First Impressions of Hong Kong

Alexandra Bartkoske
May 26, 2019
Kowloon, Hong Kong

As I lazily watched the clouds pass from 35,000 feet in the air, the PA system came on, warning us that we would be landing soon. My flight from Chicago was 16 long hours, and although we landed late at night, I was restless and ready to explore Asia’s World City. Shortly after the announcement, I saw the lights of Taipei, then Kaohsiung City, before the plane sharply turned and headed directly for Hong Kong. As we flew over, my jaw dropped. Hong Kong is not a city. No, Chicago is a city. From the sky, I took in the sprawling metropolis I would call home for the next 10 weeks.

The drive from Lantau Island to Kowloon—two of the three major areas of Hong Kong—was unlike anything I had ever seen. I sat in awe as I watched fifty-story apartment buildings pass me by, each cluster of buildings denser than the previous. As we passed over the bridge, I got a glimpse of the stunning skyline. Words cannot describe the beauty of the Fragrant Harbor. Since I arrived before my internship start date, I had to check into my hotel and find food. After, I fell into a deep sleep in preparation for the next morning.

Today, I woke up at 6 a.m. from the jetlag, bright-eyed and ready to conquer Hong Kong. After a shower and breakfast, I made my way through some of the malls by Star Ferry, the famous boat that takes passengers from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, and if desired, some of the smaller, less populated islands.  Malls may be a dying breed in America, but Ocean Terminal reaffirmed that malls are ever popular in Asia. Hours could be spent exploring every store from nearly every continent.

After a quick bite, I got on Star Ferry to make my journey across to Hong Kong Island. Like the cab ride, I sat in silence, simply staring at the never-ending skyline. The ride was short, no longer than seven minutes, and the terminal where Star Ferry docked was another mini city. With a museum, a farmer’s market, an observation deck, and dozens of stalls filled with clothes and delectable treats, it has everything anyone could ever want.

Since I am here for 10 weeks, I wanted to get a local number to make connecting with people both in Hong Kong and back home easier. I strolled down Des Vouex Road Central, again, taking in all the sights and smells. The hustle-bustle made me truly realize how busy this city is. Wherever I turned, there was a mass of people heading my direction.

When I was leaving to go back to Kowloon side, I wandered through the streets trying to find the Central MTR subway station. Instead, I was met by at least a thousand people, all sitting in Jardin Square, eating, laughing, and dancing. Although I did not know a single person, I wanted to join in on the group dancing and experience their fun. Unsuccessful in finding the MTR through the crowds, I caught the Star Ferry back to Kowloon.

My first day in Hong Kong, although uneventful, was exhausting. Since I was busy taking in all the sights, the only photo I took is of Kowloon side from Star Ferry, which is the photo seen at the top of this page. The humidity will take some getting used to, as well as the large crowds, but Day One made me even more excited for the remainder of my time here. I wonder what tomorrow’s adventures will hold!

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Alexandra Bartkoske

<p>Hi, my name is Alexandra, and I am a sophomore finance major and English minor, as well as being on the pre-law track, at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. On campus, I am on a business fraternity and have an on-campus job. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, shopping, working out, and of course, traveling. Hong Kong is the 31st country or city-state I've visited, and I cannot wait to share my experiences with students interested in visiting!</p>

2019 Summer 1, 2019 Summer 2
Chicago, IL
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