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On Monday I stepped on a plane for a 14+ hour ride in coach (ouch) to Hong Kong to do some Exchange migrations for our Asian offices. Apart from the plane ride from hell (they should hand out drugs to all in coach) the trip has been a pleasure. Never having been to Asia before I was worried as to what to expect. I have traveled to Europe before and have always felt comfortable even if I didn't speak the language as it seemed that I could always figure out what I needed to know for the given situation. Coming to Asia though, the language and culture is so completely foreign I was wondering how I would cope. Riding the subway in Paris for example, even if I didn't know what "Rue de la Mongue" meant, I knew what to look for and listen for. Here, I was worried about having to find the "picture of the upside down house with a cat on top" symbol and don't even ask how I thought I would understand anything spoken.

I have been pleasantly surprised to find almost everything is annotated in English as well as Mandarin\Cantonese Chinese. And I have found almost everyone I have talked to has a basic understanding of English. I have been told this is from the many years as an English colony (I had forgotten all about that). That worry aside I have been able to really enjoy the culture and differences I have experienced.

You hear about the technology and cell phones here all the times. It really is as ubiquitous as they say. On the subway, walking down the street - everywhere - to a person almost is gripping a cell phone and either talking on it (and about 25% of them via a Bluetooth headset) or listening to music from it. Cell phone shops are everywhere with hundreds of phones to choose from. I read in Newsweek a couple of months ago that the average person in China\Hong Kong buys a new cell phone every four months. I wish they understood that concept in the US and didn't penalize you for wanting the latest and greatest phone currently available. I also see tons of iPods and other personal tech gear constantly being used around me. They have also definitely mastered the art of using it too - everyone is talking and swaying but no one person ever bumps in to another. The streets and subways are always jammed packed yet I was the only person bumping in to the travelers and I wasn't even on the phone!

PS For lunch I almost had Pigeon. But we skipped it and chose the Goose instead. Tastes like Chicken!


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Posted on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 9:52 PM Misc | Back to top

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