Yesterday was my relaxing day ange getting to know my fellow hostel travellers. After a late start, an American and I headed to a local coffee house to have breakfast. Along the way I asked him a few pointed questions about America – what’s it like with the high unemployment, how’s the healthcare, why is Fox News a tv channel, and he painted a pretty bleak picture. He is a structural engineer who studied at the University of California Berkley, and now, is the only of his friends with steady employment. He gets two weeks annual leave, and pays his own health insurance. If he becomes unemployed, there is 1.5 years of unemployment benefit, then you’re on your own.
Personally I think the worst is the healthcare system. Health in New Zealand is seen as a right not a privilege, and generally not something to make money off. Even Russia has a better healthcare system for poor people.
A few of us were heading over to the other side of the island, a Canadian called Tobin who teaches Geography in English in China in a small village of 4 million, and a Russian called Aksana, which isn’t just a name on Shortland Street.
On our way Aksana bought an amazing leather jacket and jeans from high end brands I’d never heard of. She spent more on this stuff than my budget for everything for a week. It turns out in Moscow looks are everything, much like Hong Kong or Dubai. If you have wealth you should look the part, with people buying one or two Vertu phones, multi thousand dollars phones from Nokia that do no more than your current phone, but show people you can afford to buy them. I commented that in New Zealand people with wealth tend not to show it off, wanting to be modest, and also a bit of tall poppy syndrome too.
Anyways, next it was time to head to the other side of Hong Kong island to see the beaches. We caught the MTR to Central, and then the 6X to Deep Water Bay for a swim.
Like a traditional kiwi summer I headed to the beach. It was near empty. The weather was sunny, it was 22 degrees, the water temperature was warmer than Raglan on a good day. But it is Winter here in Hong Kong and people are wearing puffy costs and scarves and people think that anyone swimming would be mad. It was awesome, the water was amazing!
After a while it was late lunch time so we walked along the bays to reach Repulse Bay. Sadly there’s only a Pizza Hut there, so we caught the bus to Stanley.
Stanley is the home of the markets, so if you want an iphone case made of fake diamonds, you’ve come to the right place. It is also the most western part of the island in my opinion. We ended up eating at a traditional english pub, that was actually just full of white people. Not an Asian in sight, except for the employees. The menu – awful british pub food. If you’ve been to the Londoner, you’ll feel right at home.
Finally it was time to head back to Central. Tobin left us to go to the Happy Valley Night Horse Races while Aksana and I headed to Citygate outlet mall to look around and do some shopping. But in all honesty, things weren’t cheaper than New Zealand, and in most cases generally more expensive. I ended up buying nothing, though I do love the look of that Macbook Pro.
Now it was home time, so we headed back to the hostel, via the Sogo Japanese supermarket. It was amazing, I loved it, it was just like being back in Japan! Gifts a plenty will be bought here!