Yesterday morning we had orientation for new non-local students from 9:30-1:30 and then orientation for the faculty of social sciences from 2:30-4:15. The whole day was very boring and they talked about common sense knowledge and things we already knew since arriving here. However, I made some new friends and it was nice to meet other people besides the ones living in and around the dorms (as the housing situation is very spread out at HKU).
While on campus I took pictures in front of the big HKU sign, but unfortunately when taking out my camera the wire to upload photos to my laptop fell out and I lost it. I will be going to the Nikon store today to try and buy a new one, and I will post pictures once I have bought a new one (wish me luck!).
HKU held a WOW (Week of Welcome) party last night for all new local and non-local students. I didn't really want to go but had bought a ticket, so I went with a group of people I've been hanging out with lately. It was held in the main building on campus, both inside and outside and a good amount of people went. Buying the ticket gave you a coupon for two free drinks, but they only offered beer (ew!). We went to LFK after and there were a solid amount of people out, but nowhere near what the weekend is like. However, I met a bunch of new people there too and we made plans to do something this week.
Pictures to come... Hopefully!
(Finally was able to upload the picture on 9/1)
So today a couple of friends and I decided to check out one of the three free gyms offered to HKU students, this one being off campus and about a 0.6 mile walk away from my dorm. The "short walk" ended up being almost entirely up hill, to our surprise, so we considered it a warm up to working out.
The gym ended up being of below average quality, as the facilities were quite old and there was only one main area of machines. On the property there were also tennis courts, badminton courts, table tennis and an outdoor pool (which none of us used). There weren't that many people inside the gym, so I didn't have to wait to use anything but I feel that might have been the case since school hasn't started yet.
For dinner I went to the same restaurant that my buddy Kathy took me on the first night when I arrived. I ordered the noodles above, which is what she had ordered and I had tasted (which I liked better than my own meal). The meal was only ~$1.80 USD and was a good size portion.
Unfortunately, I refrained from buying those tasty looking ice cream bars above but I will eventually!
Tomorrow morning I have orientation for new non-local students, and then in the afternoon I have orientation for social science students. Early to bed for me tonight!
First Dim Sum Experience (Ever!)
So today for lunch myself and a four others decided to try a local dim sum place. Never having tried it before, I didn't really know what to expect besides the fact that the workers brought around food that you could choose from. When we got there we were told it would be a wait, since the tiny restaurant was packed (one of the other UConn students who also came can speak Cantonese pretty well). After realizing there was no wait list, we figured out that to get a table we would need to stand directly behind diners eating their meals and wait until they had finished eating, then sit down immediately after they got up (even before the tables were cleared of their dirty dishes).
We waited for awhile, uncomfortable to be so pushy. However, we realized if we ever wanted to try the food here, we would have to do exactly as everyone else did who came in after us and were seated before us. I was actually the one who was able to manage to hastily sit down after a group left, and we were sitting with an older Asian couple who spoke a little English.
Our bowls, cups and chopsticks arrived in a large bowl full of boiling hot water which was to be used to wash everything. Since one of the people with us spoke Cantonese pretty well and had experienced the foods involved in dim sum, he was in charge of figuring out the food we would order. Receiving the food was a whole other story itself - occasionally a worker would walk around with an order of food, asking in Cantonese if anyone wanted any, but more often than not, one person from each group would have to go up to a long, hectic line near the front of the store where they kept their main stock of freshly made food and retrieve it. Each time we received a new dish, we passed them our receipt in which they marked down what we had ordered. We (I mean they as I do not eat any meat) got seven rounds of different orders to try (plus complimentary tea). I was able to sample a solid half of the seven dishes (pictured above).
Victoria Peak 8/25/16
Yesterday after doing some exploring I decided to join a group of other exchange students in hiking Victoria's Peak. Victoria's Peak is one of Hong Kong's most popular attractions, as there are amazing panoramic views of the city. The hike starts out as very steep stairs leading straight up, which in 100+ heat is enough to make anyone want to quit. After that are very steep and winding paths that lead to the top, totaling 2800 meters. By the time we got to the top we were all exhausted and sweating very badly. We were surprised to see a whole city on top of the peak, with lots of restaurants and places to shop. We also noticed that there was a tram that leads up and down the mountain, which we ended up taking back because it was dark out by the time we were leaving.
I have yet to sleep through a night fully, so I have been waking up pretty late for me. I woke up to many texts saying that a group was leaving soon to get dim sum. We got lost trying to find the place and it turns out that the place is under construction. So we ate at another restaurant for lunch. Later on we decided to cross the bay and go into the part of Hong Kong that is attached to mainland China. We took a ferry both ways, which turned out to be very cheap ($2.50 HKD). Walking around for eight miles in my flip flops became very uncomfortable, and unfortunately I got some blisters. I looked for some simple leather sandals, but have not been able to find any yet. Yet another fun, but very tiring day.
As I've already mentioned, Chi Sun is one of four buildings in the Jockey III residential colleges. The set up is four tall high rise buildings, which all share the same entrance and security guard watch. You have to swipe your student card, then the gates will open and allow access to the elevator, which you will take to the fourth floor. At this point, you must walk outside again and go onto your assigned residential college, where again you will have to use your card to get into the building and past more security guards.
I woke up later than I have since early high school because of the time change and also a 5 am fire alarm that lasted for an hour - all because someone had been smoking in their room. After waking up, I ate a little breakfast in my dorm and then set off to explore Kennedy Town a little more and get some more essentials (laundry detergent, body wash, etc.). I took these photos in Kennedy Town by the water, although it was pretty hazy so the island and water did not come out that great.
Airport & Travel
We were able to land about 40 minutes early at 6:30 pm HK time (instead of 7:10 as originally planned). However, it took a long time to get through customs and then receive our bags and my buddy (Kathy) waited for us the whole time. After meeting us, she guided us to the metro station located in the airport, which brought us from the airport to Hong Kong island; we then took a taxi to the colleges where we are staying.
Chi Sun Residential College
After arriving at our dorm, we checked in with the security guards and received my room key, card to get into the building and then did some paperwork. Chi Sun is one of four new (fifth anniversary this year) residential colleges that are off campus (about a mile walk to school).
My roommate was actually in the room when we got there! Surprisingly she's from England - I thought exchange students only were paired to live with local students (Ryan's roommate has not arrived yet).
After quickly dropping off our stuff in our rooms, we went back out to walk around and eat a late dinner with Kathy. She brought us to a local place, and I had a hard time finding something to eat that was vegetarian and appealing to me (no mushrooms!).
On the way to dinner I bought large bottles of shampoo and conditioner, which was my first purchase in Hong Kong (besides a metro ticket at the airport)!
Unfortunately here at the colleges you have to pay for "air con" as they call it, so I thought I could brave it the first night as I should get used to the heat. Was I wrong! I woke up not even 45 minutes later sweaty and hot, and knew I had to turn it on. Also, since I didn't bring a pillow and all the shops were closed by the time I arrived, I slept without anything under my head (ow!).
I woke up many times during the night because of the uncomfortable sleeping situation.
Today I can finally pick classes at 10:00 am HK time, then I need to go to campus to check in and apply for my student card. I also need to pick up a few other things that I did not bring -pillow!, wash cloths, casual flip-flops, etc.
After all the essentials are finished, my roommate invited me to the beach with her and some other exchange students around 12 pm-1 pm. I am hoping I can get everything done this morning so I can go!
It's currently 7:10 am on Wednesday, August 24th and I will shower again and FaceTime my parents before starting my day with breakfast and then course choice.