“I think I wanna stay here forever.”

11 Sep

Those were the first words out of the somewhat large orifice I call a mouth when I saw the sunset over the harbor on my way to my university. Little did I know that I would, at first, regret these words. Later I would un-regret them.

Let me digress a bit. My name is Eric Rowe and I’m entering my sophomore year at Purdue. I’m majoring in both Political Science and Asian Studies and that bit alone is enough reason for me to be here. Well, that and because I’m not versed in any Asian languages yet and Hong Kong’s official language is English (which ,on paper, is good, but is about much of a lie as skim milk actually being milk). English is the official language for things such as government work or education (due to having been a British colony from 1841 to 1997) BUT the majority of people here speak Cantonese (the main spoken language here and in the mainland province of Guangdong). A little note, each of the mainland provinces has its own dialect of Chinese (some may have one or two more), but after the Chinese Communist Revolution, the government standardized Mandarin as the Chinese spoken language and Simplified Chinese as the written language. Since the handover of HK from Britain to the PRC in 1997, things have become more “Chinese”. Mandarin is being spoken a lot more here and there are more and more people coming from the mainland. All in all,  you’re better off knowing Cantonese or Mandarin to get around, although it’s manageable simply knowing English.

The university I’m attending here is the City University of Hong Kong, located in the north on Mainland Hong Kong in Kowloon Tong. It’s a cozy (read: humid) semi-gated campus where the security guards are more for asking directions than for stopping a criminal. It’s a small campus area-wise, but each of the academic buildings (there are three) have up to 13 levels with things like a pool for laps and rooftop gardens!

The residence halls have about 15 floors with the laundry on the rooftop (the washers and dryers are quite limited and small) and you have to scan your ID to get into the building.  A new thing for me is having your visitors swipe in with their IDs and then needing to have them out by midnight. That and the heat. DO NOT COME TO HONG KONG IF YOU CANNOT STAND HEAT!!! The average temp. here is in the 90s, but lately has been feeling like 110 with the 80% humidity. This was the biggest shock to me and my biggest dislike about Hong Kong. Other than that, it’s quite a nice place and stay posted! There are more adventures and lots of pics to come!


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