I started a blog - Four Days In Hong Kong - back in 2012. The blog documented our major life transition from California to Hong Kong. I am now sharing posts from Four Days In Hong so you can read along with our journey.
Here is the 3nd post from the blog. Please note that when I originally wrote this post, I was, let's say, a bit clueless. I titled it "Ni Hao from Hong Kong"...not really thinking that "ni hao" means "hello" in Mandarin. However, they speak Cantonese in Hong Kong, so it should really have been "Lei Ho". I know, I know...to-may-to, to-maa-to. It's a small detail, and most people won't even catch it, but I realized upon looking at this post again that it was wrong. Oops!
Continue to follow along with our adventure as I had originally written for Four Days In Hong Kong. Enjoy the read and feel free to leave a comment below!
Four Days In Hong Kong - Ni Hao From Hong Kong!
Original post August 20th, 2012
We're here! Can't believe the big day finally came and that we've actually started our crazy adventure! We had an uneventful flight over (the best kind of flight to have) and landed in Hong Kong Monday night where we were greeted with 90 degree temperatures and humidity that we just don't feel back in San Jose.
We were picked up at the airport and taken to our hotel in the Tsim Sha Tsui district of Kowloon city -- an area of major major major shopping and lots of neon signs (photos to come!). We got right into the swing of being here and went out and immersed ourselves in Hong Kong culture by trying to find a restaurant to have dinner at, without it having golden arches or a red and white bucket with chicken in it.
The driver who brought us to our hotel pointed out a "secret" street where there were several good dining choices that was near our hotel, so we ventured there.
One of my first observations? PEOPLE. EVERYWHERE. And they're all Chinese. 🙂 I don't think we're in Kansas anymore... I did seem some Caucasian people in the crowds...Shawn being one of them.
The sidewalks are narrower than what we're used to. We had to walk single-file and weave our way through the people, feeling at times that we were swimming upstream. And if you're unsure at all and stop in the middle of the sidewalk, it's like train cars crashing into you from behind (Alex learned this the hard way and quickly determined that he should not walk in the lead). We were out walking around 8:30 at night and there were so many people out. All the shops were open and restaurants were busy. It was definitely a busy busy busy atmosphere...something that I think is great to visit and appreciate culturally, but I wouldn't want to be around it all the time.
A lot of restaurants post their menus in the windows or on the walls but it's all in Chinese writing. Hmm. That's not really helpful when the only Chinese I can read are my numbers from 1-10. The thing is that these types of restaurants are really the best kind to go to for good local food and they're cheap, whereas the ones that have menus like the US are often overpriced and don't give a real sense of the local food. Unfortunately, unless they've got some token English or pictures of their food, we're at a bit of a loss for going to those restaurants. Luckily, we found a hole in the wall kind of restaurant that looked relatively clean and that had color pictures of some of their dishes and lots of Chinese and numbers to indicate prices, so I figured it was a good enough combination. We had Hainan chicken over rice -- a really good satisfying basic meal -- 3 plates of that, 2 bottles of "fresh milk" for the boys, and a lemon iced tea for me...all for under $20US. It was brought to our table within 5 minutes and it wasn't deep-fried or involve a bun, and we weren't asked "Do you want fries with that?"
Another thing I've learned is I have to brush up on my Cantonese. I'm a huge step ahead of Shawn and the boys in that I can actually understand a lot of what is being said. But I don't have quite the right Cantonese "twang" to communicate well yet, and I'm afraid that if I actually say something that the other person understands, I might give the false impression that I'm fluent and then not know how to respond to what he says. So, better to look like a dumb Western-born Chinese person who speaks no Chinese and get the Scowl of Disapproval. I'm optimistic that I might be able to pick it up eventually, though...we're going to be here a while...
We decided to get into the shopping scene right away on our first night, too. We went to Fortress, a store specializing in all sorts of electronics and appliances where I went in search of an ionic hairdryer...a good styling tool that helps with frizzy hair...something I immediately had once I stepped out of the airport and into the Hong Kong humid air. POOF! I am hoping with the hairdryer, AND all the anti-frizz and smoothing products I brought with me from San Jose, I can hold off from this becoming the Year of the Ponytail for me. Shawn does not have this problem...
So our first night in Hong Kong and we've hit the ground running, and we have no signs of slowing down this entire week! Next major milestone is us getting the keys to our townhome (yes, pictures will come soon!), and a shopping expedition at IKEA, and then our shipping crate is being delivered Wednesday. It's all coming together! And I promise...photos will come soon!