Familiarity, belts and shopping

One of the things I’ve noticed in my time in Hong Kong is that normal everyday tasks seem to take longer for me to do.

A number of international students have mentioned similar feelings from time to time, but it really struck home when I went back to London for a couple of weeks in the new year, I was a lot more productive and seemed to get more done in the day.

I suppose things take longer for me in Hong Kong as I’m less familiar with how things work and where things are and how to communicate problems as not everyone is fluent in English over here.

That’s a thing I think people can sometimes take for granted. In London, I know where to go for all my needs and how to get what I need done. It’s usually quite straightforward, but in Hong Kong, it’s a lot harder due to me to being very familiar with where things are and how to get to them. It seems quite trivial, but after a while, the extra time begins to add up.

For example, today, I returned to my room to find my belt buckle on the floor having fallen off from the belt which I left on the door hanger.

I fixed it fine myself but I wasn’t sure I put it on the right side so I removed it before re-attaching it, only I reattached it the wrong around. I now cannot get the buckle off again.

My mother bought the belt for me when the family came to visit me a couple of weeks ago and luckily my mum still has the receipt, so I can go back to the store and ask them for help.

But failing that, I have no idea where to go to find a tailor to help me with my belt locally, no idea at all, whereas if it had happened back home, I know exactly where I’d go to get it fixed, there’s a decent one about ten minutes walk away.

I reattached it the wrong way around and cannot get it back off.

So having wasted most of the day trying to fix my belt, I decided to head out to PMQ as I mentioned earlier.

Now, I didn’t quite get to PMQ as Google Maps went weird, it would tell me to turn in 50m for example than all of a sudden change and tell me to keep going straight for 200m.

Deciding reaching PMQ would be too difficult given the issue with maps, I found myself in Starbucks having a chocolate chip cream. “Worn Out Faces” started playing, which made me chuckle.

I found myself wandering around the general Sheung Wan-Central Area just trying to find something to pass the time.

I find myself at the Western Market and saw an interesting store selling model buses and trains, but it had closed for the day. I’d really love an MTR train to take home as a souvenir due to how impressed I am with the service. There’s little waiting times and the service is excellent. One week, there was a massive computer glitch which caused severe delays that morning and to say sorry, for an entire weekend all travel was just 1 Hong Kong Dollar (about 10p).

Indeed, most of the return journeys I take cost under a quid, it appears from talking to others, London is really an anomaly when it comes to transport prices.

A part of me does miss rush hour on the Tube, but I’m in no hurry to experience it again.

I got a bit lost inside the market and almost gatecrashed a wedding by accident, but I followed some signs to slip out the side instead of interrupted the reception going on.

I found myself wondering around the iFC mall but nothing there interested me too much. I suppose I used to someone who was quite prone to impulsive purchases (if it looks good, I will buy it and find a use for it several years down the line) but having to grow a bit more financial independence, has meant I make less of these purchases. There was nothing on sale at any of the stores that I needed enough to justify the price they were going for. My plan for tomorrow currently involves going to two lectures, fixing my belt and doing some work but I was fairly spontaneous during my first semester over here, so let’s see what happens?

Scenes like this are common at night in Hong Kong. The locals are quite used to it from my experience, but it never ceases to amaze me and make me wonder about all the stories out there.