All entries for Friday 22 September 2006
September 22, 2006
Greetings from sunny China!
And sunny it is, though surprisingly hazy. Hong Kong is hot, though not unbearably so, and humid. What makes the heat easy to take is that every building – quite literally – is air conditioned, though I still can’t get used to the fact that when I go outdoors, it’s warmer than indoors…
It’s really hard to say what’s been going on without sounding really boring. Most interesting things to have happened so far: we’ve been severely screwed up by jet lag, I’ve been sick in a nice restaurant (in the toilets, thankfully!) and I’m getting a dress tailor-made for about what I’d pay for a Monsoon dress in the UK. It’s been hard adjusting to things like the time difference, the heat and the food, but we’re into day three now and I think we’re pretty much sorted. Dreading how long it’ll take me to get back to UK time, but at least I’ll know that I can eat pieces of meat knowing that they won’t still be on the bone! Having said that, food’s dead cheap if you know where to look: we had a nice Chinese today for lunch that cost a fiver. For two of us. That’s 2.50 each. Bargainacious!
We’ve done some of the sightseeing bit – we’ve taken the Star Ferry across the harbour and seen all the major skyscrapers, and generally seen most of the place. Still to do: taking the tram to the top of Victoria Peak to see the view over the city, and seeing the Big Buddha, which is on the island we’re staying on. We’ve agreed to give Hong Kong Disneyland a miss. Other than that, we’ve mainly spent the time shopping, as things like electronics and clothes are surprisingly cheap. Customer service out here is amazing, almost too amazing in fact: shop assistants will happily run around the shop for you (literaly) to find the perfect pair of jeans, but they won’t accept that you might want to leave the shop without buying a pair; it’s almost like they think they’ve failed you. I felt so bad today handing a pair back to the lady because they just didn’t fit right – she just looked so disappointed. People here are really polite, and they really do take the phrase, “Happy to help” to a new level.
Other things that we’ve seen: Jackie Chan everywhere, including advertising his own gym, and the lightshow on the waterfront, where all the big buildings light up in time to music, which was really impressive. And we’ve managed to get by without using any Cantonese, as most people speak English to an extent. And friendly people keep stopping in the street and giving us directions when we’ve been lost, which is very handy!
Haven’t had chance to explore the island where we’re staying yet, though it does have the Big Buddha on, and our hotel’s right on the beach. It’s not a bad place to stay either, bar having to take the ferry over each morning – not great if you’re prone to seasickness, or if you’re feeling decidedly dodgy, like I was the other morning.
All in all, am having a really good time. It’s great to have the chance to experience a culture that’s so different from our own, particularly now I’ve had the chance to settle into it and have found somewhere where I can get a proper cup of tea. Will hopefully return to the UK with some great photos and a few tacky souvenirs as well as a few bargains.
I’ll update again if we manage to do anything else interesting, but for now, I’ll leave you all to your lunch :)