Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Saturday, January 15, 2011

the trip and the first week

So after finding our terminal at O'hare and getting ready to say our goodbyes, Vince Vaugh walked right up next to us to go through the security checkout (which they opened a separate terminal for). To be blunt, he is freakin tall. After goin through TSA me and greg grabbed some snacks and waited for clay to arrive at the airport. Once we finally meet up we saw that our tickets had me and greg sitting together and clay separate. Even though it was bad that we were separated for such a long trip, the airline was amazing. I have always heard that the Japanese were renowned for customer service but that was the best plane ride i have ever taken. The first meal we had was really good. We had many options but i went for grilled teriyaki chicken with rice, soup, steamed veg. and fresh fruit. The each seat had its own fold up tv screen and could play video games, watch the video camera under the plane to see what was below you, or watch some of the latest movies, so that made the flight go fast. To make things go faster im skipping the details of the next flight but basically it sucked because i could not get any sleep. Getting into Hong Kong airport was nice and people from the school meet up with us to take us to the school. Since we got in at around 12pm stores were closed so we could get any pillows. As we were driving to the school we asked about how rooms were set up and they told us that they always try to put and exchange with a local to help with culture differences and things and told us that it was rare that u would get paired with another american. As we drove on you could see all the mountains and the buildings that mesh with them. The weather although is the coldest its been in ten's of years was still somewhat warm. They have palm trees here so...once we got to campus we got are things to check in and get are roomkeys (to get into your room you have card like in a hotel). As we were waiting for are keys we were telling the students who picked us up how me and greg were separated from clay each flight. As i looked down at the room number me and greg looked at each other and laughed. Me and greg were roommates and clay was separated once again. luckily we were all in the same tower (north and south towers, since the campus is somewhat small, it has to be built up). As we went up the elevator we just laughed as clay walked out to go to his room, we felt bad so we followed him since we didnt know if his roommate was in his room or not. As he opened the door and turned on the light, there was nothing but some scattered papers on a desk with a few books, no roommate. Tired, me and greg said bye and went back up to our room. we got in, put some of our things away and sleep on a very hard mattress pad with two very thin sheets,, no pillow and no blanket. Needless to say, to it was goin to be a shitty sleep but being so tired i didnt care at the time. - First night in Hong Kong 01/11/11

As my alarm went off to get us up to start our orientation, i realized i have never been so cold in my life. I was shaking, my teeth were clattering together, and my neck felt like i got hit with baseball bat. I turned to greg and with what little strength i had, i said, "well this sucks."  As we got changed and headed to orientation with clay, still some what jet lagged and on only 4 hours of miserable sleep, we looked around campus and found the room we need to go into, and saw alot of other exchange students. they had us in different groups randomly assigned to take a tour of campus. I met some awesome people in my group including a german named chris, who lives in the room next to us and who we hang out all the time with now. We also met clement a really cool french guy, who we always hang out with now too, and several more germans and others from italy, france, austria, the UK, korea, mainland china, and many more.

for lunch our group ate at a Korean restaurant near a shopping plaza. The food was great and for 8 people the bill was $345HK, which i thought sounded expensive just from see $345 but with the exchange rate it came out to like $46 american ( FOR EIGHT PEOPLE, big portions too). After the tour  me, greg, clay, and a few others went to IKEA to get some essentials for the room. We were going to meet with the exchange group to go out to eat dinner with all of them at 8pm but we didnt get back to the school until 9:30. Side note: the subway stations here are awesome, they have this thing called an octopus card which you put money in and scan to pass through the gates instead of always buying a ticket, but the cool thing is that the card can be used in places all over the city from buying coffee, and vending machines, to even some restaurants all by a quick tap of the card to the scanning pad.
Since we got back late we were goin to find something close bc we had done so much walking and other things throughout the day and we were still jet lagged and are going on only 4 hours of sleep. As me and greg were waiting for clay to meet us outside one of the guys who picked us up from the airport (his name is Freedman) and to guys from the UK (matt and jeremy) were going to get something to eat also and asked if we wanted to join. So we agreed and when clay came downstairs we left for what we thought was going to be a nearby chill place. Once we walked back to the sub station me, greg, and clay knew it wasnt going to be a quick trip, so going on fumes we got back on the train and headed back into the city. We came to a place called Mong kok, a very large shopping district with everything. Thousands  of street venders on this one road that was blocked off to cars, and pass that was thousands of store shops from adidas to Armani and Rolex. The night life in this place was unbelievable and we luckily had a few locals that went with us showing us the way to this hole in the wall restaurant. We sat down at a large round table with a lazy susan (most places have these as everyone usually gets many different dishes and everyone shares) The waiter comes up and pours us tea and brings another tea pot full of just boiling water. Another side note: there is like no ice, if you are lucky to find water thats not boiling, it is room temp. The menu was not in english at all so we trusted the locals to pick what they thought was good. As i enjoy eating weird things i ask one of them to get something different on the menu, he said this place doesnt really have anything to bizarre but he would find something for me. as dish after dish came to the table he pointed to one that looked like thin strips of chicken and said "pig stomach,"So i scooped some on my bowl and happily tried it. It was really good, it was sauteed with onions and garlic and some other spices in a cream sauce. It tasted just like chicken but like a mix between chicken meat and fat, since its was kinda chewy. After the food we walked around some more and went to a seven eleven for some beers (there is no open container laws, you can walk around the city with a beer in ur hand and even go into stores with alcohol in your hands and its perfectly normal. It took some time to get use to bc i felt like an officer was goin to come out of nowhere and arrest me or something. We left and went back to the school where we passed out from sheer exhaustion, but this time we had pillows. - wed. 1/12/11.


