Well I arrived here 3 weeks ago after flying business from Chicago via Tokyo on American and Cathay Pacific. Definitely the way to go for such an interminably long flight. . . Before, I go on I'd like to thank Citibank for providing me the 25,000 miles that made the pampered journey possible. :)
I then went from travel luxury to my home for the next 3.5 months, a dorm on the CUHK campus. . . After living for 5 years in an apartment it has been quite the shock to go back to a dorm. That being said it's not too much smaller than a HK apartment. I'm not kidding, one of the exchange students who is renting in Central has such a small apartment that the bed comes out of the ceiling at night and hovers over the dining room table.
The worst part, is that I'm about 45-60 minutes via public transit to go to downtown and all the excitement. Don't worry I've been making the commute often, but its a pain in the ass! I'm living in the Hyde Park(w/o the crime) of Hong Kong. . . which is ironic since at home I purposefully chose to stay in Lakeview so I would be close to fun and would commute to classes. Here I reversed it. Although, it's the right choice since I'm paying 1/10th of what I would for an apartment. . . Just more money to spend on travel.
Classes have already began. I'm taking Managerial Accounting, Buyer Behavior, and Organizational Behavior. So far, they haven't knocked my socks off. Better than the worst classes I had at the GSB, but in no way near some of the best classes either. Well everybody said classes were not the reason to go on an IBEP. . .
I do like the other students though and friends of friends I've met. One plus of living in the dorm is that I've gotten to know a bunch of them, and make friends. it's definitely quite the international crowd here. We've got HK, Mainland China, Germany, France, Spain, USA and Canada represented. I'm also in a part time class and that group has already invited me out to eat with them a couple of times. Once to the Royal Yacht Club which was really nice, and another time to the on-campus staff restaurant for dim sum where I tried such delicacies as duck tongue and chicken feet. . . I'm glad I tried them but they're definitely acquired tastes. . .
I'm starting to get used to Hong Kong. It's a very cool city. Definitely Asian, but with enough familiarity that it's not a true culture shock. That being said, there have been some things that have caught my attention. In no particular order, here are some observations on life over here:
- Shopping is so pervasive. Not including the multiple story malls, I swear every last inch of street facing property has a store on it. Even though caveat emptor reigns there are some good deals. My mom and sister, who kept mentioning how they heard the shopping was good here, would not be disappointed.
- Eating is always an adventure and is generally cheap. HK has got some great restaurants and there is some great street food here. Even the canteens on campus, where I mostly eat, are pretty good. However, I never exactly know what I'm going to get. . .The English descriptions are usually very vague (i.e. chicken with Chinese vegetables and noodles/rice) and there are usually 5 dishes that sound similar. It's always food roulette and I never know if I'm going to come out the winner.
- Similar to above, when ordering any meat product expect parts of the animal that in the US would be cut away and thrown out to be placed on your plate. Fish often come whole with bones head and tail for your inspection. When ordering pork, you get the skin and fat at no extra charge. There is no such thing as boneless chicken breast. Many restaurants, including the on-campus canteens, have whole cooked birds hanging in the window and they chop up the bird for you.
- Christmas, while celebrated, is the most secular thing you will ever see. Not that I'm the most religious person out there, but it was weird to see no mention of Jesus during the holiday season. There was Christmas spirit, it was just all about Santa Claus and presents. I'm sure it was the merchants of Hong Kong realizing how good it would be for business if they "imported Christmas" to Asia. Ah, got to love unbridled capitalism.
Well that's it for know. I have to get to bed. . .