Reflections on Week #1 in HK

Trip Start Jan 15, 2008
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Trip End May 27, 2008


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Where I stayed
NTT International House

Flag of Hong Kong  ,
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Week 1 in Hong Kong has ended.  It was a very busy week starting classes and trying to navigate my way around this big city.  I will attempt to summarize what I have been up to over the past week but promise to make a better effort to write more entries. 

Monday February 11th:  First day of classes...

9am:  Wake up- I went to eat at this place called the Garden Cafe.  They serve Western Style food here so it has become a place of paradise for me.  The french toast is a classic here.  They take two pieces of bread- butter those suckers up, egg them, deep fry them, smear peanut butter on the inside then close it up like a sandwich.  Delish!  Plus it is really cheap!

11am-1pm:  FIN 355/ECN 481 (Money and Banking)- This is going to be my first finance course.  I am looking forward to learning some new terms and building on my vocabulary from a financial standpoint.  The professor of this course revealed to us that he is on the board of directors of 11 different companies here in HK!?

1pm-2pm:  Lunch- This is a major difference between HK and America.  Everyone has an assigned lunch period so pretty much the entire campus has off for lunch at this time.

2pm-7pm:  Break

7pm-9pm:  LIT 300.1 (Asian Cinema)- In this course we watch movies and then discuss.  Pretty simple concept but the professor is very bright and has drawn some very interesting conclusions from movies and their relationship to the culture here in HK.

Tuesday February 12th:

9:00am- Wake up- Garden Cafe

11am-1pm:  ECN 301 (Economic Development of China)- So far this course has pretty much been a history lesson into the development of China.  The professor is very well spoken and knows his stuff (he used to be a partner with Lehman Brothers).  I think this course is going to be one of my favorites.

1pm-6pm:  EXPLORATION day #1...  This was the first day that we set out and ventured into the heart of Hong Kong.  Ryan, Lilly, Lauren, Greg and myself decided to go to see The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery.   We took a train over, only about a 10 minute trip from the NTT house.  You can see the pictures below but basically they built 10,000 Buddhas and stuck them all on this hillside.  You have to walk all the way up a mountain to get to the top but it is worth it if not only to see all of the Buddhas (all are different looking by the way) but because of the amazing view once you get to the top!  We watched this movie called Internal Affairs in my cinema class and I could have sworn the picture I have below with the really long hand on the Buddha is the same shot in the movie.

6:30pm:  Return to Kowloon Tong on the KMR.  A couple of us had class at 7pm so we went to Festival Walk (the mall near the University) and got some dinner.  I found a great dish at one of the places in the food court there... I will call it my classic dish... Beef (no bones) and Noddles with a drink for about 35 HKD (hong kong dollars) or about $4.50USD.

7:00pm-9:00pm:   LIT 300.1

9:00pm-late:  Tonight was Michelle Kabler's 21st Birthday so pretty much the entire program went down to LKF(the bar district in Central).  You can see pictures below from this night. For some reason I felt the need to dress up a little so I am wearing my suit coat- I got many compliments :)

Wednesday February 13th:

Great day... No class until 7pm today!!  So...

EXPLORATION day #2:

4pm-6pm:  Ryan, Lauren and myself take the MTR to Prince Edward in search of the Flower and Bird Markets.  Right when we get off the MTR we walk one street and we are right there.  To be honest, I have never seen so many flowers in my entire life.  I took a lot of pictures because I was so shocked.  After the Flower Market we walked over to the Bird Market where Alyxa met up with us.  The Bird Market is pretty much a long street with hundreds of birds locked up in cages ready to be sold.  The street smelled terrible and it made me think about getting the Asian Bird flu.  We were hoping it would be feeding time for the birds but all we saw was one woman reach her hand into a cage of crickets, pull them out and sell them to a man on the street.  I was shocked that she would just stick her hand there!  But she did without any hesitation.  Pictures can be seen of the Birds below.  After the Birds we started walking back to the MTR station but stopped along the way at an incredible bakery!  I got a blueberry muffin and a piece of cheesey bread. 

6:30pm:  Dinner (Beef and Noodles again!)