library tour and learning how to log into our account through HKBU. had lunch with the whole exchange group at this seafood restaurant bought for us by the HKBU. After the tour me greg and clay were hanging out with chris and clement and two girls from america (laura and aylssa). That day the rest of the group from Bowling Green got in and so our advisor from BG took us out to explore and have dinner at a nice place all paid for by the dean of the college of business at BG. I know... i said BG a lot, but one more time. So the whole group form BG got on the subway and we went to Mong Kok, even though me, greg, and clay already went there the day b4. After much searching we found the place that Dr. Bennion told us about, the food was amazing and it was a very fancy place, are bill was over $1000. HK that is haha. so for the eight of use that were there in a high end restaurant was somewhere around $160 american total. So chambers (our advisor) also wanted to take us to a market place around the area that Bennion told him about, so we took out the map and started walking. Long story short, we got lost. We walked to what looked like the slums, it was run down, there was trash everywhere and there was no one around us. it was scary quiet, bc you could hear the city sounds in the background but it felt like we were in a ghost town, every once in a while u saw a person walking around or sitting on the ground next to s shack. so we all looked at each other and we didnt say a word but knew exactly what we needed to do. Get the hell out of there! We finally made it back to civilization and agreed to go back to the market where the three of us were at the night before. when we were done with that we headed back to the school. said our goodbyes to chambers and met up with chris, clement, laura, and aylssa at a place called Billy Boozer. chris and clement had gone there before and told us about the owner and how he loved foreigners. so when we got there, we bought a few pints and the had a blast. the owner came over and talked with us for a while and we have all become good friends with him. he even gave us free drinks and free shots too. we tried to pay him but he wouldnt accept. Plus he gave us insane deals like, whenever we want 150 HK all you can drink. the sign had something about free drinks but for like 3x the price he gave us. After getting back to the dorm late that night or i should say early the next morning, we saw some of the locals that live on the floor. they were all sitting in the multi purpose room on our floor, so we introduced our selves and had a few laughs.

Friday- 1/14/11

Hong Kong tour. the school had brought a group of tour buses for us to take into the city and around it. I am going to call the people that we are always hanging out with "the group" from now on since i dont feel like writing each name out again and again, so for reference the group consists of me, greg, clay, chris, clement, laura, aylssa, frank(another german), christophe( french), and tom (german). that is the group that we always do stuff with now. Great group of people, love them all haha. Back to the story. so the group of us got on, for the most part, the same bus and the first stop we went to the tallest mountain in hong kong to see a beautiful view of the whole city. then we went down to one of the beach's. It was amazing! the weather is perfect even though its winter its like in the high 60's so it made for a perfect day on the beach. the view was beautiful, when u look out you could see all these really small islands close to the shore and the massive mountains behind us with a beautiful town behind us. Jackie Chan lives in that area and his house was huge and sitting on the mountain over looking the ocean. I will have to add some photos and videos i took, words dont do justice. Then we left and ate on the worlds largest floating restaurant, then we went to the jade market and then a beautiful temple that was located in the middle of this town we went to. Like i said ill try to add pictures and videos to show you. After the tour was over it was around 6pm so the group went our to dinner where a girl named shae know a bar tender in Hong Kong and got our tickets from her. After dinner we got changed and went out with all the exchange students to the bar in Hong Kong. The place was crazy, im talking cages with poles in them and open bars. This was the first night we cheated and ate american food. we went to McDonalds, which didnt taste very similar, i was kinda disappointed.

Sat- 1/15/11

so we waked up kinda late as did everyone that went out that night. I needed to get cloths bc i didnt pack very many shirts or anything so, the group of us went to the mall that is close to us. This mall is crazy, there is no such thing as gap, or macy's or any of that here. Nothing but high end top of the like designs, hundreds of the best of the best, Polo Ralph, Coach, Armani, Japanese designers, Famous designs from france and germany. It was crazy but so were some of the prices, Not all  of it was good deals as they are the top designers but i did get a polo sweater that looks really nice for $350 HK or like $46 american. U cant beat that deal, this wasnt a regualr shirt either it was a full sweater and everything so, there are amazing prices. We went back to our rooms and got changed and then headed out to one of the areas called victoria peek which had a perfect view of the city from the lake, where we saw the Hong Kong light show which plays every night at 8. We then went to an Italian restaurant bc none of us wanted chinese food. It was great, comfort food always is. when we got close to the school me, greg, clement, chris and frank went to Billy Boozer for one beer. We knew it wasnt going to be one beer but we told ourselves that in the belief that it would justify our going there. so we ordered our drinks and talked with the owner again. He asked us if we wanted to play a drinking game and we said sure, u know got to learn about the culture, he brought over about 12 shots of this chinese alcohol, like i said before all for free. And we played this really fun dice game, when we were finished with those 12 he brought over another 12 of rum. clement and greg had the majority of those 2 trays with me in 3rd, the others never lost so its was for the most part us drinking them, clement couldnt do anymore straight shots, he throat was bothering him, it had been earlier that day, so to make it easier for us he made us 16 chocolate shots, a mix of chocolate and rum (AMAZING)!  thats a total of 40 shots for free. I know this sounds bad with all the drinking but it was pretty much clement and greg who got screwed with drinking most of them, i had lost a few times but clement was a trooper and lost more than any of us and was the one who drank most of them, it was funny listening to a drunk frenchman speaking english haha

sorry for any misspelled words or weird sentences I did this all in one sitting and am sick of writing so i could care less about goin through to re read and fix anything

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