Hong Kong at LAST! We Survived. by Jenny Nguyen

Day 1

After countless hot days and cold nights of waiting in our Cali weather, our Hong Kong FLP 2017 Summer trip started before we knew it. For many and almost all of us, we started our short yet long journey to our final destination in the air at SFO. Throughout all the different lives and experiences from one another, some have had a taste of air travel and others have not. I for one had traveled before but was not ready for the long flight. My travel plans were to fly with Nhu from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Haneda, Tokyo International Airport (HND) with a 19 hour layover and then a 4 hour flight to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). Personally, for my first long flight since I was 3 years old I was not mentally prepared for it. I woke up early and grabbed my last American meal with my loved ones but unfortunately missed my flight. As a lessoned learned, always go super early and sometimes prioritizing food over flight is okay or not! Either way by the time I did arrive and checked in I was able to catch the next flight to HK but with a non-stop flight with Eliot and Christina one day before checking in to the dorms (Roughly +13 hours).

Catching the next flight out to HK

It was dreadful. So long and cramped up in a small yet large vessel. In the end, I safely made it to Hong Kong in one whole piece. Ushering through immigrations, baggage claim, money exchange/octopus card and then to the MTR was a very quick process. It was rush of experience and excitement. Due to my missed flight, I found a cheap hotel to stay the night and wait for the next day to check into the dorms. It was a very interesting experience traveling solo from airport to hotel using the MTR and taxi. My first taste of public transportation was unreal, it amazed me how different it was in HK compared to how it was back home in Cali. Nevertheless, my night passed by and I miraculously made it to the dorms just in time for the typhoon season to start coming in drenched with humidity and rain. By the time I checked in, I had also saw others checking in which gave me relief. After checking in and settling with nice cool A/C surrounding us we were ready to venture out to see the area. Almost everyone had made it to the dorms by noon so we ventured out to our first meal in HK independently. While walking along the unfamiliar area with caution and excitement we arrived at a small noodle and rice shop. Finally, our first meal right? For some of us we had a bowl of noodles with some type of protein depending on the preference and others had a rice place again with a source of protein. From that first meal experience at the small noodle shop it was an experience. We did not have napkins provided and water was not a common commodity. It was a cultural shock. After scarfing up as much as possible we went out to find toiletries and WATER and boba of course.

Our first meal being a large helping of noodles for most of us and finding our first taste of Boba (bubble tea) in Hong Kong. While shopping for toiletries and snacks, I never would have thought soy sauce would we so cute. It was given with a purchase of an Onigiri, a common rice ball snack in Japan.

From independently venturing out and exploring the area we managed to taste the rush of traveling with the MTR and moving around. By the end of it, dinner time arrived. We met up with professor Harvey, a host student Thomas, and professor Fong. We then started our journey on foot from the dorms to the HK Poly campus. It was a short yet lengthy walk. Finally making it onto campus we went to grab dinner at the staff canteen where we also met two other host students, Jelly and Po. The food served was a quick glimpse of what it was like to eat as a staff member here. Some unfamiliar and unfamiliar tastes filled our buds.

Our tired bodies and full stomachs all stuffed onto an elevator before our adventure to the Super Market.

After our unique dinner we ventured out to the super market at fortune mall, a walking distance from campus. From our first independent exploration around our dorm area we did not know where to go to buy what we needed such as towels and toiletries essentials. We only found so much by ourselves. When we reached the super market on foot, I was unbelievably happy to find it. The shop had everything we needed from groceries to toiletries and much more. It was relieving to find such a convenient store. After that, we caught a bus back, the wrong one on accident, and made it back switching to the right one. Overall, our first half day in HK was an experience with a few of many cultural shocks to come

Some cultural shocks include: No accessible fresh water; (FREE) Water fountains, purifiers. We had to buy and stock up on a lot of water. Napkins are also not provided most of the time, we stocked up on it too. The humidity is unreal, it is a city sauna with random light or heavy drizzle. We bought an umbrella from 7-11 and brought it everywhere. Overall, we survived our first day.

Good bye Cali hello Hong Kong, our home in June.

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