Well, that's not true. I generally celebrated by going to a bar and getting drunk, but that's not really a special cultural experience so let's ignore that, shall we? To be completely honest, Chinese New Year to me was a chance to get time off work and get red envelopes full of money given to me by parents and people I worked for. All in all, a very good holiday. A+, Chinese New Year.
But I guess now that I don't have the opportunity to celebrate, I miss it. Go figure. So allow me one post to lament what I miss about Hong Kong, will you? I'll pretend it's because I want to celebrate the year of the dragon.
|Dragon Boat Head in Mui Wo, Lantau|
Genki Sushi: No joke. The loss of this sushi chain gets mentioned by Tim or myself at least once a week. They had a conveyer belt of fresh sushi and you just picked out what you wanted. I always got edamame, tuna nigiri and cucumber rolls.
|Genki Sushi : Source|
Public Transportation: I think I'm getting into the swing of this driving everywhere thing, but I really miss the incredible public transport in Hong Kong. In order to get to work at one point, I took a bus, a ferry boat, walked 10 minutes and then took the subway - all in under an hour. The area I lived didn't even allow cars - which yes, made golf carts worth over $125,000 US!
Family and Friends: Ok, now I feel guilty that this isn't at the top of the list, but if any of you are reading this - you beat Genki, I promise! Of course I miss seeing family members each week and friends all the time.
|My little brother Robert and I on the Peak in HK|
The Beach: Again, I have to admit that I didn't actually go to the beach all that much, but I walked past it every day. Where my parents live (and Tim's mom) as well as where I lived for most of my time in Hong Kong is a place called Discovery Bay, and it is truly gorgeous:
And just to balance it all out so none of you jump the next plane to paradise, here's what I won't miss:
Class System: Now, I'm not foolish enough to believe that there is no class system in America. But in Hong Kong it is very obvious and at times, I honestly felt "western guilt". Many of the Filipino and Indonesian "domestic helpers" are treated worst, making lower than minimum wage and sending most of it home to their families. Then there are huge segments of the Chinese population with low incomes, although many have incredibly high ones as well. There are also plenty of Billionaires from around the world. But Westerners? You find me one that is broke in Hong Kong. People who live there for a long time almost seem to accept these classifications as fact, and I hated that.
Pollution: An hour from mainland China, so when the wind blows the wrong way, the city is polluted heavily and it is really disgusting. Every day when you check the weather in Hong Kong, you check the air quality level too to see if hiking outside is even a possibility. Tim has asthma and that just made it worse for him.
Unfriendliness: No, not everyone who live in Hong Kong is unfriendly. Far from it. But being such a huge, densely populated city makes it hard to be friendly unless you are directly introduced to someone.
So there you go. In case you were thinking about moving to Hong Kong, this should help. (You're so welcome, random reader who searched for this on Google! Every one else, thanks for humoring me.)
I'm thinking that since it's still Chinese New Year all week I'll have to buckle down and make some traditional foods that Tim and I enjoy - maybe some dimsum or char sui fan (barbecued pork and rice)!
Do you have any favorite Chinese foods? Anyone love going for dim sum?
Even though I lived in Hong Kong, I'll be the first to admit my knowledge is limited when it comes to Chinese food. I often stuck with the same few items. I do love dim sum though, and would do crazy picking out everything!
Warning: serious question. Do you think there is a noticeable class system where you live, or anywhere you have visited? How does it affect you?
I hope this doesn't come off as incredibly privileged, but I want to address it. Almost everywhere that I have lived in my life, I (or really, my family) has been in the "upper social strata" I guess you could say. This is most noticeable when living in places like South Africa and of course Hong Kong. It has always bothered me that the other people with similar incomes/standings in these places are, well...white. I think the race issue is so much MORE noticeable away from the Westernized world. Thoughts?