Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Good Bye Hong Kong, Hello Singapore
Some final tidbits about Hong Kong:
1. It is very hot and humid, especially when you come from the prairies, but you adjust quickly and after a few days it's just normal. You're still wet and sticky, but you learn to ignore it.
2. They drink a lot of tea there. When you go into a restaurant, instead of pouring you some complimentary water, like they do in Canada, they pour you some complimentary tea. Who in the world wants to drink hot tea when it's 35 degrees out? When all you can think about is a nice cold glass of water, hot tea just doesn't cut it. If you do manage to get some water, don't expect ice. Drinking water there is luke warm, but beggers can't be choosers, I guess.
3. Cars rule the road. In Calgary, pedestrians rule the road. A pedestrian can just start walking and all the cars will stop. In Hong Kong, even a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk will get honked at and almost run over when a car comes along. You have to be on the alert at all times.
4. Always carry an umbrella. Coming from a place where it only drizzles a few times a year, I have never even owned one. Although it only rained for a few hours in the week we were there, I am glad I bought an umbrella. It provides shade in the sun, and shelter in the rain. Everyone in HK carries one at all times. Every store, even convenience stores, has a bin for them at the front door (like where we would have coat racks in Canada, maybe)
5. There are more 7-11 stores than you can shake a stick at. I have seen more 7-11's in one turn of the head in HK than there are in all of Calgary combined. That's not an exageration either. EVERY block has at least one or two of them.
Singapore vs Hong Kong
Although we've only been in Singapore for a day, I'm going to have to give it a thumbs down, but only because I've just come from Hong Kong, and by comparison it's just not as good.
That being said, I think that if I came straight to Singapore from Calgary (or any non-Asian city), I would be having an amazing time. There are markets, interesting plant life that we don't have in Canada, interesting food and some huge Shopping centers. However, since I've just been in HK, I've seen it all, only bigger, better, and for less money.
Not to say that I'm having a miserable time here, but I can't help but compare everything to HK, and Singapore comes up short. It is nice here, though, and it's a change to be in a city of a slower pace (more like Calgary), and English is much more widely used here. It's also a small city area wise, and we have been able to walk everywhere we've wanted to go in a short amount of time. Oh, one thing I like about Singapore is the weather. It's a few degrees cooler than it was in HK, and there seems to be a constant light breeze, so the weather is very pleasant. This was a nice surprize...I thought it would be hotter here since we're closer to the equator.
We are scheduled to leave for Perth on August 4th (next thursday). We haven't decided yet if we'll travel into Malaysia or re-arrange our flight to Australia to get there sooner. For sure we won't be able to spend more than another day here.