As I stepped off the airplane into the chute that leads you into the airport, my immediate thought was “wow, is it ever warm! And kind of muggy.” Of course it was going to be warm. All week the weatherman had been reporting highs of 25°C, but it didn’t register in my mind until I actually felt it. Coming from almost below 0°C temperatures, being in a warm environment was so far from my mind.
Getting into the taxi, I gave our location to our taxi driver. In English. He didn’t understand. Right, time to switch on the rusty and awkward Cantonese. Traffic was terrible that night. Or maybe it’s like that every night. Through an awkward conversation with our taxi driver I find out that tonight is especially bad. It’s Friday night and it’s raining. Everyone wants to be in a car. I forgot it was Friday. I can completely lost Thursday and Friday due to travel time.
Stepping out of the taxi onto a busy one way street, the location of our Airbnb apartment rental. Parked cars lined both sides of the road and everyone behind us is waiting for us to move out of the way. Outside, a man is waiting for out taxi. Frantically I pay the driver and scramble out. Hopefully I didn’t leave anything in the taxi. My worst nightmare.
We decide to venture out for some food. It’s almost midnight at this point and I was hungry. The street our AirBnb apartment is on is alive with life. Restaurants, bright lines and people attack all the sense. Street food, while looking delicious and tempting, was probably not a good idea. Not on our first night. We picked a Hong Kong Style Cafe that was abuzz with people and slipped in. It’s so late, and yet nearly every table is full. It’s not the only packed restaurant. Every single one was full to the brim.
After forcing myself to stay awake to adjust to the time difference and struggling to use the Chinese side of my brain, I was exhausted. Hong Kong was turning out to be everything I expected it to be. I went to bed happy and excited to finally be in Hong Kong.
How do you get settled into a new city when you first arrive? What things have surprised you?
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