Hong Kong, February 2010

After a short ferry ride from Macau Danny and I were in Hong Kong.

After six months in China, where the only western food is McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut, the only thing Danny and I could talk about when we were first walking down the streets of Hong Kong was how we wanted to eat everything. Literally everything. We were blown away that 7-11 was in Hong Kong and we stopped at first one we saw. I got a chicken teriyaki sandwich (with bread, real bread! Not weird Chinese sweet bread embedded with pieces of hot dog) and Danny got a Ceasar Salad (vegetables that weren’t soggy or soaked in oil, can you imagine?). Then I got a slice of microwaveable pizza. And then I got a Slurpee. Then I added up how much I had just spent and realized the problem with Hong Kong. Like New York or London or Paris, Hong Kong is expensive. Especially if you are a volunteer teacher. Even 7-11 is expensive.

From Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island is in the foreground and Kowloon Island in the background.

Our hostel room was comically small, two small twin beds separated by about eight inches consumed the windowless room. And piece of land in Hong Kong is extremely valuable and they truly squeeze as much use as possible out of every square inch. According to Guinness World Records, the area of Hong Kong we stayed in is the most densely populated neighborhood in the world.

From the Hong Kong Museum of Art, through the glass is Hong Kong Island.

Hong Kong felt like an even blend between a Chinese and western city. All the western mega-brands had a heavy presence. Most people spoke a little English and many spoke every well. There was a large recent immigrant population and not just Europeans and Americans, but many men from African countries and young women (prostitutes) from the Philippines and Vietnam. But it was still Chinese. From a street view, Chinese characters outnumbered English words by a fair margin. It was very crowded and very polluted. The color red was everywhere.

Hong Kong harbor at sun down.

My brief time in Hong Kong was nice, but I’m glad it was brief. Too many shopping malls, not enough museums or historical centers. The food was a nice change of pace, but I had an itch to travel that needed to be scratched. The destination was Thailand.

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