Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Adjusting to Hong Kong

It's been 5 weeks already. How time flies. We are slowly finding our way around Hong Kong, our new home. It's the second time we're living away from home so we know what to expect when adjusting to a new country. I still remember standing at a loss at the detergent aisle of a Bangkok supermarket trying to figure out which laundry detergent to buy because I couldn't read Thai. I couldn't even decipher the brand logos. This time round, grocery shopping was a little easier. Sure, we still had to figure out which supermarket suits our needs best. But, it's all part of the process of familiarization. I enjoy the huge selection of imported food products. But I do find it odd that fresh chicken is so expensive and not readily available. I still miss my car for grocery shopping! Now I have to make multiple trips as I can only carry 2 bags if I'm on my own. Alternatively, I plan my purchases so that it exceeds HKD500 and get delivery. Even so, I have to carry all fresh and frozen produce home coz those can't be delivered.

Another aspect of living in HK is the walking. Since the majority of HK residents use public transportation, walking is part and parcel of daily life. Gone are the days of home to car to mall/restaurant/class/whichever the destination and back to car then home again. I've never walked so much in my life! The good thing from this is it's good exercise. Top this off with the 2 daily walks with our beagle, I should be getting fitter (and hopefully, trimmer).

Summer time in Hong Kong is humid and balmy. Even though we are used to the humidity in Malaysia, the humidity here is much worse. We are always amazed each time we empty our dehumidifier at the amount of water in the container. Add that to the amount if walking we do in HK, it's very common for us to be drenched with perspiration as we make our way from one place to another. Summer time also means rain so we never leave home without our umbrella. The good thing about the rain is the much cooler weather that comes with it. Summer time also means typhoon weather. So far, we've experienced Typhoon 3, with gusty winds and lots of rain. Living on a high floor, we can really hear and feel the strong winds. I can't imagine what Typhoon 8 would be like...

Summer time is also sale time! I haven't had much opportunity to go crazy shopping as yet, but I've scored some pretty good deals. The only thing that one needs to contend with is the crowd. Locals and tourists alike flock to the malls. So one must really be prepared to deal with the large number of people.

Eating in HK is great. There is a huge selection of cuisine here. Dim sum brunch is very popular. We've discovered that the trick is to go before 12pm if you want to get a seat more easily.Apart from the larger Chinese restaurants, a lot of the eating places in HK like the "tai pai thong" are small, probably due to the high rental cost. One has to get used to sharing a table with strangers. Don't expect to linger and chat during peak meal periods. You're expected to vacate once you have finished eating. In fact, some restaurants give you an allotted time for your meal once you're seated. Since we've been to HK many times before, we're used to this. But I suppose it would feel quite strange if one is a newcomer here. While I love the food here, I miss Malaysian food. Can't wait for my friend to come with supplies of curries so that I can have a taste of home at home.