland’. Special feeling, huh? But I guess that’s finally making me a truly international person!

Today was just perfect – walked on the Victoria peak for a bird-eye view of Hong Kong and after the tiring walk the group enjoyed some drinks on the top and watched the light show of this amazing city. I got this super relaxing feeling that I was given a unique opportunity and that I have to make the best out of it. But somehow, while there and taking pictures, I wished my closest friends were there with me to share the moment together…It happened before as well, but today it felt somewhat stronger than never. I guess it’s because of the distance, the time-zone difference that makes us feel much  further away than ever before…

But for now, all I can say that this place will surprise me every day, every hour, every minutes, every second…and i’m looking for all the surprises it’s keeping away from me now!