Hello friends, it’s been a long time. My words of wisdom today are “be careful what you wish for.” A little over a year ago I didn’t feel like enough was going on in my life … business school certainly corrected that. However, I was hoping this summer would be fun and a little less hectic – but of course, I created a situation that is just as busy as being back home …
Nonetheless, my time here in Hong Kong has been fantastic. I’ve been able to check out some really cool places here as well as Macau, Shanghai, and a short day trip to Shenzhen and Dongguan. Before we leave, a couple of us are making a trip to Thailand to see the beaches. All in all, not a bad summer.
Oh, and we’ve been working 45+ hours a week.
So, the title. Here’s what I like and what I don’t like about Hong Kong:
- Walking to the train station. It’s not that far, but it adds about 20-25 minutes to everything that I do, which adds up. And, rarely is it a nice walk – it’s usually either super hot & humid, or raining. Fortunately, there are taxis for days that are particularly bad.
- Slow internet at our apartment. Yes, there are cheap hotspots all over…but again…20-25 minutes in transit time to do anything other than read the news or write simple emails. I’ve been spoiled by broadband for far too long.
- Bathrooms. I’ve yet to figure out the pattern of where they are located, but it seems to me that they are hidden.
- With rare exception, the only places to find ATMs are the train stations and banks themselves. It’s not like either is terribly difficult to find, but you’d think they’d just be a little more common considering how many people are here.
- Humidity, although I think I’m used to it now. I just accept that it’s going to be sweaty. All the time. And I’m not alone. Comfort in numbers.
- Coins. They seem to be much more prevalent here than in the US. I hate them in the US. I hate them in Hong Kong.
- Food. It’s simply amazing the variety of cuisines represented as well as the price range. You can easily eat out for less than USD $3 and have a nice, delicious, large meal of any number of Asian cuisines. Or you can spend USD $40-$50 plus and get a great hamburger, good Italian, or tasty Mexican. You can’t go wrong.
- Chopsticks. I have gotten to the point where I can eat with them while doing something else. I am even starting to prefer them over forks.
- MTR. Yes, you have to walk to the station. But you can pretty much go anywhere in Hong Kong on the MTR. And it’s cheap and reliable. You don’t have to get the oil changed or have your mom drive to Columbus when your battery explodes and you are 9000 miles away. I want the MTR to expand to Columbus.
- Haircut at the Mandarin Barber Shop. No explanation required.
- Octopus Card. You put money on it. Everyone accepts it (almost). You don’t have to carry around change in your pocket. It takes less than 3 seconds to use. I don’t see any downsides, other than Columbus doesn’t use it.
- Nightlife. There are so many neat places to check out. And things stay open late. No, not 2AM, 8AM.
- Macau. So it’s not actually Hong Kong, but it’s an hour by ferry. Worth the trip.
- Baked goods. Every grocery has an awesome bakery. There are also fast food style ones all over the place. And its cheap and delicious.
- Taxis. They are very cheap to go anywhere even though they often try to take you the long way. They are also all over the place – it’s rarely hard to find one.
- The Outdoors. So, I think when people hear Hong Kong they see it as a big, bustling city, which it is. What most people probably don’t know is that 30 minutes from the financial district are some beautiful hiking trails and beaches. Stunningly beautiful.