Hong Kong - My Family Travels
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Before last summer I had never been on a plane. I had never left my house for more than two weeks, and I had never been out of the country. But of course, last summer changed all of that when my mom and I went to China for a month. Now, most people would not say China was their first foreign country to visit, nor would they suggest new travelers to make China the first country to visit.

Mom and I decided to go since my Aunt Ariane and Uncle Pat had been living in Hong Kong for a few years, and planed to move back in August. Ever since they had moved to China, the rest of my family joked about going to visit them, and finally last year I decided to actually go for it. I got a job and saved up the thousands of dollars to travel there; it was worth it. We stayed with Pat and Ariane in their four bedroom house on top of one of the small mountains on Hong Kong. It was a fine house, especially since housing in Hong Kong is unbelievably expensive, but I would have been fine living in a shack as long as that house kept its view. Jet lag caused me to get up at 5:00 am the next morning, and I walked out to see the most scenic sight in the world from their living room window: dark green forests with a light mist rolling over it that went down to a blue ocean far below.

On the first day my mom and I walked around the city to get acquainted with it. We saw how the little island was mostly made of tropical green hills covered in the mist in the morning, and glimmered in the sun in the afternoon. The actual city is more towards the edge of the island, and has all the accommodations of any American city. Their subway and bus systems are very organized, since you use a prepaid card instead of cash to go wherever you want for a very good price. Generally people walked to wherever they needed to go (and the massive population of skinny Chinese citizens proves it), and if you ever got lost, then all you had to do was hail one of the bright red taxicabs over to take you to a place you recognized.

In Hong Kong we got to see the zoo/ botanical gardens and many beautiful and old European churches (left from when the English were in power there). One day we even took a boat over to a nearby island to visit a giant sitting Buddha that the monks there called it the largest in the world (during the course of our trip a number of Buddha temples claimed to have the biggest). While we on the island we also had our first official vegan meal, which I was surprised to find was very delicious and filling.

That city never ceased to surprise me. One day we came out of a Starbucks with two mochas, and walked across the road to attend a street market where you could bargain and haggle to your hearts content. Another day we got around first by taking a tram, then a double-decker bus, and finally a ferry. There were signs instructing “No Spitting”, and restaurants with meals that were something along the lines of “Noodles with special ingredient” (and the restaurant happened to be located next to a pet shop). There was also another case of a few men getting arrested while we were there, since they had been caught roasting dogs to eat. 

While in Hong Kong, I also met some very interesting characters. Maybe it was because I’m an American, or maybe the people there are just very friendly, but while waiting on buses (they were crowded, so I often sat next to strangers) some of the people would take to me, ask me about my home and myself. They were always very polite and eager to give their opinion on good places to visit in the city.

As you can imagine, I was extremely upset to leave Hong Kong at the end of our trip. But I know that I got many valuable experiences from this, and am now inspired to take some Asian studies in college. I was able to leave knowing that this was not the end of my travels in China!

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