End of week one

Phew, one week in here in the Far East.

Architecture

They build in one direction here and that’s UP! I forget were I read it but apparently most of the flat land in Hong Kong is within ~1.5km of the beach. That means that Hong Kong has more people living above the 20th floor than any other city in the world! One of the side effects of this is that you see a lot of skyscrapers built on the sides of hills. Usually in the US we tend to think of flat=skyscraper (e.g. NY, LA, Chicago) and hills = houses (e.g. Colorado) but here they manage to put both together. You can see this very clearly from one of the windows at work so I will try to get a picture to illustrate.

There is also a crazy mix of brand new, ultra modern buildings right next to stereotypical “chinese back alleys” with wires and uneven bricked pavement. I walked home from work for the first time on Friday and it was like traveling back in time as work is in “Central” which is mostly sky scrapers and I live in Sheung Wan which is a little more industrialized. I also passed Long Kwai Fong which is the “expat drinking zone” as well. I originally thought that it would be this huge area but it’s actually about a block square.

On the way home I even cut through what I would consider back alleys and there was a whole street diner in one of them with people playing cards. Don’t think I will be eating there though as they had all of the food ingredients just out on a table.

Cabs

These guys deserve their own section.

Here are some of my more memorable moments:
Cabbie: Where you go?
Me: Sheung Wan MTR
Cabbie: Where you go??
Me: Sheung Wan MTR
Cabbie: Ok.
Me: Can you drop me off by the Wing On department store?
Cabbie: You get off where I take you!!

Cabbie: Where you go?
Me: Sheung Wan MTR
Cabbie: Central or other <chinese>?
Me: Uh, either. Both?
Cabbie: <chinese> Both <chinese> HA HA HA

Other than that, they are pretty nice. Taking your bird costs extra. Will post a photo.

Food

While I generally am a fan of chinese food, I wasn’t too thrilled about eating it everyday. Jet lag messed up regular eating cycle so the first couple nights I ate chips and salsa (thanks Meggs and Tony) because I was too tired to go out. At lunch I’ve been basically eating Pret A Manger which is weird because here they come in half sandwich boxes instead of what I would consider the regular full sandwich box. For dinner I’ve started eating at this cafe right around the corner. It’s petty good but I’ve noticed you have to ask for napkins since they aren’t at the table and they don’t come with the meal. I guess Hong Kongers aren’t as messy as I am when they eat. Haven’t really eaten anything “wild” yet but I guess that may be pretty soon. Ever since I’ve heard about chicken’s feet, I’ve wanted to try them out.

Street Life/Walking around

People here seem pretty serious when they walk around. More so than I would say in London or New York although I’ve really only walked around by work and where I live. Coming home on Friday people seemed a little more relaxed (maybe because of the weekend).

As I mentioned before, I feel a little taller than normal but sometimes I feel like a giant. On the elevator the other day, five women got on with me and none of them was taller than five feet. My friend Brendan said they must have thought I was godzilla so I should make sure not to step on any buildings.

Some of the travel websites say westerners complain about people being rude and pushing and shoving but I haven’t really noticed that. If anything, everyone seems very polite. One thing that is strange is walking in a crowded place. It feels like people seem to be a little less open to changing their route in crowded areas (e.g. the lobby at work) than they would in the US.

That’s it for now. Went to Macao today to get my visa stamped but will save that for later.

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