Intellectual negotiation

There are some days when I feel nobody reads my blog (and sometimes that is true, according to my blog stats), so I am always tickled pink when someone writes a comment on one of my posts.

Yesterday I got a lot of things off my chest about life in Hong Kong, and apparently my honesty struck a chord with another expat living here who had similar experiences, but had apparently come out through the storm stronger and wiser. I hope that will be the case with me. I am going to try to take Meesh’s advice to do a little ‘intellectual negotiation’ when it comes to Chinese culture and maybe learn to appreciate it more. After all, if I become a bitter, angry gwailo, I think I will lose all my readers! So I must try to stay a genki girl.

Culture shock aside, we head to Singapore on Wednesday for a few days to check out the most disciplined little island nation in the world, and then ferry it over to Bintan, Indonesia to bum in some beach huts. But I’m more than a little nervous about the hotels that I’ve chosen to stay at. I seem to have a real knack for choosing really bad hotels on the internet.

When I came to HK for the first time in April for the job interviews, the place I booked in Causeway Bay looked pretty good online. It was next to a MTR train station, right in a major shopping district, and had a good rating. But the place turned out to be a complete dump. I got in the elevator, and saw signs tacked up saying that ‘prostitution and drugs are not allowed’. The “front desk” of the hostel doubled as the office and patient room for a Chinese medicine doctor who ushered me into the same room as a woman who was being covered in acupuncture needles while he searched for my room key. There were all these cats walking around looking like they were 50 years old. Perhaps he gives them some kind of traditional medicine so that they never die. The ‘single room’ was so small it must have been a closet, because I had to climb onto the bed in order to close the door. It was definitely not the most pleasant place I’ve ever stayed.

Anyways, the point is, I am a little worried that the hotel in Little India, Singapore is going to be riddled with bed bugs, next to some kind of booming nightclub that goes until 5 in the morning, with a broken air conditioner. And perhaps the water cabana I’ve booked in Indonesia will be crawling with mosquitoes, broken mosquito nets, and giant spiders!

I guess that is why travelling, to quote the dad from Calvin and Hobbes, ‘builds character’. Indeed, stepping out of your comfort zone and into something unexpected does make you either adapt or break. But if you want to read a REAL travel horror story, I recommend my friend Laura’s blog, where she tells a fantastic story about getting covered in leeches in Pangkor, Malaysia. She is truly a brave girl.

Oh yes, and watch out soon for picture from ‘the biggest, seated, outdoor, bronze Buddha in the world’, right here in Hong Kong on my very own island. Imagine, I’ve lived on Lantau for five months and haven’t even visited this famous tourist trap! We are heading there on Sunday so I’ll be updating again soon.

Have a good weekend, all.

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One Reply to “Intellectual negotiation”

  1. I always read your blog, Em.

    I can’t believe you are not going to be in Trinidad for Christmas! Again! It won’t be the same going without you there…

    I have started a new blog about doing up our flat. Hopefully as the flat gets done up, it will show the progress of our dingy, weirdly decorated place into somewhere beautiful, but almost a month in and we only have one wall painted so… not so confident…

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