Friday, December 14, 2007

Today's Lesson on Hong Kong

I didn't know anything about Hong Kong, except from what Marie's postcard from high school told me, until I agreed to move here.

Hong Kong was a crown colony of the UK from 1842 until 10 years ago. It now operates as a Special Administrative Region of China, so in ways it is and is not China. HK has it's own government and currency, the HK Dollar, and separate immigration policy.

The temperature is pretty mild but I could stand for it to be colder, since I am walking around everywhere and show up soaked in sweat. Right now it's been in the 70s and will get a little cooler and during the summer top out in the upper 80s. Even though that sounds lovely I anticiate myself being a hot and humid mess.

It's very very very safe here. Even for women, even on the subway, even late at night. But one can't be stupid either.

The big island near the bottom right is HK Island where I now live. The action is in the north part of the island facing Kowloon. There is actually space and beaches and such on the rest of the island. Across the waterway to the Kowloon peninsula is where I work. That means I can take the subway, taxi or ferry to work. I have yet to try the ferry but will do so on a morning when I am not rushed.

HK Island.

Due to the lack of available space, few historical buildings remain in Hong Kong. Instead the city has become a center for modern architecture, especially in and around Central. Dense commercial skyscrapers between Central and Causeway Bay lining the coast of Victoria Harbour is one of Hong Kong's most famous tourist attractions and ranked the best skyline in the world. Four of the top 15 tallest skyscrapers in the world are in Hong Kong

Over 90% of daily travels are on public transport, making it the highest percentage in the world. And there are more restaurants per capita here than any other place in the world, which is why kitchens in little apartments are not a priority. Hong Kong is also famous for having the most Rolls-Royce cars per capita in the world. Was that a lot of "worlds"?

While the traffic in mainland China drives on the right, Hong Kong still maintains its own road rules, with traffic continuing to drive on the left. Similarly, the Hong Kong highway code uses the British road sign system, which is different from the system used on the mainland.

This week I am noticing a heavy amount of spelling errors and grammatical errors. I guess staring at excel spreadsheets all day turns the mind into mush.

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