Saturday, April 30, 2011

Recap of adventures of the first week

My internet connection at this place is not so good. Not enough bandwidth to use Skype. But I think it's very cheap to use Skype or Google Voice to call HK. So if you would like to call me, my number is listed on the left. Also, I have Monday off.

Just got back from running the local park. This area that I am in right now is actually really nice. There are a lot of families living here and really nice schools nearby. I think property here is really expensive. It would be great to find an affordable place to live here and be able to walk to work. I think this would be very difficult but I'll walk around the neighborhood tomorrow and see if I can find any real estate agencies.

Some tidbits about work. There is a tea lady who serves tea (and coffee) twice a day. She writes down what you want in the morning and afternoon and delivers it to your desk. While this is really awesome, this means, you  don't the coffee break excuse. There is self served coffee and tea throughout the day but do you really need more than 2 cups a day? If you put your lunch in the fridge, she will also microwave it for you. It is ready by lunch time (12:30pm) so there is no lining up for the microwave. It seems like everyone takes lunch at the same time.

I also made an executive decision today to unpack all my clothes. I stacked up my suitcases so that I'm not living out of them anymore. This gives me a lot more room and makes things feel more comfortable. I haven't bothered taking out little things like the clock but at least things aren't a mess anymore. I also bought a small pot today at IKEA so now I can cook.

Joanna came to visit me the first day I got here and left on Wednesday. We did some touristy stuff but it was not nearly enough time to do everything. I'll recap our Tuesday adventures. We went to get me registered for a HK ID in the morning. There was a huge line of people but fortunately, I registered online and that line was much shorter. I had to go through two other people after that to get all my stuff entered into the system. They didn't ask any questions so besides the wait, it wasn't a very painful process. I think the whole thing took about an hour. They issued me a temporary ID and I can pick up the real one in a couple of weeks.

After this, we took the MTR to Lantau Island and rode the cable car. It's a pretty long ride for about $20 per person (round trip). Definitely worth it. We got on the crystal car, which meant that the floor is transparent. There's really not much to see straight downwards so I probably wouldn't bother paying extra for it. There was a promotion where if we paid by Visa, we can get free admission to the special exhibits. I made good use of my Capital One card here. There were two special exhibits and we only went to one about Buddha. It was pretty cool but mostly for kids. Again, wouldn't recommend going unless you have a bunch of kids and want to kill time. You can also get a deal with some bus companies to take the cable car up and a bus back. But it's so far that I think the bus ride would be super long.

The ride was pretty long and we landed in a "village" with some shops. We went into a bubble tea place and got the best bubble tea ever! We were both shocked by the first gulp. It's a Taiwanese place and they have a lot of flavors. We just got the plain one and it was really good. Then we walked up to the big Buddha statue. That's actually the highlight of this place. Before the cable car, I think you would have to hike for a long time to see the Buddha. There are also a lot of hiking trails and camping sites around the area. There was also a sign for a hostel. There are actually a lot of places to go hiking, camping, and backpacking around HK. It would be cool to go backpacking around one of these days. I bet there are places easily accessible by public transportation. I should check this out. But it will be the rainy season soon so probably have to wait a while. I wonder who I can drag with me...

This whole adventure with the cable car took several hours. You can definitely walk around the area for the whole day. It's a very good day trip. On the way back, we went looking for a place that sold candy because Joanna wanted to get some chocolates for her cousins. We were going to meet up with her aunt and uncle for dinner. So we went into the mall at the MTR stop near the cable cars and found that it's an outlet mall! All the stores say outlet on them. So next time someone visits me, I would either send them on this day trip by themselves or go with them but stay at the outlets to check them out. I don't need to go up the cable car again. Maybe with my parents? It's not like they need me to deal with Chinese people though.

After this, we went to meet up with Joanna's aunt and uncle at a really fancy hotel. Her uncle had to go off to have dinner with his business partners so her aunt took us to dinner with some other people. Their driver drove us all to Mong Kok but we circled around for a long time trying to find the place that had been recommended to us. We finally gave up and went into some hot pot place. It was really good. We were stuffed. Apparently you can't drive across the border after a certain hour so we were left on our own after dinner. We went into a store to get me some conditioner and hangers. I managed to buy shampoo instead... We got back and I ironed all my work shirts. I have enough to last me more than two weeks.

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