That’s Asia For You

It’s now been a few days since I came back from China and Hong Kong. I’ve worked my way through ten days worth of work related e-mails and spent two days in London since then and now I guess it’s time for an update of some sorts.

The People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong, which is also technically China, were excellent. Unfortunately, my trip there was entirely business related, as you might have figured out by now. In spite of that I made it to the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Great Wall of China. I had my camera with me and took a few pictures, I’m uploading them to my computer as we speak I write. Me and Ola, who I travelled with, also had a day or so off in Hong Kong before we flew home.

After about eleven hours in a Boeing 747-400 from Amsterdam we arrived in Hong Kong around thirty minutes past ten last Saturday. Jet lag didn’t bother me too much, I was tired, but I quickly found my normal rhythm. Way to go, SleepTracker. Jet lag wasn’t a problem when I got back to Norway either. The flight was a tad boring, if you ever plan to spend eleven to twelve hours in a plane, bring something entertaining. I recommend a pair of Sennheiser PXC 300 and a Sony PSP, which will make time fly by - oh, the pun, the pun… I had neither, but I survived anyway.

On Sunday we left Hong Kong and took the bus to China and went to Shenzhen, just across the boarder. Here we staid for a couple of days in a hotel that was basically a brothel. Then we flew to Beijing and spent a few days there, then back to Hong Kong again via Shenzhen on Saturday afternoon. We had Sunday off in Hong Kong and flew back to Europe on Monday.

Both Shenzhen and Beijing are very much like any Western city. Things are not as different as one might suspect; a lot of people and terrible traffic. Here’s a few pointers if you’re ever visiting China and Hong Kong:

  • Since Hong Kong used to belong to the Brits, they are driving on the wrong side of the road - yes, the left side of the road is the wrong side of the road, end of discussion - so there is a good chance you’ll be hit by a bus when crossing the street.
  • The outdoors escalator in Hong Kong is an excellent point of reference if you ever end up trying to find your way home in the middle of the night, like I did.
  • Cabs are so cheap you’ll laugh, but the taxi drivers know very little English, even in Hong Kong.
  • Every time you cross the boarder between China and Hong Kong, you have to complete at least two forms, so be sure to bring a pen.
  • Dog tastes a bit like a combination of game and lamb. Please note that they don’t breed dogs to eat them in China (or at least so I was told), so you’re probably eating the neighbour’s Chihuahua.
  • Rabbit tastes like…eh…rabbit?
  • If you ever tell a girl you had dog and/or rabbit, you will get reactions like “how could you, they are soooo cuuuuuute. Pooooor doooogs”. So try to convince them that you ate a really ugly dog. And don’t tell them that you personally clubbed the cute bunny to death with a bat, that will really get their attention.
  • Present money, credit cards, presents and anything else you’re giving to someone with both hands. The same goes if anyone gives anything to you, accept it with both hands.
  • Don’t show the sole of your shoe when sitting.
  • Make sure to practice a little with the chop sticks before you leave home. Most restaurants will give you a fork, though.
  • In Hong Kong, they speak Standard Cantonese, the official language in China is Standard Mandarin. You will not understand anything they are saying, but it’s always a good idea to know a few basic phrases, so I recommend that you buy a phrase book before leaving.
  • Telenor has no GPRS roaming in China.
  • All street names are written in both Chinese and Western letters, at least on the street signs I saw. A good thing.
  • The Capital Hotel in Beijing does not have an internet connection in every room, but you can use the phone line to use dial-up, the number to dial is 995700.
  • There are probably a lot of gotchas you should know about, but figuring it our yourself is always fun, isn’t it?

To make a long story short - even if you probably read the long story if you read this - the trip to China and Hong Kong was a lot of hard work, but still great, and I hope I get to return one day.

By visiting Hong Kong, I’ve completed the first task on my List:

#1. Visit Hong Kong.

I’ve also decreased the number of continents I’ve got left to visit to complete #50 to three.


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