Views from Our Host’s Apartment in Hong Kong

Yesterday I trekked out to the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks to interview entrepreneurs there. My two contacts kindly set up six back-to-back interviews, which you can look out for on TechCocktail.com.

I was doing well navigating two buses and three metro lines until I tried to find a cab back to our host’s apartment. After trudging around in the heat and waiting at a taxi stand, I finally found myself in the backseat. I told the driver our address, with the number in Cantonese – bat sup say, or 84. By the time we were up the hill, though, it was clear that he didn’t understand me. He kept peering in the rearview mirror and asking me which way to go. I tried “84” and bat sup say again, but to no avail – I had to guide him the rest of the way. And I thought my Cantonese was passable…

Anyway, we’ve been staying in the mid-levels near downtown Hong Kong. The apartment is gorgeous, and it looks out over the harbor. Here’s a peek:

Things That Stick Out in Hong Kong

We arrived last night and dove right in today–with dim sum, a tour of Wong Tai Sin temple, Hong Kong desserts, a ferry ride, a Chiuchow dinner, and swing dancing.

I was expecting some kind of minor culture shock–language, food, or otherwise–but the worst turns out to be the doors. Minimalism seems to be in vogue here, which is sleek but confusing. I was puzzled by our closet door (Fred had to open that), a gym locker (I furtively peered at another girl opening hers), and a diagonal-slanted bathroom stall. But otherwise the city is gorgeous–huge, tropical, and hilly. There are lanterns everywhere.

I’ve also experienced some culinary immersion by successfully downing chicken feet and goose intestine. The dinner waiter, however, was less confident of my digestive abilities and encouraged our dining companion to order sweet and sour pork “for the white girl.” (I admit, that was good too.)

Starting Tomorrow: My 6-Month Trip to Asia

As some of you know, I’m about to embark on a six-month trip to Asia. I left my full-time job at AEI to pursue a writing career focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation, for Tech Cocktail.

Tech Cocktail has graciously supplied me with a camera and video camera, so look out for upcoming pictures and video interviews. (Let’s hope most founders speak English–I’ve learned a bit of Cantonese from my traveling companion, Fred, but just enough to make locals laugh.)

Along the way, I’ll be stopping in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam–if you have a startup there, feel free to contact me.

For other would-be world travellers, here’s a look at what I’m bringing:

That’s 5 short-sleeved shirts, 2 long-sleeved shirts, 2 pairs of pants, a raincoat, pyjamas, 3 pairs of shoes, technology (laptop, Kindle, cameras, etc.), accessories (headbands, cap, sunglasses), toiletries, sleeping pad and mosquito net, and a fair amount of medicine.

If things go accordingly to plan, all that and myself will make it to Hong Kong by 5:30 a.m. EST on Saturday. Cheers, all!