I’m overwhelmed both by the many nice reactions I’ve received from people reading my blog (yay, you make it worthwhile writing my experiences down!) as well as by the exciting discoveries I’m making every new day I spend here in Hong Kong. Tomorrow classes will start and I’m curious to see what they’re like. I think I’ve managed quite well to get settled in my room this week: my flat mates and I have bought kitchen supplies at Japan Home Centre and I FINALLY got myself a mattress cover (which took me a while, even though my Mum had been remembering me of it via Skype every single day I’ve been here so far). The flat is almost filled, one of the double rooms is still missing an inhabitant.
With all the (sometimes anxious) socialising going on among the 300 new exchange students, I’ve had little time to go sight-seeing. The weather has not been perfect anyway. What I’ve done mostly the last couple of days was shopping, eating and partying. Thus, I want to give you a short overview of what these three essential aspects of my life style are like on the other side of the globe. 😉
Shopping: So I’m spending bucket loads at the moment. On the one hand I feel I shouldn’t be using up my money so quickly. On the other hand, it turns out to be quite expensive to furnish a flat for six people for half a year, even in HK. Yesterday, some of my room mates and I went shopping at the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok. This market consists of three streets: Fa Yuen Street, Tung Choi Street and Sa Yeung Choi Street. In HK it is very common to haggle with shop keepers, which is a kind of drama act. First, you ask the price. Then the shop keeper tells you a certain price. Then you divide that price by 2 or 3 and pose that price instead. The shop keeper will then laugh at you in an intimidating way. Then you will pretend to walk away and the shop keeper will come after you with tears in his/her eyes lowering the price until it’s about half of the original and you buy! This ritual repeats itself all day at, for example, the Ladies’ Market. It’s quite unnerving at first.
We’ve also visited Aberdeen (or: ‘Heung Gong Tsai’, which means ‘Little Hong Kong’ in Cantonese), a town with over sixty thousand inhabitants in the south of Hong Kong Island with a famous harbour and fish market. It was nice to visit shops here too, because it seemed to be more of a place where locals would go do their shopping. Here I bought a phone with a HK number; I got one of those Nokias that you can sit on, throw in water or drop from whatever height, without breaking it. Awesome.
Eating: EGG BALLS! Egg balls are gooood. Egg balls taste a bit like waffles: they’re made with eggs, flour, sugar and milk and you can get them at any place where street food is sold. Other famous street food is fish balls, but I haven’t had the privilege of trying that out just yet. THE Cantonese food is dim sum – various snacks of meat in dough eaten with tea – and unfortunately I haven’t tried that out yet either. However, one other crazy thing I tried I don’t want to keep from you is Mochi Ice: it is ice cream with a layer of rice dough around it. Apparently, it is also sold in the United States, but I was still quite amazed by its strangeness (check out the pictures).
Partying: Clubbing in Hong Kong has been legen… (wait for it) dary so far! THE party district in Hong Kong is called Lan Kwai Fong, or in short: LKF. The area is so touristy, that in the weekends there’re hardly any Asians there at all! I find the drinks are quite expensive in the bars and apparently many people feel the same way, because the 7-eleven store (a convenience store) in this area is always packed with people buying cheap drinks. It’s Ladies’ Night every Thursday night there, which means women can go in for free everywhere and get many (!!!) free drinks. I went out there with my flat mates and we had a marvelous time talking to (and getting free drinks from) middle-aged Western businessmen who gathered in the clubs to pick up Asian girls. (on a business-trip away from the wife, you know how that goes) We also went to a bar with live music where some Asian lady did the best Shakira imitation I’d ever heard; I’m still doubting whether she wasn’t just syncing it…
That’s it for now. The next post you may expect me either marveling at or bitching about the courses I’ll be taking here: I’d be excited if I were you.
P.S. I’ve been picking up some nice little New Year’s things here and there. I’m willing to make any reader’s life a bit happier and send them something nice if they promise to send something back 😉 Let me know.