Our next stop after China was Hong Kong and we were both ready for a change of pace. The group of Apple employees in Shanghai told us that Hong Kong was “very different” from China. We didn’t know exactly what that meant but different had to be a good thing.
Before we jump in it’s important to know that while Hong Kong is technically a part of China, you receive a completely different visa when you enter and also get a stamp in your passport for Hong Kong. Hong Kong does not require US Citizens to have a Chinese visa so while Hong Kong is “owned” by China it’s a completely different country as far as I’m concerned. The reason Hong Kong is so different than mainland China is that the British controlled Hong Kong all the way up to July 1997. Hong Kong has progressed in the same way that Western countries have and you can instantly tell upon arrival.
Ashley and I were both pretty tired after our flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong. We made our way to the hostel that we would be staying in for the next 10 days. The hostel was around $70/night for a private room which is around the average we have been paying. When we arrived we quickly found out that $70/night in Hong Kong doesn’t buy you a lot of space. The room was renovated and very nice but by far the smallest room we’ve had on the trip.
With my arms stretched out all the way I was just 2 or 3 inches from being able to touch both walls. Add about a 3 feet the opposite direction and our room was probably just shy of 9 feet by 6 feet. To make this room work they had to put a pretty small bed in the room. No problem, I’m used to sleeping in the fetal position. The nice thing about this cozy room was that the bathroom was literally just 2 feet from bed. While it was a very small room, the location could not have been any better and we were in the center of the action. Overall for the price and location it was really a pretty good deal for Hong Kong.
After we checked out the room we made our way out to find some dinner. Within 20 yards we came across a Mexican restaurant. We hadn’t seen a Mexican restaurant or had Mexican food in a long time so we ventured inside. We took our seats and quickly noticed a table behind us. It was a group of 5 to 6 Americans who were belligerently drunk and annoying just about everyone around them. To most this was annoying but to Ashley and I it was a huge relief having just left China. I could at least understand what they were saying and we weren’t going to have anyone asking to take their photos with white people so we were already headed down a better path. Looking around the rest of the place we noticed that at least half the people in there were white with most being either Americans working in Hong Kong or British people. We finished up our meal and headed to bed hopeful that this was an early indication that Hong Kong was nothing like China. Spoiler: Hong Kong is nothing like China.
Meeting up with Jimmy
I was texting one of my friends (Mike D) in the states and telling him we were in Hong Kong. He said that Jimmy (a coworker of Mike’s who we both know) was actually headed to Hong Kong and would be there the next day. I quickly sent Jimmy an email asking him if he wanted to meet up. You’re telling me I’m NOT in China AND I’m going to have an American friend to talk to?!?!? Things were looking up!
We managed to meet up with Jimmy for an afternoon to hang out. Jimmy was passing through for work so we didn’t have a lot of time. We decided to check out some of the local RC shops since we’re both nerds like that. The shops were a little underwhelming as everything has really moved online in terms of sales but we enjoyed exploring the city for a bit. It was very nice to get a chance to catch up with Jimmy over drinks and hanging out for a while!