Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Joyous Journeys: Hong Kong Day 1

July 14, 2014
After almost twenty years, I returned back to Hong Kong. So obviously, I have no recollection of being in this place, as if I was visiting for the first time. I finally was able to experience the place my dad always spoke of, when he referred to when he used to work in Hong Kong for about two years. It was an incredible(ly humid, hot, and tiring) experience, but a great one that I do not regret. Check out the rest of the blog post for more about my first day! 

Our first stop: a visit down memory lane (well at least for my parents). We went to Laguna City where they lived for a about two years (and I think the first few months of my existence- but after I was born in the Philippines). It was fascinating for us to take that long trek up a long sidewalk (pictured below), then down that expansive bridge (pictured above), and arrived at the heart of the apartment complexes. As I walked along (and getting all grossly sweaty, as per usual during our stay in HK), I just placed myself in my parents' shoes about twenty years ago, taking that same journey, practically everyday, whether it was to go to work in the office or do some grocery shopping. It must have been especially difficult when my mom was pregnant with me, walking along those long paths in that humidity, alone, while my dad was at work. Traveling there, thinking about the past, was truly humbling for me. These kinds of experiences, when I think about my parents before/at the beginning of parenthood, make me appreciate the sacrifices and efforts made, and push me to work just as hard, if not harder. 
Photo credits: A.B.
Times Square, HK! Wow, I haven't even visited Times Square in the U.S. The street lights illuminating the space was definitely the main spectacle (besides the Batman displays).
It was fascinating to experience HK's public transportation. By the end of the trip, I felt like I was a pro and could probably handle going alone. 
When we arrived back near our hotel, we decided to check out the night market to take advantage of our short time in HK. Honestly, I felt incredibly gross, sweaty, tired, and irritated with my allergic reaction to some bug bite on my knee, and just wanted to shower off all the grime and sleep it off. But it was true, when would I ever return back to Hong Kong? So we stayed out a bit longer. I have a newfound respect for street vendors in HK, whether it was selling food to foreigners or miscellaneous goods are "discount prices". They stay up late and sweat it out to get that money, for whatever reason that may be for. I also probably wasn't as culture shocked as most people would be when visiting HK for (what seemed to me) the first time because I live in an area with a fairly large Chinese population (and the optometry office I've been visiting since third grade is run by Chinese doctors/employees and same goes with some grocery stores), so the hustle and bustle of the HK culture was no surprise to me. It kind of felt almost home-y and familiar. 

The next goal? Hopefully Europe. Now that would be a culture shock for me. Maybe I should brush up on my Spanish now, while I still have time...
The first night in our cozy little hotel room was spent soothing my grossly huge bug bite on my right knee and the bite on my foot (testing out the medicinal bug bite stickers purchased in HK- and how dumb was I to jump straight for the cute stickers and not realizing until after a whole day of wearing it, that I had to apply the medicinal sticker first, before the cutesy sticker…). 

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