To be perfectly candid, we don't really enjoy our new city much. There are a lot of challenges in daily life here in Shenzhen and there isn't really anything to do for fun in the city. Most of our coworkers do extra tutoring so we are only ever able to hang out with our work friends occasionally, at best. Joe has rugby training sessions twice a week on the other side of the city, but other than that we spend our weekday evenings at home relaxing. It is a frustrating and boring place to live, but we have the great benefit of regular escapes to Hong Kong to keep our sanity! Hong Kong is awesome and wonderful and so much that Shenzhen isn't!
It takes us about a half hour to get to the border from our home, then a half hour to cross through both customs checkpoints before entering Hong Kong, where we take an hour-long bus ride into the Wan Chai district on Hong Kong Island, the center of all the madness and fun! Joe plays for Valley, based in Happy Valley which is next to Causeway Bay, the shopping epicenter of HK. We love staying in this area and have gotten pretty familiar with the place.
Practically everything in HK is better than Shenzhen; the way people act, treat one another, dress, and generally behave is much more civilized and what we consider to be friendly and courteous. Don't get us wrong, the city is huge and one of the most populated places on earth, but there is a very real difference in the attitude and behavior between Kongers and mainland Chinese. Hong Kong is one of the world's great places for shopping and the city is so diverse that just walking around is awe-inspiring and makes for amazing people watching.
Another big advantage HK has over Shenzhen is unrestricted internet access. Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter are all blocked by the Great Firewall of China and this makes life tough on us expats. You can access them through a VPN, if you have a decent internet connection, but this isn't ideal and really makes for very limited connection to our friends, family, and life back home and in our other former homes around the world. Hong Kong has no such restrictions, so it is great to be able to catch up with friends and family through social media while we're there. Joe lived in Turkey before social media took off and we can tell you that life is much easier as an expat with the ability to keep up with your loved ones back home. For all the bad publicity social media gets at times, it is a huge blessing to travelers like us!
|We found this yummy place called Texas Burger and it didn't disappoint. |
Here is a shot of their Texas BBQ Cheeseburger that Joe crushed!
Hong Kong is also a great city for foodies. Shenzhen has very little to offer in this regard, as even our Chinese coworkers complain about the lack of decent food here. No such issue in HK, as every time we go over we discover new and amazing places to enjoy lunch and dinner. In addition to the restaurants, HK is a great place to pick up some of our favorite imported food items that aren't available in Shenzhen.
|This is the home field for HK Valley Rugby Club|
|Joe loves playing with Valley because he carries the ball a lot and gets to run over people!|
|While watching one of Joe's games, Lindsay walked across the complex and found some Americans playing baseball!|
|Joe is a front lifter for lineouts (#2) and they toss their teammates pretty high in the air!|
|Preparing to scrum!|
|Look closely and you'll see a nice little shiner above Joe's right eye.|
|The HK metro system is great.|
|HK street food|
|Dragons everywhere in HK!|
|HK likes their luxury cars almost as much as Kuwait!|
|HK loves Legos and Star Wars lately!!|
|Valley RFC's biggest rivals.|