Last Day in HK
So today being the day before I left I wanted to make the most of it, even though I had a final exam at 4:30pm. It was a beautiful day - sunny and warm. I got take out lunch and ate it by the water in Kennedy Town. It's one of my favorite spots, as it's so close to the pretty water.
The first picture is of the four residential buildings that I live in. The second one from the left is Chi Sun (the green one). I took the picture from the street view. You can't really see the fourth building, because a tree was in the way (best view I could get).
The second picture is from Sunday, but I decided to post it today as my last day wraps up. Not looking forward to the fifteen hour flight tomorrow, but am looking forward to coming home! I have to wake up very early tomorrow, as I have to finish packing the last of my stuff in the morning and then take the MTR to the airport (which will take awhile).
Back to CT soon!
Last Week in HK
So today starts my last week in Hong Kong. I can't believe that my time here is coming to an end. When I first arrived I did not really enjoy being here, but then I began to get used to it and enjoy myself. Hong Kong is so different from the U.S. and Connecticut. I greatly enjoyed my time here and will miss certain aspects of Hong Kong when I return.
Time here went by so quickly. I feel as though it was only yesterday when it was the summer, and I was looking forward to coming here. It also feels as though time is slow, sometimes I feel as though even just a week ago was a very long time.
I am so glad that I was able to experience studying abroad, it is truly a once in a lifetime experience. I was able to learn about a totally different and new culture, while also learning new things about myself and gained unique skills and knowledge. I am very much looking forward to going home, as I miss many aspects of my life a home but I will also miss my friends and Hong Kong. Maybe I will be back one day!
Until Thursday morning, I will be studying and doing work as I have two final exams and a presentation this week. See you all soon!
Mr. Wong's - Last Time
I hadn't been planning on going to Mr. Wong's another time, but my friends were able to convince me to go. Since we went on a Friday night it was packed, as many exchange students use it as a place to eat before going out to LKF (or wherever they're headed to next). We got there a little after 8pm, and had to wait a good thirty-five-forty minutes. Since Mr. Wong's is the hectic place it is, we had to basically stand in a tiny hallway while being in the way of the constant flow of workers and people coming in and out. We finally got a table in the back and outside, as that is where everyone wants to sit. We got the usual food that and unlimited beers, but we also were able to order lemon iced-teas and chicken wings (not for me).
We stayed for a long time, the latest time we have ever stayed (about 11:30pm). After leaving we took the MTR back from Mong Kok to Kennedy Town and walked around for almost two hours before going back to Chi Sun. I'm glad that I was able to go one more time before I leave, and that I took the time off for studying for my psychology final exam on Monday. I have been studying a little bit every day since getting back from reading week in mid-October. I am so ready to get this final over with, as I am becoming quite tired of the same information.
High Table 3
Tonight was our last high table dinner, 3/3. This time instead of being seated by floor, we were seated by faculty (arts, science, social science, medicine, etc.) I can't believe this was our last high table, I remember the very first one in September like it was yesterday!
The food was the usual "ok", nothing very good but nothing absolutely horrible. I had to rush back from my last Wednesday class, as it ended at 6:20pm and we were supposed to be seated by 7pm even though it doesn't start until 7:30pm. I was again moved from my seat to the very front row of tables. Since they film all the speakers at the high table dinner they want to make it look full in the front. Most people do not want to sit in the very front rows, so they always have to move people from the back to the front.
Since it was on a school night I stayed away from the red wine for the most part. I made that mistake the first high table dinner ;)
Lion Rock Hike
The weather report predicted thunderstorms and rain for both today and yesterday, but fortunately both days turned out to be sunny with periods of clouds. I was finally able to hike Lion Rock, which was something I really wanted to do before leaving. I had heard that the hike was pretty difficult, but I was not prepared for how steep it was.
I went with three other exchange students and two local students who had hiked here before, so they were able to lead the way. It was only 80 F, but we still were very sweaty during the hike. The hike was shorter than I expected, only lasting about three hours but was challenging (especially to me, a non-hiker). There were so many stairs, both going up and down. The stairs in some parts were so high that I had to raise my foot to knee height to climb to the next stair. By the end of the hike my knees were hurting so badly.
There were many people hiking today, but I noticed many of them chose weird hiking outfits (which I have noticed in the past here). I saw many people wearing jeans, flip-flops, nice blouses, etc. One of the local students even told me that he saw a girl hiking before in high heels. I am not sure why so many of the people here tend to wear inappropriate outfits for working out. The people in Hong Kong typically do not get enough exercise, but I have seen many avid hikers during my time here.
As you can see from the photos, the views were amazing. I really enjoyed seeing both the skyscrapers and nature at the same time. Hong Kong is both very much a city, but also has many outdoors things to do for nature lovers.
Today after getting lunch I decided to check out Jaspa's, which is an expensive restaurant in Kennedy Town. I really liked how you could sit outside, and I sat in the window table (first picture). They had this deal called "Crazy Happy Hour" that I had been meaning to try before I leave. I ordered the "Sangiovese Rose Mudge" which was alright.
The waterfront picture I took while eating lunch. I ordered takeout and then walked a short distance to the waterfront and ate while sitting on the benches. The forecast had predicted rain and thunderstorms, but as you can see, it was beautiful outside today. I remember going to this same exact place in August shortly after arriving and it was so hot that it was very unenjoyable to be outside. Now it's cooled down - today it was only 80 F. I really like this picture so I wanted to share it!
