Adjustment to a New City: The Hong Kong Files

One of the best things about our little Earth is its wide variety of different landscapes, people, multiple cultures, big and small cities…. you name it. As we live in an age where travel is more common, it’s also fantastic that we get to immerse ourselves into and experience some of these different places . Some days it can be a true adventure, and eye-opener; although other times it can prove to be somewhat of challenge as well.

I’ve had to adjust to a few new cities over the years, and thought I’d share some of the snippets I have faced along the way. Below are some of the gems I have witnessed whilst living in Hong Kong so far.

(Please note that these examples are just a slideshow of my own warped mind and that it doesn’t necessarily mean that all Hong Kong residents fall under this interpretation. I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone or be disrespectful in any way… but life makes me giggle sometimes, no matter where I am or who I’m with, and today I have a goofy grin smeared on my face, in Hong Kong):

 1)  There will be a huge cue for the lift, when there are perfectly good escalators right next to it, and no one seems to mind it takes them twice as long to get upstairs. Surely, they can’t all suffer from escalaphobia (the fear of escalators… yep. I Googled it)

 2) Staying on the theme of lifts, I have found myself partaking in a game I call ‘sardines in a can’ where we will squeeze into a lift to the point where I could literally butterfly kiss the person next to me on the cheek with my eye lashes. As the majority are quite slim here (not a very good confidence booster when you’re having a ‘fat day’… but that’s another story..)I don’t think going over the assigned weight limit is a concern either).

3) I appreciate the general curiosity some people might have when seeing a blonde woman with her child, and for that reason I have no issue with people wanting to take pictures of us (heck, it kind of makes me feel like a celebrity some days)… but I don’t support strangers touching my child or even her stroller to have a closer look.  When this happens, I calmly channel my MC Hammer and advise them to ‘not touch this’ as I walk away … sideways. This has not happened often at all, but irked me so much I felt it was note worthy.

4) Speaking of photography; the first week into living in Hong Kong I was standing at the crosswalk when I noticed a young man pointing his phone towards me. As phones seem to be permanently attached to people’s hands these days, I didn’t think anything of it. That was until the light went green, and in the middle of crossing the road he abruptly stopped in front of me and pointed his phone smack at my face as I heard the camera shutter ‘cha-chak’; before then casually continuing on his way, leaving me standing there wondering what the hell just happened.

5) There is a vast abundance of phones around here and absolutely everyone has one in their hands (or so it feels like) to the point where the recorded voice at the subway stairs not only asks you to ‘please hold the hand rail’, but also warns you to ‘not only keep your eyes on your mobile phone’. Maybe something she could have also said to the bus driver as he played Candy Crush whilst driving.

6) I’ve come across bad drivers all over the globe (Cambodia, Poland and The Emirates being in my personal top 3) but I am sad to admit that I feel the stereotype of Asian drivers is not too far fetched. The biggest cause of any road rage swearing from my part has been due to the lack of people using their indicators around here. Swerving between lanes is one thing, but cutting me off on a busy roundabout whilst I have my daughter in the car will cause me to flip you off and curse you to step on a piece of Lego when you get home you crazy, indifferent bastard!!

7) Getting a foot massage is absolute heaven (granted you resist the urge to kick them in the face because it tickles too much or you accidentally walk into one of the ‘special’ massage parlors. But if you don’t end up with an awkward happy ending situation somewhere, it is definitely worth it!

8) For those who like their Internet Memes…. (as I need to go along with the times here)


9) Nicely waiting in line and allowing passengers to exit the train first is good and present in theory, but sadly, more often than not, you end up battling the wave of people trying to get onto the train before you’ve had a chance to get out. God forbid they miss the next one that will be there in less than 3 minutes..

10) It seems to me that people here are afraid of the rain, and whenever they see me walk around in it, I am stared at as if I am a complete and utter lunatic for getting wet (unless they have a good reason to be and I’m the idiot strolling through acid rain without her umbrella)

11) Whatever you do, don’t reach out to a brochure being handed to you on the street (unless you want to be followed by a pushy (but still friendly) Indian guy trying to sell you hand bags and wallets. It’s like the Wizard of Oz of knock-off brands (Oh gee whiz Toto..Gucci, Versace, Chanel ..Oh My!)

12) I grew up with the notion that Asian people walk fast. Don’t ask me where I got that idea from, but I can assure you it is not a valid one. I have often had to hold back the urge to moan ‘braaains’ when walking around the city or subway and am convinced that if a Zombie apocalypse were to actually happen around here … we’d be majorly screwed.

In the end though, no matter where we end up, there will always  be differences from what we grew up with.. Aside from the examples above, Hong Kong does have some amazing things to offer (food & culture only being the tip) and I will always recommend it to any travelers. I guess it’s just a matter of making the adjustment, learning how to cope with the issues you struggle with and enjoying and taking in everything else the experience can give you!


One comment

  1. Hahaha. Agree with most of these. Particularly the optional use of indicators … add to that the lack of ability to comprehend how to use a round-about properly.
    Nice to know I’m not the only one who goes around flipping them off with the kids in the back. 😉

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