So i’m stuck in HK for a few days. Could be worse. Could be Iraq or Afghanistan. Been passing the time by swimming, chilling on islands, hiking and dodging giant spiders, eating milk + peanut toast, sippin proper milk tea that doesn’t taste like chemicals, and surprisingly not spending much money. I highly recommend coming down here if you need to escape mainland China for a minute. This feels like a totally different world, but it is still China – let’s examine some key differences.
10. Hills – Shanghai so flat; HK is almost San Francisco status. Proper topology. Just walking around will burn mad calories and leave the legs sore.
9. Clean water. Omg you can swim at the beach. And there’s real beaches, unlike Shanghai’s sandbox. Just watch out for those “dangerous sea animals of Hong Kong,” especially those on the “avoid completely” list, with their razor-sharp teeth and venom.
8. Cantonese and English. Pretty much everyone here speaks some English, even convenience store clerks. So refreshing. And they can probably understand and speak Mandarin too, so that’s three languages. I don’t really care about this in the mainland because I speak Mandarin, but it’s nice to bullshit in English with a friendly convenience store clerk.
7. More value for your money. Life here costs more for sure, but that HK Dollar goes further than those RMBs. There’s good draft beer at reasonable prices, even in tourist areas, cheap diner food on almost every corner, and proper sales on real brands at department stores, not some wack 高级村 brand you’ve never heard of but claims it’s a “famous American brand.”
6. People follow laws. Sure, some peeps jaywalk at appropriate times, like in any major city, but I haven’t seen anyone spit or smoke cigs in non-smoking areas. The police carry guns and enforce the law. I even saw some English books about Hong Kong law in the bookstore.
5. Freedom of speech and press. I’ve been reading the South China Morning post every day since I got here and thus know all about the current protests over landfills in the city, not to mention all kinds of bad news from the mainland. Plus I’ve been all over Facebook, YouTube, etc., with no VPN.
4. Proper Turkish Food in abundance. Actually, just proper ethnic food errrywhere, at reasonable prices. Thai, Vietnamese, Indian – whatever u want they got it.
3. No swimming caps in the pool. Every local pool in Shanghai makes patrons don a swimming cap. Totally ridiculous considering I’ve seen people in Shanghai with swimming caps hack, cough, and spit flem in the pool on numerous occasions. I just came back from Sun Yat Sen park’s enormous pool and guess what – no cap-enforcement, totally clean water, well-behaved kids, state-of-the-art locker rooms, and only 19HKD for the whole afternoon. That’s like RMB16 or something ridiculously cheap.
2. Courtesy/civility. No Ayis bumping into me on the street, loud nail-clippers on the subway, food wrappers strewn on the street, drivers running red lights and almost wiping out pedestrians, or peeps screaming on cell phones. I hate to use this word, but it’s hella civilized down here.
1. No one stares at you cause you’re a foreigner or asks fucking retarded questions like “wow, can you really use chopsticks?” “do you own an apartment here?” or “What do you think is better – here or your country?” It’s peaceful to just blend in, in a place that still feels super Chinese.
Still got love for Shanghai, but Shanghai is changing fast and I’m not sure it’s moving in the right direction. HK could be the next move.
edit: you can also sit on the grass in the parks, some of which stay open 24/7. also, rent in HK is wicked expensive if you wanna live right downtown but pretty affordable if you wanna stay on an island or somewhere slightly off the beaten path.