Boy! What a ride for us to get into HK. First Truong had to buy a return ticket (at double the online price) at the Cathy Pacific counter because he only had a one way ticket + no China visa. The flight was bearable but we sat next to parents and their baby that meant constant crying and arrived in HK in this hot and humid weather to find the apartment that we were sharing, to be super tiny.
(Truong sleeps on the floor and I on the bed, which does not leave room for anything else, but we are here for boot camp after all.)
In a sense, we were shocked because we were used to our “American” size to find everything is so compact and dense here. The subways, walking on the streets, the restaurants, elevators etc… as HKers try to cram alot into spaces available. We are not in America, something that i knew and always need to remind myself when traveling overseas because it can quickly be forgotten and people often like to compare the way things are vs the way it is at home. Its actually the wrong way to look at things because you are in a different environment and thus cannot expect the same lifestyle as you had back home.
I was able to quickly adjust back to the way things work in Hong Kong, as this is my third time here (actually I was here less then a year ago.)
Summer weather is hot. Its humid but it brings out a nice summer charm to the city, however living without AC can be quite difficult.
One good way to experience living in Hong Kong is to adopt a local attitude and lifestyle as the locals. We were fortunate because our good friend, Louis, was able to be our “local guide” and negotiate things as a local HKer. He quickly brought us to get our sim card for our iphones (which includes data and minutes) to use. We use the Gevey sim masker to use a local sim card on our AT&T locked Iphone 4s. Truong is able to get both minutes and data but I either get minutes and no data or data without any minutes, so it is not 100% stable. Alot of people use this hardware bypass to use tmobile on an AT&T iphones.
Yesterday, we had the first day of boot camp and met the host as well as the other startups. They are all very humble and passionate about what they do and we all share the common belief that we want to make the HK startup scene rise up. Our first guest speaker is coming in Wednesday and the second on Friday which should liveling things up a bit. More details on the camp will be found at our CityWise Blog.
Food seems to be relatively cheap if you arent too picky but as all things are when you travel, things can quickly add up. We can eat a good breakfast for about 71 HKD (9 USD), lunch for about 100 HKD (12.90 USD) and dinner from 100-310 HKD depending if you want to splurge or not. HK has its cheap outtings but also has some of the world’s best restaurants which can quickly cost lots of $$$. As i said this before, HK is a great place if you have the cash to splurge. We, however, will be cooking in our apartment as going out to eat everyday can quickly drain your wallet. (Here is Oriental Expats’ breakdown of cost of living in HK)
As my friend, Louis has told me, HKers are more concerned about making money than Americans. People live in a fast pace environment and often work overtime on most days without any compensation. If you dont make good money then you are looked down in society which can explain why everyone wants to work as much as possible. Most people like to keep to themselves (often dont even have time to talk to you.) HK is a city of convenience, where taxis, the subway system, 7/11’s make life much easier.
If anyone has any questions about HK or what’s it like living in a jailcell apartment or attending boot.hk, please feel free to ask in the comment section.