7:00pm-9:00pm:  ECN 300.1

Thursday February 14th:

2:00pm-4:00pm:  Movie screening for LIT 300.1

5:00pm-5:45pm:  I have decided that since I have a lot of free time I can spend some of it talking english to some of the students here at the University.  There is a mentoring scheme that is available for us to participate in so Jon Smolin and I decide to go over to the English Mentoring Services Center to meet with the coordinator of the program named Jonathan Cheung.  He gave us a group of 8 students but later had to cut it down to 4 because of a miscommunication he had with another one of my American friends.  There has been a lot of confusion over the program because while we were away in Mainland China Jonathan decided to give a lot of the names to other foreign students studying here so the result was that only about 4 of my fellow Americans are able to be a part of the program.  Lucky for me, I am one of the four! 

Friday February 15th:

11am-1pm:  FIN 355/ECN481

5:00pm-7:00pm:  BUA 400.2 (Pre-Internship Lecture)- This is a course that we must take if we plan on doing on internship this semester.  It is supposed to get us ready for the intership and teach us about the business culture here in HK.  In this class, we took a style test (the DISC test) and it was decided that my style is a D which means-- Determined and my main emotion is Anger?  Sound familar?

7:00pm-12:00am:  Did not go out this night because of the PC Skills Test and Mock Interview tomorrow.

Saturday February 16th:

9:30am:  Breakfast at the Garden Cafe.  Since I am planning on doing an internship here in HK I had to take a PC Skills test (typing speed, excel and powerpoint) and then go to a Mock Interview.  So, I put on my shirt and tie, woke up early and went to take the PC test.  The test was very difficult because it had no directions and no formatting guide they just said make these charts and figure out the formulas and then draw these diagrams.  Everyone failed I am sure.  Then I had the mock interview.  It went very well.  I received my score back and recieved all 2's out of 5 (1 was the best).  Later learned that the woman who interviewed us is the head HR for one of the world's largest real estate companies.

11am-1pm:  FIN 355/ECN481:  We had a make up class on Saturday because we will be missing a class due to the Easter holiday and since we need a certain number of hours in the classroom to get 3 credits we must make it up.

2:00pm-5:00pm:  A large group of us decided to meet up and walk down to the Thai area here in Kowloon Tong (since we all miss the Thai food so much!).   We  walked for about a half hour but it was worth it because lunch was amazing!  I ordered the pineapple fried rice with chicken and shrimp...  It actually comes in a pineapple! (Silk Road is still the best for all of my Pittsburgh readers!)

After the Thai lunch we attempted to find a park located near by.  It was a very cute spot (pictures below).  After the park we walked over to a temple.  Because of the Chinese New Year it was packed with people.  As you can see in the pictures they are burning incense.  There was so much smoke it was hard to breathe at certain times and it killed my eyes.  This was a very interesting area though...  Right inside the temple they had about 50 little rooms and inside each room there were FORTUNE Tellers.  I decided not to do it because it was a bit expensive for the full body reading (ie: face and hands).  The other option was to buy a cup of sticks, have them throw them out on the table in front of you and then which ever was ontop or something would be your fortune-- not worth it.  But, every fortune teller was busy so maybe they know something there.

8:00pm:  We all headed down in Taxis' to the Harbor to see the light show (not that great of a show but the skyline is beyond anything I have ever seen). It is one of the longest running light shows in the world too.  They put it on everynight, over on the other side of the island.  It lasts about 18 minutes. I should have worn more then a button down shirt because it was cold near the water.   I took some of the most amazing pictures of my trip so far here.  I used the ISO max feature on my camera which is really advanced so it picked up all of the light from the buildings in the background.  See for yourself below!

After the harbor we all walked over to a new area of town near Nathan Road where a little bar crawl began.  We went to the first place to get some food and drink some Carlsberg beer.  Then to a couple more bars- one of which was a russian bar that served drinks in an ice box but before you could go in you had to put on overly-large fur jackets- then ended the night back in LKF (about a 15 minutes taxi ride from Nathan Road, TST area).  It was a very drunken night for everyone but still very fun. 

That was a long day huh?

Sunday February 17th:

11am- Drew my roomate wakes me up and we head over on the MTR to go to the Flying Pan in SOHO.  It is in the same spot as Central (where LKF the bar district is) but higher up on the mountain.  We went to a place that is the closet thing to a diner I have seen here in HK.  They serve breakfast 24/7 and it is home to the bottomless cup of coffee.  I ordered a bagel with cream cheese, french toast with bananas, eggs and coffee.  It was a great meal!  I must admit that we had to wait about a half hour to be seated because the restaurant was very small.  During our wait though we walked around the area and ran into a group of Americans from Tufts University studying at HK University ( I am studying at City University).  They only have 11 people in there group and 2 girls.  We have about 50 and the guy/girl ratio is probably 50/50. 

End of week 1.

-Asher
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