Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gweilo Premium

I am slowly becoming aware of the tourist or gwilo premium which is following me around.

The first instance I encountered it was in Beijing. I bought some meat on a stick on the side of the street (yes, I ate it, yes it was good) for CNY 20/stick. The following day, at another stall, more meat was on the menu and I couldn't resist, this time it cost me CNY 3/stick.  In both cases, I was only to order by pointing, and then pay what was shown to me either on a calculator or fingers.

On Friday, a co-worker who speaks Canto, took me to a local restaurant and ordered us dinner. When I've ordered sweat and sour pork here it normally costs me HKD 140, at this establishment the quality was not only better, but the price was only HKD 40. Again, I will never be able to go to this restaurant on my own due to the language barrier.

As I am quite humored by this, I am going to try and start documenting these little instances. Perhaps also consider trying to learn the language.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pictures: Dragon's Back

Hiked stages 7 & 8 of the Hong Kong Trail yesterday, ending at Shek-o for some great Thai food. Here are some pictures of the stunning views from on top of the ridge line.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

At last

For the past 4 months, I've been missing some of the little things from home; chicken parm, rude cabbies, and TV. Tonight, I came across this proxy service, which at least means that I can get on Hulu and watch senseless clips of American sitcoms that aren't approved for distribution elsewhere in the world. Technology is a wonderful thing - I would encourge anyone living abroad to give it a spin.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


This coming week will mark 4 months in Hong Kong for me. As is apparent from my drop off in posting, I've now settled into a routine and am living a bit of a "local" life. Other than work, I haven't had too much time to do much else. A rough plan to get to Japan this weekend fell apart, and so I took a little trip home: I wandered down to McDonald's tonight and had a wonderful double cheese burger - even with the fountain soda not tasting quite right, it is amazing that the burger and fries taste just like they would in the Mid-West.

Last weekend I partook in a Sedan Race around the peak. Back before the Peak Tram, the Hong Kong elite would be carried up the mountain in a sedan. This has evolved into a charity race, where the sedan's are decorated and then raced. Aside from the spectacle, it was quite hard to lug this 60+ kg thing the 2.1km around the course, but was all good fun.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

3 Months

Last week marked three months in Hong Kong for me. As you may have been able to tell be the drop off in postings, I've settled into a bit of a "local" groove over the past few weeks, and find myself not running off to more sights (as I've seen alot of them) and working a bit more (a product of the markets I suppose). While all this is fine and dandy, I did want to take the opportunity and reflect for a moment on what I've done, and what I will be doing.

The transition from tourist, for me, took place when I started craving people asking me for directions. As Hong Kong is a bit of a tourist city, there are usually a half dozen or so people I see on any one day standing on a street corner with a map looking lost. For the first few months I was actively dodging them, as I barely knew how to get from my apartment to work. Now I walk by them with a smile in the hope that I can (showoff and) provide them with directions. I'm sure this novelty will fade shortly, but for now it does make me feel like I'm starting to get the hang of things.

The rythm of my days is also turning into routine. Initially, I spent my weekends running around like a headless chicken - now I have my regular haunts and am slowly accepting the fact that this isn't like college (or New York) with friends all over the place. So, for the moment, I find myself focusing on things like getting fit, which doesn't require a rowdy crowd.

The next two months, I suspect (/hope) will fly by. I'm already looking forward to Christmas and being in Germany. The thought of seasons is rather appealing as it is still 28+ C everyday, and rather humid. What to expect from 2009, I'm not entirely sure at the moment - I suppose there will be further adventures.

Random observations:
- I constantly find native Chinese speakers saying "more better" in English. While I am sure this is a translation issue, it still makes me laugh everytime as the word "funner" flashes in my mind.

- At times I feel like I'm in the string quartet playing as the Titanic sinks; I need to revisit my thoughts from a few weeks ago and update in light of recent developments, but that's more involved than I care to get right now.

- I stumbled across this a little while ago, the comment grosses me out, as there are constantly people belching around me.