Eastern Travels Original Article

I wrote an article for the student newspaper here… It was about my Hong Kong trip. I understand that newspapers need to cut down articles that are too long, but when it’s cut down from what it was to so few words… Well, I felt that they needn’t have bothered with putting it in the edition at all. I will post about my Hong Kong trip in a blog-post form, with different pictures, pictures to be added to this article at a later stage. But here is how the article was intended to appear: (will also post the link to the edition when that becomes available again, it seems to have disappeared)

Eastern Travels

One of the first things I get asked when I tell people I’ve just come back from Hong Kong is, “Is it difficult to understand the people there?”

One of the obvious characteristics that stands out a lot when you get to Hong Kong is how international the place is: people living there come from all over the world, and you might find yourself interacting with surprisingly few Chinese locals. Because of this, most of the people speak English because they are largely from English-speaking countries such as USA and England, and the locals accommodate for this by being able to speak English themselves. So understanding everyone there is simple, and pretty much the same as living in South Africa.

When you picture Hong Kong, you probably picture high-rise buildings with lots of technology like computers and cellphones everywhere, and it really is like that… In some parts anyway.

Lamma Island is one of the numerous islands surrounding Hong Kong Island and is very different to the highly advanced and fast paced Hong Kong Island. Situated a 20minute ferry-ride away from the city, Lamma island is small such that no buildings are built higher than 3 stories, and there are no cars, apart from a mini police van, a mini fire truck, and a mini ambulance, so small that your feet dangle out the back when you get taken for a ride to the heli-pad.

Milk is delivered on a Friday, and not again until Monday, so you need to make sure you’ve stocked up for the weekend. There is a large fishing culture, and walking past the local cuisine restaurants will have you staring at your dinner still swimming around with his family, waiting for you to make your choice. Your tank-menu can include fresh crab, various other catches of the day, and even Abalone (perlemoen).

If you think that Johannesburg is polluted, it has nothing on Hong Kong where it can be so bad, billowing over from Mainland China, that a normal day is overcast from pollution until the rain washes it away. Hong Kong, particularly the less tamed Lamma Island has the climate and vegetation of Durban, very green and humid, but on a slightly more extreme scale: your shoes go mouldy in the cupboard, and even biltong has to be kept in the fridge (if you’re lucky enough to have found a supplier of our South African delicacy).

Hong Kong also has a reputation for it’s shopping, with numerous markets taking up whole streets, and little back alleys of markets that sell everything you could possibly think of, from clothes and shoes, to fancy dress and wigs, to Angry Birds Uno and remote controlled helicopters, to kinky men’s underwear where the beak is meant to house his tender bits. And a million and one different iPhone and iPad covers.

Hong Kong is everywhere you could every go, with everyone from everywhere else, and they have everything you can imagine, genuine or rip-off. They have the culture of mini temples alongside some of the highest buildings in the world, and they have just about every mode of transport. It is definitely a place worth going, especially if the idea of mainland China intimidates you because of the thought of not being able to communicate that you don’t, in fact, want dog for dinner tonight.

I have 2 articles on page 4, and the Hong Kong Article is on page 14.

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