Everything I’ve seen in pictures before is now in front of me. During my first days in Hong Kong it has felt like I’m in another world. Well, I kinda am. I’ll tell you about my first impressions of HK.
I arrived in Hong Kong already at seven in the morning 10th January (btw Cathay Pacific Airways is awesome, great food). About my survival after that: I got to know a Hongkongese student from Jamk before my trip. I am so grateful because her parents were a big help during my first day in Hong Kong and it relieved my culture shock.
They picked me up from the airport and took me to a Chinese restaurant in a shopping mall called Maritime Square to have breakfast. The menu was in Chinese but luckily I had my own interpreters with me! We had to mark on a list what we were going to eat. First they brought some hot water and tea to the table. I was very confused when the mother of my friend started to wash our bowls and spoons pouring the hot water to them in a bigger bowl. I asked about that and they just said that there’s no apparent reason to do that and they do know that the dishes are clean. It’s just a tradition before eating. I also learned that when someone hands something to you on the table, you don’t necessarily have to say thanks. You can just tap the table twice with your middle finger and index finger at the same time. After waiting for a while, we had some Dim Sum. Yummy!
The hall check-in was after 10 am. It was very quick to do at the reception. My roommate hadn’t arrived yet. The room was totally empty. And when I say empty, it also means no toilet paper, no blankets or pillows or anything else. I had to buy those things later. But I was so happy about my room! It’s on the third floor. Even though the views are not very special, I think it’s better to be on the lowest floors. You can spend a lot of time waiting for the lifts so I have been using stairs a lot.
When in Hong Kong, you first need an Octopus card and a SIM card. Octopus card is a card you use to travel inside Hong Kong whether it’s a bus or an MTR train. Octopus is also a payment card. You can even pay your groceries with that! And it’s very easy to add more value in machines, service desks in MTR stations or even in some stores. Students can get an Octopus card to travel a bit cheaper. On my first day I went to buy a SIM card with the Fong parents. Near student halls there are many shops in the streets you can go to ask for an offer. I got myself a prepaid SIM card. I’ll test it one month and see if it’s good or if I’ll change it. Now I have unlimited data with a cheap monthly cost! By the way, you always need cash here. Especially if you’re a student. It is way easier and quicker to pay study fees and hall fees with cash rather than to mess around with bank accounts.
After getting a SIM card (and after unpacking and my one-hour nap in my room) we went to have dinner in Temple Street night market. Streets were packed with food, clothes and all you can imagine. Also saw a random temple there. There are very Chinese-looking gates in both ends of the street. Thousands of flags of China and Hong Kong waved above me as I made my way through the crowd. I ate some very interesting and good food there. One of the strangest dishes was pearls and mango in coconut milk.
So far days have been entirely sunny and it feels like Finnish summer now in the daytime. But local people think that it’s cold when it’s something like 15 degrees! One time I was walking in the streets and I saw an empty basketball court. I asked a local student why no one is playing outside. She said that people don’t like to play outside when it’s this cold. 😀 In my opinion, this is the perfect weather for doing sports outside! I was quite amused by that comment. On the other hand, first nights were cold. I was too busy to buy some beddings before going to sleep in my first night so I was freezing. I woke up at 2 am and took my towel to use it as a blanket, haha! Surprise, it wasn’t very helpful. Then after a while I took my hoodie to cover my feet. When my roommate had woken up in the morning, he offered me his blanket. I bet I looked so fresh there! Stores nearby have everything so the next night was a lot better with proper sheets and all that.
After all, I have started to settle down here. I’ve had my first school days so there’s some confusion going on but I have accepted that. My learning experience goes on.
Victoria Peak. One of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen!
They use bamboo for construction.
Jogging in the harbour makes you feel alive.