Hello everyone, and welcome to my spanking new blog!
I’ve been in Hong Kong now for four days, and every day has been damn busy. I arrived here on Friday night – thankfully without any canceled flights this time – and was greeted at the airport by a driver holding up a sign with my name. ‘But I real reach!’ I thought to myself.
We jumped in the car and started driving from Lantau Island, where the airport is, over the bridge to Hong Kong Island, where I would be staying. The driver was a guy from the Philippines who spoke four languages – Cantonese, Mandarin, English and Japanese – and it made me feel sad that someone who is obviously so talented was stuck chauffeuring expats around, while little old me who is mostly monolingual could get a big time job where drivers meet me at the airport holding up my name on a sign. I guess the world is not a fair place, after all.
Right now I’m living temporarily at L’Hotel in Tin Hau. The hotel is really nice, up on the 37th floor with a great view of downtown Central and I can see a bit of Victoria Bay too.
But since I only have two weeks to stay here in the hotel while I look for an apartment of my own, it means I have to really get out there and find place. So after arriving on Friday night, I decided to spend the weekend house hunting, since things are sure to be quite busy once I start work on Monday.
I jumped on the fast ferry from Hong Kong Island to Lantau Island to try to find my dream home – an nice big apartment with a view of the sea and mountains and greenery. Lantau is a simple 25-minute ferry ride away from Central, which to the local Hong Kongers is apparently entirely too far away, but really I thought it was quite pleasant, especially compared to the insanity of Tokyo train lines, where you can easily spend an hour and a half commuting EACH WAY.
My first stop was Mui Wo. It was a quaint little place, with a number of sort of run-down apartment buildings, a little bar, a supermarket, a Turkish restaurant, a little hotel and a nice beach. It was quite scenic, with a nice market selling yummy seafood.
Unfortunately the apartments were absolute dumps. The agents showed me a few places which were small, old, dingy, and all in all pretty terrible. One even had a broken window! It seemed like an interesting place, with Chinese fishermen and sunburnt expats riding around on their bicycles and drinking beers outside the McDonalds. Plus there were lots of stray dogs running around, and then some young Chinese guy came and told me that Jesus loved me, and I decided that Mui Wo was a bit too rustic for me. Pretty, but a bit too dumpy.
So, back onto the ferry I went, and popped over to the bay next door. This private residential compound, called Discovery Bay, is completely resort-style, with its own beach, a golf club, pools, gyms, tennis courts, supermarkets, schools, restaurants, cafes, bars, and absolutely no cars. You get around on foot, on bicycle, on the internal minibus, or if you have the cash, golf carts! What fun! But best of all, because it’s off of HK Island and thus ‘too far away’, you can get very large apartments, with nice views of the sea, for an excellent price. Sounds good to me. You also commute to Central by ferry, which takes 25 minutes. Not bad, right?
I saw a lot of apartments, some nice, some not-so-nice, some smallish, and some huge, and then finally I think I found the perfect place. Two bedrooms, a nice balcony, a big living room, a dining area, wooden floors… beautiful! We need to come back and do some negotiations if we really want to live here, so this weekend we will know for sure. But I really hope this is where we will live.
Well that’s all for now. I’ve got to get to sleep for another big day at work tomorrow.
More updates coming soon.