Study Break Part 3 June 29, 2009Posted by acc73 in : Uncategorized , 50 comments
The last few days of our adventure were at Hong Kong. Ever since 1997, where Britain gave back Hong Kong to China, the relationship of China and Hong Kong has been very strange. Hong Kong has went from being able to elect their own officials via democratic vote to having a governor appointed by the Beijing government. Many citizens has asked for Hong Kong’s sovereignty, but Hong Kong’s economy is too connected to mainland China to ever separate from China without the country’s permission. We traveled up the Peak Tram to see Hong Kong during the night; the view was incredible. Shanghai still needs some time to catch up to Hong Kong as far as city development. All you can see are these brightly lit skyscrapers. After the view from Victoria Peak, we went to the hotel and rested to prepare for what the rest of the week had in store.
The next day we went to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange often dubbed as the connecting point between Mainland China and the rest of the world. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange has high-end technology and is very parallel to NYSE. We got to walk around and see some traders work the floor as they were buying and selling Chinese stocks. There was also a mini-museum where I got to take picture acting like I was part of the Asian Financial Market Crash in 1997. After the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, we visited the Hong Kong History Museum to learn a little bit more about Hong Kong’s colonial history as well as mainland China.
During the museum, we learned a lot about how Hong Kong early on had an international influence. At first, countries like Britain just came to exchange silk and tea. Over time, Britain began selling opium to many Hong Kong addicts and Britain soon gained influence over the Hong Kong government. The museum had interesting exhibits including one detailing the use of Chinese propaganda comic books where Chinese superheroes would fight the tyrants of capitalism and democracy. After that, we got a little bit of free time to explore Hong Kong, buying souvenirs and other junk I will later have to struggle to pack when I return to the States.
During the night, we got to experience the expensive nightlife of Hong Kong. Disclaimer: Hong Kong is a trendier city compared to Shanghai! I came to the club wearing a nice pressed shirt with a nice pair of grey slacks and feeling grown and sexy. However, when I went to the club in Hong Kong I felt I was so undressed and felt literally like a bum, because everyone was dressed INCREDIBLE! I’m not usually the self-conscious type, but seeing how fashion savvy Hong Kong young professionals made me feel inadequate. It’s ok, I still was looking nice doing my Chinese squat in my suit if you don’t know what a Chinese squat is I will illustrate using these two pictures.
Picture 1 is a picture of a true Chinese squat; this squat is very useful in many situations including using the bathroom, chilling with friends, having a smoke, or just catching a breath after an adventuresome night at the bar.
Picture 2 is yours truly and another classmate trying to become a real Chinese national and squat comfortable with my dress pants. I still need to practice, but I am way better and way more comfortable getting in a Chinese squat then before I came here.
After a night at the club, I woke up to our free day to explore Hong Kong. We went to the Flower Market and as I was walking to the Flower Market I saw this interesting sign entitled “Sexy”, really don’t what type of establishment this place ran but the name did peak my interest so it can’t be too bad. The last day was pretty uneventful just buying more BAPE bootleg clothes and enjoying the good weather. While Hong Kong was more contemporary than Shanghai, I still missed my small little dorm room in Shanghai.
In the airport, we were given masks because the first case in China of the swine flu was discovered from a flight to Shanghai to Hong Kong. Seeing 30 foreigners coming into the same airline terminal all wearing masks for the swine flu really makes the study abroad worthwhile. After the SARS scare, China takes any televised disease very seriously with all the antibacterial hand sanitizer a foreigner can need. Nothing was like seeing my hard bed in my dorm room at Shanghai.