My First Hong Kong Impressions

After arriving to Hong Kong after a 3 day flight nightmare, my first reaction was that I just chose to intern for a month in a repeat of New York City. There are tall buildings, tons of cabs, traffic, and people everywhere. Most of the streets were lit up with a plethora of restaurants and bars. Upon my landing, a Davidson alum greeted me and took me to the student apartment that I am currently staying in. Being from Charlotte, EVERYTHING was completely different…different but easily efficient. We took a cab directly from the train stop from the airport and I was initially worried about my language barrier and taking a cab so late at night. Luckily, the cab understood every direction that my Davidson guide gave him and we made it to our destination (sort of) safely. We were blocks from where I was staying and my next concern then became, is walking this late at night safe? It turned out to not only be safer to walk in the neighborhood I was staying in than in my own home town but also a grueling workout to carry my luggage up hills that one can only dream about. The air was New Orleans humid times a thousand and people were everywhere.

I am staying in what I was told is a relatively popular neighborhood called Sai Ying Pun. My apartment room that I found through Airbnb is the size of a small walk-in closet with just enough room for me to stand up off the bed and walk out. I am sharing the apartment space with a student who recently graduated from Hong Kong University. The Davidson alum tells me that I am lucky to have found an affordable space with Aircon (a much needed luxury here), a washing machine, and an actual shower.

20160622_183008   Ocean view of Sai Ying Pun

My intimidation about exploring new territory all on my own was outweighed by my excitement and curiosity- in addition to the fact that I was assured multiple times by various people that Hong Kong is one of the safest places to be. So far it is an exciting place to be and relatively easy to navigate. I find it funny that there is a McDonalds and a 7-eleven or Circle K (that function as convenient stores, not gas stations) around every corner and multiple on one street. There are an endless number of restaurants and very few chain restaurants. Many of the restaurants are independently owned and have an existing period of about 1 year until they can no longer afford the expensive rental rates. The people here love to shop and eat.  The malls, markets, and popular shopping centers are massive and full of people. Hong Kong is definitely consumed and centered on the exchange of large amounts of money.

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2 of some of the most popular malls

My first weekend I went to see the Big Buddha. I had to catch the ferry to Lantau Island, the bus to Tai O –one of HK’s last remaining fish villages- and then the bus to the tourist site. Traveling to HK’s other islands has proven to be beautiful and breathtaking experiences but also provides a deeper glimpse into the true culture there. Not as many people speak English so well on the other islands and life is a little bit slower and enjoyable outside of the Hong Kong city life.

img-20160710-wa0011                                          20160618_145617 Big Buddha

 

Hong Kong Island

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