Many times I found myself fantasizing about beautiful European cities and tropical islands I would eventually like to move to.  Asia and Hong Kong were the furthest from my mind.  

I got a job offer to be a part of a team that was opening a nightclub in HK.  I wasn’t exactly shocked, I had put blood, sweat, many tears and years in the nightclub industry.  What actually surprised me is I found myself saying “yes,” and booking a ticket directly after I got off that phone.

These are the six things I learned living in Hong Kong for six months.

1.  Speak Enough Cantonese to Get Around

Shortly after arriving in Hong Kong, I quickly realized the language barrier was not going to be a huge obstacle.  With a large number of expats and the former British rule, English was widely spoken.  Except for when… I got into a taxi cab.  I quickly learned how to give directions to my driver in Cantonese.  Most important to learn…  “turn left, keep going straight, on the right,” or even the specific dropping off address of where you are going. 

I know I am saying this wrong but it was something like “Yat Ling Bat Hollywood Doe,” which meant 181 Hollywood Road.  I will be absolutely mortified if someone who speaks Cantonese ever reads this.  

2.  My College Degree Finally Got Me Somewhere

Since I had moved to Hong Kong for a job, I had to apply for a work visa, so I could legally work in China and accept a paycheck.  My friend, who also applied for a work visa at the same time,  took considerably longer to secure hers.  We assumed due to the fact she did not have a college degree.

Hers only took a few more weeks, I am being a tad dramatic.  I would like to believe something came out of my grueling college education.  Haha

Macau is a mini Las Vegas

3.  There is a Mini Las Vegas 40 Minutes Away

Macau is about a 45-minute boat ride from HK, less if you have the baller dollars $$$$ to take a helicopter.  I was in complete shock when we arrived.  I had spent years living in Las Vegas and had no idea there was a Chinese counter-part halfway around the world.  One look at the Venetian and I thought I was home.  We visited Hard Rock Hotel and gambled at the MGM casino and the similarities kept coming.  What stood out to me as very different though were the VIBES!  Hardly anyone was drinking.  And the people that were drinking, us, were ordering nice bottles of red wine.  No one was acting foolish, and everyone took their gambling very seriously.

I have to say the service was incredible.  We were in the chilly casino and two hotel workers named “Banana” and “Cinderella” delivered some robes and slippers to us at the craps table because they saw we were cold.  Super sweet!

4.  Kowloon Side VS. Hong Kong Island VS. Lantau Island

Did you know that when you fly into Hong Kong you are actually on Lantau Island, HK?   Not only is the airport located here, but you also have Hong Kong Disneyland on Lantau Island.  It is right next to Discovery Bay (which is a residential neighborhood known for its large expatriate population).  Also that Big Buddha everyone goes to visit, is on Lantau.  Now Kowloon, Hong Kong (nicknamed the Dragon city) is a peninsula situated along mainland China.  It is located across Victoria Harbor from Hong Kong Island. 

Most of the friends I met lived, worked and went out in Hong Kong Island. This is where I would stay if I went back to visit.  The very popular place to party in Hong Kong is named Lan Kwai Fong , where bars, restaurants, and nightclubs flood the streets and come alive after dark.

Hong Kong Island at night

5.  We are Not in Cali Anymore (Cultural Differences)

I had a feeling I may be in the minority as a large breasted American woman walking the streets of Hong Kong, and I was pretty much right.  I just learned to cover the puppies up if I didn’t want the stares.  What I found that took a little more getting used to was the lack of personal space.  I am not trying to generalize because I realize not everyone was doing this and of course I have felt it at home in the U.S. from time to time.  But for example, I had never experienced a lady literally emptying the contents of her purse out on my back looking for her wallet while we were standing in line at the market in the U.S…..haha, true story.  

None of this really ever bothered me, because I knew it was not intentionally mean-spirited, but it was a little different than I was accustomed to.  That’s all.

6.  I Felt Safer Than Ever

Walking down the streets of Hong Kong Island by myself at night, I never once felt scared.  I cannot say this for most if any other cities I have lived in.  I mean forget about downtown LA, I feel like Michael Jackson’s girlfriend in thriller video, trying to get to the parking garage late at night.  To be a woman and feel completely safe is a beautiful thing. 

I am not saying that there is no crime in HK.  I just personally always remembered feeling at ease by myself.  I’m a big scaredy-cat so this feeling was awesome!  

Late Night's in Lan Kwai Fong
Nightclub Managing in Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong 2011
What I loved about living in Hong Kong

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