Hong Kong Hodge Podge

I’ve been in Hong Kong for about a week now. So much has been going on! Classes started today, so up until then everything was go go go go go, see this, do that, nonstop action. None of my classes start until Monday, though, so I have a little while to relax.

Eating here has been very hard. I’ve been slowly introducing meat into my diet, and I hate it. The times I avoided meat, I either couldn’t find anything on the menu or felt terrible because all I had was rice or noodles. I can barely find anything with tofu here, which is a surprise, let alone vegetable based dishes. It’s literally impossible to keep a well-balanced vegetarian diet here.

First thing I noticed when I got to Asia: the vending machines. They’re so cool here! I don’t know what about them is so awesome, but they’re just fantastic. You can get so many different types of snacks from vending machines, but I think the drink machines are even cooler:

So many types of juice and tea and soy milk and everything! I wish we had vending machines like this back home.

Another thing is the markets. People just stand out on the sidewalk selling fish or meat or whatever. I was expecting this, but it’s still so cool to see.

Some notable things I’ve done since I’ve been here: coolest thing so far, I think, was visiting the Nan Lian gardens. The landscape is beautiful, with so many plants and a temple. Visiting was such an amazing experience – probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. According to Wikipedia, my favorite source of information, the temple was built in 1990 in the style of the Tang Dynasty; it was gorgeous, but I can only imagine how much better it would be to visit a temple actually built that long ago.

Along the way, we stopped at a little fast food place in the subway station for lunch. I ordered one red bean and one sweet potato bao. Instead of sweet potato, I got something purple – I thought it was taro, which is always purple, and I was really disappointed because I HATE taro. When I ate it, it wasn’t bad, and actually tasted like sweet potato, so honestly I have no idea what it actually was. But it was good. And I got it in the subway station… Seriously? This was way better than the kind I get at home. I’ll go somewhere else and get the real, non-fast-food kind, and my mind will be blown.

Another really exciting thing is the street food. In Mong Kok there are tons of little booths where people sell delicious and terrible for you fried food.

The food either comes on a stick or in a bag, but the bag isn’t any neater since the grease soaks right through. And did I mention that no one gives napkins in Hong Kong? The only place I’ve seen giving napkins is good old Mickey D’s.

Earlier this week I went to Ocean Park. Don’t be fooled like I was – it’s not a water park. It’s actually the most confusing theme park I’ve ever been to. They have a couple of small roller coasters, a dolphin show kind of like at Sea World, an aquarium about as big as the one in Long Beach, and…

PANDAS. I was freaking out when I realized the park had pandas. I had never seen one before, and they had TWO. I wish I had bought something cheesy at the gift shop to commemorate the experience.

Finally, yesterday I went to the Peak, which is a spot on top of the mountain in Hong Kong Island where you can see literally everything.

Gorgeous, isn’t it? Gotta love that smog.

I feel like I’ve already seen so much of Hong Kong, but there’s so much to do. I’ve only had a little taste (hah) of the city, and really only tourist attractions. I can’t wait to really learn my way around, interact with local people, basically just live here. This is going to be such an exciting time.

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