Hong Kong

Hong Kong By Night

I moved to Hong Kong in March of 2008, without any more clue about the history or present situation than I had gleaned from reading the Time Out Guide to Hong Kong on the flight.1 I was pleasantly surprised to find that there's not much of an adjustment required from living in the UK; road signs are still in English, and the addition of palm trees and high humidity are a welcome bonus if you've just left London at the end of the winter.

Hong Kong was a colony of the British Empire for 150 years, until the Chinese took it back in 1997.  Although some British influences have been dismantled, there's still a lot here that remains.  If you're lazy at learning languages, you could survive for quite some time in Hong Kong without needing to learn any Cantonese.  You can also live quite cheaply, to a greater standard than would be available in the UK.  See here for cheap maids, here for cheap transportation, and here for cut-price tailoring.  Although the third of these may have unfortunate consequences for your self-esteem.  I've written a little further on the subject of being cheap here, although cheap is very much a relative term because (a) I'm an expatriate, with all that entails, and (b) I don't like Chinese food very much.

Hong Kong is a great place to live; it's easy to get around, it has a lovely airport to fly from, and other countries in Asia are conveniently close and usually cheap to get to.  On the negative side, it's often buried in clouds of pollution, everyone walks far too slowly on the street, and it's hot, humid and crowded.  These last three problems are ones that fade over time; new arrivals in Hong Kong can take a lot of time to adjust to the Chinese definition of personal space2. However, the problems never quite go away; you might spend five years here and then suddenly go berserk because everybody in Hong Kong has decided to go walking down Queens Road at lunchtime at one mile an hour.

There is a lot to do in Hong Kong; several museums of varying quality, a professional orchestra conducted at vast expense, hiking trails all over Lantau and the New Territories, and various tiny islands to explore.  As well as the world's smallest Disneyland - pictures here

Tai Tam Reservoir

 However, generally everyone goes to Lan Kwai Fong and gets roaring drunk, possibly because they like the idea of being in a foreign country and still feeling like they're at the wrong end of Leicester Square.3 They then complain that there's "no culture" in Hong Kong.  Oh well.

Me, LKF on a Saturday night, looking confused

While here, it's been something of a privilege to regularly perform at Takeout Comedy, the only full-time comedy club in Asia.  There's much less inertia in Hong Kong to doing things like this; perhaps I would have tried stand-up in London, but since most clubs that I went to in London seemed to exist so that drunk people could shout at one another, perhaps not.  Some of my act gets documented here, and some of it you'll just have to come to a dank and questionably-decorated basement in Hong Kong to see.

Read all the posts tagged with 'Hong Kong' here.

Reserve a hotel room in Hong Kong here.

1 If you're pressed for time, the summary is: Shopping shopping shopping, humidity, nothing's as good as it was fifteen years ago, shopping shopping, don't go to Guangzhou if you can help it, humidity, nothing's as good as it was fifteen years ago To be fair, there's a helpful mention of Tai O in there.
2 Roughly, that volume defined by being two inches inside your epidermis.
3 Again, possibly a little unfair.  Some people go to Wan Chai and get roaring drunk there instead.

If you want to see the most popular search terms on Google related to Hong Kong recently, they look like this: 
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