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Showing posts from March, 2017

Cheap Eats in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong can be crazy expensive and drain a person's bank account pretty quickly if they aren't careful. That being said, in certain regards prices are still stuck in the past. Taxis around the city are suspiciously cheap, as is any labor, like going to a tailor or hiring a handyman.

When it comes to food, there's a simple rule for eating cheap: eat local. Don't let the Chinese menus written on the walls intimidate you; there is always someone around who speaks English to pipe in and assist, or you can just point at a photo on the wall or someone else's plate to show what you want. These types of meals can run you 30-50 HKD, as opposed to the 100-250 HKD minimum you'll drop at the trendy international restaurants of the city.

A row of local restaurants in Tai Koo all look like this
In local restaurants, ambience is totally irrelevant and the food speaks for itself. The more plastic stools and fluorescent lights, the better. You will probably be shoved into a ta…

Art District of Shenzhen

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Shenzhen is a sprawling southern Chinese city of 12 million people. At first glance, it may seem like a grey expanse, but once you start exploring, you will find there is much more happening at street level. In fact, Shenzhen was named an official 'Creative City' by UNESCO, with good reason.

One needs only spend a day in the OCT Loft to understand how Shenzhen got the label of 'Creative City.' OCT Loft is an old industrial neighborhood turned art district, and it serves as Shenzhen's creative cultural center. Getting there is super easy: take the dark green subway line to Qiaocheng East, and go out Exit A. Walk straight out of the exit for a few minutes until you reach Enping Street, where you will turn right and walk another 5 minutes. You can't miss the place, as the whole district is oozing hipsters wearing baggy overalls and platform sneakers.

Near the entrance of the district
Cute little florist shop
One thing I noticed right away is that there is public art…

Weekend Getaways to China

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Twice recently I've left Hong Kong for a weekend getaway to China. Americans automatically get a ten year visa now, and I am trying to make the most of mine while I am over here.

1. First up was Shanghai! Whooooaaaa what an amazing city. This trip was for work as I was chaperoning a group of students attending a Model United Nations conference, but the students and us supervisors had a lot of time for exploring during our long weekend there.

With my amazing students at the end of the conference
What a view of the Shanghai skyline from The Bund
2. More recently I went to Shenzhen to see my friends in The Red Stripes play a gig and made a weekend out of it. Shenzhen is across the border from Hong Kong, and you can take the subway to the border crossing, go through immigration on foot, and then hop back on the subway on the other side- super easy! I'll write more about the trip later; for now, here are some photos.
I went full baller for the weekend
No trip to China is complete with gr…

Hong Kong is Wonderful, But...

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It's been almost four years since I first touched down in Hong Kong. It was my first time in Asia and I didn't know a single person in the whole city. My time here has been wonderful, but I will be moving on in June.

Hong Kong has been an almost perfect city to live in as an expat. It is safe, exciting, and beautiful. And everything works! Seriously, it's the most efficient and highly functional city I have ever visited. There is a healthy balance between city and nature. The food scene is like no other, and there are so many fun events and happenings to choose from any day of the week.

Four years ago- first time in my new classroom
All of this being said, there has been one thing that was a bit of a tension point for me these last few years. I have never been to a more materialistic place in all of my travels. Hong Kong has been eaten alive by consumerism. Whole neighborhoods are dedicated only to shopping. Malls take up city blocks and weekends are quickly eaten up by sho…