Category Archives: Hong Kong

Documenting our day-to-day life in Hong Kong

The Deodorant Revolution

Let me start by saying that I realize that Asia has a lot of things figured out. There are several aspects of society where Asia is clearly a world leader, drawing envy from its western neighbours…ping-pong, public transit, badminton. One of these areas is clearly not underarm hygiene.

While there is deodorant available in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, it comes in very small containers (see picture) and does not offer a high-level of odour protection. It is puzzling to me how news of such a simple invention has somehow not crossed the Pacific during the last several decades. News spreads so rapidly now (everyone here has huge smartphones)….so why the delaying in the spread of information about adequate underarm products.

So then I started thinking, maybe larger deodorant with additional odour protection is not needed here. The people are smaller and North America does have a history of developing products that are well in excess of what is needed by the average consumer (think supersized fast-food combos). This seemed like a perfectly plausible explanation: There is no large deodorant in Asian because there is no need for it by the average Asian citizen.

And I was quite happy with this explanation, until I rode a bus in Hong Kong! I would venture to guess that approximately 20 – 30 % of the dense smog that hangs over most of Hong Kong on an average summer day is in fact a Linus-like haze, fueled by the millions of Asians with inadequate underarm odour protection.

It doesn’t add up. Asia clearly needs a Deodorant Revolution. In the meantime, I live here nervously, wondering if my supply of rare North American deodorant will last until my next trip back.

A legendary story (by Vid)

Have you ever wondered about that legendary story of that great-great-grandpa who arrived in Canada with nothing more that ten dollars in his pocket, and a heart full of hope and determination to build a good life for his family?

Well, I arrived in Hong Kong with nothing more than ten dollars in my pocket, and a bag full of Indian snacks.

Before leaving New York, in my typical carefree (read careless) state I had forgotten my wallet in my parents car.  I discovered this bit of unpleasantness as I was about to board my flight to Hong Kong.  I thought I had lost my wallet.  Understandably, I was upset, not because I didn’t have my license/credit/debit cards with me but, because I had just lost a thoughtful gift from my good friend, Maureen.  Just a few weeks earlier, Maureen had surprised me with a wallet and some memorable wallet-sized photos, after I made a comment about her wallet saying that it was the perfect size to travel with. Poop happens, and I boarded the flight depressed.  I also didn’t have an easy way to reach anyone because my phone didn’t have a SIM card yet.  But luckily, I found a hundred Hong Kong dollar bill in my passport case from a previous trip to Hong Kong.

100 HKD

$100 HKD = $12.82 CAD

And that is how I landed in a foreign country with nothing more than ten dollars in my pocket (or $12.82 CAD to be precise), and a bag full of Indian snacks (packed by my awesome mom)!

I was beginning to believe in the plausibility of those legendary great-great-grandpa stories. They, just like me, could have forgotten their wallets full of cash back in their home country before hopping on that boat.

Still, no problem, I was confident I would survive poverty.  I knew Hong Kong transit would be cheap and efficient, unlike the Canadian kind.  So not only did I manage to reach my destination safely, but I was also left with seven lucky Canadian dollars to build a good life with.

And it has most definitely been good thus far.  In just over a couple of days, I managed to compound my seven dollars into hundreds of dollars. Lucky for me, Matt’s generous 😉

The REAL Arctic North (not Canada)

The real Arctic North (not Canada)

I don’t know why I’m sharing this photo. It has nothing to do with my story. But it’s a pretty neat view of the glaciers in the Arctic north, taken during my gruelling 14-hour flight. Note: I flew in peasant-class unlike other jet-setting-business-class folk who shall not be named here.

The Temporary Accomodations

Our current place is about 700 square feet and in the Wan Chai area (222 Queen’s Road East). It’s definitely not anything too special, but is fine as a temporary place. The maid service (washing dishes, changing sheets, making bed, cleaning-up our messes, changing towels) is by far the best part!

Here are some pictures of the suite:

Coincidentally, I am living on Spring Garden again. It’s kinda like I am back in North York on Spring Garden Avenue. This picture is taken looking down off our balcony (at 5 am by a jet-lagged photographer):

The area surrounding our place is quite diverse (as we are seeing a lot in Hong Kong). Walking out our front door, there is a 50+ floor office/shopping tower, a Rolls Royce dealer and a McLaren dealer. Going out the back door, the narrow street houses a local street market with several types of meats for sale (some hanging in the windows)!

(Slowly) Starting the Asian Party

So the time has come and I am officially in Hong Kong. For those of you who don’t know (not sure why you would be reading this if you don’t), Vid and I are moving to the other side of the world for work and will be living in Hong Kong for two years. During that time, we plan on using the city as a base from which we will explore many other Asian countries.

We we will be including posts on both our lives living abroad in Hong Kong as well as our trips to surrounding countries. Vid and I have agreed that I will be responsible for the writing and she is in charge of the photography. Personally, I think she has the better job, but this means I get to caption all of her pictures! Since Vid doesn’t get to Hong Kong until later this week (Thursday), you will notice that this post (and the blog itself) does not contain any pictures yet (I really can’t be trusted to operate the camera by myself) 😦

As most of my first couple days have been quite boring as I get settled into the new place and prepare for work on Monday, I thought I would include some of my very first (and admittedly, stupid) observations about the city:

– There is no grass in Hong Kong, anywhere. I have come to this conclusion based on my observations walking around the past two days and by the fact that I have witnessed several dogs casually peeing on the sidewalks, some not even stopping to do it. Just because there are trees, this does not imply there is grass, as several trees have been mysteriously growing out of the concrete.

– 240 volts is a lot of freakin’ power. I have actually been quite careful when plugging devices in after seeing a huge spark that arced over at least half and inch!

– I can already tell what foods people here eat, or more precisely don’t eat, by what is expensive in the grocery stores. Dairy (milk, eggs, yogurt) is very pricy – I might be in trouble!

Check back for many more (and I promise, substantially more interesting) posts as we start our Asian party 🙂