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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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Hong Kong is so exciting I’d be out on the streets as well. I usually have to go for a walk whenever I arrive in a new place. Depending on the time of day, food is not far from my mind as well!
I’m always excited to be wandering around on foot as soon as I arrive. I want to know where everything is and it’s the best way of getting to know a new place.
Rachel G says
Good thing you know Cantonese! I don’t know any Cantonese at all, but at least I know a fair amount of Chinese characters so I can communicate via writing when the going gets tough. 🙂 Traffic is definitely killer in Hong Kong–we were just there last week!
Ohh, yes being able to read is so useful! I’m pretty illiterate and only know a couple dozen words, mostly food, and never strung together. Even when I spoke, I’m sure people knew I wasn’t a local because of my awkward phrases and weird word choice. Oh well, whatever it takes to get by right?
Anna | slightly astray says
Can’t wait to hear more about your Hong Kong trip! Usually, my first day in a new city, I just walk around the neighborhood my apartment is on, and eat somewhere close by. We take it pretty easy :D.
Yea, that is pretty much what we did that night. Wander close by and then sleep. More posts coming soon!
Arnette RTW says
Interested to see your whole take on HK!
It’s coming! Just letting it cook some more first 🙂
What a fab start to your trip! I’d not wanna leave those balmy streets. Enjoy!!
It was tough to tear myself away and go home to freezing temperatures.
My first impression of so many places is a blurry mess because I always arrive hungry, tired, and brain-fried. And I’ve never had to adjust to quite that big of a culture shock – you did better then I would!
I’m usually that way too. Everything is rushing around and I just need to catch up. Sleep does wonders. If I can sleep with all the jet lag.
but boy is the summer STIFLING! but Hong Kong is certainly a pretty cool city to visit. I liked it even if the light show was a bit… silly! lol, nice post!
Yes! I can’t even imagine visiting in the summer. It was hot and humid enough during my visit. Haha, wait until I get to the part about the light show. I was less than thrilled. Silly is definitely one way of discribe it.
Depending on how long I have been travelling I’m usually a) Eager to check everything out or b)Longing for a long hot shower, a meal and a bed.
I’m exactly the same way, but usually the latter. A shower is always a good idea.
It looks hectic and overpowering, and I absolutely love that!
I love busy cities! Cant wait to read more on your HK adventures!
It very much was hectic and an assault on the senses, especially when you’re exhausted!
We stopped over in Hong Kong a few years back and your first evening sounds almost identical to ours. Albeit without the Cantonese!
Wow that food! Yum! Glad to hear you made it and can’t wait to hear more about your Hong Kong adventures! I can see how the Cantonese could be a major challenge when first arriving. I’m sure the conversations will start to become less and less awkward!
Definitely! By the time I left it came much more naturally to me. I started almost even thinking in Chinese which is kind of strange, but cool.