Hong Kong – Day 1B

When I arrived in Hong Kong, I jumped into a taxi and immediately noticed how fast they drove… and with all the different roads and passes in between the towering skyscrapers, I felt a little like I was riding on this:

My impression of riding a taxi in HK.

You can imagine that with cars and taxis driving on roads like these in a “walking city” (as opposed to driving cities like Los Angeles), pedestrians have to be very careful. Selene let us know that in HK, peds DON’T have the right of way. Thus, the city is careful to paint warnings on every crosswalk.

Like Japan and the UK, they also drive on the other side of the road here. There are so many crosswalks and tons of fast-driving cars, so these helpful pedestrian reminders save lives everyday.

After we got back from Sai Kung on our first full day in HK, we went to Harbour City (which sounds like a dim sum restaurant in Monterey Park), one of the 5,391,304 malls in Hong Kong. This week was the last week for a big Doraemon exhibit, where they are celebrating 100 years BEFORE the birth of Doraemon (a robot cat from the future). Apparently, the Hong Kongese love this character. They set up 100 different statues in one of the outdoor areas.

This place was PACKED with people taking pictures with Doraemon statues. Each one was different, but I only saw a few on the outskirts because I couldn’t brave walking through the center of the crowd.
Eric could not resist posing with one in a classic Asian “peace-sign” pose. For some reason, when I’m in Asia, I also feel compelled to raise 2 fingers for every picture. It must be something in the air.

Hong Kong itself is an interesting mix of the East and West. It is undoubtedly Cantonese, but at times, you can find yourself thinking you’re in a western country because everything is in English and the malls are filled with European and American brand stores. Outside looks like someone smashed all the chinatowns (and Monterey Parks) in the world together, but inside the malls looks like someone took every high end mall in Orange County and Laguna Beach and connected them. The malls are obviously not where the working class shops.

The mall at night. They stay open late b/c of the restaurants. You can see that the main walkway is extra wide, with multiple floors. Selene says that the malls area extra-large because locals have small homes, so the only way to hang out with others is to go to a public space like the mall. During the day, these malls are PACKED! It feels like they need to make these walkways bigger!

Another really interesting thing about Hong Kong: they have this crazy fascination with Japan and all things Japanese (I guess they don’t care about the Daiyou/Senkaku islands). Everywhere you look, there is something Japanese. From Doraemon statues, to food, to products. I felt like there was more Japanese stuff than Hong Kong stuff in the malls. It was hard to get souvenirs here because I knew I could get it all back in Japan. Selene pointed out that there is a current trend of food products from Hokkaido. Grocery stores are filled with produce and food from the northern Japanese island… but the Hong Kongese seem to really love things made from Hokkaido milk. Apparently it makes things taste creamier. I tried some pastries and a coffee-milk drink with Hokkaido milk, and it was pretty delicious.

Hokkaido bread products are popular in Hong Kong. In Japan, this is just called “bread”. haha. While Hokkaido does seem to be praised for its food products (I had some Hokkaido potatoes in Ishinomaki that were delicious!), I haven’t seen any special Hokkaido food in Japan so far.

There was so much Japanese food here, I had to get some. At the Citysuper, they had an interesting kind of obanyaki made from tapioca flour, that made the consistency more like mochi than bread! Oishii!

I tried to not get anything Japanese while in Hong Kong, especially since I would be in Japan before and after my time here. I failed. Who can resist a mochi-like obanyaki!?

There are some great markets in the malls in HK. We frequented citysuper a lot, but my favorite one was this:

Asia is awesome! A discount store in Japan called “Jieson” and a supermarket in HK by me(s). Haha.

We had some great hainan chicken that night, and then headed to the water to take some shots of the skyline at night (see previous post for a pic of the city at night). A great first day in Hong Kong. I leave you with a pic of our hostel, the YWCA. It felt a little like I was back at UCLA in Rieber Hall.

Our dorm room at the YWCA. Not too bad for $26/night!!!

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