7 Fun Ways I’m ‘Turning Local’ in Hong Kong

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I thought I’d have a bit of fun and share something light hearted after last week’s rather deep and meaningful post.

I’ve been in Hong Kong for nearly 8 months now and it’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve started to feel like this is my home.

One of the reasons why I think I’m starting to feel more settled is because I’ve adopted some local habits.

Some are good and some aren’t so good…but I find them all quite entertaining and I hope you do too!

You know you’re turning local when….

 

1. Replacing a Hat With an Umbrella

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I use to look at the locals and think they were crazy as they plodded along the streets with an umbrella over their head on a brilliant sunny day.

But since the weather has warmed up I often find myself popping the parasol to keep the rays off my face.

I’m now more concerned if I forget my umbrella on a sunny day rather than when a typhoon sweeps through the city.

As ‘Cookie’ the sales assistant at Sasa told me, “You have so many brown spots on your face Missy.” (ie. Freckles).

Thanks to Cookie I’ve now changed the sun safe message of ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ to ‘Slip, Slop and Pop that Parasol!’

 

2. I Take NO Notice of the MTR Announcements

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From the moment you step inside one of the MTR stations you are bombarded with announcements in Cantonese, Putonghua and English.

Despite these rather pleasant yet persistent reminders I now find myself disobeying these instructions along with all my local friends.

My favourite announcement is:

“Please hold the handrail. Don’t keep your eyes only on your mobile phone.”

I ONLY keep my eyes on my mobile phone as I move swiftly up and down the escalators….and I DON’T hold the handrail…ever….do you know how many germs there are?

However, I am yet to take a metallic balloon into a station.

I think I’ll leave that one alone.

NO hands AND I'm on my mobile phone!
NO hands AND I’m on my mobile phone!

 

3. Public Transport is My Resting Place

Keeping with the public transport theme, like the locals I can now fall asleep on anything that’s moving.

I use to marvel at the locals who would fall asleep as they wandered up the aisle of the bus or who’d drift off whilst standing on a packed and rickety ding-ding tram.

In my first week here a lady literally fell asleep on my shoulder on the tram.

But now I have mastered the art of public transport snoozing.

Every week after dragon boat training I fall asleep. This may be because the bus ride from the South side of the island is long and windy (read: induces motion sickness) AND I’m so exhausted from training I can barely lift my arms.

However I haven’t mastered the art of falling asleep on a mini-bus. I don’t believe rollercoaster rides are conducive to a little nap!

 

4. Dragon Boat is My Jam

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Speaking of dragon boat, it’s now my favourite past time here in Hong Kong.

It’s fast, it’s furious and it’s a whole heap of fun!

Dragon boat fever is sweeping Hong Kong as the annual festival is soon approaching.

I find myself watching youtube clips of dragon boat training drills and paddling technique.

I’ve even contemplated buying my own paddle so I look super cool walking around Stanley with my paddle slung over my shoulder.

But like my Art Jam days, dragon boating is probably a whim.

 

5. I Now Lack ‘Lift’ Etiquette

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A lack of elevator etiquette has always perplexed me, even when I worked in Sydney.

At first I thought the Chinese students were so keen to get to class that they would bold me over as I tried to exit the lift.

But it seems that everyone here in Hong Kong is so keen to enter and exit the lifts regardless of who is around.

Eight months in and I find myself mimicking the locals’ behaviour.

In addition to wanting to jump straight into an elevator as soon as it appears, I now hit ‘door close’ in the elevator before I’m in the elevator myself.

Who cares if someone is madly running for the elevator.

I slyly think to myself, ‘So long suckers!’

It’s become a natural reflex!

 

6. I’ve Learned to Share

My lift etiquette may be slipping but I’m now more open to sharing.

Another thing that use to blow me away was watching couples eat half their meals and then swap with their partner.

Lets swap half a hamburger for a half eaten creamy risotto.

Lets swap half a margarita pizza for a half munched burrito.

But what once was madness is now a brilliant concept!

I now find James and I conspiring to select the best double meal combo and then high-fiving as we split our meals in half!

Although I do feel sorry for James, as unlike other girls, I eat a full meal and I very rarely offer to give him the ‘larger half!’

I’m all about equality, especially in regards to food!

 

7. I’m Not Going on Vacation I’m ‘Being Domestic’!

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(I will preface this point and say I think this is more of a Mainland Chinese trait compared to local Hong Kongers).

When I first arrived I thought everyone was perpetually going on holidays.

The bustling streets of TST were always packed with people pulling suitcases or dragging them unceremoniously onto public transport.

But it wasn’t until I was over in Causeway Bay on a Sunday, (dumb idea) and in a local department store on a sale day, (another dumb idea) that I realised the true purpose of a suitcase!

To carry all your stuff around on a daily basis!

I’ve witnessed people in shopping malls stuffing suitcases full of cosmetics and clothing. On street corners I’ve seen guys packing their ports full of baby formula and pharmaceuticals. The possibilities really are endless!

I have caught onto this trend.

In addition to overseas jaunts I now use our varying sized suitcases to wheel my washing down to the dry cleaner and on big shopping days I’ll take cabin luggage to the local supermarket to carry my groceries home!

Despite feeling like a goose I now embrace the ‘stroll and roll’ trend.

But if I ever get a Nanna trolley, please shoot me. You’ll know I’ve gone too far!

If you live in Hong Kong (or anywhere foreign to you) and have found yourself taking up some local habits I would love for you to share them with me in the comments below!

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Love,

 

 

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