Today I ate at Bafang Dumpling for lunch, as it is my favorite "fast food" restaurant in Hong Kong. I always order the same set every time I go, which is ten dumplings and a drink for only ~$5 USD. The dumplings are amazing for the price and are very filling! The ones I order are the steamed veggie ones, which are green (also can order panfried version). The drink I always get is a passion fruit tea which you can see if the top left of the photo.
Once you sit down there are little paper menus and you use a pencil to check off what you want to order. As soon as you mark down what you would like, a worker quickly takes the menu from you and punches your order into their computer for the kitchen staff to prepare. They then hand you your receipt and go off to get your drinks. Even during the busiest of times they get your order out to you in under ten minutes, usually around five minutes after ordering.
I will truly miss Bafang dumpling when I come back to the U.S., so I plan on going as much as possible these next two weeks!
Sai Kung Kayaking
Earlier in the week I had signed up to go kayaking with the International Society at HKU. Kayaking was something that I wanted to do while in Hong Kong, but I had not had a chance to go yet. With time running out, and a trip available through HKU, I couldn't turn down the opportunity.
We met at 10am today at HKU, where we then took a bus for about an hour to Sai Kung. When we first got there it was pretty cloudy, and I was disappointed that there might not be sun (first few pictures above). But then, throughout the day we did have periods of sun (pictures below) and clouds. About twenty five of us participated in the trip; they offered both single and double kayaks.
I had never gone sea kayaking before (but I have kayaked in both lakes and rivers). It was a bit more wavy, but we were in a more protected area than the open sea, so it was manageable. I had thought that we would be able to leisurely kayak around, but I was wrong. There was a staff member who led us around and we padded out to two islands. The first island was tiny and had two homeless dogs on it. Apparently, its called "two dog island". I felt bad for the dogs, and wondered how they got there.
I got lunch at this cute burger shop. I ordered a fish burger, which was delicious. I had expected the bus to pick us up when it was time to go, but apparently the bus was only one way. From Sai Kung we had to take a bus for about half an hour and then get on the MTR for almost forty minutes to go back to Kennedy town. I had expected to get back around mid afternoon (as that is what they had advertised) but did not get back to my room until 8pm (after eating a super quick dinner in Kennedy town).
Today was a fun, but long, day and I did not have the opportunity to do work until late for me. I will have to do a lot of work tomorrow (Sunday) to make up for today. I have so much to do from now until I come home that I am beginning to get overwhelmed! Unfortunately, I will have to do more work than play for the rest of my time here.
Tonight I tried a new restaurant in Kennedy Town, called Genki Sushi. I had been craving sushi as I have not had it in over a month! While I am a sushi lover, I can say that I only like two different kinds of sushi, the California Roll and the Salmon Roll. However, I definitely indulge on both whenever I go out for sushi. Genki Sushi is conveyor belt style, where different options come out on plates and you can take whatever you want off the belt as it passes. The different colored plates are how they keep track of how much you've eaten (and therefore spent), as each color plate costs a different amount. It's easy to lose track of how much you're spending, as the portions are small. If you don't see a certain item on the menu coming around, you can ask one of the workers who will get it for you quickly.
What I ate:
For dinner I first tried the miso soup, which was really good, but the bowl was very small so I was left wanting more. Then I had the California rolls (pictured below) which are my favorite back home, although I did not like the cream cheese that was in them. The California rolls I have had before didn't have cream cheese in them. I then tried the salmon rolls, which were also good. I would have preferred the salmon rolls to be cut in half, as they are normally about half the length of what these ones were. Yes, there were four salmon rolls - I just happened to eat one before remembering to take a picture! I also drank green tea, which is pictured above. Genki Sushi was good and reasonably priced, but I probably won't be back again.
eHong Kong Politics
I thought that on the United States' Election Day I would post something about the politics here. The U.S. may not be the only ones facing political problems. On Sunday night there was a protest and legal demonstration in front of Beijing's Hong Kong office. It ended in police pepper spraying the crowd. The demonstration was led by lawyers, in defense of Beijing's interpretation and future interference of the basic law. The basic law (although temporary) is Hong Kong's constitutional document and went into effect in 1997. It protects Hong Kong from China's socialist society and allows them to remain a capitalist society for the next fifty years. It also gives them a number of freedoms and rights and maintains their separate systems. The exact reasons are still a little confusing to me, but I will do my best to summarize what my local Hong Kong friend explained to me.
So Beijing wants to make it illegal for legislature to hold a second oath in order to be admitted onto the council. It began with two local, pan-democrats who spoke with racist language against China in their oaths. If Beijing passes their reinterpretation of the oath, two more councilors will be kicked off the council. A total of four pan-democrats would be kicked off the council, which is already very biased. China's interference in the legislature would be a direct violation of the basic law, which mandates that China cannot directly interfere with Hong Kong's law. My friend told me that unfortunately the reinterpretation was just passed by Beijing's standing committee, so there will be another silent march today. She said that it Beijing is interfering now, that it is not looking good for Hong Kong's democracy.
Well that wraps up my post for tonight!