My blog is often so text-heavy, you feel that you’re reading the encyclopedia (zzzzzz…). I often wonder how most of you can take it. Hence, here’s some photos of my observations on my 3-week stay so far in Hong Kong:
1) Desserts here are hai-hao (so so).
Though they look oh-so-yummy, desserts here pale in comparison to those of Taiwan’s. The mango dessert I had today was a bit sour (they should import more Philippine mangoes) and far too expensive at HKD30 a pop! Give me my dong qu fen yen from Taipei please! Miss them oh so much!
2) Rents here are freaking expensive. Houses are tiny!
Since its peak last September, rents here has gone down by around 30 to 40 percent. That’s like in 3 months, and rents would even go lower come first quarter of 2009. However, despite this drop, a decent apartment of 500 square feet (not meter!) would set you back a cool HKD8,000 to HKD11,000 if you’re lucky.
The apartment which I finally settled on — a teeny tiny place in North Point — costs almost the same as my salary in Taiwan! Hence, it’s either that or sleeping in the park and one has to live in some comfort to atually stand the longer hours. So the question is, why pay so much for a house?
The answer: Seaview baby — check out the large glass windows. That’s a clear view to a harbour whose view is even more spectacular than from the IFC. The couches are ultra-comfortable and it’s just liveable. Period.
Introducing my teeny-tiny bedroom which thank goodness has a double-sized bed. For some reason, I have this fetish for larger sized beds. Had a small single bed during my first year in Taiwan and totally hated it. Now, it’s double sized or larger. And though my house in Taipei had a queen-sized bed, heck, one must sacrifice in Hong Kong just to take care of the space:
See? They even have some glass mirrors on the ceiling — perfect for any hanky-panky! NOT! 🙂
My apartment has a small oriental-style bathroom (don’t ask me why… so long as it’s clean, I’m cool). Not that big and there’s no door believe it or not, but my landlord says he’ll add the door so we’re all good:
My place also has as an extra room I can make use as a walk-in closet and study area. My parents say that I can camp there when they come to visit (!) but heck, my original plan is to designate it as the place to put in my 21 boxes of junk/stuff:
Lastly, the most useless room in the house — my kitchen:
I don’t really cook that much so it’s not that useful. But at the very least, if in case I do have company, all these gadgets would come in handy. There’s the cooker, microwave and fridge so everything’s already complete. There’s also the washing machine as you can see, so you can imagine just how compact Hong Kong is!
All that for a queen’s ransom (!), and two “mini” bedrooms fitting just a few square feet of space. Regardless, whenever I start getting depressed thinking about how much I’m paying for a shoebox, I look out in the seaview and tell myself over and over, “Nice view Bonita. Just appreciate the view…” and I feel all the better.
3) People here are into PDA (public displays of affection).
Maybe it’s the Christmas season, or maybe it’s the culture, but I cannot get used to the many couples PDA-ing the streets of Hong Kong. Given how lonely it is for me here though technically, I’m really not that single, it’s like rubbing salt to the wound! 😦
It’s amazing, people hug and kiss in subways or while walking. It’s too sweet I can almost puke (as you can see, Bonita is very bitter this Christmas season). They do it while shopping which seems to be everyone’s main hobby (sales galore here btw where everything is up to 70% off depending on the shop). That seems to be the main interest here — shopping and eating — and the way everyone spends money, you don’t think that recession is outside knocking on their doors yet.
4) Cost of living is approximately 50% more expensive than Taiwan.
You think Taipei is expensive? Nah.
At least, in Taiwan, you can get cheapo NTD50 bien dangs (lunch boxes). Here in Hong Kong, if you can find HKD22 cheap food, then you’re already in luck! Everything it seems cost around HKD30-60 for the cheapest type of food!
This delicious Vietnames grilled pork noodle set me back HKD41, which is around NTD165 in Taipei. And this was one of the cheaper food I saw.
My saving grace is Cafe de Coral which is practically everywhere, but their food is not that cheap either. At HKD30+ a meal (NTD125), if this is the cheapest that I can get to have decent fare, well then in time, I’ll be a pauper soon! I’ve resorted to buying stuff in Wellcome but that’s stil not enough. Everything cost around HKD15 or more.
I think Always in Taiwan is right. Have got to get myself out of the “Everything is freaking expensive!” mentality. Everywhere I go, am still calculating in NTD and of course, everything is sure to be pricier and all I get to eat is junk food (my waist is getting wider).
Hopefully I can get used to the higher cost of living and not drive myself nuts into thinking am going to eat out of tin cans the longer I stay in Hong Kong…
5) Lastly, EVERYONE visits Hong Kong.
There’s just something charming about Hong Kong that makes everyone come and visit. Maybe it’s because it’s extremely convenient (an hour away from everything) and is like the gateway between Macau and Shenzhen, but seriously, every since I moved here, my parents had already visited (for the horror stories, see earlier posts), my Taiwan guy friend has come as well, my high school friend has come to visit (see his shuai photo below) and my best friends in Taiwan will soon visit come the first few weeks of January!
That’s the friend I met up with this afternoon. Isn’t he cute? Ladies, he’s still single and looking for a wife. In case you’re interested, just let me know. And if you know him, don’t tell him you saw his photo in my blog because he’ll guess that it’s me!
Jeez man, if this continues, my house will practically be a motel and I can charge per night! 😦
Given the size of my place, I don’t think everyone will be as presumptous as to ask whether they can stay in my place. However, it’s just amazing that given my 3 weeks here, around 3 groups of old friends and relatives have already dropped by! Hence, even though life in Hong Kong can be quite longly, there’s still quite a lovely round of people who come and distract you from your normal life. 🙂
Overall, I miss Taiwan and everything it represents. I miss the Christmas parties Paul has organized. I miss Fi who is getting baptised today. I miss the reasonably priced food, and I miss my queen sized place and stuff.
But life is about changes and my move to Hong Kong is the biggest one yet. Come to think of it, it’s quite courageous of me to do so — I practically don’t know anyone and almost seems as if am starting from zero once again.
However, we trudge on. Discover. See what we’re made of.
This is what living life to the fullest means, ladies and gentlemen. The path is not always the smoothest, but at the very least, we have enough stories to make that would keep us interesting in our lifetime.