Today was Exchange Student Orientation. We congregated at the Rayson Huang Theatre at 9am. Exhausted and sore, I experienced my first minibus ride to HKU. Lets just say AC Transit bus drivers would never survive here.
Orientation was informative and pretty fun, where the Dean of Student Affairs along with a number of other important people affiliated with CEDARS spoke to us about various facets of HKU life from academia, extracurriculars, rules and regulations, to money matters and food. I was pleasantly surprised to witness a lion show, receive a red envelope & candy, as well as take a huge group pic with what seemed like 300 exchange students and the adorable HKU lion mascot. Apparently this year is HKU’s Centenary, so I guess I picked the perfect year to come! I am honored to be part of HKU’s 100th class!
HKU 100! w/ adorable mascot
K, Vincent, Adrienne and I headed to the Japanese daily store after orientation, in search of miscellaneous room items and Vincent’s tray. I teetered on narrow and bumpy stone stairs down the hill. After a quick stop back at the flats, we headed to Central via minibus. We passed by the esteemed LKF clubbing district and several posh shopping areas. After some deliberation, we opted for Tsim Sha Tsui as our destination.
Throngs of commuters in the MTR (Rush Hour)
We walked around guided by openrice.com (HK style Yelp). We visited Roll, a quaint dessert shop. K & I sampled the mango pudding and chocolate strawberry rolls, washing them down with grass jelly ice tea from Gong Cha. Then came the street food! Taro Egg puffs were bombtastic! We ventured into the alleyways, exploring every nook and cranny. Some of my conquests include Tsubaki conditioner, Evian mineral water spray, and a 3G micro-sim card to replace my horrible E plan. We also sampled HK’s KFC. In my opinion, China KFC > HK > US. We got the seaweed, cheesy tomato & hot wing trio, along with some mashed potatoes and a portuguese egg tart. A tad dry, but definitely pretty tasty!
As the clock approached 8 pm, we brainstormed where to view the famous Hong Kong skyline light show. We decided on I-Square, and had an extremely enjoyable time perusing the eclectic array of shops. As we ascended to the top, we realized that we were on the wrong side of the building. We also realized that the posh restaurants with ideal viewing real estate were already booked ahead of time and packed by throngs of sightsee-ers and view-seekers. Therefore, we explored the mall more, nibbling on snacks and goods collected along the way. The most memorable munchie was this chocolate & coffee mochi cake from Panache Cafe & Bakery. The perfect combo of chewy and soft, with just the right amount of sugar and texture. Muy delicioso!
Group Pic on I-Tower Top Floor
Exhausted with aching feet, we headed back to Central – Exchange Square for our minibus. Our final stop was the Westwood, where we made our way down what seemed like 20 flights of treacherously windy and slippery stairs. We loaded up on snacks and other daily essential items.
Hong Kong has been like a whole new world. Times seems to pass slowly at times, but sometimes it feels like I can barely catch up. In day-to-day life, there many small things that I took for granted in the States (non-ghetto bathrooms, automatic & instantaneous hot water, drivers, and even Telebears). To me now, those remain merely fond memories and distant luxuries. However, even though I have only been here for less than 3 days, I have learned so many things about the city, HKU, as well as myself. I have walked more in these 3 days than I have in probably the last 3 months. I go to bed exhausted every night, with my throbbing feet screaming their complaints. However, I feel so much more alive and inquisitive once more. Every day is a new adventure, new journey, new opportunity to discover and learn. Hong Kong is my oyster.