Hong Kong

October 5th, 2011, 1:43 pm PDT by Greg

The tail end of our trip was a day and a half in Hong Kong. We kind of tacked it on the end to get out of mainland China for the National day holiday crowds. As a result, I had no real plan or expectations.

Therefore, Hong Kong exceeded expectations. 😛

In some ways, Hong Kong is smaller than I expected: 7M people (just more than 1/3 of Beijing) and we walked a good chunk of the length of the core (Central to Causeway Bay subway stations) in an hour or so.

I also knew Hong Kong was a tall city: our hotel was hardly in the centre of the city, but from our 15th floor hotel room, I couldn’t see more than a block in any direction, and 8 story buildings below just seemed like a waste of space. It took my brain a while to really process that the whole city is like that.

I have also never been to a more “international” city than Hong Kong, possibly because none exist. I was entirely comfortable in the city: it felt a lot like a taller version of Richmond. I imagine that Brits would be totally comfortable in the city, so should mainland Chinese. Tourists from France seemed pretty at-ease, and there seemed to be a solid Indian population as well. I can’t think of anywhere else I’ve been where so many people could hang around without being out of place.

Also, at 7M people, that must mean that something like 5% of Hong Kongers must now be in Vancouver. (350k Hong Kong immigrants and descendants in Vancouver doesn’t sound that far off to me.) I had never really thought about the numbers from that side: everybody in Vancouver knows a bunch of people from Hong Kong, but everybody in Hong Kong must have a friend or two in Vancouver as well.

In summary: insufficient time spent in Hong Kong; must investigate further in the future.

Hangzhou Wrapup

October 5th, 2011, 1:04 pm PDT by Greg

The blog posts kind of fizzled there as we got tired. We are now back in Burnaby. More pictures have been posted.

Our second day in Hangzhou was dominated by the University: it was my work day. We had lunch at ZJU with some DDP students who will be coming to SFU in 2012 or 2013 (and a few who cam from SFU last year).

The purpose of the lunch was to give students a chance to ask us some questions about SFU and living in Vancouver: all four of us were SFU students at one point. It took a while to talk the people there into organizing an “informal” lunch where we could just chat with the students.

In the end, it worked out exactly like I hoped. Some questions we got: will I have to speak french? How often is Glee on every week? Is there any racism? Can I take business courses too? As usual, the ZJU students were a lot of fun and I’m glad we stopped there.

As expected, after that we became the University’s guests for the rest of the day. We walked through the adjoining botanical gardens and to dinner, which was very Hangzhou-focused and great.

The next day, we walked around the Xixi wetlands with Amy Gu, her husband Kevin and son Roland. Amy and I talked about our courses while the rest looked at birds, and it was great.

Just like last time, I really liked Hangzhou. The idea of going to teach for a semester at ZJU is looking better and better.