1.  Traffic in Hong Kong drives on the left side of the road.  This means that every crosswalk is fraught with peril, until I learn to look the right way.  It also means that pedestrian and escalator traffic flows on the left-hand side.  (Except for some reason in our local grocery store, where the escalators are arranged with up traffic on the right).  This is definitely going to become second nature soon.  Hopefully very soon indeed!

2.  People hand their business cards to you with two hands, like in Japan.  (Um, probably like they do in China.  But this is my first experience of China, so the Japanese comparison is the only one I have!)

3.  Chinese table etiquette is different from Western, and I don’t know how many offenses I’m committing at any given moment.  As far as I can tell, talking with your mouth full is okay, even letting stuff fall out of your mouth is also okay, burping, slurping, and snorting are also acceptable.  Licking your fingers is NOT okay.  I need to read some more comprehensive manual for this, since these observations may be erroneous.  What if people I’ve observed are displaying terrible etiquette themselves?

4.  There is a good amount of construction going on in the city, and ALL of the scaffolding is made of bamboo, held together with zip ties.  Even new buildings rising 50 or more stories into the sky are webbed in bamboo.  Juan and I can’t get over it.  It just be just as safe and strong as pre-fab scaffolding, or else it wouldn’t be done!  But to me it looks crazy!

5.  Speaking of crazy-looking, but also super cool-looking, HK is full of Chinese banyan trees.  Their roots and aerial vines can grow over anything.  Sometimes it sort of looks like someone splatted some spaghetti all over a wall and a tree grew out of it.  Observe:

Or maybe like a squid splatted against a wall?

Or maybe like a tree waterfall?

Amazing.

Amazing.

6.  This isn’t an observation, just a quick PSA.  Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China.  This means it has its own government, its own judiciary, its own economy, and its own currency, but it does not have its own military or foreign policy department. I still don’t quite understand in what ways HK is subject to the PRC, but when I’ve got some clarity I’ll share.  Hong Kong is made of three parts: Hong Kong Island (where we live), Kowloon (the peninsula immediately to the north; it’s attached to mainland China), and the New Territories (a chunk of land extending further north from Kowloon, plus about 260 islands all around us).  So far, we’re spending most of our time on the Island, because that’s where we live and where Juan works.  As time permits, we’ll be exploring as much of this place as we can!

Okay, that mini-list is over.  Now onto a peek into our last weekend.

On Sunday afternoon, Juan and I took a short trip to the other side of Hong Kong Island, to the town of Stanley.  It used to be a fishing village, but now it’s built up, with a shopping plaza and waterfront boardwalk.  A couple of old buildings from downtown have been moved out here, including this one:

Drizzly waterfront.

Drizzly waterfront.

There are also several temples there to various deities.  One has been in continuous use since the 11th century!

But I honestly don't remember whether this shrine was in front of the extremely old temple or a less old temple.

But I honestly don’t remember whether this shrine was in front of the extremely old temple or a less old temple.

It’s going to be fun to come back sometime when the weather is sunny.

Fishing boats on a rainy day.

Fishing boats on a rainy day.

Until next time!

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